Preceding post: Children of the Lesser Men

After Alois Jr., the eldest child, had left the apparently not so cosy household of the Hitler family, the freedom the elder son now enjoyed came at a high price for the younger, Adolf, who became the foremost recipient of the father’s pedagogic exercises. It was around this time that Alois Sr. conceded defeat in the agricultural campaign at Hafeld and sold the underperforming farm in the hope of finding a more congenial life in the small town of Lambach, about six miles or ten kilometres away. The family’s first residence there, the Leingartner Inn, was situated on the opposite side of the town’s dominant architectural feature, the old Benedictine monastery.

Leingartner Inn

Lambach had a quite modern primary school in which Adolf did well. In the school year of 1897/98, he scored the best mark, a “1”, in a dozen subjects. He also participated in the monastery’s boys’ choir, where he, probably for the first time in his life, saw a swastika. The depiction was part of a previous abbot’s coat of arms, a huge specimen of which was fastened to the stone arch over the abbey’s entrance, which the boys had to pass under on the way to choir practice. The monastery, dating from the eleventh century, was known for well-preserved frescoes and paintings by medieval masters. The second architectural highlight of the town was the Paura Church, which featured a triangular design, with three altars, gates and towers.

Lambach Monastery and Church today, frontal view

The school was located just aside of the monastery, and the busy church calendar with its many festivities strongly attracted the youngster. He was fascinated with the monks and priests, the celebrations, and the abbot’s presidency over the ceremonial community, the memories of which never left him. In Mein Kampf, he reminisced:

“Again and again I enjoyed the best possibility of intoxicating myself with the solemn splendour of the dazzling festivals of the church. It seemed to me perfectly natural to regard the abbot as the highest and more desirable ideal, just as my father regarded the village priest as his ideal.


Whether Alois Hitler, habitually championing the causes of sexual liberation and, perhaps, alcoholic intoxication, still regarded priests as ideals may be doubted. But since he had been raised in the bosom of the Catholic Church, he paid his respects, at least to a degree, and visited services on Easter, Christmas and on August 18, the Emperor’s birthday.

One thing his son clearly kept in mind was the swastika he had discovered on the abbot’s coat of arms. The original bearer of the coat, Abbot Theoderich von Hagen, had been the prior of the monastery in the middle of the preceding century, and the swastika symbol was not only featured on his coat but was found at many places in the structure as an element of decoration. The swastika, also known as the equilateral cross or crux gammata, is an attribute of prosperity and good fortune, widely used by cultures ancient as well as modern. The word is derived from Sanskrit swastika, meaning “conducive to well-being“. It was a favourite symbol on ancient Mesopotamian coins and appears frequently in medieval Christian, especially Byzantine, art, where it is known as the gammadion cross. It is also found in South and Central America, used by the Maya, and in North America among the Navajo and related tribes.[1]

Hakenkreuz at Lambach

The German word for swastika is “Hakenkreuz”, the ‘Hooked Cross’. In the case of the venerable abbot, it was perhaps a pun on his name, for in German his name Hagen, and Haken, the hook, are pronounced almost identically.

Lambach, however, was not the kind of town to stop Alois’ wanderlust, and in the late fall of 1898, he bought a small house in the town of Leonding, a south-western suburb of Linz. The house stood opposite the church, was not too big but had a nice garden, about one-half acre in size, abutting the cemetery wall. Leonding housed perhaps three thousand souls, but its proximity to Linz made it a somewhat livelier place than the number of inhabitants alone might suggest.

The Hitler family house at Leonding (Wiki)

[More Pictures of the house and Leonding in the blog of Mark Felton, PhD]

Adolf and Angela had to change school again, for the third time in four years, but Adolf did well at the small school in Leonding. Yet the family atmosphere apparently did not change much, for better or worse, and Paula reported that her brother remained the chief target the father’s temper tantrums were directed at. She remarked:

“It was him who challenged my father to extreme hardness and who got his sound thrashing every day. He was a scrubby little rogue, and all attempts of my father to thrash him for his rudeness and to cause him to love the profession of an official of the state were in vain.How often, on the other hand, did my mother caress him and try to obtain with her kindness, where the father could not succeed with harshness.”


