a book tells it through unpublished letters – time.news

He was self-taught, very diligent, who hated intellectuals and experts. He was of humble origins, but obsessed with social climbing and frustrated by the lack of acceptance by the bourgeoisie of the time. With an angry and arrogant character, he was a very authoritarian and severe parent: although beating his children was quite common at that time, he probably did it more often than others. Ideologically he was a nationalist, more precisely German national, but he was not an anti-Semite. His name was Hitler, Alois Hitler.

The cover of Roman Sandgruber’s book

Probably no historical figure has been at the center of books, studies and research more than Adolf Hitler and of those who revolved around him before and during his unfortunate season in power, from the hierarchs of Nazism to his generals, passing through his favorite architect and director, and again the lawyer, the doctor, the secretary, the guard of the body, the driver, even his astrologer. But nothing was ever known about the Führer’s father. This alone would be enough to qualify the book as extraordinary Hitler’s father. How the son became a dictator, just released in Austria and Germany for the types of Molden Verlag. The author is an Austrian historian who has never really dealt with the Third Reich until now. Academic Roman Sandgruber, a lecturer at the University of Linz, is in fact best known for his studies in economic and social history, including an appreciated essay on Rothschild bankers.

Alois Hitler with child Adolf
Alois Hitler with child Adolf

It was 31 letters that pushed him into unfamiliar terrain, written in 1895, which for more than a century have accumulated dust in the attic of a country house in Hafeld, a village in Upper Austria. Alois Hitler had written them to a master builder named Josef Radlegger, from whom he had bought a farm and to whom he told about the family’s economic difficulties, in very polished and eccentric language. It was the great-great-granddaughter of the latter who found them and contacted Sandgruber, who defines them as “sensational”. The teacher then tracked down other writings by Alois Hitler, including some articles published by his signature in the newspaper «Linzer Tages-Post». The father of the Nazi dictator was much more than a simple peasant. He was born in the countryside, the illegitimate son of a father whose name he never knew. The only education he had was an elementary school class and a cobbler’s course. But at 16 he had left the camps and moved to Vienna, where he made a decent career as a customs officer, a very well-paid job. But his dream was agriculture, done with modern methods. For this she followed courses in agriculture and decided to buy the property with twenty hectares of land from Radlegger, even if it was not a bargain and a few years later she was forced to resell it.

Alois Hitler married three times. From his first wife he had no children. The second gave birth to Alois junior, but she died young. The third was Klara, first cousin, 23 years younger than Adolf’s husband and mother, who was born in Braunau am Inn on April 20, 1889. Even the role of Klara, according to Sandgruber, must be reviewed in the light of her husband’s letters. . Not just an angel of the hearth, full of love for her son and totally subservient to her husband, as most of the reconstructions want. But she was a wise administrator of family assets, thanks to her economic education, and also endowed with her own means that were decisive in the purchase of the property: “My wife loves work and has the necessary understanding of the family economy”, Alois writes to Radlegger . «Alois Hilter had a great influence on the young Adolf – explains Roman Sandgruber, in an interview with the“ Süddeutsche Zeitung ”-, even more than his mother. Even their handwriting is very similar, almost identical. ‘ Alois was an authoritarian father and prone to the boy’s physical punishment. The parallels between the two are many: both convinced of their superiority, stubborn and resistant to any advice, contemptuous of science, the Church and the nobility.

One thing, however, Adolf Hitler does not seem to have taken from his parent: his deep-rooted anti-Semitism. The author says: «Alois was not an anti-Semite. It often happened in Linz: the fathers German national, the anti-Semitic and radical sons. The same happened with Ernst Kaltenbrunner and with Adolf Eichmann. It is no coincidence that the three most famous Austrian Nazis all attended the Realschule or the Realgymnasium in Linz, where a counter-movement of young people who wanted to be more radical than their parents flourished ». Sandgruber’s thesis is therefore in contrast with the more recent trend of Hitler’s research, according to which Hitler was not anti-Semitic before arriving in Munich, since he had also frequented Jews in Vienna. In reality, according to the scholar, the anti-Semitism of the future leader of the Third Reich has its roots precisely in Linz: a text by Hitler’s childhood friend, August Kubizek, quoted in the book, demonstrates that the thought of hygiene races and eugenics circulated and found many sympathizers among the young people of Upper Austria. In addition, many of the young Adolf’s teachers were anti-Semitic, and three ferociously racist periodicals were published in the city.

A mystery that not even Alois Hitler’s letters help to solve is that of his father: who was Adolf’s grandfather? And why at the age of 40 Alois changed his surname from Schicklgruber to Hitler and had his adoptive parent, Johan Georg Hiedler, already deceased at that time, registered as his legitimate father? And why did he choose Hitler over Hiedler? Sandgruber considers the suspicion that Adolf Hitler had a Jewish grandfather, “a propaganda voice”, unfounded. But he too admits that he does not have a certain and definitive answer: “The true identity of Hitler’s grandfather is difficult to prove.” It is a fact that, after his rise, Adolf Hitler went to great lengths to hide many traces of his family tree and family history, in order to feed the narrative of his pure Aryan origin. One of these traces, revealed by Sandgruber’s book, is that the Hitler family for a year was officially domiciled in Linz in the house of one of the richest Jewish families and that the doctor who treated his mother Klara until her death, Eduard Bloch, he was a Jew who would later emigrate to the United States to escape Nazism.

March 2, 2021 (change March 2, 2021 | 21:55)

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