A child

At half past six on the evening of April 20th, 1889 an innocent child was born in the small town of Braunau Am Inn, Austria. The name of the child was Adolf Hitler. He was the son a Customs official Alois Hitler, and his third wife Klara. Initially Alois had taken his mother's name, Schicklgruber, but changed it in 1876 and became Hiedler, or Hitler. Quite important - it is hard to imagine tens of thousands of Germans shouting "Heil Schicklgruber!" instead of "Heil Hitler!"

Adolf Hitler, murderer of millions, master of destruction and organized insanity, did not come into the world as a monster. He was not sent to earth by the devil, nor was he sent by heaven to "bring order" to Germany, to give the country the autobahn and rescue it from its economic crisis.

Young Adolf attended church regulary, sang in the local choir and spent hours playing 'cowboys and indians' and revelled in the westerns penned by Karl May. He grew up with a poor record at school and left, before completing his tuition, with an ambition to become an artist or architect. Alois Hitler had died when Adolf was thirteen and Klara brought up Adolf and his sister, Paula, on her own.

Center young Adolf with schoolmates 1900

His only boyhood friend, August Kubizek, recalled Hitler as a shy, reticent young man, yet he was able to burst into hysterical fits of anger towards those who disagreed with him. The two became inseparable during these early years and Kubizek turned out to be a patient listener. He was a good audience for Hitler, who often rambled for hours about his hopes and dreams. Sometimes Hitler even gave speeches complete with wild hand gestures to his audience of one. Hitler would only tolerate approval from his friend and could not stand to be corrected, a personality trait he had shown in high school and as a younger boy as well.

Then one day in 1905 the pair went to see a performance of Wagner's Rienzi at the Linz Memorial Theater. This became a decisive event for the teenaged Hitler, as he was to refer to it after he came to power. In Kubizek's biography of Hitler The Young Hitler I Knew, 1953, he recalls how it had a terrifying impact upon Hitler, who left the theater in a state of trance.

"Adolf stood in front of me; and now he gripped both my hands and held them tight. He had never made such a gesture before. I felt from the grasp of his hands how deeply moved he was. His eyes were feverish with excitement ..  Never before and never again have I heard Adolf Hitler speak as he did in that hour, as we stood there alone under the stars, as though we were the only creatures in the world. He now spoke of a mission that he was one day to receive from our people, in order to guide them out of slavery, to the heights of freedom."

Thirty years later, the boyhood friends would meet again in Bayreuth, and Kubizek told Adolf Hitler what he remembered of that night, assuming that the enormous multitude of impressions and events which had filled these past decades would have pushed into the background the experience of a seventeen year old youth. But after a few words Kubizek sensed that Hitler vividly recalled that hour and had retained all its details in his memory. Hitler's words were unforgettable for August Kubizek: "It began at that hour!".


Adolf Hitler founded the Third Reich with these goals - the mass murder of the Jews, the establishment of a German Empire based on the conquest of the Soviet Union, the murder of the original inhabitants or their reduction to rightless slaves of the Third Reich. His Nazi Regime led to the annihilation of more than six million Jews in Europe. The Third Reich would survive him for one week - the nightmare he had unleashed was over ...