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Full text of "The Young Hitler I knew"

This material originally appeared at http://www.faem.com/books/ 
JR 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Introduction - H.R. Trevor-Roper 



Editor note: Roper was a jew reporter with close ties to Britisii Intelligence. He came on the scene 
with his ridiculous claims about the "gas chambers" and "ovens" at Dachau. Thereafter, the 
British government stated that Dachau was not a "death camp" and no such facilities existed 
there. All the the so-called "extermination camps" curiously ended up in Soviet held territory. That 
should tell you something. 



This book deals with the darkest, perhaps the most formative, and therefore, in some sense, the 
most interesting period of Hitler's life. His public life is now fully-indeed oppressively-documented; 
his mature character, in its repellent fixity, is now fully known. But his crucial early years, the 
years between leaving school and joining the Bavarian army are, in the language of one of his 
biographers [Thomas Orr, Das WarHitier- Revue, Munich, 1952, No. 42], "impenetrable." And 
yetthose are the years in which thatgrim character, that unparalleled will power, that relentless 
systematic mind was formed. Any light on those undocumented years is welcome. The light shed 
by this book is more than that: it penetrates and reveals the character of the young Hitler as no 
other book has done. But before showing this let us examine the meagre framework of fact into 
which it is fitted. 

Hitier leftschool atSteyr in September 1905, and went to live with his widowed mother in Linz. 
He was then aged sixteen. In May 1906 he paid his first visit to Vienna and stayed there with his 
sister for two months, after which he returned to Linz. In the autumn of 1907 he went again to 
Vienna and lived, for part of the time at least, in the Men's Home at No. 27 Meldemannstrasse, 
seeking to gain admission to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts to study architecture. In October 
1907 he was rejected by the Academy, and soon afterwards he returned to Linz where his mother 
was incurably ill. On December 21, 1907, she died. In February 1908, Hitier returned to Vienna 
and stayed with a friend in furnished rooms, at No. 29 Stumpergasse - an address which he had 
already used before. In November 1908, finding himself too poor to continue paying that rent, he 
suddenly left, and by the spring of 1909, when we next hear of him, he was back in the Men's 
Home in the Meldemannstrasse. He appears to have used various other addresses, including a 
flop house in the Meidling area and rooms in Simon Denk Gasse, but the Meldemannstrasse 
Men's Home evidently remained his base until 1913, when he left for Munich, apparentiy to avoid 
military service in the Austro-Hungarian army. 

Now whatevidence have we of Hitler's life and character in those crucial years? Apart from a few 
legal documents we have Hitler's own account in Mein Kampf, which may be suspect and is 
necessarily subjective; we have the accounts by a Sudeten tramp, Reinhold Hanisch, who knew 
him in 1909, and by some other more casual acquaintances in Vienna, as these accounts were 
given to the anti-Nazi journalist, Konrad Heiden, in the 1930s; and we have the full account given 
by J osef Greiner, who knew Hitler when both were lodging in the Men's Home in the 
Meldemannstrasse, firstduring Hitler's second visit to Vienna in September 1907, later on 
Greiner's return to Vienna in 1910. Of these sources, Greiner's account, which was published in 
1947, is the fullest and has hitherto been regarded as by far the most valuable. Nevertheless, it 
does notanswerthe questions which we mostwantto see answered. 



ForGreiner's portrait of Hitler, thougii presented in objective terms, is essentially the portrait of a 
shiftless, roving, almost weak character, but one whose weakness is combined with a harsh 
inhuman, mechanical, repetitive fanaticism. Hitler, he says, was a sorry figure, unpleasing to men 
and women alike, and his existence in Vienna, it is implied -- although he read hugely -- was 
utterly purposeless. Now although this account bears recognisable resemblances to the later 
Hitler as known to history, there has always seemed to me something defective in it. It shows no 
trace of the qualities which be mustalso have possessed. Forfirst, although Hitler was 
undoubtedly crafty and crooked and mean and inhuman, the most obvious fact about his 
character was the devouring, systematic will power which he was afterwards to show and which 
must have been present in embryo even atthattime; and secondly, although we know that Hitler 
became utterly cynical and inhuman, it is difficult to believe that he was always thus. I do not 
believe that men are born sour and inhuman: if they are so, it is because they have been made 
so; and what I look for in Hitler's early character is evidence not so much of the result as of the 
process of its formation. Here Greiner gives no help; and therefore, reading his book, I feel that 
he has recollected superficial characteristics only -- perhaps even that his recollection is 
somewhat clouded by afterevents, by the atmosphere of disgust which must have prevailed in 
Vienna in 1947. What we require, if we are to see Hitler's character and views in process of 
formation, is a more intimate, more sympathetic portrait of what must have been, even in the 
most dehumanised man, a human period. 

This, August Kubizek gives. The son of an upholsterer in Linz, inspired early with a passion for 
music, Kubizek first met Hitler late in 1904 when both were competing for standing room at the 
opera. Kubizek was then sixteen. Hitler fifteen. From thattime onwards, forthe next four years, 
says Kubizek, "I lived side by side with Adolf. In these decisive years, when he grew from a boy 
of fifteen to a young man, Adolf confided to me things that he had told to no one, not even his 
mother." When Kubizek wanted to study music rather than upholstery, it was the young Hitler 
who, with astonishing success, persuaded his reluctant father-- as he afterwards persuaded him 
to allow his son to come to Vienna. In Vienna it was Kubizek with whom Hitler, in 1908, shared 
the room in Stumpergasse. A common love of music and a romantic friendship kept them 
together. Hitler always the dominant, Kubizek the recessive partner. Then, quite suddenly, on 
November 20, 1908, Kubizek returned to Vienna and, arriving at 29 Stumpergasse, found that his 
friend had disappeared, leaving no address. It was only forty years later that Kubizek was to learn 
what had happened: "my friend had moved out of the Stumpergasse because the rent was too 
much for him and had found much cheaper accommodation at a so-called Men's Hostel in the 
Meldemannstrasse. Adolf had disappeared into the shady depths of the Metropolis. Then began 
for him those years of bitterest misery of which he himself says little and of which there is no 
reliable witness." For it is clear that Kubizek does not regard Greiner as a reliable witness. He 
only refers to him once, and then not by name, when he shows that Greiner has illustrated his 
book with a faked portrait. 

And what is the character which Hitler showed to Kubizek in these four years of friendship? It is a 
far more human and, in my opinion, a far more plausible character than that to which Greiner's 
book has accustomed us. Externally Hitler sill appears a drifting character: he has failed at 
school, has no employment, has been rejected by the Academy, is in Vienna for no clearly stated 
purpose, lives on a pittance eked out by painting postcards. But behind this shiftless exterior 
Kubizek constructs whatmusthave been there, although it was notapparentto casual 
acquaintances: the character of the man who, from these beginnings, without any other natural 
advantages besides his own personality, became the most powerful and terrible tyrant and 
conqueror of modern history. Here we see - along with the incipient monomania, the repetitive 
cliches, and the Wagnerian romanticism of his later years - the early evidence of that 
unbreakable will power, that extraordinary self-confidence. We see the penniless, unemployed, 
unemployable young Hitler, at sixteen, confidently rebuilding in his imagination the city of Linz, as 
he was afterwards to rebuild it in fact, and never for a moment doubting that he would one day 
carry out these improbable plans; we see him exercising over an elderly Austrian upholsterer that 
irresistible hypnotic power with which he was afterwards to seduce a whole nation; we see him, in 



Vienna, fortifying iiimself against a corrupt and purposeless society by adopting an iron 
asceticism, lil<e some ancient crusader guarding himself against corruption in a pagan world. And 
then turning to detail, we see in Vienna, when Kubizek was closest to him, the working of Hitier's 
mind as it feels its way towards the beginnings of national socialism: his crude, voracious but 
systematic reading; his sudden discovery of politics; his hatred of the social injustice of urban life 
represented to him, the architect, by squalid slum buildings; his fear -- the fear which he was 
afterwards to exploit among millions of lower-middle-class Germans - of sinking into proletarian 
status. Behind the outward meaninglessness of his hand-to-mouth existence we see the inner 
purposefulness of his studies, his experiences, his reasoning. The account may sometimes be 
romanticised, but not, I think, much, or more than is legitimate and indeed inevitable in the 
recollections of youth. By all external checks Kubizek's account is reliable, and to anyone who 
has studied the mind and character of Hitler it is also inherently plausible. Hitier's character, in the 
years after 1908, undoubtedly became harder and more hateful: experience caused it to set into a 
hideous inhumanity. In some respects it also changed, not its quality but its direction. We learn 
casually from Kubizek that in his Vienna days, Hitier was a pacifist; and certainly the ruthlessness 
of his later worship of war becomes more comprehensible when we realise that it was the religion 
of a convert. But fundamentally we see here what we have never seen before, and what 
superficial observers have never shown: the formation of that positive character which afterwards 
achieved the dreadful miracle of our century; the character of the man who, in circumstances of 
apparent hopelessness, resolved notto resttill he had found an answer not only to his problem, 
but to the problem of a continent. "He did not know what resignation meant," says Kubizek. "He 
who resigned, he thought, lost his right to live." Thanks to the experience and the harsh thought 
of those years. Hitler was afterwards able, in circumstances which he could not then have 
envisaged, to mobilise, like Satan in Hell, some of the best as well as some of the worst instincts 
of a defeated people: 

What though the field be lost? 
All is not lost; the unconquerable Will, 
And study of revenge, immortal hate. 
And courage never to submit or yield: 
And what is else notto be overcome? 

Like Satan, having mobilised these forces, he was to use his power over them for a sinister 
purpose: the destruction of mankind. 

A good book does not need to he summarised, only introduced. I believe that this is a very 
important book: it fills, as no other book has done, a vital gap in our understanding of Hitler's 
mental history. Having said this, I can leave it to the reader, only adding a brief note on the 
author. August Kubizek did in fact emancipate himself from the upholsterer's trade and after 
studying at the Vienna School of Music he became conductor of the orchestra of the Austrian 
town of Marburg on the Drave. In 1918, with the defeat of the Central Powers, Marburg was lost 
to Austria and became Maribor in Yugoslavia. Thereupon Kubizek accepted a position as an 
official in the municipal council of Eferding in Upper Austria, notfarfrom his original home, and 
music, from being his profession, became his hobby. On April 8, 1938, after thirty years of 
separation, he met Hitier again, and the FiJhrer, who had just annexed Austria to the Reich, 
suggested to his former friend that he should resume, under his powerful patronage, a musical 
career; but Kubizek declined the offer and although he was sometimes taken by Hitler to the 
Wagner Festival atBayreuth, never sought to profit by his former friendship. He remained in local 
government in Eferding, and exceptfora short period in the American detention camp at 
Glasenbach in 1945, has remained there ever since. He retired as head of the council on] anuary 
1, 1954, and now lives in the marketplace with his wife, who keeps there a small draper's shop. 
Of his early intimacy with Hitler, this book is the only record he has chosen to make. It will have 
an important place among the source books of history. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 1 - First Meeting 



I was bom in Linz on the third of August, 1888. 

Before his marriage my father had been an upholsterer's assistant at a furniture manufacturer's in 
Linz. He used to have his midday meal in a little cafe and it was there he met my mother who was 
working as a waitress. They fell in love, and were married in J uly, 1887. 

Atfirstthe young couple lived in the house of my mother's parents. My father's wages were low, 
the work was hard, and my mother had to give up her job when she was expecting me. Thus I 
was born in rather miserable circumstances. One year later my sister Maria was born, butdied at 
a tender age. The following year, Therese appeared; she died atthe age of four. My third sister, 
Karoline, fell desperately ill, lingered on for some years, and died when she was eight. My 
mother's grief was boundless. Throughout her life she suffered from the fear of losing me, too; for 
I was the only one left to her of herfour children. Consequently all my mother's love was 
concentrated upon me. 

Meanwhile, my father had set up on his own and had opened an upholsterer's business at No. 9 
Klammstrasse. The old Baernreiterhaus, heavy and ungainly, which still stands there unaltered, 
became the home of my childhood and youth. The narrow, sombre Klammstrasse looked rather 
poor in comparison with its continuation, the broad and airy promenade, with its lawns and trees. 

Our unhealthy housing conditions had certainly contributed to the early death of my sisters. In the 
Baernreiterhaus things were different. On the ground floor there was the workshop and, on the 
firstfloor our apartment, which consisted of two rooms and a kitchen. But now my father was 
neverfree from money troubles. Business was bad. More than once he comtemplated closing 
down the business and again taking a job with the furniture makers. Yet each time, he managed 
to overcome his difficulties atthe last moment. 

I started school, a very unpleasant experience. My mother wept over the bad reports I brought 
home. Her sorrow was the only thing that could persuade me to work harder. Whereas for my 
father there was no question but that I should in due course take over his business -- why else did 
he slave from morning till night? -- it was my mother's desire that I should study in spite of my bad 
reports; first I should have four years atthe Grammar School, then perhaps go to the Teachers' 
Training College. But I would not hear of it, I was glad when my father put his foot down and, 
when I was ten, sent me to the Council School. In this way, my father thought, my future was 
finally decided. 

For a long time, however, there had been another influence in my life for which I would have sold 
my soul: music. This love was given full expression when, at nine years of age, I was given a 
violin as a Christmas present. I remember distinctly every single detail of that Christmas, and 
when today in my old age I think back, my conscious life seems to have started with that event. 
The eldest son of our neighbour was a young pupil-teacher and he gave me violin lessons. I 
learned fast and well. 

When my first violin teacher took a job in the country I entered the lower grade of the Linz School 
of Music, but I did not like it there very much, perhaps because I was much more advanced than 
the other pupils. After the holidays I once more had private lessons, this time with an old 
Sergeant-Major of the Austro-Hungarian Army Music Corps, who straightway made clearto me 



that I knew nothing and then began to teach me the elements of violin playing "in the military 
fashion." It was real barrack-square drill with old Kopetzky. Sometimes when I gotfed up with his 
rough sergeant-major manners he consoled me by assuring me that, with more progress, I should 
certainly be taken as apprentice-musician into the army, in his opinion the peak of a musician's 
glory. I gave up my study with Kopetzky and entered the intermediate class of the School of 
Music where I was taught by Professor Heinrich Dessauer, a gifted, efficient and sensitive 
teacher. At the same time I studied the trumpet, trombone and musical theory, and played in the 
students' orchestra. 

I was already playing with the idea of making music my life's work when hard reality made itself 
felt. I had hardly left the Council School when I had to join my father's business as an apprentice. 
Formerly, when there was a shortage of labour, I had had to lend a hand in the workshop and so 
was familiar with the work. 

It is a repulsive job to re-upholster old furniture by unravelling and remaking the stuffing. The work 
goes on in clouds of dust in which the poor apprentice is smothered. What rubbishy old 
mattresses were brought to our workshop! All the illnesses that had been overcome - and some 
of them not overcome - left their mark on these old beds. No wonder that upholsterers do not live 
long. But soon I also learnt the more pleasant aspects of my work: personal taste and a feeling 
for art are necessary in it, and it is not too far removed from interior decorating. One would visit 
well-to-do homes, one saw and heard a lot and, above all, in winter there was littie or nothing to 
do. And this leisure, naturally, I devoted to music. When I had successfully passed my 
journeyman's test, my father wanted to take on jobs in other workshops. I saw his point, but for 
me the essential thing was, not to improve my craftsmanship, but to advance my musical studies. 
Thus, I chose to stay on in my father's workshop, since I could dispose of my time with more 
freedom there than under another master. 

"There are generally too many violins in an orchestra, but never enough violas." To this day I am 
grateful to Professor Dessauer for having applied this maxim and turned me into a good viola 
player. Musical life in Linz in those days was on a remarkably high level; August Gollerich was the 
Director of the Music Society. Being a disciple of Liszt's and a collaborator of Richard Wagner's at 
Bayreuth, Gollerich was the very man to be the musical leader of Linz, so much maligned as a 
"peasants' town." Every year the Music Society gave three symphony concerts and one special 
concert, when usually a choral work was performed, with orchestra. My mother, in spite of her 
humble origin, loved music, and hardly ever missed one of these performances. While still a small 
boy, I was taken to concerts. My mother explained everything to me, and, as I came to master 
several instruments, my appreciation of these concerts grew. My highest aim in life was to play in 
the orchestra, either on the viola or the trumpet. 

Butforthe time being it was still a matter of remaking dusty old mattresses and papering walls. In 
those years my father suffered much from the usual occupational diseases of an upholsterer. 
When persistent lung trouble once kept him in bed for six months, I had to run the workshop 
alone. Thus the two things existed side by side in my young life: work, which made calls on my 
strength and even on my lungs, and music, which was my whole love. I should never have 
thought that there could be a connection between the two. And yet there was. One of my father's 
customers was a member of the Provincial Government, which also controlled the theatre. One 
day there came to us for repair the cushions of a set of rococo furniture. When the work was done 
my father sent me to deliver them to the theatre. The stage manager directed me to the stage, 
where I was to replace the cushions in their frames. A rehearsal was in progress. I don't know 
which piece was being rehearsed, but it was certainly an opera. What I remember still is the 
enchantment which came over me as I stood there on the stage, in the midst of the singers. I was 
transformed as though now, for the first time, I had discovered myself. Theatre! What a world! A 
man stood there, magnificently attired. He seemed to me like a creature from another planet. He 
sang so gloriously that I could not imagine this man could ever speak in the ordinary way. The 
orchestra responded to his mighty voice. Here I was on more familiar ground, but in this moment 



everything that music iiad iiitiieito meant to me seemed to be trifling. Only in conjunction with the 
stage did music seem to reach a higher, more solemn plane, the highest imaginable. But there I 
stood, a miserable little upholsterer, and fitted the cushions back into their place in the rococo 
suite. What a lamentable job! What a wretched existence! Theatre, that was the word that! had 
searched for. Play and reality became confused in my excited mind. That awkward fellow with 
ruffled hair, apron and rolled-up shirtsleeves who stood in the wings and fumbled with his 
cushions as though to justify his presence -- was he really only a poor upholsterer? A poor, 
despised simpleton, pushed from pillar to post and treated by the customer as if he were a 
stepladder, placed here, placed there according to the moments need and then, its usefulness 
over, put aside? It would have been absolutely natural if that little upholsterer with his tools in his 
hand had stepped forward to the footlights and, at a sign from the conductor, had sung his part 
only to prove to the audience in the stalls, nay to an attentive world, that in reality he was not that 
pale, lanky fellow from the upholsterer's shop in the Klammstrasse, but that his place was really 
on the stage in the theatre! 

Ever since that moment I have remained under the spell of the theatre. Washing down the walls 
in a customer's house, slapping on the paste, affixing the undercoat of newspaper and then 
pasting on the wallpaper, I was all the time dreaming of roaring applause in the theatre, seeing 
myself as conductor in front of an orchestra. Such dreaming did not really help my work, and at 
times it would happen that the pieces of wallpaper were sadly out of position. But once back in 
the workshop, my sick father soon made me realise what responsibilities faced me. 

