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Alois Hitler

Alois Hitler

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Alois Hitler was an Austrian civil servant who was the father of Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

.

Early life


Alois Schicklgruber was born in the village of Strones
Döllersheim
Döllersheim was, since the mid 19th century, an Austrian municipality in the Waldviertel, the northwestern part of Lower Austria near the border with Bohemia. It included the hamlet of Strones, where Alois Hitler, the father of Adolf Hitler, was born to Maria Schicklgruber in 1837. Strones was very...

 in the Waldviertel
Waldviertel
The Waldviertel is the northwestern region of the Austrian state Lower Austria. It is bounded to the south by the Danube, to the southwest by Upper Austria, to the northwest and the north by the Czech Republic and to the east by the Manhartsberg , which is the survey point dividing Waldviertel...

, a hilly forested area in northwest Lower Austria
Lower Austria
Lower Austria is the northeasternmost state of the nine states in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria since 1986 is Sankt Pölten, the most recently designated capital town in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria had formerly been Vienna, even though Vienna is not officially part of Lower Austria...

 just north of Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, to a 42-year-old unmarried peasant, Maria Anna Schicklgruber
Maria Schicklgruber
Maria Anna Schicklgruber was Adolf Hitler's paternal grandmother.- Family :Maria was born in the village of Strones in the Waldviertel area. She was the daughter of Theresia Pfeisinger , and farmer Johannes Schicklgruber...

, whose family had lived in the area for generations. After he was baptized
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 at the nearby village of Döllersheim
Döllersheim
Döllersheim was, since the mid 19th century, an Austrian municipality in the Waldviertel, the northwestern part of Lower Austria near the border with Bohemia. It included the hamlet of Strones, where Alois Hitler, the father of Adolf Hitler, was born to Maria Schicklgruber in 1837. Strones was very...

, the space for his father's name on the baptismal certificate was left blank and the priest wrote "illegitimate". Alois was cared for by his mother in a house she shared at Strones with her elderly father, Johannes Schicklgruber.

Sometime later, Johann Georg Hiedler
Johann Georg Hiedler
Johann Georg Hiedler was born to Martin Hiedler and Anna Maria Göschl . He was considered the officially accepted paternal grandfather of Adolf Hitler by the Third Reich...

 moved in with the Schicklgrubers and married Maria when Alois was five. By the age of 10, Alois had been sent to live with Hiedler's brother, Johann Nepomuk Hiedler
Johann Nepomuk Hiedler
Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, also known as Johann Nepomuk Hüttler , was a maternal great-grandfather and possibly also the paternal grandfather of Adolf Hitler....

, who owned a farm in the nearby village of Spital
Spital
-Placenames:In the United Kingdom:*Spital, Berkshire, close to Windsor*Spital, Derbyshire, part of Chesterfield*Spital, Merseyside, on the Wirral Peninsula*Spital, Tamworth, a Ward of Tamworth Borough Council*Spitalfields, London...

. Alois attended elementary school and took lessons in shoe-making from a local cobbler
Shoemaking
Shoemaking is the process of making footwear. Originally, shoes were made one at a time by hand. Traditional handicraft shoemaking has now been largely superseded in volume of shoes produced by industrial mass production of footwear, but not necessarily in quality, attention to detail, or...

, Steven Anthony Nelson. When he was 13, he left the farm in Spital and went to Vienna as an apprentice cobbler, working there for about five years. In response to a recruitment drive by the Austrian government offering employment in the civil service to people from rural areas, Alois joined the frontier guards (customs service) of the Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n Finance Ministry in 1855 at the age of 18.

