Chapter 2. The Son of a Gun: Adolf Hitler's fatherless Father Alois Hitler
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Alois Hitler (Father of Adolf Hitler)
Alois Hitler was Born on 7 June 1837, in Strones, Waldviertel, Lower Austria. He died on 3 January 1903 (aged 65) in Gasthaus Stiefler, Linz, Upper Austria. His Occupation was as Customs officer.
Spouse(s) Anna Glassl (1873-1883,sep.1880)
Mistresses: Franziska Matzelberger (1883-1884)
Klara Pölzl (1885-1903)
Parents: ???(??? Father) and Maria Anna Schicklgruber
Alois Hitler (born Alois Schicklgruber; 7 June 1837 – 3 January 1903) was the father of Adolf Hitler.
Alois Hitler was born in the small rustic village of Strones in the Waldviertel, a hilly forested area in northwest Lower Austria just north of Vienna, to a 42-year-old unmarried peasant, Maria Anna Schicklgruber, whose family had lived in the area for generations. After he was baptized at the nearby village of Döllersheim, 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.
Alois Hitler in the uniform of an Austrian customs official. Alois Hitler made steady progress in the semi-military profession of a 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). 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 in 1875.
While his professional duties involved strict attention to rules, his personal and private life seems to have flouted the social norms of the time. In the late 1860s, he fathered an illegitimate child with a woman named Thelka (or perhaps Thekla) whom he did not marry and whose family name is lost to history. Alois was 36 when he married for the first time, and it may have been for money. Anna Glassl 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.
As a rising young junior customs official, Alois used his birth name of Schicklgruber, but in the summer of 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 and asserted that his father was Johann Georg Hiedler, who had married his mother and now wished to legitimize him. He apparently did not disclose to the priest that Johann had been dead for almost 20 years. Three relatives appeared with Alois 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 had a new name. The official change, registered at the government office in Mistelbach in 1876 transformed "Alois Schicklgruber" into "Alois Hitler." It is not known who decided on the spelling of Hitler instead of Hiedler. It may have been the clerk in Mistelbach. Spellings were still being standardized at the time.
Social pressures seems to have played no part. Smith states that Alois openly admitted having been born out of wedlock before and after the name change. He had done well by local standards and was not hampered by his name. The limiting factor was education. Alois eventually rose to full inspector of customs and could go no higher because he lacked the necessary school degrees.
Alois may have been influenced to change his name for the sake of legal expediency. Maser reports that in 1876, Franz Schicklgruber, the administrator of Alois' mother's estate, transferred a large sum of money (230 gulden) to Alois. This related to a family decision involving changing Alois' last name from Schicklgruber to Hitler / Hiedler in accordance with his mother's alleged wishes when she died in 1847. Moreover, six months after Nepomuk died, Alois made a major real estate purchase inconsistent with the salary of a customs official with a pregnant wife.
Some Schicklgrubers remain in Waldviertel. One of this extended clan, "Aloisia V" aged 49, died in 1940, in an Austrian Nazi gas chamber.
|Genealogy of Adolf Hitler (Courtesy Savio Pereira)|
Alois Hitler's biological father
Suspect 1: Leopold Frankenberger, a Jew who, as suggested by Hans Frank, might have fathered Alois when his mother Maria supposedly worked for a Frankenberger family in their household in Graz, Austria. (This blog presumes that the Father was Leopold Frankenberger)
Suspect 2: Johann Georg Hiedler, who during his own lifetime was the stepfather and posthumously legally declared the birth father of Alois (without his consent).
Suspect 3: Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, 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.
Suspect 4: Baron Rothschild
Johann Georg Hiedler
Unexplained is why Hiedler and Maria did not declare Alois their legitimate son once they were legally married, or why Hiedler died without legitimizing his son and perpetuating his line of the family.
Johann Nepomuk Hüttler. Historian Werner Maser suggests that Alois's father was Hiedler's brother, Johann Nepomuk, a married farmer who had an affair and then arranged to have his single brother Hiedler marry Alois's mother Maria to provide a cover for Nepomuk's desire to assist and care for Alois without upsetting his wife.
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, where he was renting the top floor as a lodging. Smith states that Alois had numerous affairs in the 1870s, resulting in his sick wife Anna 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 his first wife 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 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 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..
Hitler was secure in his profession and no longer an ambitious climber. Alan described Alois as a "hard, unsympathetic, and short-tempered" man. For reasons unknown to historians, Matzelberger went to Vienna to give birth to Angela Hitler. Matzelberger, still only 23, acquired a lung disorder and became too ill to function. She was moved to Ranshofen, a small village near Braunau. With no one but him to take care of the house or the children, Hitler brought back Klara Pölzl, Matzelberger's earlier rival. 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, not mentioning Pölzl was already pregnant.