Thus I swayed between dream and reality. At home nobody had any inkling of my state of mind; 
for rather than utter a word about my secret ambitions, I would have bitten off my tongue. Even 
from my mother I hid my hopes and plans, but she perhaps guessed what was occupying my 
thoughts. But should I have added to her many worries? Thus there was no one to whom I could 
unburden myself. I felt terribly lonely, like an outcast, as lonely as only a young man can be to 
whom is revealed, for the first time, life's beauty and its danger. 

The theatre gave me new courage. I didn't miss a single opera performance. However tired I was 
after my work, nothing could keep me from the theatre. Naturally, with the small wages that my 
father paid me, I could only afford a ticketfor standing room. Therefore I used to go regularly into 
the so-called Promenade, from which one had the bestview; and moreover, I found, no other 
place had better acoustics, j ust above the promenade was the Royal box supported by two 
wooden columns. These columns were very popular with the habitues of the Promenade as they 
were the only places where one could prop oneself up with an undisturbed view of the stage. For 
if you leaned againstthe walls, these very columns were always in yourfield of vision. I was 
happy to be able to rest my weary back againstthe smooth pillars, after having spenta hard day 
on the top of the stepladder! Of course, you had to be there early to be sure to get that place. 

Often it is the trivial things which make a lasting impression on one's memory. I can still see 
myself rushing into the theatre, undecided whether to choose the left-- or the righthand pillar. 
Often, however, one of the two columns, the right-hand one, was already taken; somebody was 
even more enthusiastic than I was. 

Half annoyed, half surprised, I glanced at my rival. He was a remarkably pale, skinny youth, about 
my own age, who was following the performance with glistening eyes. I surmised that he came 
from a better-class home, for he was always dressed with meticulous care and was very 
reserved. 

We took note of each other without exchanging a word. During the interval of a performance 
some time later we started talking, as apparently neither of us approved of the casting of one of 
the parts. We discussed it together and rejoiced in cur common adverse criticism. I marvelled at 
the quick, sure grasp of the other. In this he was undoubtedly my superior. On the other hand. 



when it came to talking of purely musical matters, I felt my own superiority. I cannot give the exact 
date of this first meeting; but I am sure it was around All Saints' Day in 1904. 

This went on for some time -- he revealing nothing of his own affairs, nor did I think it necessary 
to talk about myself. But all the more intensely did we occupy ourselves with whatever 
performance there happened to be and sensed that we both had the same enthusiasm for the 
theatre. 

Once, after the performance, I accompanied him home to No. 31 Humboldtstrasse. When we 
took leave of each other he gave me his name: Adolf Hitler. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 2 - Gtx)wth of a Friendship 



From now on we saw each otheratevery Opera performance and also met outside the theatre, 
and on most evenings we would go for a stroll together along the Landstrasse. 

While Linz, in the last decade, has become a modern industrial town and attracted people from all 
parts of the Danube region, it was then only a country town. In the suburbs there were still the 
substantial, fortresslike farmhouses, and tenement houses were springing up in the surrounding 
fields where cattle were still grazing. In the littie taverns the people sat drinking the local wine; 
everywhere you could hear the broad country dialect. There was only horse-drawn traffic in the 
town and the carriers took care to see that Linz remained "in the country." The townspeople, 
though largely themselves of peasant origin and often closely related to the countryfolk, tended 
to draw away from the latter the more intimately they were connected with them. Almost all the 
influential families of the town knew each other; the business world, the civil servants and the 
military determined the tone of society. Everybody who was anybody took his evening stroll along 
the main street of the city, which leads from the railway station to the bridge over the Danube and 
is called significantly "Landstrasse." As Linz had no university, the young people in every walk of 
life were all the more eager to imitate the habits of university students. Social life on the 
Landstrasse could almostcompete with thatof Vienna's Ringstrasse. Atleastthe Linzers thought 
so. 

Patience did notseem to be one of Adolf's outstanding characteristics; whenever I was late for an 
appointment, he came at once to the workshop to fetch me, no matter whether I was repairing an 
old, black horsehair sofa or an oldfashioned fashioned wing chair, or anything else. My work was 
to him nothing but a tiresome hindrance to our personal relationship. Impatiently he would twirl 
the small black cane which he always carried. I was surprised that he had so much spare time 
and asked innocently whether he had a job. 

"Of course not," was his gruff reply. 

This answer, which I thoughtvery peculiar, he elaborated atsome length. He did not consider 
thatany particular work, a "bread-and-butter job" as he called it, was necessary for him. 

Such an opinion I had never heard from anybody before. It contradicted every principle which had 
so far governed my life. AtfirstI saw in his talk nothing more than youthful bragging, although 
Adolf's bearing and his serious and assured manner of speaking did not strike me at all as thatof 
a braggart. In any case, I was very surprised at his opinions but refrained from asking, for the 
time being at least, any further questions, because he seemed to be very sensitive about 
questions that did not suit him; that much I had already discovered. So it was more reasonable to 
talk about Lo/?engrin, the opera which enchanted us more than any other, than about our 
personal affairs. 

Perhaps he was the son of rich parents, I thought, perhaps he had just come into a fortune and 
could afford to live without a "bread-and-butter job" - in his mouth that expression sounded full of 
contempt. By no means did I imagine he was work-shy, for there was not even a grain of the 
superficial, carefree idler in him. When we passed by the Cafe Baumgartner he would get wildly 
worked up about the young men who were exhibiting themselves at marble-topped tables behind 
the big windowpanes and wasting their time in idle gossip, without apparently realising how much 



this indignation was contradicted by iiis own way of life. Periiaps some of those wiio were sitting 
"in tiie siiop window" already had a good job and a secure income. 

Perhaps this Adolf is a student? This had been my first impression. The black ebony cane, 
topped by an elegant ivory shoe, was essentially a student's attribute. On the other hand it 
seemed strange that he had chosen as his friend just a simple upholsterer, who was always 
afraid that people would smell the glue with which he had been working during the day. If Adolf 
were a student he had to be at school somewhere. Suddenly I brought the conversation round to 
school. 

"School?" This was the first outburst of temper that I had experienced with him. He didn't wish to 
hear anything about school. School was no longer his concern, he said. He hated the teachers 
and did not even greet them any more, and he also hated his schoolmates whom, he said, the 
school was turning into idlers. No, school I was not allowed to mention. I told him how littie 
success I had had atschool myself. "Why no success?" he wanted to know. He did not like itat 
all that I had done so badly at school in spite of all the contempt he expressed for schooling. I 
was confused by this contradiction. But so much I could gatherfrom our conversation, that he 
must have been atschool until recently, probably a grammar school or perhaps a technical 
school, and thatthis presumably had ended in disaster. Otherwise this complete rejection would 
hardly have been possible. For the rest, he presented me with ever recurring contradictions and 
riddles. Sometimes he seemed to me almost sinister. One day when we were taking a walk he 
suddenly stopped, produced from his pocket a little black notebook -- 1 still see it before me and 
could describe it minutely -- and read me a poem he had written. 

I do not remember the poem itself any longer; to be precise, I can no longer distinguish it from the 
other poems which Adolf read to me in later days. But I do remember distinctly how much it 
impressed me that my friend wrote poetry and carried his poems around with him in the same 
way that I carried my tools. When Adolf later showed me his drawings and designs which he had 
sketched -- somewhat confused and confusing designs which were really beyond me -- when he 
told me that he had much more and better work in his room and was determined to devote his 
whole life to art, then it dawned on me what kind of person my friend really was. He belonged to 
that particular species of people of which I had dreamed myself in my more expansive moments; 
an artist, who despised the mere bread-and-butter job and devoted himself to writing poetry, to 
drawing, painting and to going to the theatre. This impressed me enormously. I was thrilled by the 
grandeur which I saw here. My ideas of an artist were then still very hazy - probably as hazy as 
were Hitier's. Butthatmade itall the more alluring. 

Adolf spoke but rarely of his family. He used to say that it was advisable not to mix too much with 
grownups, as these people with their peculiar ideas would only divert one from one's own plans. 
For instance, his guardian, a peasant in Leonding called Mayrhofer, had got it into his head that 
he, Adolf, should learn a craft. His brother-in-law, too, was of this opinion. 

I could only conclude that Adolf's relations with his family must have been rather peculiar. 
Apparently among all the grownups he accepted only one person, his mother. And yet he was 
only sixteen years old, nine months younger than I. 

However much his ideas differed from bourgeois conceptions it did not worry me at all - on the 
contrary! It was this very fact, that he was out of the ordinary, that attracted me even more. To 
devote his life to the arts was, in my opinion, the greatest resolution that a young man could take; 
for secretly I, too, played with the idea of exchanging the dusty and noisy upholsterer's workshop 
for the pure and lofty fields of art, to give my life to music. For young people it is by no means 
insignificant in what surroundings their friendship first begins. Itseemed to me a symbol thatour 
friendship had been born in the theatre, in the midst of brilliant scenes and to the mighty sound of 
great music. In a certain sense ourfriendship itself existed in this happy atmosphere. 



Moreover my own position was not dissimilar to Adolf's. School lay behind me and could give me 
nothing more. In spite of my love and devotion to my parents, the grownups did not mean very 
much to me. And, above all, in spite of the many problems that beset me there was nobody in 
whom I could confide. 

Nevertheless, it was atfirsta difficult friendship because our characters were utterly different. 
Whereas I was a quiet, somewhat dreamy youth, very sensitive and adaptable and therefore 
always willing to yield, so to speak, a "musical character," Adolf was exceedingly violent and high- 
strung. Quite trivial things, such as a few thoughtless words, could produce in him outbursts of 
temper which I thought were quite out of proportion to the significance of the matter. But probably 
I misunderstood Adolf in this respect. Perhaps the difference between us was that he took things 
seriously which seemed to me quite unimportant. Yes, this was one of his typical traits; everything 
aroused his interest and disturbed him -- to nothing was he indifferent. 

But in spite of all the difficulties arising outof our varying temperaments, our friendship itself was 
never in serious danger. Nor did we, as so many other youngsters, grow cool and indifferent with 
time. On the contrary! In everyday matters we took great care not to clash. It seems strange, but 
he who could stick so obstinately to his point of view could also be so considerate that sometimes 
he made me feel quite ashamed. So, as time went on we got more and more used to each other. 

Soon I came to understand that our friendship endured largely forthe reason thati was a patient 
listener. But I was not dissatisfied with this passive role, for it made me realise how much my 
friend needed me. He, too, was completely alone. His father had been dead for two years. 
However much he loved his mother, she could not help him with his problems. I remember how 
he used to give me long lectures about things thatdid not interest me atall, as forexample the 
excise duty levied atthe Danube bridge, or a collection in the streets for a charity lottery. He just 
had to talk and needed somebody who would listen to him. I was often startled when he would 
make a speech to me, accompanied by vivid gestures, for my benefit alone. He was never 
worried by the fact that I was the sole audience. But a young man who, like my friend, was 
passionately interested in everything he saw and experienced had to find an outietfor his 
tempestuous feelings. The tension he felt was relieved by his holding forth on these things. These 
speeches, usually delivered somewhere in the open, seemed to be like a volcano erupting. It was 
as though something quite apart from him was bursting outof him. Such rapture I had only 
witnessed so far in the theatre, when an actor had to express some violent emotions, and atfirst, 
confronted by such eruptions, I could only stand gaping and passive, forgetting to applaud. But 
soon I realised thatthis was not play-acting. No, this was notacting, not exaggeration, this was 
really felt, and I saw that he was in dead earnest. Again and again I was filled with astonishment 
at how fluently he expressed himself, how vividly he managed to convey his feelings, how easily 
the words flowed from his mouth when he was completely carried away by his own emotions. Not 
what he said impressed me first, but how he said it. This to me was something new, magnificent. I 
had never imagined that a man could produce such an effect with mere words. All he wanted 
from me, however, was one thing - agreement. I soon came to realise this. Nor was it hard for 
me to agree with him, because I had never given any thought to the many problems which he 
raised. 

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to assume that our friendship confined itself to this unilateral 
relationship only. This would have been too cheap for Adolf and too little forme. The important 
thing was that we were complementary to each other. In him, everything broughtforth a strong 
reaction and forced him to take a stand; for his emotional outbursts were only a sign of his 
passionate interest in everything. I, on the other hand, being of a contemplative nature, accepted 
unreservedly all his arguments on things that interested him and yielded to them, always 
excepting musical matters. 

Of course, I mustadmitthatAdolfs claims on me were boundless and took up all my spare time. 
As he himself did not have to keep to a regular timetable I had to be at his beck and call. He 



demanded everything from me, but was also prepared to do everything forme. In fact I had no 
alternative. My friendship with him did not leave me any time for cultivating other friends; nor did I 
feel the need of them, Adolf was as much to me as a dozen other ordinary friends. Only one thing 
might have separated us -- if we had both fallen in love with the same girl; this would have been 
serious. As I was seventeen atthe time this mightwell have happened. But it was precisely in this 
respect that fate had a special solution in store for us. Such a unique solution-l describe it later in 
the chapter called "Stefanie" -- that, ratherthan upsetting ourfriendship, served to deepen it. 

I knew that he, too, had no other friends besides me. I remember in this connection a quite trivial 
detail. We were strolling along the Landstrasse when it happened. A young man, about ourage, 
came around the corner, a plump, rather dandified young gentleman. He recognised Adolf as a 
former classmate, stopped, and grinning all over his face, called out, "Hello, Hitier!" He took him 
familiarly by the arm and asked him quite sincerely how he was getting on. I expected Adolf to 
respond in the same friendly manner, as he always set great store by correct and courteous 
behaviour. But my friend went red with rage. I knew from former experience that this change of 
expression boded ill. "Whatthe devil is thatto do with you?" he threw at him excitedly, and 
pushed him sharply away. Then he took my arm and went with me on his way without bothering 
about the young man whose flushed and baffled face I can still see before me. "All future civil 
servants," said Adolf, still furious, "and with this lot I had to sit in the same class." It was a long 
time before he calmed down. 

Another experience sticks out in my memory. My venerated violin teacher, Heinrich Dessauer, 
had died. Adolf went to the funeral with me, which rather surprised me as he did not know 
Professor Dessauer at all. When I expressed my surprise he said, "I can't bear it that you should 
mix with other young people and talk to them." 

There was no end to the things, even trivial ones, that could upset him. But he lost his temper 
most of all when it was suggested that he should become a civil servant. Whenever he heard the 
word "civil servant," even without any connection with his own career, he fell into a rage. I 
discovered that these outbursts of fury were, in a certain sense, still quarrels with his long-dead 
father, whose greatest desire it had been to turn him into a civil servant. So to speak, a 
"posthumous defence." 

It was an essential part of ourfriendship at that time, that my opinion of civil servants should be 
as low as his. Knowing his violent rejection of a career in the civil service, I could now appreciate 
that he preferred the friendship of a simple upholsterer to that of one of those spoilt darlings who 
were assured of patronage by their good connections and knew in advance the exact course their 
life would follow. Hitler was justthe opposite. With him everything was uncertain. There was 
another positive factor which made me seem, in Adolf's eyes, predestined to be his friend: like 
him I considered art to be the greatest thing in man's life. Of course, in those days, we were not 
able to express this sentiment in such hifalutin words. But in practice we conformed to this 
principle, because in my life music had long since become the decisive factor-- 1 worked in the 
workshop only to make my living. For my friend art was even more. His intense way of absorbing, 
scrutinising, rejecting, his terrific seriousness, his ever active mind needed a counterpoise. And 
only art could provide this. 

Thus I fulfilled all the requirements he would look for in a friend: I had nothing in common with his 
former classmate, I had nothing to do with the civil service and I lived entirely for art. In addition I 
knew a lot about music. 

The similarity of our inclinations welded us closely together as did the dissimilarity of our 
temperaments. 



I leave it to others to judge whether people who, like Adolf, find their way with a sleepwalker's 
sureness, pick up at random the companion that they need forthatparticular part of their path, or 
whetherfate chooses forthem. All I can say is thatfrom our first meeting in the theatre up to his 
decline into misery in Vienna I was thatcompanion for Adolf Hitler. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 3 - Portrait of the Young HitJer 



Adolf was of middle heightand slender, atthattime already taller than his mother. His physique 
was farfrom sturdy, rathertoo thin for its height, and he was notatall strong. His health, in fact, 
was rather poor, which he was the first to regret. He had to take special care of himself during the 
foggy and damp winters which prevailed in Linz. He was ill from time to time during that period 
and coughed a lot. In short, he had weak lungs. 

His nose was quite straight and well proportioned, but in no way remarkable. His forehead was 
high and receded a litde. I was always sorry that even in those days he had the habit of combing 
his hair straight down over his forehead. Yet this traditional forehead-nose-mouth description 
seems rather ridiculous to me. For in this countenance the eyes were so outstanding that one 
didn't notice anything else. Never in my life have I seen any other person whose appearance - 
how shall I put it- was so completely dominated by the eyes. They were the light eyes of his 
mother, but her somewhat staring, penetrating gaze was even more marked in the son and had 
even more force and expressiveness. It was uncanny how these eyes could change their 
expression, especially when Adolf was speaking. To me his sonorous voice meant much less 
than the expression of his eyes. In fact, Adolf spoke with his eyes, and even when his lips were 
silent one knew what he wanted to say. When he first came to our house and I introduced him to 
my mother, she said to me in the evening, "Whateyes yourfriend has!" And I rememberquite 
distinctiy that there was more fear than admiration in her words. If I am asked where one could 
perceive, in his youth, this man's exceptional qualities, I can only answer, "In the eyes." 

Naturally his extraordinary eloquence, also, was striking. But I was then too inexperienced to 
attach to it any special significance for the future. I, for one, was certain that Hitler some day 
would be a great artist, a poet I thought at first, then a great painter; until later, in Vienna, he 
convinced me that his real talent was in the field of architecture. For these artistic ambitions his 
eloquence was of no use, rather a hindrance. Nevertheless, I always liked to listen to him. His 
language was very refined. He disliked dialect, in particular Viennese, the soft melodiousness of 
which was utterly repulsive to him. To be sure. Hitler did not speak Austrian in the true sense. It 
was rather that in his diction, especially in the rhythm of his speech, there was something 
Bavarian. Perhaps this was due to the factthatfrom his third to his sixth year, the real formative 
years for speech, he lived in Passau, where his father was then a customs official. 

There is no doubt that my friend Adolf had shown a giftfor oratory from his earliest youth. And he 
knew it. He liked to talk, and talked without pause. Sometimes when he soared too high in his 
fantasies I couldn't help suspecting that all this was nothing but an exercise in oratory. Then 
again I thought otherwise. Did I not take everything for gospel that he said? Sometimes Adolf 
would try out his powers of oratory on me or on others. It always stuck in my memory how, when 
not yet eighteen, he convinced my father that he should release me from his workshop and send 
me to Vienna to the Conservatory. In view of the awkward and unforthcoming nature of my father 
this was a considerable achievement. From the moment I had this proof of his talent- forme so 
decisive - I considered that there was nothing that Hitler could not achieve by a convincing 
speech. 

