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At 6.30pm April 20 1889 Adolf was born in the Austrian village of Braunau Am Inn. He was born in humble circumstances into a family of Catholic peasants.
Adolf had a younger brother and sister, Edmund and Paula, an older half-brother, Alois, and half-sister, Angela.
He was particularly devoted to his mother, Klara, and in later years he wrote a poem, "Your Mother" which was obviously inspired by Klara.
Klara Hitler was a gentle and hard-working mother who doted on her children. She accompanied her children to church every Sunday.
Alois Hitler was a domineering father, a customs official who achieved his status through hard work. He attended church once per year - on the Emperor's birthday.
When 8 years of age, Adolf was admitted to the Catholic school attached to the abbey. He did very well at school and attended choir lessons and became an altar boy.
But whenever there was action - or mischief - Adolf was the ringleader. From an early age he showed strong leadership ability. While in school he used the German greeting "Heil", and enjoyed singing the German anthem "Deutschland Uber Alles"
Adolf saw his first swastika at the abbey at the main gate and on the pulpit. It was an old European symbol for good luck. Many countries used the swastika symbol at the time, including the United States. Parts of Asia still use the swastika symbol in the 21st century.
At age 11 Adolf developed a strong love of reading. Combined with his intelligence and photographic memory, his knowledge and understanding of things would one day astound even experts in their fields.
Then the police caught and jailed Alois Jr for theft. The Hitler family was disgraced. His father disinherited him. Adolf was deeply affected by the pain caused, particularly to his mother.
Alois died when Adolf was almost 14. After that Adolf moved to a boarding room at Linz to be close to his school. Instead of school-work, he spent much of his time reading and drawing.
Alois Jr, Adolf's older brother, was put in prison once more, again for theft. It is reported that Adolf never told his mother. He intercepted Alois' letter, to spare Klara a repetition of her previous emotional hurt. He answered Alois in reply:
"To steal and to be caught means that you are not even a good thief. In that case my advice is to go hang yourself"
By the time Adolf was 15 he was determined to become an artist. He was also, by then, a German Nationalist with a keen interest in history, particularly the recent excavation of ancient Troy.
He deeply admired his history teacher, but teachers in general did not impress Adolf.
"We pupils of the old Austria were brought up to respect old people and women," Adolf later said; "but on our professors we had no mercy; they were our natural enemies."
Adolf was regularly involved in pranks and practical jokes, usually as the ringleader. Klara was forced to transfer her son to a different school in Steyr the next year. In July 1905, Adolf successfully finished his high-school education.
On receiving his school completion certificate, Adolf and his friends went to a country inn and got so drunk he passed out - and was helped where he lay beside the road the next morning by a passing milkmaid. His certificate was gone. Later he learned that while drunk he had torn it into pieces and used it as toilet paper. He was totally humiliated and deeply ashamed. Adolf swore to his landlady that he would never touch alcohol again as long as he lived. And that was the first - and last time Adolf ever got drunk.
Klara and her family then moved to Linz and Adolf lived with them in a small room - where he would read, paint and write poetry.
Illness then overtook Adolf - a severe lung hemorrhage. After a very slow recovery he lost interest in completeing his school diploma and decided to become an artist.
Young Adolf Hitler practised his painting and sketching as best he could. He never had any formal training.
It is curious that, with no heart for schoolwork, this sickly lad developed an insatiable love of reading and knowledge and understanding of complex subjects.
He borrowed huge quantities of books from various libraries, joined the museum society - and took a deep interest in architecture - and theater - and opera.
Adolf and Kubizek would often walk around Linz and stop where he could study, criticize or praise the architecture of the buildings. He knew that one day he would become famous. In fact, he began to dream of uniting the German Empire and leading his people
It was while at the opera that Adolf met August Kubizek, who would become a close friend. Both desperately poor, both in love with opera, it was inevitable that they would regularly meet in the cheapest seats or standing room at the opera.
Adolf was very mature for his age, including refined speech and manners. This earned respect from his peers and even from grown-ups. His knowledge of art, world affairs, mythology, air travel and any other subject that could interest an inquiring mind became profound, especially to Kubizek and his mother and sister, Paula, whom he would lecture on various subjects. At his mother's urging, Adolf began piano lessons in October 1906.
Then the budding artist was refused admittance to the art Academy in Vienna after failing their test. Only 28 out of 113 candidates were accepted, thus not a great shame, but Adolf was devastated. And yet in the midst of his unhappiness he was still determined to be an artist.
Then Klara developed breast cancer. A very distressed Adolf returned from Vienna to become the man of the house, bearing his new responsibilities with maturity and tender compassion for his ailing mother.Adolf also took charge of his eleven year-old sister, Paula, and tutored her. He cooked his mother's favorite meals. He assisted with the washing and scrubbing of floors. He did anything he could to make his mother more comfortable. No son was ever more diligent toward his mother. Klara was buried on Christmas eve, 1907. Christmas lost its allure for Adolf, and in later years he preferred to spend Christmas alone in meditation.
After the war Klara's Jewish physician, Dr. Bloch, would describe Adolf as: "a fine and exemplary son who bore such a deep love and concern for his dear mother which one finds on this globe only in extremely exceptional cases"
Adolf gave part of his inheritance to his stepsister and her husband, since they had agreed to take care of Paula. His landlord gave him a letter of recommendation which described him as "...mature and sensible beyond his years", and with that, Adolf returned to Vienna in search of his future greatness.
Grave of Alois&Klara Hitler
Adolf indulged in every intellectual and cultural fancy he could, later admitting to attending Wagner's "Tristan" opera more than 30 times. "For me, Wagner is something Godly and his music is my religion" he would later state to an American reporter. He saw Lohengrin ten times and could recite the entire libretto by heart.
Girls invariably made adolf shy, and although interested - he remained polite but aloof. The low moral values displayed in Vienna distressed him, especially the scourge of prostitution. Syphilis was rife and Adolf condemned the government for not stepping in to control the epidemic spread of the dreaded disease. He once took Kubizek for a tour in a decadent street and lectured him on what he termed "commercial love". The men were there only to satisfy their urges and the women only to make money. An astute comment from an 18 year-old.
Vienna's town planners also met with Adolf's disdain. He saw the need for more parks and greenery. Railroads should skirt the city and where essential, trains should run underground. Adolf's ideas were thirty years ahead of his time, and later in life he would implement many such innovations. These and other revolutionary ideas were expanded upon in many sketches and discussions with Kubizek.