Hitler was immune to what the local people thought of him since his salary came from the finance ministry and he probably intended to keep Pölzl as his "housekeeper" if permission was refused. It came, and on 7 January 1885 a wedding was held early in the morning 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 tragically 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. He was a sickly child, and his mother fretted over him. 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. 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.
In February 1895, Hitler purchased a house on a nine acre (36,000 m²) plot in Hafeld near Lambach, approximately 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Linz. The farm was called the Rauscher Gut. Hitler fantasized he would spend his retirement as a "gentleman farmer," indulging in beekeeping and living an easy rural life. 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. A lifetime as a civil servant had made Hitler forget what farm life was like. He found taking care of nine acres (36,000 m²) to be more work than he had thought it would be, and he didn't want it. The land went uncultivated, and the value of the property declined. Far from being his dream retirement home, the Rauscher Gut was a money-losing nightmare.
Meanwhile, the family was still growing. On 21 January 1896 Paula was born. With no workplace to escape to, Hitler was often home with his family. He had five children ranging in age from infancy to 14, and being involved with their daily life annoyed him. Smith suggests he yelled at the children almost continually and made long visits to the local tavern where he began to drink more than he used to.
It has been said he behaved like a self-important tyrant at home. 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 on 2 February 1900. If there was to be a family legacy, Adolf would have to carry it. Alois wanted his son to follow him and seek a career in the civil service. However, Adolf had become so alienated from his father that he was repulsed by whatever Alois wanted. Where his father glorified the role of the civil servant, 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.
On the morning of January 3, 1903, Hitler went to the Gasthaus Wiesinger 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. Adolf Hitler says in Mein Kampf that he died of a "stroke of apoplexy" . He was 65 when he died.
^ Sometimes spelled "Schickelgruber"
^ John Toland, Adolf Hitler, Doubleday & Company, 1976, pp.3-5 ("Toland"); William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Simon & Shuster, 1960, p. 7 ("Shirer"); Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris, W. W. Norton & Company, 2000, pp. 3-9 ("Kershaw").
^ Kate Connolly, "Hitler's Mentally Ill Cousin Killed In Nazi Gas Chamber", HNN copy of 19 Jan 2005 Daily Telegraph article.
^ Alois petitioned the church for an episcopal dispensation citing "bilateral affinity in the third degree touching the second" to describe his rather complicated family relationship to Klara. The local bishop apparently believed this relationship was too close to approve on his own authority, so he forwarded the petition to Rome on behalf of Alois, seeing instead a papal dispensation, which was approved before the birth of the couple's first child. See Rosenblum article.
^ Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler
During his tumultuous rise to the pinnacles of power Adolf Hitler was often accused of being Jewish. Even the leaders of the National Party which he sought to lead, ridiculed Hitler as a "Jew" and for "behaving like a Jew" as did many of his enemies.
In 1933, it was reported in a London newspaper that a gravestone was found in a Jewish cemetary in Bucharest, inscribed with Hebrew characters that spelled out Adolf Hitler. Adolf Hitler was a Jewish name... but this "Adolf Hitler" had been born in 1832, fifty years before the birth of the future dictator of Germany.
Before coming to power, Adolf Hitler was also a target of widespread ridicule, and was mocked by enemies and the press who questioned his ancestry and who laughably referred to him as "Adolf Schickelgruber." "Schickelgruber" had been the name of Adolf's maternal grandmother, and for 39 years, the name of his father, Alois.
Although the "Schickelgruber" moniker rankled the rising dictator, what concerned him and what he feared most was the history behind the name the discovery that he was part "Jew;" a fear he repeatedly voiced long after coming to power.
"People must not know who I am," he ranted, and then ranted again when informed that his family history was being investigated. "They must not know where I came from."
Long before and well after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, considerable effort was expended to falsify, erase or destroy the records from his past. Repeated investigations were conducted by the Gestapo who repeatedly visited his ancestral village in Austria, questioning and threatening anyone that had been associated with the Hitler family.
Hitler was so concerned that when he annexed Austria, in 1938, he ordered that his family's ancestral village, Dollersheim, and all neighboring villages be destroyed. His armies marched in and then cleared out and forcibly evacuated the villagers who were dispersed far and wide. And then Hitler in fact, made it disappear, erased it from the face of the Earth. His armies bombed Dollersheim and all neighboring villages into oblivion as part of a training exercise. Even his father's and grandmother's graves were obliterated and no trace remains.