He was in the habit of emphasizing his words by measured and studied gestures. Now and then, 
when he was speaking on one of his favourite subjects, such as the bridge over the Danube, the 
rebuilding of the Museum or even the subterranean railway station which he had planned for Linz, 
I would interrupt him and ask him how he imagined he would ever carry out these projects - we 



were only poor devils. Then he would throw at me a strange and hostile glance as though he had 
not understood my question at all. I never got an answer; at the most he would shut me up with a 
wave of his hand. Later I got used to it and ceased to find it ridiculous that the sixteen- or 
seventeen-year-old boy should develop gigantic projects and expound them to me down to the 
last detail. If I had listened only to his words the whole thing would have appeared to be either 
idle fantasy or sheer lunacy; but the eyes convinced me that he was in deadly earnest. 

Adolf set great store by good manners and correct behaviour. He observed with painstaking 
punctiliousness the rules of social conduct, however little he thought of society itself. He always 
emphasized the position of his father, who as a customs official ranked more or less with a 
captain in the army. Hearing him speak of his father, one would never have imagined how 
violently he disliked the idea of being a civil servant. Nevertheless, there was in his bearing 
something very precise. He would neverforgetto send regards to my people, and every postcard 
bore greetings to my "esteemed parents." 

When we lodged together in Vienna, I discovered that every evening he would put his trousers 
carefully underthe mattress so thatthe next morning he could rejoice in a faultless crease. Adolf 
realised the value of a good appearance, and, in spite of his lack of vanity, knew how to make the 
best of himself. He made excellent use of his undoubted histrionic talents, which he cleverly 
combined with his gift for oratory. I used to ask myself why Adolf, in spite of all these pronounced 
capabilities, did not get on better in Vienna; only later did I realise that professional success was 
notatall his ambition. People who knew him in Vienna could not understand the contradiction 
between his well-groomed appearance, his educated speech and his self-assured bearing on the 
one hand, and the starveling existence that he led on the other, and judged him either haughty or 
pretentious. He was neither. He just didn't fit into any bourgeois order. 

Adolf had brought starvation to a fine art, though he ate very well when occasion offered. To be 
sure, in Vienna he generally lacked the money for food. But even if he had it, he would prefer to 
starve and spend it on a theatre seat. He had no comprehension of enjoyment of life as others 
knew it. He did not smoke, he did not drink, and in Vienna, for instance, he lived for days on milk 
and bread only. 

With his contempt for everything pertaining to the body, sport, which was then coming into 
fashion, meant nothing to him. I read somewhere of how audaciously the young Hitler had swum 
across the Danube. I do not recollect anything of the sort; the most swimming we did was an 
occasional dip in the Rodel stream. He showed some interest in the bicycle club, mainly because 
they ran an ice rink in the winter. And this only because the girl he adored used to practise 
skating there. 

Walking was the only exercise that really appealed to Adolf. He walked always and everywhere 
and, even in my workshop and in my room, he would stride up and down. I recall him always on 
the go. He could walk for hours without getting tired. We used to explore the surroundings of Linz 
in all directions. His love of nature was pronounced, but in a very personal way. Unlike other 
subjects, nature never attracted him as a matter for study; I hardly ever remember seeing him 
with a book on the subject. Here was the limit of his thirstfor knowledge. Details did not interest 
him, but only nature as a whole. He referred to it as "in the open." This expression sounded as 
familiar on his lips as the word "home." And, in fact, he did feel at home with nature. As early as 
in the first years of our friendship I discovered his peculiar preference for nocturnal excursions, or 
even for staying overnight in some unfamiliar district. 

Being in the open had an extraordinary effect upon him. He was then quite a different person 
from what he was in town. Certain sides of his character revealed themselves nowhere else. He 
was never so collected and concentrated as when walking along the quiet paths in the beech 
woods of the MiJhlviertel, orat night when we took a quick walk on the Freinberg. To the rhythm 
of his steps his thoughts would flow more smoothly and to better purpose than elsewhere. For a 



long time I could not understand one peculiar contradiction in him. When the sun shone brightly in 
the streets and a fresh, revivifying wind brought the smell of the woods into the town, an 
irresistible force drove him out of the narrow, stuffy streets into the woods and fields. But hardly 
had we reached the open country, than he would assure me that it would be impossible for him to 
live in the country again. It would be terrible for him to have to live in a village. For all his love of 
nature, he was always glad when we got back to the town. 

As I grew to know him better, I also came to understand this apparent contradiction. He needed 
the town, the variety and abundance of its impressions, experiences and events; he felt there that 
he had his share in everything; that there was nothing in which his interest was not engaged. He 
needed people with their contrasting interests, their ambitions, intentions, plans and desires. Only 
in this problem-laden atmosphere did he feel at home. F rom this point of view the village was 
altogether too simple, too insignificant, too unimportant, and did not provide enough scope for his 
limitless need to take an interest in everything. Besides, for him, a town was interesting in itself as 
an agglomeration of houses and buildings. It was understandable that he should wantto live only 
in a town. 

On the other hand, he needed an effective counterweight to the town, which always troubled and 
excited him and made constant demands on his interests and his talents. He found this in nature, 
which even he could not try to change and improve because its eternal laws are beyond the 
reach of the human will. Here he could once more find his own self, since here he was not 
obliged, as he was in town, eternally to be taking sides. 

My friend had a special way of making nature serve him. He used to seek out a lonely spot 
outside the town, which he would visit again and again. Every bush and every tree was familiar to 
him. There was nothing to disturb his contemplative mood. Nature surrounded him like the walls 
of a quiet, friendly room in which he could cultivate undisturbed his passionate plans and ideas. 

For some time, on fine days, he used to frequent a bench on the Turmleitenweg where he 
established a kind of openair study. There he would read his books, sketch and paint in water 
colours. Here were born his first poems. Another spot, which later became a favourite, was even 
more lonely and secluded. We would sit on a high, overhanging rock looking down on the 
Danube. The sight of the gentiy flowing river always moved Adolf. How often did my friend tell me 
of his plans up there! Sometimes he would be overcome by his feelings and give free reign to his 
imagination. I remember him once describing to me so vividly Kriemhild's journey to the country 
of the Huns that I imagined I could see the mighty ships of the kings of Burgundy drifting down 
the river. 

Ouite different were our far-ranging excursions. Not much preparation was necessary- a strong 
walking stick was the only requisite. With his everyday clothes Adolf would wear a coloured shirt 
and, as a sign of his intention to undertake a long trip, would sport instead of the usual tie a silk 
cord with two tassels hanging down. We wouldn't take any food with us, but somewhere would 
manage to find a bit of dry bread and a glass of milk. What wonderful, carefree times those were! 

We despised railways and coaches and went everywhere on foot. Whenever we combined our 
Sunday trip with an outing for my parents, which for us had the advantage that my father treated 
us to a good meal in a country inn, we started out early enough to meet them at our destination, 
to which they had come by train. My father was particularly fond of a littie village called Walding, 
which attracted us because nearby was the Rodel stream in which we liked to bathe on warm 
summer days. 

A littie incident stands out in my memory. Adolf and I had left the inn for a bathe. We were both 
fairly good swimmers, but my mother, nevertheless, was nervous. She followed us and stood on 
a protruding rock to watch us. The rock sloped down to the water and was covered with moss. My 



poor mother, while she was anxiously watching us, slipped on the smooth moss and slid into the 
water. I was too faraway to help her at once, butAdolf immediately jumped in after her and 
dragged her out. He always remained attached to my parents. As late as 1944, on my mother's 
eightieth birthday, he sent her a food parcel, and I never discovered how he came to know about 
it. 

Adolf was particularly fond of the Miihlviertel. From the Postlingberg we would walk across the 
Holzpoldl and the Elendsimmerl to Gramastetten or wander through the woods round the 
Lichtenhag Ruins. Adolf measured the walls, though not much of them remained, and entered the 
measurements in his sketchbook, which he always carried with him. Then with a few strokes he 
sketched the original castle, drew in the moat and the drawbridge and adorned the walls with 
fanciful pinnacles and turrets. He exclaimed there once to my surprise, "This is the ideal setting 
for my sonnet!" But when I wanted to know more about it he said, "I mustfirstsee what I make of 
it." And on our way home he confessed that he was going to try to extend the material into a play. 

We would go to St. Georgen on the Gusen to find outwhatrelics of thatfamous battle in the 
Peasants' War still remained. When we were unsuccessful Adolf had a strange idea. He was 
convinced that the people who lived there would have some faint memory of that great battle. The 
following day he went again alone, after a vain attempt to get my father to give me the day off. He 
spent two days and two nights there, but I don't remember with what result. 

For the sole reason that Adolf wanted, for a change, to see his beloved Linz from the east, I had 
to make with him the unattractive climb up the Pfennigberg, in which the Linzers, as he 
complained, didn't show enough interest. I also liked the view of the city, but least of all from this 
side. Nevertheless, Adolf remained for hours in this uninviting spot, sketching. 

On the other hand, St. Florian became for me, too, a place of pilgrimage, for here, where Anton 
Bruckner had worked and hallowed the surroundings by his memory, we imagined that we 
actually met "God's musician" and heard his inspired improvisations on the greatorgan in the 
magnificent church. Then we would stand in front of the simple gravestone let into the floor 
beneath the choir, where the great master had been buried ten years earlier. The wonderful 
monastery had aroused my friend to the heights of enthusiasm. He had stood in front of the 
glorious staircase for an hour or more -- at any rate much too long for me. And how much did be 
admire the splendour of the library! But the deepest impression was made on him by the contrast 
between the overdecorated apartments of the monastery and Bruckner's simple room. When he 
saw its humble furniture, he was strengthened in his belief that on this earth genius almost always 
goes hand in hand with poverty. 

Such visits were revealing to me, for Adolf was by nature very reserved. There was always a 
certain element in his personality into which he would allow nobody to penetrate. He had his 
inscrutable secrets, and in many respects always remained a riddle to me. But there was one key 
that opened the door to much that would have remained hidden: his enthusiasm for beauty. All 
that separated us disappeared when we stood in front of such a magnificent work of art as the 
Monastery of St. Florian. Then, fired by enthusiasm, Adolf would lower all his defences and I felt 
to the full the joy of our friendship. 

I have often been asked, and even by Rudolf Hess, who once invited me to visit him in Linz, 
whether Adolf, when I knew him, had any sense of humour. One feels the lack of it, people of his 
entourage said. After all, he was an Austrian and should have had his share of the famous 
Austrian sense of humour. Certainly one's impression of Hitler, especially after a shortand 
superficial acquaintance, was that of a deeply serious man. This enormous seriousness seemed 
to overshadow everything else. It was the same when he was young. He approached the 
problems with which he was concerned with a deadly earnestness which ill suited his sixteen or 
seventeen years. He was capable of loving and admiring, hating and despising, all with the 
greatest seriousness. One thing he could not do was to pass over something with a smile. Even 



with a subject in wiiicii lie did nottal<e a personal interest, sucii as sport, this was, nevertheless, 
as a phenomenon of modern times, just as important to him as any other. He never came to the 
end of his problems. His profound earnestness never ceased to attack new problems, and if he 
did notfind any in the present, he would brood at home for hours over his books and burrow into 
the problems of the past. This extraordinary earnestness was his moststriking quality. Many 
other qualities which are characteristic of youth were lacking in him: a carefree letting go of 
himself, living only for the day -- the happy attitude of "What is to be, will be." Even "going off the 
rails," in the coarse exuberance of youth, was alien to him. His idea, strange to say, was that 
these were things that did not become a young man. And because of this, humour was confined 
to the most intimate sphere as if it were something taboo. His humour was usually aimed at 
people in his immediate circle, in other words a sphere in which problems no longer existed for 
him. For this reason his grim and sour humour was often mixed with irony, but always an irony 
with friendly intent. Thus, he saw me once at a concert where I was playing the trumpet. He got 
enormous amusement out of imitating me and insisted that with my blown-out cheeks I looked 
like one of Rubens' angels. 

I cannot conclude this chapter without mentioning one of Hitier's qualities which, I freely admit, 
seems paradoxical to talk about now. Hitler was full of deep understanding and sympathy. He 
took a mosttouching interest in me. Without my telling him, he knew exactly how I felt. How often 
this helped me in difficult times! He always knew what I needed and what I wanted. However 
intensely he was occupied with himself he would always have time for the affairs of those people 
in whom he was interested. It was not by chance that he was the one who persuaded my father to 
let me study music and thereby influenced my life in a decisive way. Rather, this was the outcome 
of his general attitude of sharing in all the things that were of concern to me. Sometimes I had a 
feeling that he was living my life as well as his own. 

Thus, I have drawn the portrait of the young Hitler as well as I can from memory. But for the 
question, then unknown and unexpressed, which hung above ourfriendship, I have not to this 
day found any answer: "What were God's intentions when he created this man?" 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 4 - Portrait of His i^lother 



When I first met her, Klara Hitler was already forty-five years old and a widow of two years' 
standing. Whenever I saw her I had -- 1 don't know why -- a feeling of sympathy for her, and felt 
that I wanted to do something for her. She was glad that Adolf had found a friend whom he liked 
and trusted, and for this reason Frau Hitler liked me, too. How often did she unburden to me the 
worries which Adolf caused her. And how fervently did she hope to enlist my help in persuading 
her son to follow his father's wishes in the choice of a career! I had to disappoint her, yet she did 
not blame me, for she must have felt that the reasons for Adolf's behaviour were much too deep, 
far beyond the reach of my influence. 

J ust as Adolf often enjoyed the hospitality of my parents' home, I went often to see his mother 
and on taking leave was unfailingly asked by Frau Hitler to come again. I considered myself as 
part of the family -- there was hardly anybody else who visited them. 

No. 31 Humboldtstrasse is a three-storied, notunpleasanttenement building. The Hitlers lived on 
the third floor. I can still visualise the humble apartment. The small kitchen, with green painted 
furniture, had only one window, which looked out on to the courtyard. The living room, with the 
two beds of his mother and little Paula, overlooked the street. On the side wall hung a portrait of 
his father, with a typical civil servants face, impressive and dignified, whose rather grim 
expression was mitigated by the carefully groomed whiskers a la E mperor F ranz J oseph. Adolf 
lived and studied in the closet, off the bedroom. 

Paula, Adolfs little sister, was nine when I first met the family. She was a rather pretty girl, quiet 
and reserved. I never saw her gay. We got on rather well with each other but Adolf was not 
particularly close to her. This was due perhaps to the difference in age - he always referred to 
her as "the kid." Paula never married and now lives in Konigssee, near Berchtesgaden. 

Another acquaintance I made in the Hitlerfamily was a striking-looking young woman of just over 
twenty, called Angela, whose place in the family puzzled me atfirst, although she addressed 
Klara Hitler as "Mother," just as Paula did. Later I learned the solution of the mystery. Angela, 
born on the twenty-eighth J uly, 1883, that is to say six years before Adolf, was a child of the 
father's previous marriage. Her mother, Franziska Matzelsberger, died the yearafter her birth. 
Five months later the father married Klara Polzl. Angela, who naturally had no recollection of her 
own mother, looked upon Klara as her mother. In September 1903, a year before I became 
acquainted with Adolf, Angela had married a revenue official called Raubal. She lived with her 
husband nearby and often came to visit her stepmother, but never brought him with her; at any 
rate, I never met Raubal. Angela was quite unlike Frau Hitler, a jolly person who enjoyed life and 
loved to laugh. She broughtsome life into the family. She was very handsome with her regular 
features, and her beautiful hair which was as dark as Adolf's. 

From Adolfs description, but also from some hints of his mother's, I gathered that Raubal was a 
drunkard. Adolf bated him. He saw in him a personification of everything he despised in a man. 
He spent his time in the pub, drank and smoked, gambled his money away, and on top of that - 
he was a civil servant. And as though that were not enough, Raubal thought it was his duty to 
support his father-in-law's views by urging Adolf to become a civil servant himself. This was 
enough to antagonise Adolf completely. When Adolf talked of Raubal his face assumed a truly 
threatening aspect. Perhaps it was Adolf's pronounced hatred of his half sister's husband that 
kept Raubal away from the Humboldtstrasse. Atthe time of Raubal's death, only a few years after 



his marriage to Angela, the breal< between iiim and Adolf was already complete. Angela 
remarried later, an architect in Dresden, and died in Munich in 1949. 

I learned from Adolf thatfrom his father's second marriage there was also a son, Alois, who spent 
his childhood with the Hitlerfamily but left them while they were living in Lambach. This half 
brother of Adolf's -- born on December 13, 1882, in Braunau -- was seven years older than Adolf. 
While his father was alive he still came to Leonding a couple of times, but as far as I know he 
never appeared in the Humboldtstrasse. He never played any important part in Hitler's life, nor 
did he take any interest in Adolf's political career. He turned up once in Paris, then in Vienna, 
later in Berlin, and today, seventy years old, lives in Hamburg. His first marriage was to a 
Dutchwoman and they had a son, William Patrick Hitler, who in August 1939 published a 
pamphlet. My Uncle Adolf; a son by his second wife, Heinz Hitler, fell as an officer on the Eastern 
Front. 

Frau Hitler did not like to talk about herself and her worries, yet she found relief in telling me of 
her doubts about Adolf. Naturally she didn't get much satisfaction from the vague and, for her, 
meaningless utterances of Adolf about his future as an artist. The preoccupation with the well- 
being of her only surviving son depressed her increasingly. "Our poor father cannot rest in his 
grave," she used to say to Adolf, "because you will flout his wishes. Obedience is what 
distinguishes a good son, but you don't know the meaning of the word. That's why you did so 
badly at school and why you're not getting anywhere now." 

Gradually I learned to understand the suffering this woman endured. She never complained, but 
she told me about the hard time she had had in her youth. 

So I came to know, partly by experience, partly by what I was told, the circumstances of the Hitler 
family. Occasionally mention was made of some relations in the Waldviertel, but it was difficult for 
me to understand whether these were his father's relations or his mother's. In any case, the Hitler 
family had relations only in the Waldviertel, quite unlike other Austrian civil servants, who had 
relatives scattered all over the country. Only later did I come to realise that Hitler's paternal and 
maternal lineage already merged in the second generation, so thatfrom the grandfather upwards 
Adolf had only one set of forebears. I remember that Adolf did visit some relatives in the 
Waldviertel. Once he sent me a picture postcard from Weitra, which is in the part of the 
Waldviertel nearestto Bohemia. I do not know what had taken him there. He never spoke very 
willingly about his relations in that part of the country, but preferred to describe the landscape; 
poor, barren country, a striking contrastto the rich and fertile Danube valley of the Wachau. This 
raw, hard peasant country was the homeland of both his maternal and paternal ancestors. 

Frau Klara Hitler, nee Polzl, was born on August 12, 1860, in Spital, a poor village in the 
Waldviertel. Her father, J ohann Baptist Polzl, was a simple peasant. Her mother's maiden name 
was J ohanna Hiittler. The name Hitler is spelt differently in the various documents. There is the 
spelling Hiedler and Hiittler, while Hitler is used for the firsttime by Adolf's father. 

This J ohanna Hiittler, Adolfs maternal grandmother, was, according to the documents, a 
daughter of J ohann Nepomuk Hiedler. Thus Klara Polzl was directly related to the Huttler-Hiedler 
family, for J ohann Nepomuk Hiedler was the brother of that J ohann Georg Hiedler who appears 
in the baptismal register of Dollersheim as Adolf's father's father. Klara Polzl was, therefore, a 
second cousin of her husband. Alois Hitler always referred to her before their marriage simply as 
his niece. 

