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Unpublished letters reveal father’s influence on Hitler’s personality

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Alois Hitler

Several letters hitherto unknown, written by Alois Hitler, Adolf Hitler’s father, take a deeper look at the German dictator’s family origins. The manuscripts serve as the basis for a book that was released last Monday in Austria.

The book, released only in German, has the title: Hitler’s father – How the son became a dictaror. The Austrian author and historian Roman Sandgruber argues that Alois Hitler played a key role in the psychological formation of the son and, consequently, in his personality.

Alois Hitler, who died in 1903, was a guard at the Austrian customs, and his job required constant changes of residence, so the family had to move at least 18 times.

The book is based on 31 cards that Alois Hitler wrote to road builder Josef Radlegger after buying his farm in Hafeld, in northern Austria. Although Alois Hitler had no experience in agriculture, says the book, “I always wanted to be a professional farmer (…) better than the others”.

The author describes Alois Hitler as a mixture of self-taught, smug and a person who overestimated himself overly.

Sandgruber’s work is based on unpublished correspondence delivered to himself by Radlegger’s granddaughter five years ago. The letters were lost for decades in an attic.

The author of the book says that the letters reveal that Alois used the same handwriting as his son: Currentschrift, ancient handwritten form of the German language, with sharp angles and changes in direction.

The work reveals that anti-Semitic and genocidal Adolf Hitler probably tried to hide the fact that family has already lived on a Jewish property in Urfahr, near the city of Linz, on the Danube river. The letters also show that Hitler’s mother, Klara, was treated by a Jewish doctor who later fled to the United States.

It is also mentioned by the author that Hitler was already anti-Semitic in his youth. At a young age, Hitler moved to the city around 1908, with the aim of becoming an artist, but was eventually refused at the school he intended to attend. The latest findings are in line with reports of August Kubizek, Hitler’s friend during his teens, who is often quoted by other historians.

As leader of the Nazi party, Hitler emerged as chancellor German in 1933, triggered World War II and promoted the mass murder of Jews and other minorities.

Adolf Hitler’s only significant revolt against his father, notes Sandgruber, was the fact that he rejected Alois’ wish that his son also pursue a career in public service, but “Hitler wanted to be a free artist and not follow in the footsteps of your father, ”writes Sandgruber.

Still, says the author, both father and son shared a disdain for authority and were anti-clerical, even though Hitler did not abandon the Catholic Church.

Alexandra Föderl-Schmid, in a review he wrote for the German newspaper Southgerman newspaper, stresses that the book is important because until now there was “almost no source” about Alois.

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Unpublished letters reveal father's influence on Hitler's personality