Thus, if the sister blamed the father’s violence, she also attested to her brother’s being a “scrubby little rogue”, which we may take as a hint that the father’s educational manoeuvres were not entirely unwarranted.

The famous picture of Adolf Hitler in the fourth grade of primary school in Leonding (1899), presiding on top of the class …

The first two years in Leonding passed by, and Alois seemed to adjust better to the lifestyle of a retiree. He worked in the garden mornings for an hour or two, visited his beloved bees, and then proceeded to pay his dues at one of the inns, for a glass of wine. In the afternoon the schedule repeated itself; the Gasthaus session, however, was finished punctually at the time for dinner at home.

An important witness for this time is the mayor of Leonding, Josef Mayrhofer. He portrayed Klara as a most friendly and nicely dressed woman and explicitly stated that he never saw or heard of Alois beating the children, although he often enough threatened them with the whip. The truth may, as so often, lie somewhere in the middle, for corporeal punishment was widely accepted in this age.

Out of the blue, on February 2, 1900, Edmund, six years old, died of the measles. There are indications that the sudden death of his little brother shocked Adolf to the core, and may have contributed to the school problems which began soon thereafter. It seems that no other event in his young life had a comparable impact on Adolf. His scholarly success diminished dramatically, and problems with his discipline escalated.

Our photograph right, taken in the fall of 1900, in the first grade of the Unterrealschule, the Junior Technical High School in Linz, depicts a strangely mutated child: the boy faces the camera morosely, sullenly sulking, mumpish and dumpish, as if a flame had gone out. During primary school, he had always been near the academic top of the class but now his scholastic efforts and consequently his achievements dropped quickly. By his own account, his personal yearnings for academic laurels were diminished by the sudden discovery of a talent he had been unaware of yet: that of drawing.

Yet after school hours, if not drawing, he remained the lively leader of the pack, in all probability neither worse nor better than a typical schoolboy. Since his family had moved to four different locations within the first few years of his life and had thus provided him with an intimate knowledge of faraway places, he became the indispensable authority in all foreign matters. We can imagine him natter to his chums for hours, as he did later to his dinner guests.

He always found topics to talk about. All through his life, the observations agree, he was buried in books and this habit had begun early. He read all the time, and if the latest tome he had ingested was one of James Fenimore Cooper’s, he felt like Natty Bumppo, alias Hawk-Eye or Leatherstocking; if the last volume had been one of Karl May’s adventures, he was Old Shatterhand or Winnetou, chief of the Apache. Young boys have read adventure books and built fortresses in the woods since the dawn of time, and young Adolf was initially no exception. All boys pass through the heroic age, and so they should, but in young Adolf’s case, a deviation of the norm occurred. Juvenile obsessions diminish into the background of half-forgotten childhood memories when the ascent of puberty shifts priorities; when girls, cars and beer replace the heroes of the past. For Adolf, however, some childhood dreams persisted, like his veneration for the books of Karl May.

Karl May

Virtually unknown outside of the German-speaking people, Karl May was the son of a poor family from the Erzgebirge, the Ore Mountains, the low mountain ridge separating Saxony and Bohemia. The son of a weaver, he became an elementary school teacher before a conflict with the law, a conviction for petty theft, sent him for seven years to prison. Upon his release in 1874, he embarked on a career as a writer. He started out with short stories, which eventually grew larger and were serialized; like Alexandre Dumas’s “The Count of Monte Christo” had found success in France. May soon graduated to full-length novels, chiefly fictitious traveller’s tales.