Klara Polzl had a miserable childhood in the poor and wretched home where there were so many 
children. In 1875, when she was fifteen years old, her relative, the customs official Alois 
Schicklgruber at Braunau, invited her to come and help his wife in the house. Alois Schicklgruber, 
who only in the following year assumed the name Hiedler, which he changed into Hitler, was then 



married to Anna Glasl-Horer. This first marriage of Alois Hitler with a woman fourteen years older 
than himself remained without issue and they finally separated. When his wife died in 1883, Alois 
Hitler married Franziska Matzelsberger, who was twenty-four years his junior. The children of this 
marriage were Adolfs half brother Alois and half sister Angela. Klara, who had continued living in 
the house during the time he was separated from his first wife, left on the second marriage and 
went to Vienna. As Franziska, the second wife, fell gravely ill after the birth of her second child, 
Alois Hitler called his niece back to Braunau. Franziska died on August 1,0, 1884, barely two 
years after her marriage. (Alois, the first child of this union, had been born out of wedlock and 
adopted by his father.) On J anuary 7, 1885, six months after the death of his second wife, Alois 
Hitler married his "niece" Klara, who was already expecting a child by him, the first son, Gustav, 
who was born on May 17, 1885, that is to say five months after the marriage, and who died on 
December 9, 1887. 

Although Klara Polzl was only a second cousin, the couple needed an ecclesiastical dispensation 
for their marriage. The application for this, in the clean, copper-plate handwriting of an Austro- 
Hungarian civil servant, still exists in the archives of the Episcopate in Linz under the number 
6.911/11/2 1884. The documents read as follows: 

Application of Alois Hitler and his fiancee, Klara Polzl, for permission to marry. 

Most Reverend Episcopate! 

Those, in humblest devotion undersigned, have decided to marry. According to the enclosed 
family tree they are prevented by ttie canonical impediment of collateral affinity in the third degree 
touching ttie second. They ttierefore humbly request the Reverend Episcopate to graciously 
procure them dispensation on the following grounds: According to the enclosed death certificate 
ttie bridegroom has been a widower since 1 0th August of this year and is fattier of two infant 
children, a boy of two and a half (Alois) and a girl of one year and two monttis (Angela) for whose 
care he needs a woman-help as he, being a customs official, is away from his home the whole 
day and also often at night, and ttierefore hardly able to supervise the education and upbringing 
of ttie children. The bride has looked after ttie children ever since the death of ttie mother and 
ttiey are very fond of her, so that it may be justifiably assumed that the upbringing would be 
successful and ttie marriage a happy one. Moreover, the bride is wittiout means and it is 
ttierefore unlikely that she will ever have anottier opportunity of a good marriage. 

For ttiese reasons the undersigned repeat ttieir humble petition for ttie gracious procurement of 
dispensation from the impediment of affinity. 

Braunau, 27th October, 1884 
ALOIS HITLER, Bridegroom -- KLARA POLZL, Bride 
The family tree that accompanied the application was as follows: 
J ohann Georg Hiedler — J ohann Nepomuk Hiedler 
Alois Hitier J ohanna Hiedler (married Polzl) 

Klara Polzl 

The Linz Episcopate declared itself not competent to issue the dispensation and forwarded the 
application to Rome where itwas granted by papal decree. 



Alois Hitler's marriage with Klara was described by various acquaintances as very happy, which 
was presumably due to the submissive and accommodating nature of the wife. Once she said to 
me in this respect, "What I hoped and dreamed of as a young girl has not been fulfilled in my 
marriage;" and added resignedly, "But does such a thing ever happen?" 

The birth of the children in quick succession was a heavy psychological and physical burden for 
the frail woman: in 1885 the son Gustav was born, in 1886 a daughter, Ida, who died after two 
years, in 1887 another son. Otto, who only lived three days, and on April 20, 1889, again a son, 
Adolf. How much suffering is hidden behind these bare figures! When Adolf was born the three 
other children were already dead. With what care the sorely tried mother must have looked after 
this fourth child! She told me once thatAdolf was a very weak child and thatshe always lived in 
fear of losing him, too. 

Perhaps the early death of the three children was due to the factthatthe parents were blood 
relations. I leave it to the experts to give the final verdict. But in this connection I would like to 
draw attention to one point to which, in my opinion, greatest importance should be attached. 

The most outstanding trait in my friend's character was, as I had experienced myself, the 
unparalleled consistency in everything that he said and did. There was in his nature something 
firm, inflexible, immovable, obstinately rigid, which manifested itself in his profound seriousness 
and was atthe bottom of all his other characteristics. Adolf simply could notchange his mind or 
his nature. Everything that lay in these rigid precincts of his being remained unaltered forever. 
How often did I experience this! I remember what he said to me when we met again in 1938 after 
an interval of thirty years. "You haven't changed, Kubizek, you have only grown older." If this was 
true of me, how much more was it of him! He never changed. 

I have tried to find an explanation for this fundamental trait in his character. Influence of 
surroundings and education can hardly accountfor it, but I could imagine -- although a complete 
layman in the field of genetics -- that the biological effect of the intermarriage in the family was to 
fix certain spheres and thatthose "arrested complexes" have produced that particular type of 
character. Itwas justthis inflexibility that was responsible for Adolf Hitler's causing such 
innumerable sorrows to his mother. 

Once more the mother's heart was sorely tried by destiny. Five years after Adolfs birth, on March 
24, 1894, she gave birth to a fifth child, a son, Edmund, who also died young, on J une 29, 1900, 
in Leonding. Although Adolf had no recollection of the first three children in Braunau, and never 
spoke of them, he could clearly remember his brother Edmund, atthe time of whose death he 
was already eleven years old. He told me once the Edmund had died of diphtheria. The youngest 
child, a girl called Paula, born on J anuary 21, 1896, survived. 

Thus, an early death had deprived Klara Hitler of four of her six children. Perhaps her mother's 
heart was broken by these terrible trials. Only one thing remained, the care of the two surviving 
children, a care which she had to bear alone after the death of her husband. Small comfort that 
Paula was a quiet, easily led child; all the greater was the anxiety over the only son, an anxiety 
that only ended with her death. 

Adolf really loved his mother. I swear to it before God and man. I remember many occasions 
when he showed this love for his mother, most deeply and movingly during her last illness; he 
never spoke of his mother but with deep affection. He was a good son. It was beyond his power 
to fulfil her most heartfelt wish to see him started on a safe career. When we lived together in 
Vienna he always carried his mother's portrait with him. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 5 - Portrait of His Father 



Although his father had been dead nearly two years when I first met Adolf he was still "ever 
present" to his family. The mother perpetuated his personality in every way, for with her malleable 
nature she had almost entirely lost her own, and what she thought, said and did was all in the 
spirit of the dead father. But she lacked the strength and energy to put into effect the father's will. 
She, who forgave everything, was handicapped in the upbringing of her son by, her boundless 
love for him. I could imagine how complete and enduring the influence of this man had been on 
his family, a real partriarchal father-of-the-family, whose authority was unquestioningly respected. 
Now his picture hung in the best position in the room. On the kitchen shelves, I still remember, 
there were carefully arrayed the long pipes which he used to smoke. They were almost a symbol 
in the family of his absolute power. Many a time, when talking of him, Frau Hitier would 
emphasise her words by pointing to these pipes as though they should bear witness how faithfully 
she carried on the father's tradition. 

Adolf spoke of his father with great respect. I never heard him say anything against him, in spite 
of their differences of opinion about his career. In fact he respected him more as time went on. 
Adolf did not take it amiss that his father had autocratically decided on his son's future career; for 
this was considered his right, even his duty. It was quite a different matter when Raubal, his step- 
sister's husband, this uneducated person, who was himself only a littie revenue official, arrogated 
to himself this right. Adolf would certainly not permit him to interfere in his personal affairs. But the 
authority of his father still remained, even after his death, the force in the struggle with which 
Adolf developed his own powers. His father's attitude had provoked him first to secret, then to 
open rebellion. There were violent scenes, which often ended in the father giving him a good 
hiding, as Adolf told me himself. But Adolf matched this violence with his own youthful obstinacy, 
and the antagonism between father and son grew sharper. 

The customs official Alois Hitler showed a marked sense of ceremony all his life. Consequently 
we have good pictures showing him at various stages of his life. Not so much at his weddings, 
which were always under an unlucky star, but at the various promotions in his career, did he have 
his picture taken. Most of the pictures show him, with his dignified civil servants face, in gala 
uniform of white trousers and dark tunic, on which the double row of highly polished buttons 
gleamed. The man's face is impressive. A broad, massive head, the most notable feature being 
the side whiskers, modelled on those of his supreme master, the E mperor. The expression of the 
eyes is penetrating and incorruptible, the eyes of a man who, as a customs official, is obliged to 
view everything with suspicion. But in most pictures dignity prevails over the "inquisitiveness" of 
the gaze. Even the pictures taken at the time when 

Alois Hitier had already retired show that this man was, in spirit, still on duty. Although he was 
past sixty he didn't show any of the typical signs of age. One of the pictures, probably the last 
one, which can also be seen on his grave in Leonding, shows Alois Hitler as a man whose life 
consisted of service and duty. To be sure there is also an earlier photograph, dating from his 
Leonding days, which, emphasising his private life, depicts him as a comfortable, well-to-do 
citizen, fond of good living. 

Alois Hitier's rise from being the illegitimate son of a poor servant girl to the position of a 
respected civil servant is the path from insignificance and inferior status to tiie highest rank open 
to him in the service of the State. 

His colleagues in the Customs Service describe him as a precise, dutiful official who was very 
strictand had his "weak spots." As a superior Alois Hitier was not very popular. Out of office he 



was considered a liberal-minded man who did not conceal his convictions. He was very proud of 
his rank. Every day he would pay his morning visit to the inn with an official's punctuality. His 
regular drinking companions found him good company but he could flare up over trifles and 
become rude, displaying both his inborn violence and the sternness that he had acquired in his 
job. 

His illegitimate birth is conclusively proved by tiie Church register of tiie Parish of Strones. 
According to this, the forty-two-year-old servant maid Anna Maria Schicklgrubergave birth to a 
son on J uly 7, 1837, who was christened Alois. The godfather was her employer, the peasant 
J ohann Trummelschlager, in Strones. As far as is known the child was the first and the only one. 
The identity of the father was not revealed by the mother. 

Anna Maria Schicklgruber married the mill worker] ohann Georg Hiedler in 1842 when the 
illegitimate child was already five years old. The Church Register of Dollersheim contains the 
following entry: 

The undersigned hereby confirm that] ohann Georg Hiedier, who is well known to the 
undersigned witnesses, has acknowledged paternity of the child Alois of Anna Maria 
Schicklgruber and requests that his name be entered in the Baptismal Register 

The entry is signed by the Parish priest and four witnesses. 

J ohann Georg Hiedler again acknowledged his paternity in an official document concerning some 
inheritance in 1876 before the Notary in Weitra. He was then eighty-four years old and the child's 
mother had been dead for over thirty years. Alois Schicklgruber had been a customs official in 
Braunau for many years. 

As the boy was not officially adopted after his mother's wedding, his name remained 
Schicklgruber. He would have kept this name throughout his life had not J ohann Nepomuk 
Hiedler, J ohann Georg's younger brother, made a will and lefta modestsum to the illegitimate 
son of his brother. But he made the condition that Alois should assume the name Hiedler, and on 
J une 4, 1876, the name Alois Schicklgruber in the Church Register of the Parish of Dollersheim 
was altered to Alois Hiedler; the local government authority in Mistelbach ratifying this alteration 
on J anuary 6, 1877. From now on Alois Schicklgruber called himself Alois Hitler, a name which 
meant as littie as the other, but which secured him his legacy. 

Once when we were talking about his relatives Adolf told me the story of his father's change of 
names. Nothing his "old man" ever did pleased him as much as this; for Schicklgruber seemed to 
him so uncouth, so boorish, apartfrom being so clumsy and unpractical. He found "Hiedler" too 
boring, too soft; buf'Hitier" sounded nice and was easy to remember. 

It is typical of his father that instead of accepting the version "H iedler," as did the rest of his 
relations, he invented the new spelling, "Hitler." It was in keeping with his mania for ceaseless 
change. His superiors had nothing to do with this; for in all his forty years of service he was 
transferred only four times. The towns to which he was posted, Saalfelden, Braunau, Passau and 
Linz, are so favourably situated thattheyform the ideal setting for a customs official's career. But 
hardly had he settled down in one of these places, when he began to move house. During his 
period of service in Braunau there are recorded twelve changes of address; probably there were 
more. During the two years in Passau he moved twice. Soon after his retirement he moved from 
Linz to Hafeld, from there to Lambach - first in the Leingartner Inn, then to a mill, that is to say, 
two changes in one year - then to Leonding. When I met Adolf he remembered seven removals 
and had been to five different schools. It would not be true to say that these constant changes 
were due to bad housing conditions. Surely the Pommer Inn - Alois Hitier was very fond of living 
in inns - (where Adolf was born) was one of the finest and most presentable buildings in the 



whole of Braunau. Nevertheless, the father left there soon after Adolf's birth. Actually he often 
moved from a decent dwelling into a poorerone. The house was not the important thing; rather 
the moving. How can one explain this strange mania? 

Perhaps Alois Hitler simply hated to remain in one spot; and as his service forced on him a 
certain stability, he at least wanted some change in his own sphere. As soon as he had got used 
to certain surroundings, he grew weary of them. To live meant to change one's conditions, a trait 
which I experienced in Adolf too. 

Three times Alois remodelled his family. It is perhaps true that this was due to outside 
circumstances. But if so, certainly fate played strangely into his hands. We know that his first wife, 
Anna, suffered very much from his restlessness, which eventually led to their separation and was 
partly responsible for her unexpected death. For while his firstwife was still alive, Alois Hitier 
already had a child by the woman who became his second wife. And again when the second wife 
fell gravely ill and died, Klara, the third, was already expecting a child of his. J ust sufficient time 
elapsed for the child to be born in wedlock. Alois Hitier was not an easy husband. Even more 
than from Frau Hitler's occasional hints could one gatherthis from her weary, drawn face. This 
lack of inner harmony was perhaps partly due to the fact that Alois Hitler never married a woman 
his own age. Anna was fourteen years older, Franziska twenty-four years younger, and Klara 
twenty-three years younger. 

This strange and unusual habit of the father's, always to change his circumstances, is all the 
more remarkable as those were peaceful, comfortable times without any justification for such 
change. I see in the father's character an explanation of the strange behaviour of the son, whose 
constant restlessness puzzled me for so long. When Adolf and I strolled through the familiar 
streets of the good, old town - all peace, quiet and harmony - my friend would sometimes be 
taken by a certain mood and begin to change everything he saw. That house there was in a 
wrong position; it would have to be demolished. There was an empty plot which could be built up 
instead. That street needed a correction in order to give a more compact impression. Away with 
this horrible, completely bungled tenement block! Let's have a free vista to the Castle. Thus he 
was always rebuilding the town. But it wasn't only a matter of building. A beggar, standing before 
the church, would be an occasion for him to hold forth on the need for a State scheme for the old, 
which would do away with begging. A peasant woman coming along with her milk cartdrawn by a 
miserable dog - occasion to criticize the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for their lack 
of initiative. Two young lieutenants sauntering through the 

streets, their sabres proudly clanking - sufficient reason for him to inveigh against the 
shortcomings of a military service 

which permitted such idleness. This inclination to be dissatisfied with things as they were, always 
to change and improve them, was ineradicable in him. 

And this was by no means a peculiarity which he had acquired through external influences, by his 
upbringing at home or at school, but an innate quality that was also apparent in his father's 
unsettled character. It was a supernatural force, comparable to a motor driving a thousand 
wheels. 

Nevertheless, father and son were affected by this quality in different ways. The father's unruly 
nature was bridled by one steadying factor - his position. The discipline of his office gave his 
volatile character purpose and direction. Again and again he was saved from complications by 
the hard exigencies of his duties. 

The uniform of the customs official served as a cover for anything that may have gone on in the 
stormy sphere of his private life. In particular, being in the service, he unreservedly accepted the 
authority on which the service was built. Although Alois Hitler was inclined to liberal views - an 
inclination not uncommon in the Austrian Civil Service - he would never have questioned the 
authority of the State, epitomized in the person of the Emperor. By fully submitting to this 



accepted authority, Alois Hitler was able to steer safely through all the dangerous reefs and 
sandbanks of his life, on which otherwise he might have foundered. 

This also throws a different light on his obstinate efforts to make a civil servant of Adolf. It was for 
him more than a father's usual preoccupation with his son's future. His purpose was rather to 
direct his son into a position which necessitated submission to authority. It is quite possible that 
the father did not himself realise the inner reason of his attitude, but his determination in insisting 
on his point of view shows that he must have felt how much was at stake for his son. So well did 
he know him. 

With equal determination Adolf refused to comply with his father's wishes, although he himself 
had only very hazy ideas about his future. To become a painter would have been the worst 
possible insult to his father, for it would have meantjust that aimless wandering to which he (the 
father) was so much opposed. 

With his refusal to enter the Civil Service, Adolf Hitler's path diverges sharply from that of his 
father; it takes a different course, final and irrevocable. It was, indeed, the great decision of his 
life. The years thatfollowed it I spent at his side. I could observe how earnestly he tried to find the 
right path for his future, not merely a job that would provide a livelihood, but real tasks for which 
his talents were fitted. 

Alois Hitler died suddenly. On J anuary 3, 1903 -- he was sixty-five and still strong and active -- he 
went, as usual, punctually atten o'clock in the morning to have his drink. Without warning he 
collapsed in his chair. Before a doctor or a priest could be called, he was dead. 

When the fourteen-year-old son saw his dead father he burst out into uncontrollable weeping. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 6 - School 



When I first knew Adolf Hitler lie had, as far as he was concerned, already finished with school. 
To be sure, he was still attending the technical school in Steyr and frequently came home, usually 
every Sunday. Only for his mother's sake had he -- as he put it-- consented to this "last of all 
attempts." His report from the third form of the technical school in Linz had indeed been so bad 
that Frau Hitler had been advised to let Adolf continue his studies at another school. To put it 
bluntly, the difficult pupil had been promoted only on the condition that he left. In this manner the 
school in the capital of the P rovince got rid of its less satisfactory pupils by pushing them off into 
the schools of the smaller towns. Adolf himself was infuriated by this sly method and from the 
very start regarded his attempt in the fourth form of the technical school in Steyr as a failure. By 
this time he knew all that there was to know about schools and had come to the conclusion that in 
view of his own plans for his future, school was of no more use to him. The knowledge that he 
lacked he would make up by studying by himself. Art had long since captured him. To art he 
dedicated himself with youthful passion, convinced thatthis was his true vocation. Compared with 
art, school with its routine appeared grey and monotonous. At long last he wanted to be free and 
go his own way, and despised those young men who did not think likewise. As he emancipated 
himself from the hated atmosphere of school, so did ourfriendship gain in value and importance. 
What his old classmates in all their insignificance had not been able to give him he expected from 
his new friend. 

