An excerpt from the book The Mind of Adolf Hitler The Secret Wartime Report by Walter C. Langer

Basic Books Inc. - 1972, hard cover

Front cover (photo)

Dust cover flap (photo)

from pages 111 - 113

The Hitler Family


There is a great deal of confusion in studying Hitler's family tree. Much of this is due to the fact that the name has been spelled in various ways: Hitler, Hidler, Hiedler, and Huettler. It seems reasonable to suppose, however, that it is fundamentally the same name spelled in various ways by different members of what was basically an illiterate peasant family. Adolf Hitler himself signed his name Hittler on the first Party membership blanks, and his sister usually spells her name as Hiedler. Another element of confusion is introduced by the fact that Adolf's mother's mother was also named Hitler, which later became the family name of his father. Some of this confusion is dissipated, however, when we realize that Adolf's parents had a common ancestor (father's grandfather and mother's great-grandfather), an inhabitant of the culturally backward Waldviertel district of Austria.
    Adolf's father, Alois Hitler, was the illegitimate son of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. It is generally supposed that the father of Alois Hitler was a Johann Georg Hiedler, a miller's assistant. Alois, however, was not legitimized, and he bore his mother's name until he was forty years of age when he changed it to Hitler. Just why this was done is not clear, but it is generally said among the villagers that it was necessary in order to obtain a legacy. Where the legacy came from is unknown. One could suppose that Johann Georg Hiedler relented on his deathbed and left an inheritance to his illegitimate son together with his name. It seems strange, however, that he did not legitimize the son when he married Anna Schicklgruber thirty-five years earlier. Why the son chose to take the name Hitler instead of Hiedler, if this is the case, is also a mystery that has remained unsolved. Unfortunately, the date of the death of Hiedler has not been established, and consequently we are unable to relate these two events in time. A peculiar series of events, prior to Hitler's birth, furnishes plenty of food for speculation.
    There are some people who seriously doubt that Johann Georg Hiedler was the father of Alois. Thyssen and Koehler, for example, claim that Chancellor Dollfuss had ordered the Austrian police to conduct a thorough investigation into the Hitler family. As a result of this investigation a secret document was prepared that proved that Maria Anna Schicklgruber was living in Vienna at the time she conceived. At that time she was employed as a servant in the home of Baron Rothschild. As soon as the family discovered her pregnancy she was sent back to her home in Spital where Alois was born. If it is true that one of the Rothschilds is the real father of Alois Hitler, it would make Adolf a quarter Jew. According to these sources, Adolf Hitler knew of the existence of this document and the incriminating evidence it contained. In order to obtain it he precipitated events in Austria and initiated the assassination of Dollfuss. According to this story, he failed to obtain the document at that time since Dollfuss had secreted it and had told Schuschnigg of its whereabouts so that in the event of his death the independence of Austria would remain assured. Several stories of this general character are in circulation.
    Those who lend credence to this story point out several factors that seem to favor its plausibility.

    1. That it is unlikely that the miller's assistant in a small village in this district would have very much to leave in the form of a legacy.
    2. That it is strange that Johann Hiedler should not claim the boy until thirty-five years after he had married the mother and the mother had died.
    3. That if the legacy were left by Hiedler on the condition that Alois take his name, it would not have been possible for him to change it to Hitler.
    4. That the intelligence and behavior of Alois, as well as that of his two sons, is completely out of keeping with that usually found in Austrian peasant families. They point out that their ambitiousness and extraordinary political intuition are much more in harmony with the Rothschild tradition.
     5. That Alois Schicklgruber left his home village at an early age to seek his fortune in Vienna where his mother had worked.
     6. That it would be peculiar for Alois Hitler, while working as a customs official in Braunau, to choose a Jew named Print, of Vienna, to act as Adolf's godfather unless he felt some kinship with the Jews himself.

    This is certainly a very intriguing hypothesis, and much of Adolf's later behavior could be explained in rather easy terms on this basis. However, it is not absolutely necessary to assume that he has Jewish blood in his veins in order to make a comprehensive picture of his character with its manifold traits and sentiments. From a purely scientifc point of view, therefore, it is sounder not to base our reconstruction on such slim evidence but to seek firmer foundations. Nevertheless, we can leave it as a possibility that requires further verification.
     In any event Maria Anna Schicklgruber died when Alois was five years of age. When he was thirteen he left the Waldviertel and went to Vienna where he learned to be a cobbler. The next twenty-three years of his life are largely unaccounted for. It seems probable that during this time he joined the army and had perhaps been advanced to the rank of noncommissioned officer. His service in the army may have helped him to enter the Civil Service as Zollamtsoffizial later on.