While he eventually wrote about almost every corner of the globe, most of the stories concentrate upon his and a bunch of trusty sidekicks’ fictional adventures in the Wild West of the USA and Mexico of the 1860s and 1870s respectively the Ottoman Empire’s Balkan, Arabian and Turkish provinces. His alter ego was, in the case of the Wild West, “Old Shatterhand”, a trapper, surveyor and know-it-all, and in the East, “Kara Ben Nemsi”, a mixture between Sir Henry Morton Stanley and jack-of-all-­parades. In the 1960s a few of his tomes were turned into movies, featuring second-tier Hollywood stars like Stewart Grainger or Lex Barker in hilarious German-Italian co-productions, with Yugoslavian extras playing the assorted Indian braves.

In the German-speaking countries around the turn of the century, Karl May became an improbable success and a veritable household name. A whole printing house was dedicated solely to his oeuvre, followed by a museum. An open-air theatre was built to give dramatizations of his yarns, and the movies are a staple of weekend-afternoon child pacification. Total sales of his works exceed 100 million copies.

Most of his seventy novels and story collections follow unpretentious recipes. Mr May, as trapper Old Shatterhand, accompanied by his friend and blood-brother Winnetou, chief of the Apache Indians, encounters a party of strangers somewhere on the prairie, who, for the one or other reason, arouse his suspicion. After parting from their company, the heroes return, clandestinely, at night, and listen in on the fishy characters’ fireside chat, hidden by the bushes that grow handily around the suspects’ fireplace. The evildoers invariably engage in a lengthy and detailed discussion of their criminal enterprise, but, armed with the knowledge of their plan, our friends are able to thwart the heinous plot, as the laws of suspense prescribe, in the last minute. They save the prospective victims from bodily and/or financial harm and, at the end of the tale, ride together into the sunset.

For variety, evil Indian tribes may be replaced by Arabian criminals or Turkish gangsters. Books like those of Karl May have, of course, fired puerile imagination for centuries; in literate societies, they are an indispensable part of the male coming of age. In Hitler’s case, however, Karl May’s novels continued to form a part of his reality all through his life, he was unable to outgrow them. By his words, and the reports of his staff, he read the complete seventy novels at least four times in his life. He found time in his first year as chancellor of Germany, in 1933, to read them once again. His ideas of tactics and in particular of military intelligence were partly formed by his favourite literature; he did, in fact, more than once encourage his generals to read Karl May. One may hope they found enough bushes around their opponents’ campfires, for cover.

A quite linear way led young Adolf’s sense of adventure from the Wild West to the military. He admitted that when he found, by accident, a few illustrated magazines depicting the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 in the attic, he became an instant fan of the patriotic struggle. At this time, it was official Austrian policy to ignore the events of these years: first, because their army’s defeat at Königgrätz in 1866 by the Prussians still rankled, second, because Austria had played no part in the success of 1870/71, and, third, because the Austrian government was unwilling to acknowledge German efficiency in general, and the more so because it contrasted so unfavourably to its own bumbling ways. Adolf himself admitted that:

“It was not long before the great historic struggle had become my greatest inner experience. From then on, I became more and more enthusiastic about everything that was in any way connected with the war, or, for that matter, with soldiering.” (13)

The fascination with all things military that was to remain with him all his life had begun. The neighbours in Leonding were used to see Adolf and his associates playing war all day and night, the boy with the characteristic forelock urging on the action.

The year that had begun so baneful with Edmund’s death brought more trouble to Adolf in the fall. In September 1900, he had transferred to the Unterrealschule in Linz. Comparable to a junior technical high school, it was a four-year school with an impetus on science, mathematics and modern languages, preparing its students for careers in the modern industry fields of engineering, design and production. It was a feeder school for industry and trade, not for aspiring university students. For those pupils, Austria, like Germany, had the Gymnasium, in which the prospective earners of academic degrees were treated to a classical curriculum that included Latin and Greek. The Realschule did not offer ancient languages or courses in philosophy; it taught practical subjects to the children of the lesser men.

How it felt in general to be a student in a contemporary Austrian school we are being told by Stefan Zweig, who remembers his days in a gymnasium in Vienna.

