15 Things You Didn’t Know About Hitler’s Family
Adolf Hitler has long been considered a terrible anti-Semitic fascist capable of creating moments worse than any possible nightmare you could come up with. He was the dictator of the German Reich during World War II and a central figure to the Holocaust. He established death and concentration camps to kill off more than 6 million Jewish people, among others such as gay people and gypsies.
Also known as the Führer or leader of Nazi Germany, he didn’t come into power as the Chancellor of Germany from winning a majority of the vote. There were too many candidates in the election that year and he got into office with only 43% of the vote. (Plus, the fact that Nazis had seized government power and lit the German parliament building on fire during the Reichstag fire less than a week before probably helped).
As horrifying as Adolf Hitler was, most articles about Hitler focuses on his life and his actions. Not enough information exists about his family, who are all fairly interesting in their own ways. (It’s hard to really stand out when Adolf Hitler’s in your family). Here are fifteen things that you didn’t know about Hitler’s family that might just fascinate you.
15. “One Who Lives in a Hut”
Historians believe that “Hitler” as a last name likely originates from the German word Hütte, or hut. Translated into a surname, this would mean something like “one who lives in a hut.” It’s strange to think about Hitler coming from a long line of people that lived in huts, when you consider the types of industrial concentration and death camps Hitler would become synonymous with in the future. The last name also suggests that the Hitlers were more simple people, not used to living in the seat of power or luxury that Adolf would later find himself in as the leader of the Third Reich.
14. Hitler’s Father Kept Bees
In 1895, Adolf Hitler’s father, Alois Hitler, retired and decided that he wanted to keep bees and operate a small family farm. Although the farming efforts eventually failed a few years later, it’s an interesting thought to think of Hitler’s father as a beekeeper. There’s this image of a simple and kind man trying to control an active hive of bees that could quickly sting him. In some ways, it’s a strong metaphor for Alois’s tumultuous relationship with his son, Adolf, who didn’t want to follow the rules in school and frequently got into trouble with teachers and other school staff members.
13. The Suicide of Geli Raubal
Geli Raubal was Adolf Hitler’s half niece, who became increasingly close with her uncle as he became the leader of the Nazi Party. Some people would say that he even became rather possessive of her, firing his own chauffeur after he found out she had an affair with the driver and not allowing her to go out alone. She wanted to escape to Vienna to take singing lessons and marry. In September of 1931, she was found dead from a gunshot wound in Adolf Hitler’s apartment. It’s been ruled as a suicide, but murder theories still exist around the cause of her death.
12. Paula Hitler Lost Her Job
In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler’s sister Paula lost her job with a Viennese insurance company when her employers found out that she was related to Adolf Hitler. Adolf asked her to use the last name “Wolf” instead of “Hitler” to keep her more secure. Apparently “Wolf” was a nickname that Adolf had given her when they grew up. Changing her last name allowed her to find work sporadically because she was better able to conceal her real identity as a Hitler relative from her employers. Once the war was started, Paula Hitler only saw her brother annually until Adolf committed suicide in 1945.
11. His Nephew Was Tortured to Death in Moscow
Adolf Hitler’s nephew Heinz served in an official role in the Nazi Party after he attended a Nazi military academy with the intention of becoming a prestigious military officer for the Nazis. When he was only 21 years old, he was involved with Operation Barbarossa that invaded the Soviet Union. He was captured and tortured to death at the hands of the Soviets in Moscow in the Butyrka military prison. He didn’t leave behind any children to continue on with his name. Heinz wasn’t the only nephew of Adolf Hitler to join the Nazi Party on their path of destruction, though he was the only one to be tortured to death in Moscow at the age of 21.
10. Eva Braun Tried Suicide Twice Before
On April 20th, 1945, Eva Braun committed suicide with Adolf Hitler only forty hours after they got married and enjoyed a celebratory wedding breakfast. This technically made Eva Braun Adolf Hitler’s last wife. Eva had taken a cyanide capsule, whereas Adolf shot himself in the head. Their bodies were even burned together. When you hear about Adolf Hitler’s suicide, Eva is often forgotten. The interesting thing is that Eva Braun tried twice before to commit suicide. In 1932, she shot herself in the chest with her dad’s gun, though it wasn’t fatal. In 1935, he overdosed on sleeping pills. Attempting suicide might have just been her thing.