Early career


Alois Schicklgruber made steady progress in the semi-military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 profession of customs official. The work involved frequent re-assignments and he served in a variety of places across Austria. By 1860, after five years of service, he reached the rank of Finanzwach Oberaufseher (a non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

). By 1864, after special training and examinations, he had advanced further and was serving in Linz, Austria. He later became an inspector of customs posted at Braunau am Inn
Braunau am Inn
Braunau am Inn is a town in the Innviertel region of Upper Austria , the north-western state of Austria. It lies about 90 km west of Linz and about 60 km north of Salzburg, on the border with the German state of Bavaria. The population in 2001 was 16,372...

 in 1875. He eventually rose to full inspector of customs and could go no higher because he lacked the necessary school degrees.

Alois was 36 when he married for the first time. Anna Glasl-Hörer was a wealthy, 50-year-old daughter of a customs official. She was sick when Alois married her and was either an invalid or became one shortly afterwards.

Change of surname


As a rising young junior customs official, he used his birth name of Schicklgruber, but in mid-1876, 39 years old and well established in his career, he asked permission to use his stepfather's family name. He appeared before the parish priest in Döllersheim
Döllersheim
Döllersheim was, since the mid 19th century, an Austrian municipality in the Waldviertel, the northwestern part of Lower Austria near the border with Bohemia. It included the hamlet of Strones, where Alois Hitler, the father of Adolf Hitler, was born to Maria Schicklgruber in 1837. Strones was very...

 and asserted that his father was Johann Georg Hiedler
Johann Georg Hiedler
Johann Georg Hiedler was born to Martin Hiedler and Anna Maria Göschl . He was considered the officially accepted paternal grandfather of Adolf Hitler by the Third Reich...

, who had married his mother and now wished to legitimize him. Three relatives appeared with him as witnesses, one of whom was Johann Nepomuk, Hiedler's son-in-law. The priest agreed to amend the records, the civil authorities automatically processed the church's decision, and Alois Schicklgruber had a new name. The official change, registered at the government office in Mistelbach
Mistelbach
For the town in Germany, see Mistelbach, Bavaria.Mistelbach an der Zaya is a town in the northeast of Austria in so called Lower Austria, one of Austria's nine Federal States. It is located roughly 40 km northeast of Austria's capital Vienna...

 in 1877 transformed him into "Alois Hitler". It is not known who decided on the spelling of Hitler instead of Hiedler.

Smith states that Alois Schicklgruber openly admitted having been born out of wedlock before and after the name change. Alois may have been influenced to change his name for the sake of legal expediency. Historian Werner Maser claims that in 1876, Franz Schicklgruber, the administrator of Alois' mother's estate, transferred a large sum of money (230 gulden
Austro-Hungarian gulden
The Gulden or forint was the currency of the Austrian Empire and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1754 and 1892 when it was replaced by the Krone/korona as part of the introduction of the gold standard. In Austria, the Gulden was initially divided into 60 Kreuzer, and in Hungary, the...

) to him.

Suppose, Johann Georg Hiedler relented on his deathbed and left an inheritance to his illegitimate son (Alois) together with his name.

Some Schicklgrubers remain in Waldviertel
Waldviertel
The Waldviertel is the northwestern region of the Austrian state Lower Austria. It is bounded to the south by the Danube, to the southwest by Upper Austria, to the northwest and the north by the Czech Republic and to the east by the Manhartsberg , which is the survey point dividing Waldviertel...

. One of this extended clan, Aloisia Veit, who was mentally ill, died in 1940 at the age of 49, in an Austrian Nazi gas chamber.

Biological father


Historians have discussed three candidates: Johann Georg Hiedler
Johann Georg Hiedler
Johann Georg Hiedler was born to Martin Hiedler and Anna Maria Göschl . He was considered the officially accepted paternal grandfather of Adolf Hitler by the Third Reich...

, Johann Nepomuk Hüttler, and Leopold Frankenberger.

Most historians are satisfied that Alois' father was Johann Georg Hiedler, who during his own lifetime was the stepfather and posthumously legally declared the birth father of Alois. According to historian Frank McDonough
Frank McDonough
Professor Frank McDonough is a British historian of 20th century Germany and International History- Life :Frank McDonough was born in Liverpool, England. He worked as a shipping clerk and an insurance clerk in two of Liverpool's most famous buildings in the 1970s: The Liver Building and the Cunard...

