Adolf Hitler is Born
At 6:30 p.m. on the evening of April 20, 1889, he was born in the small
Austrian village of Braunau Am Inn just across the border from German Bavaria.
Adolf Hitler would one day lead a movement that placed supreme importance
on a person's family tree even making it a matter of life and death. However,
his own family tree was quite mixed up and would be a lifelong source of
embarrassment and concern to him.
His father, Alois, was born in 1837. He was the illegitimate son of
Maria Anna Schicklgruber and her unknown mate, which may have been someone
from the neighborhood or a poor millworker named Johann Georg Hiedler.
It is also remotely possible Adolf Hitler's grandfather was Jewish.
Maria Schicklgruber was said to have been employed as a cook in the
household of a wealthy Jewish family named Frankenberger. There is some
speculation their 19-year-old son got her pregnant and regularly sent her
money after the birth of Alois.
Adolf Hitler would never know for sure just who his grandfather was.
He did know that when his father Alois was about five years old, Maria
Schicklgruber married Johann Georg Hiedler. The marriage lasted five years
until her death of natural causes, at which time Alois went to live on
a small farm with his uncle.
At age thirteen, young Alois had enough of farm life and set out for
the city of Vienna to make something of himself. He worked as a shoemaker's
apprentice then later enlisted in the Austrian civil service, becoming
a junior customs official. He worked hard as a civil servant and eventually
became a supervisor. By 1875 he achieved the rank of Senior Assistant Inspector,
a big accomplishment for the former poor farm boy with little formal education.
At this time an event occurred that would have big implications for
Alois had always used the last name of his mother, Schicklgruber, and
thus was always called Alois Schicklgruber. He made no attempt to hide
the fact that he was illegitimate since it was common in rural Austria.
But after his success in the civil service, his proud uncle from the
small farm convinced him to change his last name to match his own, Hiedler,
and continue the family name. However, when it came time to write the name
down in the record book it was spelled as Hitler.
And so in 1876 at age 39, Alois Schicklgruber became Alois Hitler. This
is important because it is hard to imagine tens of thousands of Germans
shouting "Heil Schicklgruber!" instead of "Heil Hitler!"
In 1885, after numerous affairs and two other marriages ended, the widowed
Alois Hitler, 48, married the pregnant Klara Pölzl, 24, the granddaughter
of uncle Hiedler. Technically, because of the name change, she was his
own niece and so he had to get special permission from the Catholic Church.
The children from his previous marriage, Alois Hitler, Jr., and Angela,
attended the wedding and lived with them afterwards. Klara Pölzl eventually
gave birth to two boys and a girl, all of whom died. On April 20, 1889,
her fourth child, Adolf, was born healthy and was baptized a Roman Catholic.
Hitler's father was now 52 years old.
Throughout his early days, young Adolf's mother feared losing him as
well and lavished much care and affection on him. His father was busy working
most of the time and also spent a lot of time on his main hobby, keeping
Baby Adolf had the nickname, Adi. When he was almost five, in 1893,
his mother gave birth to a brother, Edmund. In 1896 came a sister, Paula.
In May of 1895 at age six, young Adolf Hitler entered first grade in
the public school in the village of Fischlham near Linz, Austria.