9. Angela’s Pension and Denial
After Hitler’s death and the collapse of the Nazi empire, Adolf Hitler’s close sister Angela Hitler said that she and her brother did not know anything about the Holocaust. She claimed, against all evidence to the contrary, that if Adolf really knew what happened in the concentration and death camps at Germany’s hand during World War II, he would have stopped it. While this is exceptionally difficult to believe, especially from someone as close as Adolf Hitler’s sister, there are other remarkable things about Angela. For instance, Adolf tried to leave Angela a monthly pension from the government of 1,000 Reichsmark. She died in 1949.
8. Hitler’s Possible Son
It is possible that Adolf Hitler fathered a son named Jean-Marie Loret with a French woman by the name of Charlotte Lobjoie. While the paternity was never proven, Jean-Marie Loret wanted to claim money in the form of royalties from the sale of Adolf Hitler’s book titled Mein Kampf. Many famed and credible historians claim that this paternity is unlikely and would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove true. Part of this likely stems from the fact that Charlotte Lobjoie had many children with different fathers. It’s hard to trust a woman who takes birth control and paternity so loosely.
7. Hitler Applied to Art School as His Mom Died
Most people have heard that Adolf Hitler wanted to attend art school, but was rejected. Many people hypothesize how the course of world history would have been vastly different if he had only been accepted into art school and kept to his original life goals. However, perhaps more interesting is when he applied to art school. In 1907, his mom Klara Hitler was dying of breast cancer when Adolf Hitler took the entrance exam for the prestigious Vienna Academy of the Arts in Vienna. A few weeks after his mom died from breast cancer, Adolf Hitler moved to Vienna to better pursue his dream.
6. Absence of Family
As a fascist dictator, Adolf Hitler wanted to be seen as a man without a family life that would keep him away from politics. This is part of why Adolf seems to be the only one in his immediate family during World War II and the rise of the Third Reich. He cut off communication with him family and largely relied upon his sister to relay communication to other family members, such as aunts, uncles, nephews and cousins. However, as his relationships with Eva Braun and Geli Raubal highlight, Hitler had developed his own internal family structure of his choosing.
5. Relatives Living in New York
In 2000, a journalist found several of Hitler’s relatives living on Long Island, in New York. They proudly displayed American flags from their homes and live normal American lives with nice homes and pet dogs. The relatives refused to be publicly identified because of the backlash they’d expect from people today. This means that they essentially give up any money tied to Hitler’s estate, such as his book sales, to maintain this anonymity. However, they do feel that the Jews have been compensated enough and they now deserve their money from the Hitler estate. This statement from his relatives seems inherently anti-Semitic.
4. Hitler Isn’t His Real Family Name
Adolf Hitler’s father’s last name was originally “Schicklbruber.” He changed it to “Hitler” in 1876 long before Adolf was born. It is unclear why Alois changed the family’s name formally. It has become a tactic that Hitler’s familial descendants have taken in more recent decades to separate themselves from the scandals associated with Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Understandably, many people hold ill will toward the family’s name, which has led many to distance themselves from Hitler’s legacy with name changes. Even during the war, Adolf Hitler and his family members sometimes used aliases to distance themselves from it.
3. A Family of Peasants
Although Adolf Hitler enjoyed times of a middle class lifestyle during his earlier life, Hitler’s family came from a long line of peasants that lived in the poor area of Austria called the Waldviertel. They lived an extremely impoverished lifestyle where they only had access to limited socioeconomic opportunities and very simple food choices. People who lived in this area were known to be unwelcoming and unkind. In some ways, given what Adolf Hitler would grow up to accomplish in terms of the Holocaust, this isn’t surprising. The Waldviertel area was near Bohemia, which almost would make Adolf Hitler Bohemian.
2. His Parents Were Second Cousins
Technically speaking, Adolf Hitler’s parents, Alois Hitler and Klara Polzi were second cousins. In order to get married despite their close family and genetic relationship, they needed to get permission from the government to get legally married. Even during this time, marriage by second cousins was not ideal and looked down upon. People knew what happened with inbreeding in families. In many ways, this inbreeding was similar to what Adolf Hitler proposed for his superior Aryan race. To keep the country truly Aryan, it would mean destroying diverse genetic material and only procreating with people that have similar genes.
1. Pact to End the Hitlers
The surviving members of Hitler’s family have decided to end their own bloodline by not having children of their own to pass their name and genetic history down to. While the family members didn’t sign a formal pact or anything, they did decide that being a relative of Adolf Hitler was a burden that was difficult to live with. As a result, the family members decided not to get married or have children. As the older family members pass away, there will be no family members of Adolf Hitler left to have to bear the brunt of torment that comes from being a Hitler family member after he lost the war.
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