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A DNA test on a farmer running for political office living in a remote area of Austria has revealed that the 46-year-old man is one of the last living relatives of Adolf Hitler, the Austrian magazine News reported last week.

The man, thought to be a cousin of the German dictator, was horrified to learn the blood of the man he called the "greatest criminal" is in his veins.

Belgian journalist Jean-Paul Mulders persuaded the man to take a mouth swab test, Britain's Daily Mail reported Saturday. Mulders said there are as many as 39 other individuals living in the rural Waldviertel region of Austria, home to Hitler's grandmother, Maria Anna Schicklgruber, his father Alois and mother Klara.

After World War II, the name Hitler largely disappeared as those who bore it had their names changed, though some individuals in the Waldviertel area still bear similar names like Hiedler and Huettler. Going through these names in the phone book, Mulders came upon the man now believed related to the dictator, and the journalist convinced him to produce a saliva sample.

Mulders had previously garnered some of Hitler's DNA by discreetly taking a napkin dropped by one of three known Hitler descendants who live on Long Island, New York, the Daily Mail reported.

One of them, Alexander Stuart-Houston, 61, a retired psychologist who is the grand-nephew of Hitler, was trailed for seven days before he dropped the piece of litter which allowed Mulders to link the Austrian farmer to Hitler.

In the Austrian report, published Thursday, Mulders did not specify the man's relationship to Hitler, but he is believed to be a cousin. Called Norbert H by the publication (a false name) he is running in a local election for the Austrian People's Party.

He said he had no reason to doubt the chemical findings - carried out in a Belgian lab - but added: "I wish I had never done this. Hitler for me was the biggest criminal of all time - there is no argument about that. I did the test without really thinking, and regret it now."