At the elementary school Hitler was always one of the best pupils. He was quick to learn and 
made progress even without working 

very hard. His firstteacher, Karl Mittermaier, gave him a report, "Full marks in every subject." 
Mittermaier lived till 1938, when he was naturally asked to tell what he remembered of his former 
pupil. Although he still remembered the pale and sickly boy, he had little to say about him. The 
littie Adolf had been very docile, his school things always in perfect order. For the rest there was 
nothing outstanding about him, either good or bad. Incidentally, when Adolf Hitler was Chancellor 
in 1939 he visited thatschool again and seated himself atthe same desk atwhich he had learned 
to read and write. As usual, he made good use of his visit and changed everything possible. He 
personally bought the old school building and ordered the construction of a fine new school. The 
teacher who had succeeded old Mittermaier was invited to Obersalzburg, together with her pupils. 

But things altered when Adolf Hitier in September 1900 entered the technical school at Linz. He 
himself writes about those years: 

Only one thing was certain, my obvious failure at school. I learned what I liked -- in particular, all 
that which I considered would be useful to me as a painter later What I thought was unimportant 
in this respect or what did not attract me, I neglected completely. My marks in this period show 
extremes, varying according to the subject and my regard for it: there is "Praiseworthy" and 
"Excellent' but also "Fair" and "Unsatisfactory". By far my best efforts were in geography and 
even more in history, my favourite subjects, in which I was far ahead of the rest of the class. 

One is apt to geta wrong picture of Adolfs schooldays from his own words. Although Adolf spoke 
to me of his schooldays with reluctance and always with a curious indignation, nevertheless our 
friendship was, so to speak, overshadowed by them. In this way I got quite a different impression 
from the one he conveys in his writings of fifteen years later. 



In the first place the eleven-year-old boy found it difficult to adapt himself to the new 
surroundings. Every day he had to make the long journey from Leonding into the town to school. 
He often told me that, nevertheless, this daily walk was one of the nicestthings he could 
remember of those years. At least this hour's journey to school assured him a bit of freedom, 
which he appreciated all the more as until then he had always lived in the country. Everything in 
town seemed strange and unfriendly to him. His classmates, mostly from rich homes, did not 
accept as an equal the queer youngster who came daily to town "from the peasants." His 
teachers' interest in him was confined to their classes. All this had been so different at the 
elementary school, where the easygoing teacher knew all his pupils intimately and used to take 
his regular drink with their fathers in the evening. Atthe elementary school the boy had been 
accustomed to passing up each year without any special effort. At his new school, to start with, 
he also tried improvisation at which he was a master. He had to do it all the more as he found 
littie pleasure in learning by heart, so much valued by his teachers. But here the trick did not 
work. So he started to sulk and let things drift. Nobody took much notice of him in class; he had 
no friends and did not want any. Sometimes some of his spoiled classmates would make him feel 
that they did not accept as one of them this village boy - a sufficient reason for him to withdraw 
even more. It is significant that not one of his many schoolmates could claim any close 
relationship or friendship with him. 

Thus, after his first year atthe technical school. Hitler brought home to his father a report bearing 
twice "Unsatisfactory" and the verdict that the pupil would not pass up into the nextclass. Adolf 
never told me how his father reacted to this, but it can be imagined. 

Now he had to startall overagain. His form master was now Professor Eduard Huemer, who 
besides German, also taughtFrench, the only foreign language taught in the lowerforms of the 
technical school and also, to my knowledge, the only foreign language which Adolf Hitler ever 
studied, or rather was made to study. But in the meantime he had "acclimatised" himself. His 
second year in the firstform was more successful and he was promoted to the second form. But 
from there, again, he passed only by the skin of his teeth. Again his father had to acknowledge a 
report which showed "Unsatisfactory" in mathematics. Obviously this judgment was not due to ill- 
will on the part of the teachers. Hitier hated mathematics because it was too dry and required 
hard, systematic work. We often talked about it. Later in Vienna Hitier realised that he would need 
mathematics if he wanted to become an architect. But this made no difference to his violent 
aversion. 

He finished the third form again with two "Unsatisfactory" reports, again in mathematics and in 
addition in German, although Professor Huemer was one of the teachers whom, he later 
admitted, he respected. This was the year of his father's death. Professor Huemer explained to 
his mother that promotion to the fourth form was only possible if he went to another school. It is, 
therefore, not correct to say that Adolf Hitler was thrown out of the Linz technical school. He was 
only moved "to the country." 

If up till now it was by his father's order that he stayed at school, so now it was mother's love 
which urged him to continue his studies. He did not like his transfer to Steyr. After reading 
Dante's Divine Comedy he talked to me of the school as "Purgatory." 

In Steyr Hitler lodged with a court official by the name of Ediervon Cichini at No. 19 Griinmarkt, 
but whenever he had a moment's spare time he would come to Linz. As could be foreseen, the 
result was bad and remained so when he repeated his examination between September 1 and 
15, 1905. As well as the usual "Unsatisfactory" for mathematics, there appeared another 
"Unsatisfactory" for practical geometry. 

When Professor Huemer, who had been Hitler's form master for three years, gave evidence as to 
his pupil's character atthe Treason Trial afterthe unsuccessful Putsch of November 1923 he 
said: "Hitler was certainly gifted, although only for particular subjects, but he lacked self-control 



and, to say the least, he was considered argumentative, autocratic, self-opinionated and bad- 
tempered, and unable to submit to school discipline. Nor was he industrious; otherwise he would 
have achieved much better results, gifted as he was." 

Having passed this rather negative judgment Professor Huemer, in a more sentimental mood, 
added: "Yet, as experience shows, what happens at school has not much bearing on life, and 
while model pupils sink from view without leaving a trace, the difficult boys develop only when 
they have the elbow room they need. My former pupil Hitler seems to belong to this latter species 
and I hope from the bottom of my heart that he will recover from his recent hardships and upsets 
and live to see the fulfillment of those ideals which he harbours in his bosom, which do credit to 
him, as they do to any German." 

These words, written in 1924, are certainly not influenced by wisdom after the event. They show 
remarkable solidarity between teacher and former pupil. In an indirect way. Professor Huemer 
proclaims thatthe ideals for which Adolf Hitler was then standing his trial were indeed the ideals 
of his school. And this, in spite of the fact that in the subject which Dr. Huemer taught, German, 
Hitler by no means excelled; which is borne out by the many spelling mistakes in the letters and 
cards which he sent to me. 

Among the teachers who, although their subject did not appeal to him, were favourably looked 
upon by Hitlerfor their personality was the science master, ProfessorTheodorGissinger, who 
replaced Professor Engstier. Gissinger was very fond of the open air, a hardy walker and 
mountaineer and enthusiastic about gymnastics. He was the most rabid of all the Nationalist 
teachers. The political differences of that period were also evident within the teaching body, 
indeed even more so than in the general public. This atmosphere charged with political tension 
was more importantforthe intellectual development of the young Hitierthan anything he was 
taught. As is generally the case, not the subjects taught, but the atmosphere of a school 
determines its value. 

Incidentally, P rofessor G issinger too has in later years given his judgment on his former pupil. 
Hitler. This remarkable document reads: "As far as I was concerned. Hitler left neither a 
favourable nor an unfavourable impression in Linz. He was by no means a leader of the class. He 
was lender and erect, his face pallid and very thin, almost like thatof a consumptive, his gaze 
unusually open, his eyes brilliant." 

The history teacher. Dr. Leopold Potsch, was the third and last of those teachers who found 
favour in Hitler's eyes. He is the only one of almost a dozen teachers of whom Hitier, already at 
thattime, approved. However reluctant Hitler was to talk to me of his former teachers, he made 
an exception of Potsch. 

The words which Hitier dedicated to his former history teacher are well known: 

It was perhaps decisive for my wtiole life that chance gave me a history teacher who understood, 
as few others did, the paramount importance of this principle in teaching and examining (viz., to 
retain the essential and to forget the inessential). My teacher, Herr Doktor Leopold Potsch of the 
Technical School in Linz, fulfilled this condition in truly ideal manner An old gentleman, kind but 
at the same time firm, he was able not only to hold our attention by his brilliant eloquence but to 
fire us with enthusiasm. I am still touched when I think of the grey-haired man, the fire of whose 
words sometimes made us forget the present and, as though by magic, transported us into the 
past, and out of the mists of time transformed the dry historical facts into vivid reality. There we 
sat, wildly enthusiastic, sometimes moved to tears. 

Undoubtedly this subsequent judgment is exaggerated. This is borne out by the fact that Hitier's 
last school report in Linz shows only a "Fair" for history, although perhaps the change of school 



had something to do with it. Nevertheless this teacher's influence on the very sensitive boy 
should not be underestimated. If it is true to say that the greatest value of the study of history is 
the enthusiasm which itarouses, then Dr. Potsch has achieved his end. 

Potsch was a native of the southern border region and before he came to Linz had taught in 
Marburg and other places near the German language border. He therefore had a vivid experience 
of the struggle among the nationalities. I believe thatthe absolute love foreverything thatwas 
German which Potsch combined with his aversion to the Hapsburg Monarchy was the decisive 
revelation for the young Hitler. This fervent devotion to the German people gave him a firm 
foundation for the rest of his life. 

Adolf Hitier remained grateful to his old history teacher throughout his life, indeed his attachment 
to school and teacher grew with the passing of the years. In 1938 Hitler came to Klagenfurtand 
met Potsch again. He spent more than an hour in a room alone with the frail old man, When he 
left the room he said to those accompanying him, "You cannot imagine how much I owe to that 
old man." 

But these subsequent opinions of Hitler's about his teachers should notfalsify the real picture of 
his schooldays anymore than the subsequent opinions of the teachers about their former pupil - 
not to speak of the very contradictory opinions of his numerous classmates. The truth is -- and I 
am witness to it-- thatAdolf leftschool with a fundamental hatred for it. I would take care notto 
bring the conversation round to the subject; but he sometimes would be seized by the necessity 
to hold forth against it violently. He nevertried to keep in touch with any of the teachers, not even 
with Potsch. On the contrary, he avoided them and pretended notto recognise them when he met 
them in the street. 

His quarrel with school was going on atthe same time as another conflict, which was much more 
importantto him: his settling of accounts with his mother. This expression should not be 
misunderstood. Adolf tried to spare his motheras much as he could. But this became impossible 
when he finally failed at school and so gave up the career which his father had envisaged for him. 
Adolf was much more preoccupied with this psychological conflict than with the eternal guerrilla 
war with the teachers. What did he care about bad reports? But to his mother they meant that 
Adolf would not reach his goal. 

I myself witnessed how Adolf tried to spare his mother during the last school year, and yet he 
could not spare her because it was impossible to convince her that his future lay elsewhere. 
Where, he did notyetknow himself; and not for many years after his mother's death. So she took 
this, her greatest worry, the future of her son, with her into the grave. 

In those gloomy days of autumn, 1905, Adolf was on the razor's edge. Superficially, the decision 
the sixteen-year-old had to take was whether to repeat the fourth form in the technical school at 
Steyr, or leave school forever. But its meaning for him was graver: should he, for his mother's 
sake, continue on a path which he knew was mistaken and hopeless for him; or should he ignore 
the grief that he would cause his mother and choose the other way, of which he could only say 
that it was the path towards art, a word which, one can understand, didn't offer much comfort to 
his mother? 

But in view of his nature this was not for Adolf really a decision in the true sense of the word; for 
in reality there was no dilemma at all. He simply could not do otherwise and, leaving school, he 
embarked on the second path without looking back. But he knew how upset his mother was by 
this decision and this, I know, caused him immeasurable grief. 

In those months Adolf passed through a grave crisis, the gravest during the years of our 
friendship. It manifested itself by his falling seriously ill. He describes it in his book as lung 



trouble. His sisterPaula mentions a iiemorriiage. Otiiers again assert tiiat it was some gastric 
trouble brought on by autosuggestion. I visited him almost every day during his illness, because I 
had to give him regular reports about Stefanie, who even at that time he worshiped. As far as I 
can remember, his illness was actually some lung trouble. I know thatfora long time afterwards 
he was plagued by coughs and nasty catarrhs, especially on damp, foggy days. 

Also, in his mother's eyes, he was released by this illness from continuing school. Thus, it just 
suited his decision. To what extent this illness was autosuggestion, to what extent it was the 
natural consequence of his inner crisis, to what extent it was purely constitutional, I cannot say. 

When Adolf rose from his sickbed, he had made up his mind. He had definitely finished with 
school and without the slightest doubt or inhibition he steered his way towards the career of an 
artist. 

The two years of his life thatfollowed were without any visible aim. "In the hollowness of the life 
of leisure" is the title he gave to this phase when, in compiling Mein Kampf, he discovered with 
some uneasiness this gap in his career. Superficially this title is correct. He did not go to school, 
he did not bother about any practical training, he lived with his mother and let her keep him. 

In reality, this chapter of his life was filled with unceasing activity. He sketched, he painted, he 
wrote poems and he read. I cannot remember that Adolf was ever idle or felt bored even for a 
single hour. If by chance he gotfed up with something, as for instance a play that we saw, his 
boredom made him condemn the play so vehemently that, in this way, he roused himself to 
highest activity. To be sure, he was as yet not very systematic. There was no apparent purpose, 
no clear goal. He only accumulated with unbounded energy impressions, experience and 
material. What would ever become of it all remained an open question. He did nothing but search, 
he searched everywhere and always. 

Meanwhile Adolf found a way of proving to his mother how useless any further schooling would 
have been for him. He proved it -- how typical of his way of tackling problems -- by convincing his 
mother of the futility of the whole school system. "One can learn much better by oneself," he told 
her. He subscribed to the library of the Adult Education. He joined the Museum Society and 
borrowed books from its library. He also used some lending libraries. From thatmomenti 
remember Adolf as always surrounded by books, especially by the volumes of his favourite work, 
with which he never parted, the German Mythology. How often did he persuade me, when I came 
from my work, to take with me and study this or that book which he had just read so that he could 
discuss itwith me. Now suddenly he had all the qualities which he had lacked atschool; 
application, interest and pleasure in learning. He had, as he said, beaten the school at its own 
game. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 7 - Stefanie. 



To tsll the truth, it is not very agreeable for me to be the only witness -- apart from Stefanie 
herself -- who can tell of my friend's youthful love, which lasted four years from the beginning of 
his sixteenth year. I fear that by giving a picture of the actual facts, I shall disappoint those who 
are expecting sensational disclosures. Adolfs relations with this girl from a much respected family 
were confined to those permitted by the prevailing code of morals and were absolutely normal, 
unless today's conception of sexual morality is so upsidedown that one considers it abnormal if 
two young people have an affair and -- to put it briefly -- "nothing happens." 

I must ask to be excused from mentioning this girl's surname as well as her later married name. 
Occasionally I have revealed it to persons engaged in research on Hitler's youth, who had 
satisfied me as to their good faith. Stefanie, who was one, or perhaps, two years older than Adolf, 
later married a high-ranking officer and now lives, a widow, in Vienna. The reader will therefore 
understand my discretion. 

One evening in the spring of 1905, as we were taking our usual stroll, Adolf gripped my arm and 
asked me excitedly what I thought of that slim blonde girl walking along the Landstrasse arm-in- 
arm with her mother. "You must know, I'm in love with her," he added resolutely. 

Stefanie was a distinguished-looking girl, tall and slim. She had thick fair hair, which she mostly 
wore swept back in a bun. Her eyes were very beautiful - brightand expressive. . She was 
exceptionally well dressed and even her bearing indicated that she came from a good, well-to-do 
family. 

The photograph by Hans Zivny, taken in Urfahr, on her leaving school was somewhat earlier than 
this meeting and Stefanie could only have been then seventeen, or, at the most, eighteen years 
old. Itshows a young girl with pretty, regular features. The expression of the face is completely 
natural and open. The abundant hair, still worn in the Gretel fashion, serves to strengthen this 
impression. A freshness and lack of affectation show in the girl's healthy countenance. 

The evening stroll along the Landstrasse was, in those years, a favourite habit with the Linzers. 
The ladies looked atthe shopwindows and made litde purchases. Friends met- and the younger 
generation amused themselves in innocent ways. There was a lot of flirting and the young army 
officers were particularly good at it. It seemed to us that Stefanie must live in Urfahr, for she 
always came from the bridge up the main square, and strolled down the Landstrasse arm-in-arm 
with her mother. Atfive o'clock, almost precisely, mother and daughter appeared - we stood 
waiting atthe Schmiedtoreck. Itwould have been improper to salute Stefanie, as neither of us 
had been introduced to the young lady. A glance had to take the place of a greeting. From then 
on, Adolf did not take his eyes off Stefanie. In that moment he was changed, no longer his own 
self. 

I found out that Stefanie's mother was a widow and did, indeed, live in Urfahr, and thata young 
man who occasionally accompanied them, to Adolf's great irritation, was her brother, a law 
student in Vienna. This information eased Adolfs mind considerably. Butfrom time to time the, 
two ladies were to be seen in the company of young officers. Poor, pallid youngsters like Adolf 
naturally could not hope to compete with these young lieutenants in their smart uniforms. Adolf 
felt this intensely and gave vent to his feelings with eloquence. His anger, in the end, led him into 
uncompromising enmity towards the officer class as a whole, and everything military in general. 



"Conceited blockheads," he used to call them. It annoyed him immensely that Stefanie mixed with 
such idlers who, he insisted, wore corsets and used scent. 

To be sure, Stefanie had no idea how deeply Adolf was in love with her; she regarded him as a 
somewhat shy but, nevertheless, remarkably tenacious and faithful admirer. When she 
responded with a smile to his inquiring glance, he was happy, and his mood became unlike 
anything I had ever observed in him; everything in the world was good and beautiful and well 
ordered, and he was content. When Stefanie, as happened just as often, coldly ignored his gaze, 
he was crushed and ready to destroy himself and the whole world. 

Certainly such phenomena are typical of every first great love, and one might perhaps be tempted 
to dismiss Adolfs feelings for Stefanie as calf love. This may have been true as far as Stefanie's 
own conception of them was concerned, butfor Adolf himself, his relation to Stefanie was more 
than calf love. The mere fact that it lasted more than four years, and even cast its splendour over 
the subsequentyears of misery in Vienna, shows thatAdolf's feelings were deep and true, and 
real love. Proof of the depth of his feelings is that for Adolf, throughout these years, no other 
woman but Stefanie existed -- how unlike the usual boy's love, which is always changing its 
object. I cannotrememberthatAdolf ever gave any thoughtto another girl. Later, in Vienna, when 
Lucie Weidt roused his enthusiasm in the partof Elsa in Lohengrin, the highest praise he could 
give her was that she reminded him of Stefanie. In appearance, Stefanie was ideally suited for 
the part of E Isa, and other female roles of Wagner's operas, and we spent much time wondering 
whether she had the necessary voice and musical talent. Adolf was inclined to take it for granted, 
j ust her Valkyrie-like appearance neverfailed to attract him and to fire him with unbounded 
enthusiasm. He wrote countless love poems to Stefanie. "Hymn to the Beloved" was the title of 
one of them, which he read to me from his little black notebook. Stefanie, a high-born damsel, in 
a dark blue, flowing velvet gown, rode on a white steed over the flowering meadows, her loose 
hair fell in golden waves on her shoulders. A clear spring sky was above. Everything was pure, 
radiant joy. I can still see Adolfs face glowing with fervent ecstasy and hear his voice reciting 
these verses. Stefanie filled his thoughts so completely that everything he said, or did, or planned 
for the future, was centred around her. With his growing estrangement from his home, Stefanie 
gained more and more influence over my friend, although he never spoke a word to her. 