Nevertheless, what has survived the ravages of time, purposeful destruction and clever forgery, is the fact that Adolf's father, Alois Schickelgruber was the illegitimate son of a female servant, Maria Anna Schickelgruber. Maria Anna became pregnant while living as a servant in a Jewish household --a common servant girl fate. It was assumed by family members and villagers alike that she'd been impregnated by the head of the house, Baron Rothschild (Langer, 1973; Payne, 1973); a rumor that the Austrian Secret police claimed to have confirmed when ordered by Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss to conduct a thorough investigation. Later, when Hitler orchestrated the anschluss of Austria and German trooped marched in, he had Dollfuss murdered, and in addition to destroying Dollersheim, ordered that all documents related to that investigation be destroyed.
Yet others claimed that the man who had impregnated Adolf's grandmother was the Jewish scion of the seigneurial house of Ottenstein.
Hitler's own nephew, William Patrick Hitler, and Adolf's personnel attorney, Hans Frank, claimed that his grandfather was a wealthy "Granz Jew" by the name of Frankenberger who in turn "paid a maintenance allowance from the time of the child's birth until his fourteenth year."
As Frank reported to Hitler, and as he recounted at his Nuremberg war crimes trial, based on what he learned "the possibility cannot be dismissed that Hitler's father was half Jewish as a result of an extramarital relationship between the Schickelgruber woman and the Jew from Graz. This would mean that Hitler was one-quarter Jewish."
When Adolf Hitler was presented with the results of Frank's investigation, although denying he was Jewish, Hitler did admit to Frank that a Jewish man paid his grandmother money, because the "Jew" was tricked into believing he was the father of Alois. Of course this means, if Adolf (or rather Frank) is to be believed, that his grandmother was having sex with a Jewish man before she became pregnant.
What these stories all have in common, of course, is that Hitler's grandfather was a rich "Jew," and that after becoming pregnant his grandmother was banished from the Rothschild or Frankenberger or the Ottenstein home and sent back to her village to have her baby, Alois. It also appears that funds and even "hush money" were secretly provided for her and the baby.
When required to fill out the baptismal certificate for her son, she left the line as to the father of her boy, completely blank. Why did she leave it blank? Two reasons. Having been impregnated by a Jewish man was nothing to be proud of given the hateful anti-Semitic attitudes of the ignorant peasant farmers and villagers of Lower Austria. Secondly, it is said that she was paid to keep the paternity secret.
Yet another factor suggesting that Alois was Jewish was the fact that he was nothing like the peasants of his mother's village where people intermarried and produced generation and after generation of peasant farmers. Alois in fact left the village and sought his fortune. Alois was supremely self-confident, politically astute, and ambitious, and with the help of influential aristocrats in Vienna, Alois became a government official. Alois presumably inherited these traits from his father, who was most likely a very intelligent and successful Jew.
SCHICKELGRUBER BECOMES HIEDLER BECOMES HITLER
Abram Becomes Abraham. Jacob Becomes Israel
As to the name "Hitler," although Alois Schickelgruber was proud of his heritage, he found it to his financial advantage to change his name at age 39. Exceedingly shrewd and ambitious, Alois was presented with an opportunity to become instantly a man of considerable property; and the name of that opportunity was Johann Hiedler who had lived in nearby town of Weitra. Johann Hiedler died at age 84 without wife or children--a condition that normally would result in his estate being confiscated by the Austrian government.
Alois instantly seized this opportunity and made arrangements with the local parish priest to alter the parish birth and adoption records (Shirer, 1941, 1960). The priest scratched out the name "Shicklegruber" and penciled in "Hiedler."
Alois, however, wasn't especially fond of the "Hiedler" moniker, and altered the spelling to make it sound more pleasing. Alois "Hiedler," became Alois Hitler, and Alois Hitler, unlike any of his mother's peasant farmer relatives, became an official in the Austrian government (Payne, 1973; Shirer, 1941, 1960).
ALOIS A BASTARD JEW?
According to German historian, Helmut Heilber "The aberrational quality of the Hitler family beginning with the ambitious and enterprising father of Adolf shows that other blood must have entered the Lower Austrian Waldviertel stock which had been weakened by years of inbreeding."
Likewise, according to Walter Langer (1972) who was employed by the Office of Strategic Services to conduct a study of Hitler just before the war "The intelligence and behavior of Alois, as well as that of his two sons (Alois Jr., and Adolf), is completely out of keeping with that usually found in Austrian peasant families. Their ambitiousness and extraordinary political intuition are much more in harmony with the Rothschild tradition."
Alois was not only ambitious and successful, but proud of his paternity--having a father who was wealthy and an aristocrat. Alois, in fact, chose a Jewish man to act as Adolf Hitler's godfather (Langer, 1972), and a Jewish doctor helped to deliver Hitler into this world.
Thus, the evidence strongly suggests that Alois was half Jewish and that Adolf Hitler was one quarter Jewish--a possibility vehemently rejected by Nazis and Jews alike.