“Hitler's father and how his son became a dictator” is the title of a new book by Roman Zadgruber, an emeritus professor of social and economic sciences at the University of Leeds. The psychoanalytic implication is obvious: An authoritarian or distant father may have contributed to what shaped Adolf Hitler and what he did. But is that really so? Zadgruber tries to give answers, referring to 31 handwritten letters of his father, Alois Hitler, addressed to Joseph Radleger. He owns a farm in Huffeld, Austria, bought in 1895 by Alois Hitler.
The newspaper Die Welt notes that Alois Hitler, a retired customs officer at the time, dreamed of spending the last years of his life as a farmer close to nature, but did not have the financial means to buy the farm. Banks did not lend. A possible motive for these letters was to explain to Radlerger his marital status and lack of liquidity. Eventually, Alois Hitler succeeded, buying the property, but after two years he was forced to sell it again, as he could not meet the financial demands of the project.
“Tough on the submissive”
The letters were forgotten in an attic, found by chance a hundred years later and came into the hands of the Austrian professor. How does he judge them? “They have an almost pretentious politeness, especially in the epilogue, but their content shows cruelty to the submissive, to the ignorant apprentices, to the maids who are incompetent, to the horses who are filthy,” Roman Zadgruber told Bavarian Radio (BR). . “Nothing can please him. He also criticizes the government, the judges, the notaries, the surveyors, he makes them useless… “
Alois Hitler was born in 1837 in Austria, out of wedlock. On the one hand, he was proud of his social rise, saying that as a poor boy from the village, with a high school diploma, he managed to become a public official in the Hapsburg monarchy. On the other hand he carried it hard that he did not have an academic education to rise to the top of the hierarchy. The result, according to Roman Zadgruber: “He is the star, the protagonist. His ideal is the self-taught one who knows everything. And this ideal will be passed on to his son, Adolf Hitler, who leaves school, dreams of becoming self-taught and reads a lot, but eventually becomes just a semi-learner who despises those with formal, academic qualifications. He despises law scholars and teachers, but sees himself as a genius. This is a clear resemblance between father and son, which is also evident in the letters. ”
Strong character the mother
According to the newspaper Die Welt, these letters have value as a historical source, as until today little was known about the childhood of Adolf Hitler. Our information is limited to what the Austrian Social Democrat Franz Jetsinger had mentioned in his book “Hitler's Youth” talking to people who knew his family, while there are also testimonies from a childhood friend, August Kubicek, but he also met Hitler when he was already 16 years old. The letters give a new dimension to the role of the father, Aloisios.
But there is also the mother. Until now, historians have considered Clara Hitler to be a humble housewife confined to the fatal role of the submissive female. However, a different picture emerges from the letters, says Roman Zadkogorber: “He had a significant share of power in the family, he made buying and selling decisions, he had transactions with banks and the post office. Alois Hitler himself wrote: 'My wife has an excellent understanding of economics'. This is confirmed by other sources. In no case was she the unfortunate woman, as some claim “.