August Kubizek

August Kubizek

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August Kubizek (3 August 1888, 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...

 – 23 October 1956, Eferding
Eferding
Eferding is a city and the capital of the Eferding district in the Austrian federal state of Upper Austria. It had a population of 3,393 as of the 2001 census.-Geography:...

) was a close friend 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...

 when both were in their late teens. He later wrote about their friendship.

Early life


August was the first born and only surviving child of Michael and Maria Kubizek. His sisters Maria, Therese and Karoline died in early childhood. Kubizek later wrote that this was a striking parallel between his own life and that of Adolf Hitler, whose mother had lost four children prematurely. As the surviving sons of grief stricken mothers, August and Adolf could not help but feel they had been spared or "chosen" by fate.

Kubizek and Hitler first met while competing for standing room in the Landestheater in 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...

, 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...

. Because of their shared passion for the operas of Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 they quickly became close friends and later roommates in 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...

 while both sought admission into college. The two shared a small room in Stumpergasse 29/2 door 17 in the sixth district of Vienna from 22 February to early July 1908.

As the only son of a self-employed upholsterer, August was expected to someday take over his father's business, but he secretly harboured dreams of becoming a conductor. With Adolf's encouragement, he devoted more and more of his time to this passion, completing all the musical training available to him in Linz. However, to achieve his goal, he would require higher education in music which was only offered in Vienna.

It was Adolf Hitler who, at the age of eighteen, successfully persuaded Kubizek's father to let his son go to the metropolis to attend the conservatory. This, Kubizek wrote, changed the course of his life for good.

He was immediately accepted into the Vienna Conservatory where he quickly made a name for himself. Hitler, however, was twice denied entrance into Vienna's art academy, a fact which he kept hidden from his friend for some time. In 1908 Hitler abruptly broke off the friendship and drifted into homelessness. Kubizek completed his studies in 1912 and was hired as conductor of the orchestra in Marburg on the Drau, Austria (called Maribor
Maribor
Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia with 157,947 inhabitants . Maribor is also the largest and the capital city of Slovenian region Lower Styria and the seat of the Municipality of Maribor....

 in Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

 after 1918). He was later offered a position at the Stadttheater in Klagenfurt
Klagenfurt
-Name:Carinthia's eminent linguists Primus Lessiak and Eberhard Kranzmayer assumed that the city's name, which literally translates as "ford of lament" or "ford of complaints", had something to do with the superstitious thought that fateful fairies or demons tend to live around treacherous waters...

, but this job and his musical career were cut short by the beginning of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Before leaving for the front he married Anna Funke (7 October 1887 – 4 October 1976), a violinist from Vienna with whom he had three sons: Augustin, Karl Maria and Rudolf.

From August 1914 until November 1918 Kubizek served as a reservist in Regiment 2 of the Austro-Hungarian Infantry. In the Carpathian winter campaign of 1915, he was wounded at Eperjes in Hungary (now Prešov
Prešov
Prešov Historically, the city has been known in German as Eperies , Eperjes in Hungarian, Fragopolis in Latin, Preszów in Polish, Peryeshis in Romany, Пряшев in Russian and Пряшів in Rusyn and Ukrainian.-Characteristics:The city is a showcase of Baroque, Rococo and Gothic...

 in Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

) and later evacuated to Budapest in an ambulance train. After months of convalescence, he returned to the front and was attached to a mechanised corps in Vienna. After the war Kubizek accepted a position as an official in the municipal council of Eferding, Upper Austria
Upper Austria
Upper Austria is one of the nine states or Bundesländer of Austria. Its capital is Linz. Upper Austria borders on Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as on the other Austrian states of Lower Austria, Styria, and Salzburg...

 and music became his hobby.

Later contact with Hitler


After seeing Hitler on the front page of the Münchner Illustrierte (circa 1920) Kubizek followed his friend's career with some interest, although he did not attempt to contact him until 1933 when he wrote to congratulate him on having become Chancellor of Germany. Six months later Kubizek received an unexpected reply from Hitler, who wrote to his old friend "Gustl" saying, "I should be very glad... to revive once more with you those memories of the best years of my life." Thirty years after Hitler had broken off contact with Kubizek the two friends were reunited on 9 April 1938 during one of Hitler's visits in Linz. The two spoke for over an hour at the Hotel Weinzinger and Hitler offered Kubizek the conductorship of an orchestra, which Kubizek politely refused. Upon learning of his friend's three sons Hitler did, however, insist on financing their educations at the Anton Bruckner Conservatory
Anton Bruckner Private University for Music, Drama, and Dance
Anton Bruckner Private University for Music, Drama, and Dance is one of four universities in Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. It has ca...

 in Linz. Hitler later invited Kubizek to attend the Bayreuth festival
Bayreuth Festival
The Bayreuth Festival is a music festival held annually in Bayreuth, Germany, at which performances of operas by the 19th century German composer Richard Wagner are presented...

 as his guest in 1939 and again in 1940, experiences described by Kubizek as "the happiest hours of my earthly existence".