, the most plausible theory is that Johann Georg Hiedler was the real father of Alois. An explanation for Alois being sent to live on his uncle's farm as a child is that Hiedler and Maria were simply too poor to raise him, or could not raise him as well as his uncle, or perhaps Maria's health was in decline (she died when he was 10).

Werner Maser suggests that Alois' father was Johann Nepomuk, Georg's brother and Hitler's step-uncle, who raised Alois through adolescence and later willed him a considerable portion of his life savings, but never admitted publicly to be his real father. According to Maser, Nepomuk was a married farmer who had an affair and then arranged to have his single brother Hiedler marry Alois' mother Maria to provide a cover for Nepomuk's desire to assist and care for Alois without upsetting his wife. This assumes Hiedler was willing to marry Maria in this situation, and Adolf Hitler biographer Joachim Fest
Joachim Fest
Joachim Clemens Fest was a German historian, journalist, critic and editor, best known for his writings and public commentary on Nazi Germany, including an important biography of Adolf Hitler and books about Albert Speer and the German Resistance...

 thinks this is too contrived and unlikely to be true.

After the war Hitler's former lawyer, Hans Frank
Hans Frank
Hans Michael Frank was a German lawyer who worked for the Nazi party during the 1920s and 1930s and later became a high-ranking official in Nazi Germany...

, claimed that Adolf told him in 1930 that one of his relatives was trying to blackmail him by threatening to reveal his alleged Jewish ancestry. Hitler asked Frank to find out the facts. Frank says he determined that at the time Maria Schicklgruber gave birth to Alois she was working as a household cook in the town of Graz
Graz
The more recent population figures do not give the whole picture as only people with principal residence status are counted and people with secondary residence status are not. Most of the people with secondary residence status in Graz are students...

, her employers were a Jewish family named Frankenberger, and that her child might have been conceived out of wedlock with the family's 19-year-old son.

All Jews had been expelled from the province of Styria (which includes Graz) in the 15th century and were not allowed to return until the 1860s; there is no evidence of a Frankenberger family living in Graz at that time. Scholars such as Ian Kershaw
Ian Kershaw
Sir Ian Kershaw is a British historian of 20th-century Germany whose work has chiefly focused on the period of the Third Reich...

 and Brigitte Hamann
Brigitte Hamann
Brigitte Hamann Ph.D., is a German-Austrian author and historian based in Vienna.Born Brigitte Deitert in Essen, Germany, she studied history in Münster and Vienna and for a time worked as a journalist in her native Essen...

 dismiss the Frankenberger hypothesis (which had only Frank's speculation to support it) as baseless. Frank's story contains several inaccuracies and contradictions, such as the statement that Maria Schicklgruber came from "Leonding near Linz", when in fact she came from the hamlet of Strones, near the village of Döllersheim. Rosenbaum suggests that Frank, who though he had turned against National Socialism after 1945 remained an anti-Semitic fanatic, made the claim that Hitler had Jewish ancestry as way of proving that Hitler was a Jew and not an Aryan
Aryan race
The Aryan race is a concept historically influential in Western culture in the period of the late 19th century and early 20th century. It derives from the idea that the original speakers of the Indo-European languages and their descendants up to the present day constitute a distinctive race or...

.

Marriages


Not long after marrying his first wife, Anna, Alois Hitler began an affair with 19-year-old Franziska "Fanni" Matzelsberger, one of the young female servants employed at the Pommer Inn, house #219, in the city of Braunau am Inn
Braunau am Inn
Braunau am Inn is a town in the Innviertel region of Upper Austria , the north-western state of Austria. It lies about 90 km west of Linz and about 60 km north of Salzburg, on the border with the German state of Bavaria. The population in 2001 was 16,372...