It was not that our Austrian schools were bad in themselves. On the contrary, after a hundred years of experience, the curriculum had been carefully worked out and, had it been transmitted with any inspiration, could have been the basis for a fruitful and fairly universal education.

But because of their accurate arrangement and their dry formulary our lessons were frightfully barren and lifeless, a cold teaching apparatus which never adapted itself to the individual, but automatically registered the grades, “good”, “sufficient” and “insufficient”, depending on how far we complied with the “requirements” of the curriculum.

It was exactly this lack of human affection, this empty impersonality and the barracks-like quality of our surrounding, that unconsciously embittered us. We had to learn our lessons and were examined on what we learned. For eight years no teacher asked us even once what we personally wished to learn, and that encouraging stimulus, for which every young person secretly longs, was totally lacking. (14)

It was the normal procedure of the age that the father of the student chose in which type of institution to enrol his offspring after he or she finished elementary school, and, not surprisingly, Alois chose the more practically oriented Realschule over the more cerebral Gymnasium for his son; perhaps in the hope that its more utilitarian education would improve, at length, the boy’s willingness to pursue the career of a civil servant.

The virtues of the civil service were proverbial in the Hitler household. It was necessary that one child should be prepared for the bureaucracy, almost as noble sons once were destined for army and Church. Yet, when the actual decision had to be made, the old man ran into unexpected resistance.                A serious conflict erupted between father and son because the boy refused to cooperate in Alois’ plans. He claimed that he had no interest in an official’s life; nothing his father could propose, through either commands or blandishments, succeeded in changing his stand. The struggle between father and son gradually became more serious. Alois became increasingly bitter and intransigent. And Adolf’s whole manner of life was profoundly changed.

During the years in Realschule (1900-1905), he emerged as a solitary, resentful, and uncooperative youth who sullenly went through the motions at home and failed in school. After compiling an excellent record in Volksschule, he slipped from one mediocre term to another, either failing completely (1900-1901) or barely skating by. The whole experience deeply affected his later development. It barred his way to higher education and left him with a full measure of unhappy confusion and resentment about himself, his family and his future. (15) [FN1]

[FN1] Most of the school reports of these years have been preserved. They are somewhat confusing to the outsider, hence here a link to a useful summary.

It is quite possible that Adolf initially seconded the selection of the Realschule over the Gymnasium, for drawing was part of the curriculum in the former but not the latter. The Realschule closest to Leonding was, of course, in Linz, and on September 17, 1900, Adolf had to report to it for the first time. From his home, it was a walk of about three miles. At this time the foremost entry Linz had contributed to the annals of German respectively Austrian history was the fact that she bore the ruins of Kürnberg Castle, where, according to folklore, the “Nibelungenlied”, the Song of the Nibelungs, had been composed. At the time of our survey, it was a town of perhaps 50,000 residents, on the brink of industrialization, dominated by a German middle class eager to introduce the pleasures of the arts and the comforts of modernity to their habitat. Two recent improvements were the opening of a municipal opera house and an electric trolley line that ran down Landstrasse, the main thoroughfare. The Realschule, a square block of utilitarian dark grey stone, was perhaps a less inspiring sight.

It is evident that Adolf almost immediately ran into problems. A few of his report cards have survived, and they show that the majority of the grades he received in these years balanced precariously between a “3” [‘acceptable’] and a
“5” [‘insufficient’]; in “Moral Conduct” he received an “adequate”, but hid diligence was rated as “erratic”, and he missed passing grades in mathematics and natural history [=science, ¶] in the class of 1900/1901. He did better the next year, although it was the same curriculum he went through, for the second time, and between 1901 and 1904 his grade average dropped from 2.7 in 1902 to 2.9 in 1904. Even in his favourite course, drawing, he was poised close to failure, although he liked it and judged himself a talent. While he scored between “1” and “2” in Geometrical Drawing, in Freehand Drawing he was never rated better than a “4”. His works consequently never made it being hung in the classroom, as some other boys’ drawings were.


