The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

As He Knows Himself

[Transcription note: Bracketed [Page] links provide access to the individual images from which these transcriptions were made]

Very little is known about Alois Hitler's character. It seems that he was very proud of his achievements in the Civil Service and yet he retired from this service at the astonishing age of fifty-six, four years after Adolph was born. In very rapid succession the family moved into several different villages and the father tried his hand at farming. It is said, however, that he always wore his customs official's uniform and insisted on being addressed as Herr Oberoffizial Hitler. According to reports, he liked to lord it over his neighbors whom he may have looked down upon as "mere" peasants. In any event, it seems quite certain that he enjoyed sitting in the tavern and relating his adventures as a customs official and also in discussing political topics.

He died on his way to the tavern in Leonding from a stroke of apoplexy in 1903.

He is generally described as a very domineering individual who was a veritable tyrant in his home. William Patrick Hitler says that he has heard from his father, Adolph's elder [Page 99] half-brother, that he used to best the children unmercifully. On one occasion it is alleged he beat the older son into a state of unconsciousness and on another occasion beat Adolph so severely that he left him for dead. It is also alleged that he was somewhat of a drunkard and that frequently the children would have to bring him home from the taverns. When he reached home a grand scene would take place during which he would beat wife, children and dog rather indiscriminately. This story is generally accepted and yet there is little real evidence in favor of it except what Hitler himself tells us in MEIN KAMPF.

Heidan, who interviewed a number of the villagers in places where the family lived, had nothing of this sort to report. They found the old man rather amusing and claimed that his home life was very happy and quiet except when his wife's sister came to visit with the family. Why this should be a disturbing factor is unknown. Heiden suspects that the legacy was a bone of contention.

There is some doubt about the complexion of Alois Hitler's political sentiments. Hanisch reports "Hitler heard from his father only praise of Germany and all the faults of Austria." According to Heiden, more reliable informants claim that the father, though full of complaints and criticisms of the government he served, was by no means a German nationalist. They say he favored Austria against Germany and this coincides with William Patrick Hitler's information that his grandfather was definitely anti-German just as his own father was.

[Page 100]

Mother Klara Poelzl, as has been said, was the foster-daughter of her husband and twenty-three years his junior. She came from old peasant stock, was hard-working, energetic and conscientious. Whether it was due to her years of domestic service or to her upbringing, her home was always spotlessly clean, everything had its place and not a speck of dust was to be found on the furniture. She was very devoted to her children and, according to William Patrick Hitler, a typical step-mother to her step-children. According to Dr. Bloch who treated her, she was a very sweet and affectionate woman whose life centered around her children and particularly Adolph, who was her pet. She spoke very highly of her husband and his character and the happy life they had together. She felt it was a real deprivation for the children to have lost their father while they were still so young.

One could question her background. Her sister is married and has two sons, one of whom is a hunchback and has an impediment in his speech. When we consider that Klara Poelzl may have lost one child before her marriage to Alois Hitler, another son born in 1885 who died in 1887, another son born in 1894 who died in 1900, and a girl who was born in 1886 and died in 1888, one has grounds to question the purity of the blood. There is even cause for greater suspicion when we learn from Dr. Bloch that he is certain that there was a [Page 101] daughter, slightly older than Adolph, who was an imbecile. He is absolutely certain of this because he noticed at the time that the family always tried to hide the child and keep her out of the way when he came to attend the mother. It is possible that this is Ida who was born in 1886 and who is alleged to have died in 1888, except that Dr. Bloch believes that this girl's name was Klara. He may, however, be mistaken in this particularly since both names end in "a" and he never had any close contact with her. There is no other record of a Klara anywhere in the records.

The younger sister, Paula, is also said to be a little on the stupid side, perhaps a high-grade moron. This is certainly a poor record and one is justified in suspecting some constitutional weakness. A syphilitic taint is not beyond the realm of possibility. The mother died following an operation for cancer of the breast on December 21,1907. All biographers have given the date of her death as December 21, 1906 but Dr. Bloch's records show clearly that she died in 1907 and John Gunther's record of the inscription on her tombstone corroborates this. The last six months of her life were spent in extreme pain and during the last week it was necessary to give her injections of morphine daily.

It is often alleged that she was of Czech origin and spoke only a broken German and that consequently Adolph may have been ashamed of her among his playmates. This is almost certainly untrue. Dr. Bloch reports that she did not [Page 102] have any trace of an accent of any kind nor did she show any Czech characteristics. Alois Hitler's first wife was of Czech origin and later writers may have confused her with Adolph's mother.