My ideas about these things were much more prosaic, and I remember very well our repeated 
arguments on the subject- and my recollections of Adolf's relationship to Stefanie are 
particularly distinct. He used to insist that, once he met Stefanie, everything would become clear 
without as much as a word being exchanged. For such exceptional human beings as himself and 
Stefanie, he said, there was no need for the usual communication byword of mouth; 
extraordinary human beings would understand each other by intuition. Whatever the subject we 
might discuss at any time, Adolf was always sure that Stefanie not only knew his ideas exactly, 
but that she shared them enthusiastically. If I dared to comment that he hadn't spoken to Stefanie 
about them, and to express my doubts as to whether she was atall interested in such things, he 
became furious and shouted at me: "You simply don't understand, because you can't understand 
the true meaning of extraordinary love." In order to quiet him down, I asked him if he could 
transmit to Stefanie the knowledge of such complicated problems simply by gazing at her. He 
only replied, "Its possible! These things cannot be explained. What is in me, is in Stefanie too." 
Of course, I took greatcare not to push these delicate matters too far. ButI was pleased that 
Adolf trusted me so much, for to nobody else, not even to his mother, had he talked about 
Stefanie. 

He expected Stefanie to reciprocate his love for her to the exclusion of all others. For a long time 
he put up with the interest she took in other young men, especially the officers, because he 
regarded it as a sort of deliberate diversion to conceal her own tempestuous feelings for him. But 
this attitude often gave way to fits of raging jealousy; then Adolf would be desperate when 
Stefanie ignored the pale youth who was waiting for her, and concentrated her attention instead 
on the young lieutenant escorting her. Why, indeed, should a lively young girl have been satisfied 



with the anxious glances of a secret admirer, while others expressed their admiration so much 
more gracefully? But I, of course, would never have dared to express such a thought in Adolfs 
presence. 

One day he asked me, "What shall I do?" Never before had he asked for my advice and I was 
extremely proud that he did; at last, for a change, I could feel superior to him. "Its quite simple," I 
explained. "You approach the two ladies and, raising your hat, introduce yourself to the mother by 
giving your name, and ask her permission to address the daughter and to escort them." 

Adolf looked at me doubtfully and pondered my suggestion for quite a while. In the end, however, 
be rejected it. "What am I to say if the mother wants to know my profession? After all, I have to 
mention my profession straightway; it would be bestto add it to my name -- 'Adolf Hitler, 
academic painter,' or something similar. But I am not yet an academic painter, and I can't 
introduce myself till I am. Forthe mama, the profession is even more important than the name." 

I thoughtfora long time that Adolf was simply too shy to approach Stefanie. And yet it was not 
shyness thatheld him back. His conception of the relationship between the sexes was already 
then so high thatthe usual way of making the acquaintance of a girl seemed to him undignified. 
As he was opposed to flirting in any form, he was convinced that Stefanie had no other desire but 
to wait until he should come to ask her to marry him. I did not share this conviction at all; but 
Adolf, as was his habit with all problems that agitated him, had already made an elaborate plan. 
And this girl, who was a stranger to him and had never exchanged a word with him, succeeded 
where his father, the school and even his mother had failed: he drew up an exact program for his 
future which would enable him, after four years, to askfor Stefanie's hand. 

We discussed this difficult problem for hours, with the result that Adolf commissioned me to 
collect further information about Stefanie. 

In the Music Society there was a cellist whom I had occasionally seen talking to Stefanie's 
brother. Through him I learned that Stefanie's father, a higher government official, had died some 
years earlier. The mother had a comfortable home and was in receipt of a widow's pension, which 
she used to give her two children the best possible education. Stefanie had attended the Girl's 
High School and had already matriculated. She had a great number of admirers -- small wonder, 
beautiful as she was. She was fond of dancing and, the previous winter, had gone with her 
mother to all the important dances of the town. As far as he knew, the cellist added, she was not 
engaged. 

Adolf was highly satisfied with the result of my investigations -- that she was not engaged he had, 
anyhow, taken for granted. There was only one point in my report that disturbed him greatly: 
Stefanie danced, and, according to the cellists assurance, she danced well, and enjoyed it. 

This did notfitatall into Adolf's own image of Stefanie. A Valkyrie who waltzed round the 
ballroom in the arms of some "blockhead" of a lieutenant, was for him too terrible to be 
contemplated. 

What was the origin of this strange, almost ascetic trait in him which made him reject all the 
pleasures of youth? Adolf's father, after all, had been a man who enjoyed life and who, as a 
good-looking custom's official, had certainly turned many a girl's head. Why was Adolf so 
different? After all, he was a most presentable young man, well built, slender, and his somewhat 
severe and exaggeratedly serious features were enlivened by his extraordinary eyes, whose 
peculiar brilliance made one forget the sickly pallor of his face. And yet-- dancing was as contrary 
to his nature as smoking or drinking beer at a pub. These things simply did notexistfor him, 
although nobody, not even his mother, encouraged him in this attitude. 



After having been his butt for so long, at last I had a chance of pulling his leg. I proclaimed, with a 
straightface, "You musttake dancing lessons, Adolf." Dancing immediately became one of his 
problems. I well remember that our lonely perambulations were no longer punctuated by 
discussions on "The Theatre" or "Reconstruction of the Danube Bridge," but were dominated by 
one subject-- dancing. 

As with everything that he couldn't tackle at once, he indulged in generalisations. "Visualise a 
crowded ballroom," he said once to me, "and imagine thatyou were deaf. You can't hearthe 
music to which these people are moving, and then take a look attheir senseless progress, which 
leads nowhere. Aren't these people raving mad?" 

"All this is no good, Adolf," I replied, "Stefanie is fond of dancing. If you want to conquer her, you 
will have to dance around justas aimlessly and idiotically as the others." That was all that was 
needed to set him off raving. "No, no, never!" he screamed at me. "I shall never dance! Do you 
understand! Stefanie only dances because she is forced to by society on which she unfortunately 
depends. Once she is my wife, she won't have the slightest desire to dance!" 

Contrary to the rule, this time his own words did not convince him; for he brought up the question 
of dancing again and again. I rather suspected that, secretly at home, he practised a few cautious 
steps with his littie sister. Frau Hitier had bought a piano for Adolf. Perhaps, I thought, I might 
soon be asked to play a waltz on it, and then I would chaff Adolf about being deaf while he 
danced. He did not need music for his movements. I also intended to point out to him the 
harmony between music and bodily movements, of which he did not seem to have any 
conception. 

But it never got as far as this. Adolf went on brooding for days and weeks trying to find a solution. 
In his depressed mood, he hit on a crazy idea: he seriously contemplated kidnaping Stefanie. He 
expounded his plan to me in all its details and assigned me my role, which was not a very 
rewarding one; for I had to keep the mother engaged in conversation, while he seized the girl. 
"And what are you both going to live on?" I asked prosaically. My question sobered him up a little 
and the audacious plan was abandoned. 

To make matters worse, Stefanie was atthattime in an unfriendly mood. She would pass the 
Schmiedtoreck with herface averted, as though Adolf didn't exist at all. This brought him to the 
verge of despair. "I can't stand it any longer!" he exclaimed. "I will make an end of it!" 

It was the firstand, as faras I know, the lasttime that Adolf contemplated suicide seriously. He 
would jump into the river from the Danube bridge, he told me, and then it would be over and done 
with. But Stefanie would have to die with him - he insisted on that. Once more a plan was 
thought up, in all its details. Every single phase of the horrifying tragedy was minutely described, 
including the parti would have to play; even my conduct as the sole survivor was ordained. This 
sombre scene was with me, even in my dreams. 

Soon the sky was blue again and for Adolf came that happiest of days in j une 1906 which I am 
sure remained in his memory as clearly as itdid in mine. Summer was approaching and a flower 
festival was held in Linz. As usual, Adolf waited for me outside the Carmelite Church, where I 
used to go every Sunday with my parents; then we took up our stand atthe Schmiedtoreck. The 
position was extremely favourable, as the street there is narrow and the carriages in the parade 
had to pass quite close to the pavement. The regimental band led the string of flower-decked 
carriages, from which young girls and ladies waved to the spectators. But Adolf had no eye nor 
ears for any of this; he waited feverishly for Stefanie to appear. I was already giving up hope of 
seeing her when Adolf gripped my arm so violently that it hurt. Seated in a handsome carriage, 
decorated with flowers, mother and daughter turned into the Schmiedtorstrasse. I still have the 
picture clearly in my mind. The mother, in a light grey silk dress, holds a red sunshade over her 



head, through which the rays of the sun seemed to cast, as though by magic, a rosy glow over 
the countenance of Stefanie, wearing a pretty sill<frocl<. Stefanie has adorned her carriage, not 
with roses as most of the others, but with simple, wild blossoms -- red poppies, white marguerites 
and blue cornflowers. Stefanie holds a bunch of the same flowers in her hand. The carriage 
approaches Adolf is floating on air. Never before has he seen Stefanie so enchanting. Now the 
carriage is quite close to us. A bright glance falls on Adolf. Stefanie sends him a beaming smile 
and, picking a flower from her bouquet, throws it to him. 

Never again did I see Adolf as happy as he was atthat moment. When the carriage had passed 
he dragged me aside and with emotion he gazed atthe flower, this visible pledge of her love. I 
can still hear his voice, trembling with excitement, "She loves me! You have seen! She loves me!" 

During the following months, when his decision to leave school had caused a conflict with his 
mother, and he was ill, his love for Stefanie was his only comfort and he always kept her flower in 
his locket. Adolf was never in greater need of my friendship; for as I was the only person who 
shared his secret, it was only through me that he could get news about her. I had to go every day 
to the usual spotatthe Schmiedtoreck and to report to him all my observations and tell him, in 
particular, who had spoken to mother and daughter. That! stood alone atthe familiar corner, 
Adolf felt, would naturally upset Stefanie immeasurably. Itdid not, buti keptitfrom him. 
Fortunately, it had never occurred to Adolf that I mightfall in love with Stefanie, for his slightest 
suspicion in this respect would have meant the end of our friendship; and as there was no real 
reason for it, I was able to give my reports to my poor friend wholly disinterestedly. 

Adolf's mother had been aware for a long time of the change in her son. One evening -- 1 
remember it well because it embarrassed me considerably -- she asked me straight out: "What's 
the matter with Adolf? He's so impatientto see you." I muttered some excuse and hurried into 
Adolf's room. 

He was happy when I brought him some new facts concerning Stefanie. "She has a good 
soprano voice," I told him one day. He jumped up. "How do you know that?" "I followed her very 
closely for some time and I heard her speak. I know enough music to be able to tell that 
somebody with such a clear and pure voice must be a good soprano." How happy this made 
Adolf. And I was pleased that he, languishing in his bed, had a moment of happiness. 

Every evening I had to get back to the Humboldtstrasse from the evening stroll by the quickest 
route. I would often find Adolf sketching a big blueprint. "Now I have made up my mind," he said, 
in dead earnest, after having heard my report, "I have decided to build the house for Stefanie in 
Renaissance style." And then I had to give my opinion, especially as to whether I was satisfied 
with the shape and size of the music room. He had paid special attention to the acoustics of the 
room, he said, and asked me to say where the piano should go, and so on, and so on. All this in a 
manner as though there were not the slightest doubt that the plans would be carried out. A timid 
inquiry about the money broughtforth the rude reply, "Oh, to hell with the money!" -- an 
expression which he frequently employed. 

We had some arguments as to where this villa would be built; as a musician I was all for Italy. 
Adolf insisted that it could only be built in Germany, in the neighbourhood of a big city so that he 
and Stefanie could go to the opera and concerts. 

As soon as he could leave his bed he wentdown and took up his position atthe Schmiedtoreck; 
he was still very pale and ill. Punctually as usual, Stefanie and her mother appeared. Seeing 
Adolf, pale-faced and hollow-eyed, she smiled at him. "Did you notice?" he asked me happily. 
From that moment on, his health improved rapidly. 



In spring 1906, when Adolf left for Vienna, he gave me detailed instructions how I should behave 
vis-a-vis Stefanie; for he was convinced that she would soon ask me whether my friend, was ill 
again, as I was there alone. Then I was to answer as follows: "My friend is not ill, but he had to go 
to Vienna to take up his studies atthe Academy of Art. When his studies are finished he will 
spend a year travelling, abroad, of course." (I insisted on being allowed to say "in Italy." Very well, 
then, Italy.) "In four years time he will return and ask for your hand in marriage. In case of an 
affirmative answer, the preparations for the wedding would be put in hand forthwith." 

While Adolf was in Vienna, I naturally had to send him regular written reports about Stefanie. As it 
was cheaper to send postcards than letters, Adolf gave me a code word for Stefanie before he 
left. It was Benkieser, the name of a former classmate. A picture postcard which he sent me on 
May 8 from Vienna shows how much this "Benkieser" was still on his mind in spite of his many 
new and varied impressions in Vienna. "I am longing to return to my beloved Linz and Urfahr," it 
reads. The word Urfahr is underlined, alluding, of course, to Stefanie, who lived there. "I have to 
see Benkieser again. I wonder what he's doing." 

A few weeks later Adolf returned from Vienna and I met him atthe station. I still remember how 
we took turns carrying his bag and he urged me to tell him all about Stefanie, at once. We were in 
a hurry because the evening stroll would begin in an hour's time. Adolf would not believe that 
Stefanie had not asked after him, for he took it for granted that she was longing for him just as 
much as he was for her. But at heart he was glad that I had not had the opportunity to tell 
Stefanie about his grandiose plans for the future, as his prospects atthe moment were not very 
bright. We hardly stopped in the Humboldtstrasse to greet his mother before we hurried off to the 
Schmiedtoreck. Full of excitement, Adolf waited. Punctually Stefanie and her mother appeared. 
She threw him a surprised glance. That was sufficient- he did not want more. But I became 
impatient. "You can see that she wants you to talk to her," I said to my friend. "Tomorrow," he 
answered. 

But the morrow never came, and weeks, months and years passed without his taking any steps 
to change this state of affairs which caused him so much unrest. It was natural that Stefanie did 
nothing beyond that first phase of exchanging glances. The most Adolf could have expected of 
her was the flower thrown at him with a roguish smile in the carefree atmosphere of the Flower 
Festival. Besides, any move of hers beyond the rigid limits of convention would have destroyed 
the picture of her which Adolf kept in his heart. Perhaps even his strange timidity was prompted 
by the fear that any closer acquaintance might destroy this ideal. For to him Stefanie was not only 
the incarnation of all womanly virtues, but also the woman who took the greatest interest in all his 
wide and varied plans. There was no other person, apart from himself, whom he credited with so 
much knowledge and so many interests. The slightest divergence from this picture would have 
filled him with unspeakable disappointment. 

Of course, I am convinced the first words he exchanged with Stefanie would have caused that 
very disappointment, because she was fundamentally a young, happy girl, like thousands of 
others, and certainly had the same kind of interests. Adolf would have sought in vain for those 
grandiose thoughts and ideas with which he had surrounded her to such an extent as to make her 
the female image of himself. Only the most rigid separation could preserve his idol. 

It is most revealing that the young Hitler, who so thoroughly despised bourgeois society, 
nevertheless, as far as his love affair was concerned, observed its codes and etiquette more 
strictly than many a member of the bourgeoisie itself. The rules of bourgeois conduct and 
etiquette became for him the barricade behind which he built up his relationship to Stefanie. "I 
have not been introduced to her." How often have I heard him say these words, although 
ordinarily he would make light of such obstacles. This strict observance of social customs was 
part of his whole nature. It was apparent in his neat dress and in his correct behaviour as much 
as in his natural courtesy, which my mother liked so much about him. I never heard him use an 
ambiguous expression or tell a doubtful story. 



So, in spite of all apparent contradictions, this strange love of Hitlerfor Stefanie falls into the 
pattern of his character. Love was a field where the unforeseeable might happen, and which 
might become dangerous. How many men who had set out with great intentions had been forced 
off their path by irregular and complicated love affairs. It was imperative to be on one's guard! 

Instinctively, the young Hitlerfound the only correct attitude in his love for Stefanie: he possessed 
a being whom he loved, and atthe same time, he did not possess her. He arranged his whole life 
as though he possessed this beloved creature entirely. But as he himself avoided any personal 
meeting, this girl, although he could see that she walked the earth, remained nevertheless a 
creature of his dream world, towards whom he could project his desires, plans and ideas. And 
thus he kept himself from deviating from his own path; indeed, this strange relationship, through 
the power of love, increased his own will. He imagines Stefanie as his wife, builds the house in 
which they live together, surrounds it with a magnificent garden and arranges his home with 
Stefanie, just as, in fact, he did later on the Ober-Salzburg, though without her. This mixing of 
dream and reality is characteristic of the young Hitler. And wheneverthere is a dangerthatthe 
beloved would entirely escape into the realm of fantasy, he hurries to the Schmiedtoreck and 
makes sure that she really walks the earth. Hitler was confirmed in the choice of his path, not by 
what Stefanie actually was, but by what his imagination made of her. Thus, Stefanie was two 
things for him, one part reality and one part wish and imagination. Be that as it may, Stefanie was 
the most beautiful, the mostfertile and purest dream of his life. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 8 - The Young Nationalist 



As I begin to describe the young Hitler's political beliefs and ideas, I seem to hear his voice again, 
saying, "You don't understand it," or, "These are matters I can't discuss with you"; sometimes he 
was even more scathing, as for instance when listening to some of his political observations, I 
would nod assent, instead of expressing disgust, as he had expected: "In politics, GustI, you are 
nothing but a fool." 

After all, I had only one interest in life: music. To begin with, Adolf agreed with me about the 
supremacy of art. Butduring the years we spent together, his interest in politics gradually became 
paramount, although he never lost sight of his artistic aspirations. One could put it this way: the 
years in Linz were dominated by art, the following years in Vienna, by politics. I was fully aware 
that it was only in artistic matters I counted for him. And the more he became interested in 
politics, the less ourfriendship mattered. Not that he showed it to me; for one thing he took our 
friendship too seriously and, for another, perhaps he didn't even realise it himself. 

Politics had always been the critical point in our relationship. Having no political ideas of my own, 
or where I did have, not feeling strongly enough about them to defend them or to impose them on 
others, I was an unsatisfactory partnerfor Adolf in our discussions. He would rather have 
converted me than convinced me. But in fact, I accepted everything he said readily and 
uncritically, and even retained something so that I could occasionally throw in a clever remark. 
But to contradict, as he would have liked, I was not capable. I just was not fertile soil for politics. I 
was like a deaf-mute in front of an orchestra, who sees thatthe musicians are playing, but hears 
nothing. I had simply no political sense. 