Not only was he in a new scholarly environment, but the new year had also changed his social status. He was not any more, by fiat, the natural leader of the pack; neither worked the relatively high social prestige of his father in Leonding the same way in the big town. Adolf had never faced much competition in the small primary schools he had visited, but in Linz, he could not count on being the brightest boy by default, and his mother was not around to help him.

He seemed incapable of any concentrated effort, disliked the teachers, and was not popular with the other boys. He did so badly that he had to go through the work of the first class all over again the following year. That he was obviously having grave difficulties with his work and that he was completely unable to adapt himself to the Realschule showed that he was suffering from some profound psychological malaise, not that
he was stupid. His pride had been assailed, the inner citadel of his life no longer stayed firm, and he was at the mercy of all
these accumulative shocks that attack people in a state of depression, leaving them almost defenceless. Edmund’s death, his burial in the depth of winter, the whole family in mourning, all this drew a long shadow over his life, but there were many other things that contributed to his misery. For the first time he was living for a large part of the day away from home among strangers who did not care what happened to him. Loneliness, too, played an important part in the sudden change that came over him.


He was in dire need of aid, and when none was forthcoming, he dove deeply into the reservoir of hope his musings provided. The scholastic decline hurt him, of course, and in his depression, he clung more and more to the only talent he thought he still possessed, that of drawing. His father had no understanding of the son’s sudden failure, and the teachers were not interested in the quandary the boy presented. Only his mother was able at times to supply the quantum of solace the boy required. His grades failed to improve. That he had to repeat the first grade of the Realschule he later portrayed as a result of adolescent rebellion.

“I thought that once my father saw how little progress I was making in the Realschule, he would let me devote myself to my dream, whether he liked it or not.”


Alois was not swayed that easily. Much has been made of Hitler’s academic failure in the Realschule, frequently by political enemies who welcomed every chance to belittle their less-educated antagonist. It appears obvious, though, that the problem was of psychological nature. Laziness may have played a part; a penchant of his for letting time take care of things will become impossible to overlook in his later career. A pattern might emerge here for the first time; that if he could not tackle a problem right away, he tended to ignore it and retreat into his dream world. Alas, this is a point not easily criticized – who has never taken refuge in dreams?
The botched year had two favourable side effects: in the next year Adolf had the advantage of relearning a curriculum that he was already familiar with, and he was a year older than his classmates, which aided his recently diminished authority. He did better on the second attempt, which eased the situation on the home front. But clashes still did happen, if we believe the scenes he describes in “Mein Kampf”:

“But when it [Adolf’s desire to become an artist, ¶] was explained to him [Alois, ¶], and especially when he realized the seriousness of my intentions, he opposed me with all the determination of his nature. His decision was quite simple, and he refused to pay the slightest heed to any talents I might have possessed.
‘Artist, no! Never as long as I live!’ As his son, among various other qualities, had apparently inherited his father’s stubbornness, the same answer was given back to him. Of course, the meaning was just the opposite. Thus, the situation remained on both sides.
My father did not depart from his ‘Never!’ and I was even more determined with my ‘Nevertheless!’ The
consequences, indeed, were not very pleasant. The old man became embittered, and as much as I loved him, so did I. My father forbade me to entertain any hope of being allowed to study painting. I went one step further and declared that I absolutely would not study any more. Of course, after such a ‘declaration’ I got the worst of it, and now the old man relentlessly enforced his authority.”


Subsequently, Adolf relates how he attempts to run from home at an even earlier age than Alois and Alois Jr.: the first time, he says, when the family was still living in Lambach, although then the school problem certainly did not exist yet. At any rate, it would seem that the father had somehow learned about the filial plans and locked the boy into the attic. When Adolf attempted to proceed with the absquatulation, a barred window prevented further advance. Plan B called now for a complete disrobing, after which, the boy pondered, he might just fit through the available opening. With unerring paternal instinct, however, the father happened to unlock the door and enter the attic in the very moment when the son was halfway outside the window, stuck, and stark naked. Poised in a delicate balance, the boy eventually decided to give up the flight, crawled back into the room and covered his nudity, not completely, as it turned out, with a tablecloth that had hung on the line to dry. This saved him, at least for the day, from physical punishment, for the father took his son’s display of nature with humour and called in the rest of the family to watch the “Roman in his toga”. (19)
Many years later Hitler confessed to Helene Hanfstängl, the wife of his first foreign press agent, that the ridicule had hurt him more, and longer, than a beating could have. Finally, he claimed, he found a strategy to end the corporal punishments.