In 1938, Kubizek was hired by the Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 party to write two short propaganda booklets called Reminiscences about his youth with Hitler. In one episode Kubizek said Hitler had a great love for a girl named "Stefanie" and wrote her many love poems but never sent them. Hitler biographer John Toland
John Toland (author)
John Willard Toland was an American author and historian. He is best known for his bestselling biography of Adolf Hitler and for his Pulitzer Prize-winning World War II history of Japan, The Rising Sun.Toland was a graduate of Williams College, and he also attended the Yale School of Drama for a...

 noted that when Stefanie learned she had been an early object of Hitler's affection, she was stunned.

Kubizek saw Hitler for the last time on 23 July 1940, although as late as 1944 Hitler sent Kubizek's mother a food basket for her 80th birthday. His friend told him: "This war will set us back many years in our building programme. It is a tragedy. I did not become Chancellor of the Greater German Reich to fight wars." The Führer was speaking after the successful campaigns in Poland and France.

When the tide began to turn against Hitler's favour, Kubizek, who had avoided politics all his life, became a member of the NSDAP in 1942 as a gesture of loyalty to his friend.

Later life, imprisonment and memoirs


In December 1945, Kubizek gathered the collection of postcards and other keepsakes given to him by Hitler during their youth and concealed them carefully in the basement of his house in Eferding
Eferding
Eferding is a city and the capital of the Eferding district in the Austrian federal state of Upper Austria. It had a population of 3,393 as of the 2001 census.-Geography:...

. He was arrested shortly afterwards and held at Glasenbach, where he was imprisoned and interrogated by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command
United States Army Criminal Investigation Command investigates felony crimes and serious violations of military law within the United States Army...

 for 16 months. His home was searched, but the Hitler correspondence and drawings were not found. He was released on 8 April 1947.

In 1951, Kubizek, who had rejected other post-war offers for his memoirs, agreed to publish "Adolf Hitler, mein Jugendfreund" ("Adolf Hitler, My Childhood Friend") through the Leopold Stocker Verlag. The original manuscript was 293 pages long and included several pictures, many of which showed postcards and sketches given to the author by the young Hitler between the years 1906 and 1908. The book is divided into three parts and consists of a prologue, 24 chapters and an epilogue.

It caused a stir when it was released in 1953 and was later translated into several languages. In the epilogue Kubizek wrote, "Even though I, a fundamentally unpolitical individual, had always kept aloof from the political events of the period which ended forever in 1945, nevertheless no power on earth could compel me to deny my friendship with Adolf Hitler."

Kubizek's second wife and widow Pauline (1906–2001) was credited with having provided the Stocker Verlag with additional photographs for the book's fourth edition in 1975.

On 8 January 1956 Kubizek was named the first honorary member of the Musikverein in Eferding. He died on 23 October 1956, aged 68, in 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...

 and is buried in Eferding
Eferding
Eferding is a city and the capital of the Eferding district in the Austrian federal state of Upper Austria. It had a population of 3,393 as of the 2001 census.-Geography:...

, Upper Austria
Upper Austria
Upper Austria is one of the nine states or Bundesländer of Austria. Its capital is Linz. Upper Austria borders on Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as on the other Austrian states of Lower Austria, Styria, and Salzburg...

.

External links

  • Download Kubizek's The Young Hitler I Knew on archive.org Warning: This is a public domain copy at archive.org. Before the foreword by Hugh Trevor-Roper (which is followed by Kubizek's text) there is a clearly spurious, very brief "editor's note" written by neither Trevor-Roper nor Kubizek which can be taken as holocaust denial
    Holocaust denial
    Holocaust denial is the act of denying the genocide of Jews in World War II, usually referred to as the Holocaust. The key claims of Holocaust denial are: the German Nazi government had no official policy or intention of exterminating Jews, Nazi authorities did not use extermination camps and gas...

    , for which there is no historical support and which may understandably offend some readers. This external link is given only for the text by Trevor-Roper and Kubizek.