This reduced Adolf to despair. Itseemed inconceivable to him thatthere should be on earth a 
specimen so absolutely innocent of politics. He tried all means to prove to me that this was 
impossible. And he was none too gentle with me. In Vienna he compelled me repeatedly to go 
with him to Parliament, although I did not like itatall and would have preferred to spend the time 
atthe piano. But Adolf did not yield. I had to go with him, although he knew very well that I was 
always terribly bored by this Parliament business. But Heaven help me if I had said so. 

It is generally believed that politicians come from politically conscious circles. This was certainly 
notso in the case of my friend. On the contrary! Here again is one of Hitler's innumerable 
contradictions. The father was rather fond of talking politics and never hid his liberal opinions. But 
he would not hear a word against the Monarchy: this old, faithful civil servant would never go as 
far as that. When on the Emperor's birthday on the eighteenth of August, he put on his gala 
uniform, he was a loyal servant of his Imperial and Royal Majesty. Probably Adolf, when little, 
never beard much talk of politics from his father, for politics, the father believed, was not a matter 
to be discussed in the family circle, but in the pub. And I cannot remember that Adolf had ever 
quoted his father for any one of his political opinions. 

Still less was there any sign of it in the quiet home in the Humboldtstrasse. Adolf's mother was a 
simple, devout woman, far removed from politics. When the father was still alive she might have 
heard him grumble occasionally about the political situation, but it had notsunk in and certainly 
she had not passed it on to the children. After his death, they never had visitors who might have 
introduced politics and I cannot remember ever hearing any political discussion in Frau Hitler's 
house. Even when some political event was agitating the whole town, nothing of it would 
penetrate into this quiet household, for even Adolf would not mention such things at home. Their 



life flowed quietly on. The only change I ever saw in the family was thatFrau Klara towards the 
end of 1906 moved from the Humboldtstrasse to Urfahr. This was by no means an after-effect of 
the father's restlessness, it was rather the result of purely practical considerations. In those days 
Urfahr, which is now a partof Linz, was still a separate parish of mainly rural character, a 
favourite residence for retired people. As no excise duties were levied there, many things, for 
instance meat, were cheaper than in town. Frau Klara hoped to be able to manage better with her 
modest pension of 140 crowns (90 for herself and 25 each for Adolf and Paula). And she was 
glad to be living among meadows and fields again. The quiet house at No. 9 Bliitengasse still 
stands as it was, and sometimes when I pass by, I think I can see Frau Klara standing on the little 
balcony. For Adolf it was a special source of satisfaction to live "on the same bank" as Stefanie. 
Our nightly journey home was made longer because of the move to Urfahr. But this suited us 
well, for the problems which we tackled had become more profound and numerous. The way 
across the bridge was sometimes too short for us, so that if we were particularly concerned with a 
problem we had to walk to and fro across the Danube until our subject was exhausted. To be 
exact, Adolf needed the time for talking, and I for listening 

In studying the political career of such an extraordinary man as Adolf Hitler, one has to distinguish 
between external influences and the man's own predispositions, for I believe thatthe latter are 
much more important than the external events. Afterall, many otheryoung people had the same 
teachers as Adolf, experienced the same political incidents, rejoicing or getting angry over them, 
and yet these very same people have become worthy businessmen, technicians or 
manufacturers and never rose to political significance. 

The spirit of nationalism dominated the Linz Technical School. The class was secretiy opposed to 
all traditional institutions, such as patriotic plays, dynastic manifestations and festivals, to Divine 
Service in school and to Corpus Christi processions. Adolf Hitler describes in his book this 
atmosphere which to him was more important than the lessons. 

Money was collected forSudmark and Schulverein, one's sentiments were manifested by 
wearing cornflowers and black-red-gold colours, we used "Hell" as a greeting and sang 
"Deutschland uberAlles" instead of the Hapsburg Imperial Hymn. All this in spite of warnings and 
punishment 

The struggle for existence of the German population in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy agitated 
the younger generation in those days; understandably, for Austria's German population stood 
alone in the midst of the Slav, Magyar and Italian nations of Austria-Hungary. Linz, to be sure, 
was remote from the racial border and was entirely German. But there was always trouble in 
neighbouring Bohemia. In Prague one street demonstration after another took place. Even in Linz 
much indignation was caused by the fact thatthe Imperial and Royal police were not capable of 
protecting German houses from the Czech mob, so that it was necessary to proclaim a state of 
siege in Prague in peacetime. Budweis was then still a German town with German administration 
and a German majority in the Town Council. Those of Adolf's classmates who came from Prague, 
Budweis or P rachatitz used to weep with rage when they were jokingly called "Bohemians"; for 
they wanted to be solely German, like the others. Soon there was even unrest in Linz. A few 
hundred Czechs lived there, as quiet and modest workmen and artisans, without anybody taking 
much notice of them. Now a Capucine Monk, a Czech named j urasek, founded a Sokol Club, 
preached in St. Martin's Church in Czech, and collected money forthe building of a Czech 
school. This caused a greatsensation in the town and some worthy Nationalists already saw in 
the action of the fanatic monk the preparation of a Czech invasion. Of course that was 
exaggerated. Nevertheless, justthis Czech activity made the indolent Linzers feel thatthey were 
threatened, with the result that, almost unanimously, they joined in the Nationalist struggle. 

Those teachers of the Technical School, who were nationalists, led the struggle. Dr. Leopold 
Potsch, the history teacher, was an active politician. As a member of the Town Council he was 
one of the leading lights of the Nationalist Party. He hated the Hapsburg multi-racial state (which 



today -- what a change -- seems to us to be the very model of a supranational community) and all 
the enthusiastic young Nationalists took up his watchword. 

"Who could remain loyal to a dynasty which again and again vilely betrayed, past and present, 
the interests of the German people for their own advantage?" 

Thus Hitler definitely and irrevocably had abandoned his father's ways in favour of a pan-German 
program. When Adolf, raging on, let himself go on this train of thought, I could hardly keep up with 
what he was saying, let alone take an active part in the discussion. Yet one word, which regularly 
cropped up in his discourse, always struck me: the "Reich." With this word he used to wind up his 
long outpourings. Whenever he had talked himself into a blind alley and was at a loss how to 
continue, he would say categorically: "This problem will be solved by the Reich"; if I asked, for 
instance, who would finance all these gigantic building projects which he sketched on his drawing 
board, his brief answer was, "The Reich." Even trivialities were left to the care of the "Reich." 
There was a "Reich's Stage Designer," who would improve the unsatisfactory equipment of 
provincial theatres. (It is well known that, after 1933, there really was a man who filled that post. I 
rememberthatAdolf Hitler coined thatterm as far back as his Linz days, when he was sixteen or 
seventeen.) Even the care of the blind, or the protection of animals belonged, in his opinion, to 
the jurisdiction of the "Reich"! 

The word "Reich" is used in Austria for the territory of Germany; its inhabitants are called Reich's 
Germans. But my friend's use of the term, meant more than merely the German State, though he 
carefully avoided any more exact definition. For to him the word was simply a portmanteau 
expression, which comprised everything that was politically importantfor him-and that was a lot. 

With the same fanaticism with which he loved the German people, and this "Reich," did he reject 
everything foreign. He had no desire to know other countries. That longing for distant lands so 
typical of all open-minded young people was utterly alien to him - even the artists classical 
enthusiasm for Italy. There was only one place for his plans and ideas - the Reich. 

His violent nationalism, which was unequivocally directed againstthe Hapsburg Monarchy, 
showed all the particular predispositions of his character, especially the iron consistency with 
which he stuck to everything he had once accepted as correct. The Nationalist ideology became 
his political creed and formed an unalterable element of his nature. No failure or setback would 
change him. He remained till his death what he had been at sixteen - a Nationalist. 

With this end firmly fixed before his eyes, he observed and studied the existing political 
conditions. Nothing was too unimportant; he gave his attention to even the most trivial things. He 
took a stand in regard to everything-the less it concerned him, the more heatedly. He made up for 
the utter insignificance of his own existence by taking an interest in all public affairs, thus giving 
aim and direction to his urge to change things. With all his all-embracing interests, he had so 
much against him, and he saw everywhere only obstacles and hostility. And yet, nobody had ever 
heard of him. Sometimes I was even sorry for him. With his undoubted gifts, what a happy life he 
could have led; and how difficult he made things for himself! He was always up against something 
and at odds with the world.] ust that healthy, carefree spirit which distinguishes most young 
people was utterly alien to him. I never saw him take anything lightiy; everything had to be 
thoroughly studied and tested for how it would fit into his great political design. Tradition, in the 
political sense, meant nothing to him. To sum up - the world had to be radically changed in all its 
aspects. 

Yet it would be wrong to conclude thatthe young Hitler threw himself heartand soul into the 
political struggle of the day. A pale, sickly, lanky youth, quite unknown and inexperienced in the 
ways of the city, shy and reticent rather than pushing, he carried on this intense activity all on his 
own. Only the most important ideas and solutions, that needed an audience, would he propound 



in the evening to me, an equally insignificant and lonely figure. The young Hitler's relationship to 
politics is similar to his attitude to love -- if I may be permitted this rather indelicate comparison. 
The more intensely he was intellectually occupied with politics, the more did he refrain from taking 
part in practical, political activity. He did not join any party or organization, did not take part in 
party manifestations, and took care not to spread his own ideas outside of ourfriendship. WhatI 
noticed then in him in Linz -- to stick to my metaphor -- may be described as a first ogling with 
politics, nothing more, as though he had had a presentiment of what politics would come to mean 
to him. 

For the time being, politics remained for him only an exercise in the realm of ideas. This striking 
reticence shows a trait in his character that seems to contradict his impatience -- his ability to 
wait. Politics remained for him for some years a matter of watching, of criticising social conditions, 
of study, gathering experience; it remained a matter private to himself, and consequently without 
any importance for the public life of that day. 

It is interesting to note that the young Hitier in those years was strongly opposed to everything 
military. This seems to be contradicted by a passage in Mein Kampf. 

While going througti my tattler's library, I came across several books on military subjects, among 
tfiem a popular edition otthe history otthe Franco-German War. 18701871; b/vo volumes of an 
illustrated magazine of those years now became my favourite reading, and before long this heroic 
struggle had become my greatest intellectual experience. From now on, I grew increasingly 
enthusiastic for everything that had anything to do with war or soldiers. 

I suspect that this recollection owes its existence to the circumstances of his imprisonment in 
Landsberg, where his book was written; for when I knew Adolf Hitier, he was utterly averse to 
"anything to do with war or soldiers." Of course he was annoyed by the young lieutenants who 
fluttered around Stefanie. But his aversion was deeper. Even the idea of compulsory military 
service could infuriate him. No, he would never let himself be forced into being a soldier. If he 
ever became a soldier he would do it of his own free will, and certainly never in the Austrian army. 

Before concluding this chapter on Adolf Hitler's political development, I would like to deal with two 
questions, which seem to me to be more important than anything else there is to say about 
politics: the young Hitler's attitude to J ewry and to the church. Adolf Hitler himself writes about his 
attitude to the J ewish problem during the years in Linz: 

It is difficult if not impossible, forme today to say when the word "j ew" first gave me food for 
thought At home, in my father's lifetime, I cannot remember ever having heard the word. I believe 
that the old gentleman would have thought it a cultural retrogression to give this word any special 
emphasis. In the course of his life he had acquired some more or less cosmopolitan ideas, which 
not only coexisted with his strong nationalism, but influenced me too. And at school nothing led 
me to change this inherited conception. 

It is true Ihatatthe Technical School I metaj ewish boy, whom we all handled with care, but only 
because owing to various experiences, we couldn't rely on him not to give us away. But we didn't 
give the matter any thought 

Not before I was fourteen or fifteen years old did I occasionally hear the word "j ew," partly in the 
course of political conversations. I felt a slight resentment against it and the usual unpleasant 
feeling that overcame me when people quibbled about religious matters in my presence. 

Thatwas all I knew aboutit There were notmanyj ews in Linz.... 

All this sounds very plausible, but it doesn't correspond to my impressions. 



To begin with, it seems to me thatthe cliaractersl<etcli of iiis fattier iiad been touclied up to 
empiiasise his liberal ideas. The circle in which he moved in Linz already subscribed to the ideas 
of Schonerer, and it can therefore be presumed that his father was also againstj ews. 

In describing the school years, Hitleromits to mention thatsome of the teachers of the Technical 
School were openly anti-Semitic and made no bones about acknowledging their hatred of the 
J ews in front of their pupils; and Hitler, atthe Technical School, mustcertainly have been aware 
of the political aspects of the J ewish problem. It cannot have been otherwise, for when I met Adolf 
Hitierfirst, his anti-Semitism was already pronounced. I remember distinctly that once when we 
were going along the Bethlehemstrasse and passed the little synagogue, he said to me, "This 
shouldn't be here." 

As far as I know, Adolf Hitler was already a confirmed anti-Semite when he went to Vienna. And 
although his experiences in Vienna might have deepened this feeling, they certainly did not give 
birth to it. 

In my opinion, Adolf Hitler's own version seeks to convey the following: In Linz, where the number 
of J ews was negligible, the question did not concern me. It was only in Vienna, where the J ews 
were more numerous, that I was forced to face this problem. 

His attitude to the church is a somewhat different matter. Mein Kampf hardly mentions it at all, 
exceptfora description of his childhood experiences in Lambach. 

As I had singing lessons atttie Monastery in Lambacti in my spare time, I tiad an excellent 
opportunity of revelling, again and again, in the festive splendour of the magnificent church 
ceremonies. Nothing was more natural than that I should see a most desirable ideal in the Abbot, 
as once my father had done in the little parish priest This was so, at any rate, for some time. 

Hitler's forebears were certainly religious, churchgoing people, as is natural with peasantfolk. But 
Hitler's own parents were divided in this respect; his mother was pious and devout, his father 
liberal, a lukewarm Christian. It is certain thatthe question of the church interested his father 
more than the J ewish problem. As a servant of the state, in view of the close connection between 
state and church, he could not afford to be openly anti-clerical. 

As long as the little Adolf remained close to his mother, he was completely influenced by her 
devout behaviour and receptive to all the grandeur and beauty of the church. The pale little choir 
boy was absorbed by his faith. Though Hitler devotes only a few words to the subject, what he 
does say means a lot. The magnificent monastery had become familiar to him. In his childish 
susceptibility he was attracted by the church and his mother certainly encouraged him. As he 
grew away from his childhood experience, with the passing of the years, and became closer to 
his father, the latter's liberalism gained in influence. The school in Linz also helped. Franz Sales 
Schwarz, who taught religion atthe Technical School, was not the man to have any effecton 
these young people, for the pupils did not take him seriously. 

My own recollections can be summed up in a few sentences: as long as I knew Adolf Hitier I 
never remember his going to church. He knew that I used to go every Sunday with my parents, 
and accepted this fact. He never tried to persuade me not to go, though he said occasionally that 
he couldn't understand me - his mother was also a religious woman, but nevertheless he would 
not let her drag him to church. Moreover he made these comments only by the way, with a certain 
tolerance and patience, which was not usual with him. But in this case, apparently, he was not 
even interested in imposing his own idea. I cannot remember that, when he used to meet me at 
the close of the Sunday service, he ever made any derogatory remarks about this Sunday 
churchgoing, or behaved improperly. To my astonishment, he never made this an occasion for an 
argument. 



Yet one day he came to me full of excitement and showed me a book about witch trials, and 
another time about the Inquisition. But however worked up he got about the events described in 
these books, he never drew any political conclusions from them. Perhaps this was a case in 
which he did not consider me the right audience. 

Every Sunday his mother went, with little Paula, to Mass. I can't remember that Adolf ever 
accompanied her, orthatFrau Klara would have asked him to. Devoutas she was herself, she 
was resigned to the fact that her son was different. It may be that in this case she was held back 
by the different attitudes of the father, whose precept and example was still her model for her son. 

In conclusion, I would describe Hitler's attitude towards the church atthattime as follows: he was 
by no means indifferent to the church, but the church could give him nothing. 

To sum up, it can be said: Adolf Hitler became a Nationalist. I have seen with whatabsolute 
dedication, even as early as that, he gave himself to the people whom he loved. Only in this 
people could he live. He knew nothing other than this people. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 9 - Adolf Rebuilds Linz. 



While I was undecided whetiiertD list my friend among the great musicians or the great poets of 
the future, he sprang on me the announcement that he intended to become a painter. I 
immediately remembered that I had seen him sketching, both at home and on our excursions. As 
ourfriendship progressed, I saw many samples of his work. In my job as an upholsterer, I had 
occasionally to do some sketches, which I always found difficult, so the more was I astonished by 
my friend's facility. He habitually carried with him various types of paper. The start had always 
been the worst part for me; for him it was the other way round. He would take his pencil, and 
throwing a few bold strokes on the paper, would express his meaning. Where words failed him, 
the pencil would do the job. There was something attractive about these first rough lines -- it 
thrilled me to see a recognisable design gradually emerge from their confusion. However, he 
wasn't so keen on finishing the rough draft. 

The first time I went to visit him at home, his room was littered with sketches, drawings, 
blueprints. Here was "The New Theatre," there the Mountain Hotel on the Lichtenberg. It was like 
an architects office. Watching him atwork atthe drawing board -- he was more careful then and 
more precise in details than he used to be in moments of happy improvisation -- 1 was convinced 
that he must long since have acquired all the technical and specialised skill necessary for his 
work. I simply could not believe that it was possible to set down such difficult things on the spur of 
the moment, and that everything I saw was improvised. 

The number of these works is sufficient to allow one to form a judgmentof Adolf Hitier's talents. 
There is, in the first place, a water colour-- rather, water colour is not the right term, as it is a 
simple pencil drawing coloured with tempera. Butjustthe rapid catching of an atmosphere, of a 
certain mood, which is so typical of a water colour and which, with its delicate touch, imparts to it 
freshness and liveliness - tfiis was missing completely in Adolfs work. J ust here, where he might 
have worked with fast, intuitive strokes, 
he has daubed with painstaking precision. 

All I can say about Adolf's artistic activity refers to his first attempts, and the only water colour of 
his I possess is one of these. It is still very clumsy, impersonal and really primitive, though 
perhaps this gives ita special attraction. In vivid colours it depicts the Postlingberg, the landmark 
of Linz. I still remember when Adolf gave it to me. 

One cannot expect any artistic revelations from this water colour and the hundreds which 
followed it. His intention was not to express any of his own emotions, butjustto paint pleasant 
littie pictures. So he chose popular subjects, for preference architecture and, rarely, landscapes. 
If these postcards and pictures had not been painted by Adolf Hitier, no one would have botiiered 
about them. 

His drawings are a different matter, but there are only a few of them in existence. Although he 
gave me several, only one of them is left, a purely architectural drawing with littie meaning. It 
shows a villa at No. 7 Stockbauerstrasse. It had just been built and it appealed to Adolf. So he 
drew it and made me a present of it. Apart from revealing his love for architecture, it is of no 
significance. 