, where he was renting the top floor as a lodging. Smith states that Alois had numerous affairs in the 1870s, resulting in his wife initiating legal action; on 7 November 1880 Alois and Anna separated by mutual agreement. Matzelsberger became the 43-year-old Hitler's girlfriend, but the two could not marry since under Roman Catholic canon law, divorce is not permitted.

In 1876, three years after Hitler married Anna, he had hired Klara Pölzl as a household servant. She was the 16-year-old granddaughter of Hitler's step-uncle (and possible father or biological uncle) Nepomuk. If Nepomuk was Hitler's father, Klara was Hitler's half-niece. If his father was Johann Georg, she was his first cousin once removed. Matzelsberger demanded that the "servant girl" Klara find another job, and Hitler sent Pölzl away.

On 13 January 1882, Matzelsberger gave birth to Hitler's illegitimate son, also named Alois, but since they were not married, the child's last name was Matzelsberger, making him "Alois Matzelsberger." Hitler kept Matzelsberger as his wife while his lawful wife (Anna) grew sicker and died on 6 April 1883. The next month, on 22 May at a ceremony in Braunau with fellow custom officials as witnesses, Hitler, 45, married Matzelsberger, 21. He then legitimized his son as Alois Hitler, Jr.
Alois Hitler, Jr.
Alois Hitler, Jr., born Alois Matzelsberger , was the son of Alois Hitler and Franziska Matzelsberger, and was the half-brother of Adolf Hitler.-Early life:...


Later career


Hitler was secure in his profession and no longer an ambitious climber. Alan described Alois as a "hard, unsympathetic, and short-tempered" man. Matzelberger went to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 to give birth to Angela Hitler
Angela Hitler
Angela Franziska Johanna Hammitzsch , first married to Leo Raubal, Sr., was the elder half-sister of Adolf Hitler.-Life:...

. Matzelberger, still only 23, acquired a lung disorder and became too ill to function. She was moved to Ranshofen, a small village near Braunau. Matzelberger died in Ranshofen on August 10, 1884 at the age of 23.

Pölzl was soon pregnant by Hitler. Smith writes that if Hitler had been free to do as he wished, he would have married Pölzl immediately but because of the affidavit concerning his paternity, Hitler was now legally Pölzl's first cousin once removed, too close to marry. He submitted an appeal to the church for a humanitarian waiver. Permission came, and on 7 January 1885 a wedding was held at Hitler's rented rooms on the top floor of the Pommer Inn. A meal was served for the few guests and witnesses. Hitler then went to work for the rest of the day. Even Klara found the wedding to be a short ceremony. Throughout the marriage, she continued to call him uncle.

On 17 May 1885, five months after the wedding, the new Frau Klara Hitler gave birth to her first child, Gustav. A year later, on 25 September 1886, she gave birth to a daughter, Ida. Son Otto followed Ida in 1887, but he died shortly after birth. Later that year, diphtheria
Diphtheria
Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium. It is characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity...

 struck the Hitler household, resulting in the deaths of both Gustav and Ida. Klara had been Hitler's wife for three years, and all her children were dead, but Hitler still had the children from his relationship with Matzelberger, Alois Jr., and Angela.

On April 20, 1889, she gave birth to another son, future Nazi dictator Adolf
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. He was a sickly child, and his mother fretted over him. Alois was 51 when he was born. Hitler had little interest in child rearing and left it all to his wife. When not at work he was either in a tavern or busy with his hobby, keeping bees. In 1892, Hitler was transferred from Braunau to Passau. He was 55, Klara 32, Alois Jr. 10, Angela 9 and Adolf was three years old. In 1894, Hitler was re-assigned to Linz
Linz
Linz is the third-largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria . It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube. The population of the city is , and that of the Greater Linz conurbation is about...

. Klara had just given birth to Edmund, so it was decided she and the children would stay in Passau for the time being. Paula, Adolf's younger sister, was the last child of Alois Hitler and Klara Pölzl.