“I then resolved never again to cry when my father whipped me. A few days later, I had the opportunity of putting my will to the test. My mother, frightened, took refuge in front of my door. As for me, I counted silently the blows of the stick which lashed my rear end.”


The resolution of silence worked, he claimed: from this day on the beatings ceased. But we have reason to doubt his veracity, in particular because Josef Mayrhofer later categorically denied that Alois had a special propensity for physical punishment. That he was strict, we can assume with reasonable certainty, and Paula did testify that her brother received some thrashings, but overall, they were probably in line with the pedagogic recommendations of the time. That Adolf definitely changed after Edmund’s death, Robert Payne observed:

From being a rather cocky, good-humoured, outward-going boy who found his lessons ridiculously easy, sailing through life as though all things were possible to him, he becomes a morose, self-absorbed, nervous boy, who never again did well in his lessons and continued to wage a sullen war against his teachers until they gave up in despair.


Some early and nationalist feelings may around this time have become a matter of strife in the former Customs official’s household – if we believe “Mein Kampf, which we probably should not – for Alois had spent his life in the enforcement of Austrian law, and strove to instil pro-Austrian feelings upon his son. The son, perhaps naturally, claimed to oppose the father’s support for the Habsburgs and felt encouraged in his opinion by the teachers in school, who, he claimed, were also Pro-German yet forbidden by legal decree to show their colours openly.

Brigitte Hamann has researched this claim and confirms that the general …

” … atmosphere at Linz high school was politically turbulent. Together, ‘clericalists’ and Hapsburg loyalists fought against libertines and German nationalists. Pupils eagerly collected and displayed their colours: while the high school students loyal to the emperor collected black-and-yellow [the colours of the Habsburgs, ¶] ribbons and badges, photographs of the imperial family, and coffee cups depicting Empress Elizabeth and Emperor Franz Josef, the German nationalists collected devotional objects such as Bismarck busts made of plaster, beer mugs with inscriptions of heroic maxims about Germany’s past, and, above all, ribbons, pencils, and pins with the ‘greater German’ colours of 1848: black, red, and gold.”


Eventually, he showed some scholastic improvement; his grade average was slightly better at 2.63 and in conduct and diligence he scored “good” respectively “very satisfactorily”. We must, however, keep in mind that this was the second time he went through the identical curriculum. In the following school year, with new courses and new teachers, the old problems resurfaced.

Disagreements with the father continued. Alois’ ideas for his son’s life were tailored from his own legacy: learn well, enter the civil service, climb the ladder of promotion, and, one day, retire with a pension. He took Adolf to the Customs office in Linz once; the son vowed to die rather than to submit to a second visit.
Alois then caught a bad case of the flu in December 1899 and took to bed for several weeks, but appeared to recover fully. In August of the following year he suffered a haemorrhage of the lung, but again, seemed to convalesce completely. But on January 3, 1903, apparently feeling unwell, Alois abandoned a chat over the fence with the neighbour and decided to visit the Gasthaus Stiefler. He sat down, called for a glass of wine, and died. He was buried two days later, only paces from his house, on the cemetery of the Leonding church. As it was common at this time in Austria and still is in some places, a photograph was affixed to the gravestone that shows him looking resolutely ahead, purposeful and serious. His obituary in the Linzer newspaper “Tagespost”, the Daily Post, read as follows:

