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Anton Joachimsthaler is the researcher who has done by far the most to furnish us with accurate data about two periods of Adolf Hitler’s life about which we know least – his adolescence and early years before he entered the limelight of being party boss – and his last days at the bunker of the Reichskanzlei in Berlin.
By training an electrical engineer, he worked for the Deutsche Bundesbahn from 1956 on and has written extensively about railroad studies – in particular the standard work on Hitler’s planned broad-gauge railway through Europe – with a track width of 3000 millimetres more than twice as wide as the European standard track of 1435 millimetres (“Die Breitspurbahn”, see the picture in the gallery above).
Together with Brigitte Hamann, he has provided since – by meticulous research – most of the details of Hitler’s early days that we know. In 1989, he published “Korrektur einer Biographie” (‘Correction of a Biography’, Langen Müller Verlag, ISBN 3-7766-1575-3), in which many details were brought to attention for the first time – details about the name change of Hitler’s father Adolf Schicklgruber, for example, and a plethora of facts previously unknown. In agreement with Hamann, he argued most convincingly that Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” story of developing his anti-Semitism in Vienna before the war of 1914 was simply a fairytale for posterity – nothing anti-Semitic has been passed on by Hitler before 1919 in Munich or reported by anyone else.
This he followed up with a much-extended version in 2000, named “Hitler’s Weg begann in München 1913 – 1923” (‘Hitler’s Way began in Munich’, F.A. Herbig, München, ISBN 3-7766-2155-9).
In 2003, he published “Hitlers Liste. Ein Dokument persönlicher Beziehungen” (‘Hitler’s List. A document of personal relationships’, München, Verlag F.A. Harbig, ISBN 3776623284) – a meticulous report on all known relations Hitler’s to women.
In 2004, he followed with “Hitler’s Ende”, a collection of the testimony of fifty witnesses of the dying minutes of the dictator, which was praised by Ian Kershaw as a “meticulous study of the testimony and forensic evidence” as to Hitler’s last days and death” [Kershaw, Ian (2001) . Hitler, 1936–1945: Nemesis. New York; London: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN978-0-393-32252-1.)
As a publisher, he released 1985 the memoirs of Christa Schroeder, one of Adolf Hitler’s private secretaries.
(© John Vincent Palatine 2019)