Retirement


In February 1895 Hitler purchased a house on a nine acre (36,000 m²) plot in Hafeld near Lambach
Lambach
Lambach is a market town in the Wels-Land district of Upper Austria, Austria, on the Ager and Traun Rivers. It has a population of 3,242 as of 2001. A major stop on the salt trade, it is the site of the Lambach Abbey, built around 1056.-Notable inhabitants:...

, approximately 30 miles (48.3 km) southwest of Linz
Linz
Linz is the third-largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria . It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube. The population of the city is , and that of the Greater Linz conurbation is about...

. The farm was called the Rauscher Gut. He moved his family to the farm and retired on 25 June 1895 at the age of 58 after 40 years in the customs service. He found farming difficult; he lost money, and the value of the property declined.

On 21 January 1896 Paula
Paula Hitler
Paula Hitler was the younger sister of Adolf Hitler and the last child of Alois Hitler and his third wife, Klara Pölzl...

 was born. Hitler was often home with his family. He had five children ranging in age from infancy to 14; Smith suggests he yelled at the children almost continually and made long visits to the local tavern.

Robert G. L. Waite noted, "Even one of his closest friends admitted that Alois was 'awfully rough' with his wife [Klara] and 'hardly ever spoke a word to her at home.'" If Hitler was in a bad mood, he picked on the older children or Klara herself, in front of them. After Hitler and his oldest son Alois Jr. had a climactic and violent argument, Alois Jr. left home, and the elder Alois swore he would never give the boy a penny of inheritance beyond what the law required.

Edmund (the youngest of the boys) died of measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

 on 2 February 1900. Alois wanted his son Adolf to seek a career in the civil service. However, Adolf had become so alienated from his father that he was repulsed by whatever Alois wanted. Adolf sneered at the thought of a lifetime spent enforcing petty rules. Alois tried to browbeat his son into obedience while Adolf did his best to be the opposite of whatever his father wanted.

Death


On the morning of January 3, 1903, Hitler went to the Gasthaus Wiesinger (No.1 Michaelsbergstrasse, Leonding) as usual to drink his morning glass of wine.

He was offered the newspaper and promptly collapsed. He was taken to an adjoining room and a doctor was summoned, but Alois Hitler died at the inn, probably from a pleural hemorrhage. The large leather couch on which he died can still be seen today in the inn.

Adolf Hitler says in Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

that he died of a "stroke of apoplexy
Apoplexy
Apoplexy is a medical term, which can be used to describe 'bleeding' in a stroke . Without further specification, it is rather outdated in use. Today it is used only for specific conditions, such as pituitary apoplexy and ovarian apoplexy. In common speech, it is used non-medically to mean a state...

". He was 13 when his father died.

Additional sources

  • Marc Vermeeren, De jeugd van Adolf Hitler 1889–1907 en zijn familie en voorouders. Soesterberg, 2007, 420 blz. Uitgeverij Aspekt. ISBN 978-90-5911-606-1
  • Bullock, Alan Hitler: A Study in Tyranny. 1953 ISBN 0-06-092020-3
  • Fest, Joachim C. Hitler. Verlag Ullstein, 1973 ISBN 0-15-141650-8
  • Kershaw, Ian Hitler 1889–1936: Hubris. W W Norton, 1999 ISBN 0-393-04671-0
  • Waite, Robert G. L. The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler. Basic Books 1977 ISBN 0-465-06743-3
  • Payne, Robert The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler. Praeger Publishers 1973 LCCN 72-92891
  • Langer, Walter C. The Mind of Adolf Hitler. Basic Books Inc., New York, 1972 ISBN 0-465-04620-7 ASIN: B000CRPF1K
  • Rosenbaum, Ron Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil
    Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil
    Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil is a 1998 book by journalist Ron Rosenbaum which tells of Rosenbaum's struggles with the "exceptionalist" character of Adolf Hitler's personality and impact on the world or, worse from his point of view, his struggle with the possibility...

    , New York: Random House 1998 ISBN 0670821586

External links