Alois, Jr

Alois Hitler, Jr. was born January 13, 1882, the illegitimate son of the father's second wife born during the lifetime of the first wife. He is the father of William Patrick Hitler, one of our informants. He seems to have taken very much after his father in some respects. He left the parental home before the death of his father because, according to his son, he could tolerate it no longer. His step-mother, according to the story, made life very difficult for him and continually antagonized her husband against him. It seems that Alois, Jr. had considerable talent for mechanical pursuits and his father had planned on sending him to a technical school for training as an engineer. Until his third marriage the father was very fond of his oldest boy and all his ambitions were wrapped up in him. But the step-mother systematically undermined this relationship and finally persuaded the father that Alois, Jr. was unworthy and that he should save his money for the education of her son, Adolph. She was finally successful and Alois, Jr. was sent away from home as an apprentice waiter.

Evidently the profession of waiter did not intrigue him, for in 19OO he received a five-months' sentence for [Page 103] thievery and in 1902 he was sentenced to eight months in jail for the same reason. He then went to London where he obtained a position as a waiter and, in 1909, married Bridget Dowling, an Irish girl. In 1911 William Patrick Hitler was born and in 1915 his father deserted the family and returned to Germany. The family was not a happy one and broke up several times in the course of these four years. It is alleged that the father drinks quite frequently and would then come home and create tremendous scenes during which he frequently beat his wife and tried to beat the small infant. During these four years when his mother and father had separated for a time, his father did go to Vienna. This would agree with Hanfstangl's conviction that Alois, Jr. was in Vienna at the same time that Adolph was there.

In 1924 Alois, Jr. was brought before the court of Hamburg charged with bigamy. He was sentenced to six months in prison but since his first wife did not prosecute the sentence was suspended. He has an illegitimate child by the second wife who lives in Germany. During all these years he has never sent any money for the support of his first wife or child. Up until the time of the inflation it is alleged that he had a very successful business in Germany. The business failed and he has had various jobs up until 1934 when he opened a restaurant in Berlin which became a popular meeting-place for S.A. men.

According to the son, Alois, Jr. heartily disliked Adolph as a boy. He always felt that Adolph was spoiled by [Page 104] his mother and that he was forced to do many of the chores that Adolph should have done. Furthermore, it seems that Adolph occasionally got into mischief which his mother would blame on Alois and Alois would have to take the punishment from his father. He used to say as a boy he would have liked to have wrung Adolph's neck on more than one occasion and considering the circumstances this is probably not far from the truth. Since Hitler came to power, the two brothers have practically no contact with each other. They have come together a few times but the meeting is usually unpleasant, with Adolph taking a very high-handed attitude and laying down the law to the rest of the family. Alois, Jr. is not mentioned in MEIN KAMPF and only a few people in Germany know of his relationship to Hitler.

William Patrick Hitler

He is a young man of thirty-two, the son of Alois, Jr., who has not amounted to much. Before his uncle came to power he worked as a bookkeeper in London. When his uncle became famous he obviously expected that something would be done for his family. He gave up his job in London and went to Germany where he had some contact with Adolph Hitler. The latter, however, was chiefly interested in keeping him under cover and provided him with a minor job in the Opal Automobile Company. It is my impression that William Patrick was quite ready to blackmail both his father and his uncle but that things did not work out as planned. He returned to England and, as a British subject, came to this country where he is a professional speaker. He is also engaged in writing a book about his associations and experiences in Hitler Germany.

[Page 105]


She is an elder half-sister of Adolph. She seems to be the most normal one in the family and from all reports is rather a decent and industrious person. During her childhood she became very fond of Adolph despite the fact that she had the feeling that his mother was spoiling him. She is the only one of the family with whom Adolph has had any contact in later years and the only living relative Hitler ever mentioned. When his mother died in 1907 there was a small inheritance which was to be divided among the children. Since the two girls had no immediate means of earning a livelihood the brothers turned over their share to help the girls along. Adolph turned his share over to Angela while Alois turned his over to a younger sister, Paula. Angela later married an official named Raubal in Linz who died not long afterwards. She then went to Vienna where, after the war, she was manager of the Mensa Academica Judaica. Some of our informants knew her during this time and report that in the student riots Angela defended the Jewish students from attack, and on several occasions beat the Aryan students off the steps of the dining hall with a club. She is a rather large, strong peasant type of person who is well able to take an active part.

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