“Leonding, January 5th. We have buried a good man – this we can rightly say about Alois Hitler, Higher
Official of the Imperial Customs, retired, who was carried to his final resting place today. On the third of this month his life came to a sudden end as the result of an apoplectic stroke in the Gasthaus Stiefler, where he had gone because he was feeling unwell, hoping to revive himself with a glass of wine.
Alois Hitler was in his 65th year, and had experienced a full measure of joy and sorrow. Having only an elementary school education, he had first learned the trade of a cobbler, but later taught himself the knowledge needed for a civil service career, which he served with distinction, and in addition he achieved success in husbandry.
Salzburg, Braunau, Simbach, Linz, were among the places where he saw service. Alois Hitler was a progressive minded man through and through, and as such was a warm friend of free education. In company, he was always cheerful, not to say boisterous. The harsh words that sometimes fell from his lips could not belie the warm heart that beat under the rough exterior.
At all times an energetic champion of law and order and universally well-informed, he was able to pronounce authoritatively on any matter that came to his notice. Fond of singing, he was never happier than when in joyful company of fellow enthusiasts. In the sphere of beekeeping he was an authority. Not the least of his characteristics was his great frugality and sense of economy and thrift.
All in all Hitler’s passing has left a great gap, not only in his family -he leaves a wife and four children not well provided for – but also in the circle of his friends and acquaintances who will preserve pleasant memories of him.” [Emphasis in original]


There are a few things in this eulogy which may benefit from a translation of the contemporary euphemisms into the vernacular: “progressive-minded” at that time meant that he was an anti-Ultramontanist, anti-Papal, and against the political influence of the Austrian Catholic Church; “able to pronounce authoritatively” means that he was a smart-ass and know-it-all; “boisterous” indicates that his voice could be heard on the other side of the river, and a “champion of law and order” denotes his being, not surprisingly, a political reactionary. We may speculate what the reference to his frugality must have meant for the tips the local waitresses hoped to collect from his frequent visits. The family paid for the following notice in the “Tagespost”:

Grave of the parents until 2012

Bowed in the deepest grief, we, on our behalf, and on behalf of all the relatives announce the passing of our dear and unforgettable husband, father, brother-in-law, uncle
Higher Official of Royal and Imperial Customs, retired, who, on Sunday, January 3rd, 1903, at 10 o’clock in the morning, in
his 65th year, suddenly fell peacefully asleep in the Lord. The burial will take place on Monday, January 5th, 1903, at ten
o’clock in the morning.
Leonding, January 3rd, 1903
Daughters Sons

Hitler visiting the grave 1938, Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann, Postcard

It had been a full life for Alois Hitler, who was laid to rest on the clear and cold morning of January 5. He had reached the highest achievements in the history of the family; he was its first member to have successfully made the transition from Waldviertel peasantry into Austria’s petit bourgeoisie. He had married three times and fathered nine children that we know of.
He had also been stern and judicious. Now the way was free for his son.

(10) (18) Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf [German Edition], Eher Verlag, Munich 1924, p.4, 7-8

(11) (19) (20) Toland, John, Adolf Hitler, Anchor Books 1992, ISBN 0-385-42053-6 (pbk.), p. 12, 12, 12 – 13

(13) (17) Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf, Houghton Mifflin 1942, p. 6, 10

(14) Zweig, Stefan, The World of Yesterday, T & L Constable, Edinburgh, 4th Ed., 1947, p. 34

(15) Smith, Bradley F., Adolf Hitler – Family, Childhood and Youth, Hoover Institution Press 1979, ISBN 0-8179-1622-9 (pbk.), p. 70 – 71

(16) (21) (28) (29) Payne, Robert, The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, Praeger Publishers 1973, Lib. Con. 72-92891 (hc.), p. 24, 22, 29, 31

(23) Hamann, Brigitte, Hitler’s Vienna, 1st Ed. Oxford UP 1999, Tauris Parks 2010, ISBN 978-1-84885-277-8 (pbk.), p.12

[1] See the relevant article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

(© John Vincent Palatine 2015/19)

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