Casting my thoughts back to those years, I have to say this: Adolf never took painting seriously; it 
remained rather a hobby outside his more serious aspirations. But building meant much more to 



him. He gave his whole self to his imaginary building and was completely carried away by it. 
Once he had conceived an idea he was like one possessed. Nothing else existed for him -- he 
was oblivious to time, sleep and hunger. Although it was a strain for me to follow him, those 
moments remain unforgettable. There he stood, with me, in front of the new Cathedral, this pallid, 
skinny youth, with the first dark brown showing on his upper lip, in his shabby pepper-and-salt 
suit, threadbare at the elbows and collar, with his eyes glued to some architectural detail, 
analysing the style, criticising or praising the work, disapproving of the material - all this with 
such thoroughness and such expert knowledge as though he were the builder and would have to 
pay for every shortcoming out of his own pocket. Then he would get out his drawing pad and the 
pencil would fly over the paper. This way, and no other, was the manner of solving this problem, 
he would say. I had to compare his idea with the actual work, had to approve or disapprove, and 
all this with a passion as though both our lives depended on it. 

Here he could give full ventto his mania for changing everything, because a city always has good 
buildings and bad. He could never walk through the streets without being provoked by what he 
saw. Usually he carried around in his head half a dozen different building projects, and 
sometimes I could not help feeling that all the buildings of the town were lined up in his brain like 
a giant panorama. As soon as he had selected one detail, he concentrated on Oils with all his 
energy. I remember one day when the old building of the bankfor Upper Austria and Salzburg on 
the central square was demolished. With feverish impatience he followed the rebuilding. He was 
terribly worried lestthe new building should notfitinto its surroundings. When, in the middle of 
the rebuilding, he had to leave for Vienna be asked me to give him periodical reports on the 
progress of the work. In his letter of J uly 21, 1908, he wrote, "As soon as the Bank is completed, 
please send me a picture postcard." As there was no picture postcard available, I gotoutof it by 
procuring a photograph of the new building and sending it to him. Incidentally, the building met 
with his approval. 

There were a lot of such houses in which he took a constant interest. He dragged me along 
wherever there was a building going up. He felt responsible for everything that was being built. 
But even more than with these concrete examples was he taken up with the vast schemes that he 
himself originated. Here his mania for change knew no limit. Atfirst I watched these goings-on 
with some misgiving and wondered why he so obstinately occupied himself with plans which, I 
thought, would never come to anything. The more remote the realisation of a project was, the 
more did he steep himself in it. To him these projects were in every detail as actual as though 
they were already executed and the whole town rebuilt according to his design. I often got 
confused and could not distinguish whether he was talking about a building that existed or one 
that was to be created. But to him it did not make any difference; the actual construction was a 
matter of only secondary importance. 

Nowhere is his unshakable consistency more evident. Whatthe fifteen-year-old planned, the fifty- 
year-old carried out, often, as for instance in the case of the new bridge over the Danube, as 
faithfully as though only a few weeks, instead of decades, lay between planning and execution. 
The plan existed; then came influence and power and the plan became reality. This happened 
with uncanny regularity, as though the fifteen-year-old had taken it for granted that one day he 
would possess the necessary power and means. This is justtoo much forme to take in. I cannot 
conceive thatsuch a thing is possible. One is tempted to use the word "miracle," because there is 
no rational explanation for it. 

Indeed, the plans which that unknown boy had drawn up for the rebuilding of his home town Linz 
are identical to the last detail with the town planning scheme which was inaugurated after 1938. 1 
am almost afraid of giving, in the following pages, my account of these early plans, lest my 
veracity should be suspected. And yet every single syllable of what I am going to recount is true. 

On my eighteenth birthday, August 3, 1906, my friend presented me with a sketch of a villa. 
Similarto thatplanned for Stefanie, itwas in his favourite Italian Renaissance style. By good luck. 



I have preserved the sketches. They show an imposing, palazzo-lil<e building, whose frontage is 
brol<en up by a built-in tower. The ground plan reveals a well-thoughtout arrangement of rooms, 
which are pleasantly grouped around the music room. The spiral staircase, a delicate 
architectural problem, is shown in a separate drawing, and so is the entrance hall, with its heavy 
beamed ceiling. The entrance is outlined with a few brisk strokes in a separate sketch. Adolf and I 
also selected a fitting site for my birthday present; it was to stand on the Bauernberg. When, later, 
I met Hitler in Bayreuth, I took good care not to remind him of this imaginary house. He would 
have been capable of actually giving me a villa on the Bauernberg, which presumably would have 
been finer than the original idea, and very much in the taste of the epoch. 

More impressive are two sketches still in my possession, samples of his numerous designs for a 
new concert hall in Linz. The old theatre was inadequate in every respect, and some art lovers in 
Linz had founded a society to promote the construction of a modern theatre. Adolf immediately 
joined this society and took part in a competition for ideas.. He worked for months on his plans 
and drafts and was seriously convinced that his suggestions would be accepted. His anger was 
beyond measure when the society smashed all his hopes by giving up the idea of a new building 
and, instead, had the old one renovated. 

I refer to his biting remarks in the letters he sent me on August 17, 1908. "It seems they intend to 
patch up once more the old junk heap." 

Full of fury, he said that what he would like to do best would be to wrap up his manual of 
architecture and send it off to the address of this "Theatre - Rebuilding - Society- Committee -for 
- the - Execution - of - the - Project- for- the - Rebuilding - of- the -Theatre." How well did this 
monster tide express his rage! 

My two sketches, on either side of one sheet, date from that period. The one side shows the 
auditorium. Columns break up the walls and the boxes are placed in between them. The 
balustrade is adorned by various statues. A mighty domed ceiling covers the hall. On the back of 
this bold project, Adolf explained to me the acoustic conditions of the intended building, in which I, 
as a musician, was particularly interested. It clearly shows how the sound waves, rising from the 
orchestra, are reflected from the ceiling in such a way as to be, so to speak, poured over the 
audience below. Adolf took a great interest in acoustic problems. I remember, for instance, his 
suggestion to remodel the Volksgarten Hall, whose bad acoustics always annoyed us, by 
structural alterations of the ceiling. 

And now for the rebuilding of Linz! Here his ideas were legion, yet he did not change them 
indiscriminately, and indeed held fastto his decisions once they were taken. That is why I 
remember so much about it. Every time we passed one spot or another, all his plans were ready 
immediately. 

The wonderfully compact main square was a constant delight to Adolf, and his only regretwas 
thatthe two houses nearestto the Danube disturbed the free vista on to the river and the range of 
hills beyond. On his plans, the two houses were pushed apart sufficiently to allow a free view on 
to the new, widened bridge without, however, substantially altering the former aspect of the 
square, a solution which later he actually carried out. The Town hall, which stood on the square, 
he thought unworthy of a rising town like Linz. He visualised a new, stately town hall, to be built in 
a modern style, far removed from that neo-Gothic style which at that time was the vogue for town 
halls, in Vienna and Munich, for instance. In a different way, Hitier proceeded in the remodeling of 
the old Castle, an ugly, boxlike pile which overlooked the old city. He had discovered an old print 
by Merian depicting the castie as it was before the greatfire. Its original appearance should be 
restored and the castle turned into a museum. 



Another building wiiicii never failed to rouse his enthusiasm was the Museum, built in 1892. We 
often stood and looked atthe marble frieze which was 110 metres long and reproduced scenes 
from the history of the country in relief. He never got tired of gazing at it. He extended the 
museum beyond the adjoining convent garden and enlarged the frieze to 220 metres to make it, 
as he asserted, the biggest relief frieze on the Continent. The new cathedral, then in course of 
construction, occupied him constantly. The Gothic revival was, in his opinion, a hopeless 
enterprise, and he was angry that the Linzers could not stand up to the Viennese. For the height 
of the Linz spire was limited to 134 metres out of respect for the 138-metre-high St. Stephen's 
spire in Vienna. Adolf was greatly pleased with the new Corporation of Masons which had been 
founded in connection with the building of the cathedral, as he hoped this would result in the 
training of a number of capable masons for the town. The railway station was too near the town, 
and with its network of tracks impeded the traffic as well as the town's development. Here, Adolf 
found an ingenious solution which was far ahead of his time. He removed the station out of the 
town into the open country and ran the tracks underground across the town. The space gained by 
the demolition of the old station was designated for an extension of the public park. Reading this, 
one must not forget that the time was 1907, and thatitwas an unknown youth of eighteen, 
without training or qualification, who propounded these projects which revolutionised town 
planning, and which proved how capable he was, even then, of brushing aside existing ideas. 

In a similar way. Hitler also reconstructed the surroundings of Linz. An interesting idea dominated 
his plans for the rebuilding of Wildberg Castie. Its original state was to be restored and it was to 
be developed as a kind of open-air museum with a permanent population -- quite a new idea. 
Certain types of artisans and workmen were to be attracted to the place. Their trades had to be 
partly in the medieval tradition, but should also partly serve modern purposes, a tourist industry, 
for instance. These inhabitants of the Castie were to dress in ancientfashion. The traditions of 
the old guilds should rule, and a Master Singer School was to be established. This "Island where 
the centuries had stood still" (these were his very words) would become a place of pilgrimage for 
all those who wanted to study life as it was lived in a medieval stronghold. Improving upon 
DinkelsbiJhl and Rothenburg, Wildberg would not only show architecture but real life. Visitors 
would have to pay a toll atthe gates, and so contribute to the upkeep of the local inhabitants. 
Adolf gave much thought to the choice of suitable artisans and I remember that we discussed the 
subject at great length. After all, I was just about to take my Master's examination and was, 
therefore, entitled to have my say. 

Quite a different project, of absolutely modern design, was the tower on the Lichtenberg. A 
mountain railway should run up to the peak, where a comfortable hotel would stand. The whole 
was dominated by a tower three hundred metres high, a steel construction which kept him very 
busy. The gilded eagle on the top of St. Stephen's in Vienna could be seen on clear days through 
a telescope from the highest platform of the tower. I think I remember seeing a sketch of this 
project. 

The boldest project, however, which put all the others in the shade, was the building of a 
grandiose bridge which would span the Danube ata greatheight. Forthis purpose he planned 
the construction of a high-level road. This would start at the Gugl, then still an ugly sandpit, which 
could be filled in with the town's refuse and rubbish, and provide the space for a new park. From 
there, in a broad sweep, the new road would lead up to tiie Stadtwald. (Incidentally, the city 
engineers went thus far some time ago, without knowing Hitler's plans. The road which has 
meanwhile been built corresponds exactly to Hitler's projects.) 

The Kaiser-Franz-j osef-Warte in the] agermayerwald - it is still standing - was to be demolished 
and replaced by a proud monument. In a Hall of Fame there would be assembled the portrait 
busts of all the great men who had deserved well of the Province of Upper Austria; from the top of 
the hall one would have a magnificent view over a vast expanse of country; and the whole edifice 
was to be crowned by a statue of Siegfried, raising aloft his sword, Nothung. (The Hall of 
Liberation atKehlheim and the Hermann Monument in theTeutoburger Wald were obvious 



models.) From this spot the bridge sweeps in one arch to the steep slope of the opposite bank. 
Adolf got his inspiration for this from the legend of a daring horseman who, pursued by his 
enemies, is said to have jumped from this point into the appalling depths below, to swim across 
the Danube and reach the otherside. My imagination boggled atthe dimensions of this bridge. 
The span of the arch was calculated to be more than 500 metres. The summit was 90 metres 
above the level of the river. I much regret that no sketches of this really unique project survive.. 
This bridge across the deep valley, my friend declared, would give Linz an edifice without rival in 
the whole world. When we stood on one bank of the river, or the other, Adolf would explain to me 
all the details of the scheme. 

These bold, far-reaching plans made a strange impression on me, as I still clearly remember. 
Although I saw in the whole thing nothing but a figment of the imagination, I could, nevertheless, 
not resist its peculiarfascination. Whatexercised my friend's mind, and was hastily jotted down 
on scraps of paper, was more than nebulous fantasticism; these apparently absurd conceptions 
contained something compelling and convincing -- a sortof superior logic. Each idea had its 
natural sequel in another, and the whole was a clear and rational chain of thought. Purely 
romantic conceptions, such as the "Medieval Revival of Wildberg Castle," obviously betrayed 
Richard Wagner's paternity. They were linked to extremely modern technical devices, such as the 
replacement of level crossings by underground railway tracks. This was no unbridled wallowing in 
sheer fantasy, but a well-disciplined, almost systematic process. This "Architecture set to Music" 
attracted me, perhaps, just because it seemed fully feasible - although we two poor devils had no 
possibility of realising these plans. But this did not disturb my friend in the least. His belief, that 
one day he would carry out all his tremendous projects, was unshakable. Money was of no 
importance - it was only a matter of time, of living long enough. This absolute faith was too much 
for my rational way of thinking. What was our future? I might become, at best, a well-known 
conductor. And Adolf? A gifted painter or draughtsman, perhaps a famous architect. But how far 
distant were these professional goals from that standing and reputation, those riches and power 
necessary for the rebuilding of an entire city! And who knows whether my friend, with his 
incredible flights of fancy and impulsive temperament, would stop atthe rebuilding of Linz, for he 
was incapable of keeping his hands off anything within reach. Consequently I had grave doubts 
and occasionally I dared to remind him of the undeniable factthatall our worldly possessions put 
togetherdid notamountto more than a few crowns - hardly enough to buy drawing paper. 
Usually Adolf brushed my objections impatiently aside, and I still remember his grim expression 
and his disdainful gesture on such occasions. He took it for granted that one day the plans would 
be executed with the greatest of exactitude, and prepared for this moment accordingly. Even the 
most fantastic idea was thought out in the greatest detail. How was the material to be transported 
for the bridge across the Danube? Should it be stone or steel? How were the foundations for the 
end abutments to be laid? Would the rock stand the weight? These questions were, in part, quite 
irrelevant for the expert, in part, however, very much to the point. Adolf lived so much in his vision 
of the future Linz that he adapted his day-to-day habits to it; for instance, we would visit the Hall 
of Fame, the Memorial Temple or our "Medieval Open-air Museum." 

One day when I interrupted the bold flow of his ideas for the National Monument and asked him 
soberly how he proposed to finance this project, his first reply was a brusque, "Oh, to hell with 
money!" But apparently my query had disturbed him. And he did what other people do who want 
to get rich quickly - he bought a lottery ticket. And yet there was a difference between the way 
Adolf bought a lottery ticket and the way other people did. For other people only hope, or rather, 
dream of getting the first prize, but Adolf was sure he had won from the moment of buying the 
ticketand had only forgotten to collect the money. His only possible worry was how to spend this 
not inconsiderable sum to the best advantage. 

It was typical of him that he often mingled his mostfantastic ideas with the coolest calculations, 
and the same thing happened with the purchase of the lottery ticket. While he was already, in his 
imagination, spending his winnings, he carefully studied the lottery conditions and worked out our 
chance with the greatest precision. Adolf invited me to go shares with him in this venture. He was 



quite systematic about it. Tiie price of tiie ticl<et was ten crowns, of wiiicii I iiad to find five. He 
stipulated, however, tiiat these five crowns siiould not be given to me by my parents, but I had to 
earn them myself. At that time I earned some pocket money and also got occasional tips from the 
customers. Adolf insisted on knowing exactly where these five crowns came from, and when he 
was satisfied that my contribution was really my own, we went together to the office of the State 
Lottery to buy tiie ticket. It took him a long time to make up his mind, and I still don't know what 
considerations prompted his choice. As he was absolutely skeptical about occultism and more 
than rational in these matters, his behaviour remained a mystery to me. But in the end he found 
his winner. "Here it is!" he said, and put the ticket carefully away in the littie, black notebook in 
which he wrote his poems. 

The time that elapsed before the draw was for me the happiest period of our friendship. Love and 
entiiusiasm, great thoughts, lofty ideas, all that we bad already. The only thing that was lacking 
was money. Now we had that, too. What more could we want? 

Although the first prize represented a lot of money, my friend was by no means tempted to spend 
it thoughtlessly. On the contrary. He went about it in the most calculating and economical way. It 
would have been senseless to invest the whole sum in one of the projects, say the rebuilding of 
the museum, for this would only have been a small part within the framework of the great town- 
planning scheme. It was more reasonable to use the money for our own benefit, to help us to a 
standing in public life which would enable us to progress further towards our ultimate aims. 

It would have been too expensive to build a villa for ourselves; it would have swallowed up so 
much of ourfortune thatwe would have moved into this splendour quite penniless. Adolf 
suggested a compromise: we should rent a flat, he said, and adapt it to our purpose. After long 
and careful examination of the various possibilities, we selected the second floor of No. 2 
Kirchengasse in Urfahr; for this house was in a quite exceptional position. Near the bank of the 
Danube, it had a view overthe pleasantgreen fields which culminated in the Postlingberg. We 
crept into the house secretiy, looked atthe view from the staircase window, and Adolf made a 
sketch of the ground plan. 

Then we moved in, so to speak. The larger wing of the flat should be for my friend, the smaller 
one was reserved for me. Adolf arranged the rooms so that his study was as far removed as 
possible from mine, so that he, at his drawing board, would not be disturbed by my practising. 

My friend also saw to the furnishing of the rooms, drawing each single piece of furniture to scale 
on the ground plan. The furniture was of most beautiful and superior quality, made by the town's 
leading craftsmen, by no means cheap, mass-produced stuff. Even the decorations for the walls 
of each single room were designed by Adolf. I was only allowed to have a say about the curtains 
and draperies, and I had to show him how I. suggested dealing with the rooms he had given me. 
He was certainly pleased with the self-assured manner in which I co-operated with the 
arrangement of the flat. We had no doubt thatthe first prize was ours. Adolf's own faith had 
bewitched me into believing as he did. I, too, expected to move into No. 2 Kirchengasse very 
soon. 

Although simplicity was to be the keynote of our home, it was nevertheless imbued with a refined, 
personal taste. Adolf proposed to make our home the centre of a circle of art lovers. I would 
provide the musical entertainment. He would recite something, or read aloud, or expound his 
latest work. We would make regular trips to Vienna to attend lectures and concerts, and to go to 
the theatre. (I realised then that Vienna played an important part in my friend's world of ideas. 
Strange that he had opted for the Kirchengasse in Urfahr.) 

Winning the first prize would not alter our mode of life. We would remain simple people, wearing 
clothes of good quality, but certainly not ostentatious. With regard to our dress, Adolf had a 



delicious idea wiiicii deligjited me immeasurably. We should both dress in exactly the same way, 
he suggested, so that people would take us for brothers. I believe that, for me, this idea alone 
made it worthwhile to win the Lottery. It shows how our mere theatre acquaintance had ripened 
into a deep, romantic friendship. 

Of course I would have to leave my parents' home and give up my trade. My future musical 
studies would leave me no time for such things; for as our studies progressed, our understanding 
for artistic experiences increased and engrossed us completely. 

Adolf thought of everything, even the running of the household, which was necessary as the day 
of the draw was approaching. A refined lady should preside over our home and run it. It had to be 
an elderly lady, to rule out any expectations or intentions which might interfere with our artistic 
vocation. We also agreed on the staff thatthis big household would need. Thus, everything was 
prepared. This image remained with me for a long time to come: an elderly lady, with greying hair, 
but incredibly distinguished, standing in the brilliantly lit hall, welcoming, on behalf of her two 
young, gifted gentlemen of seventeen and eighteen years, the guests who formed their circle of 
select, lofty-minded friends. 

During the summer months we were to travel. The first and foremost destination was Bayreuth, 
where we were to enjoy the perfect performances of the great master's music dramas. After 
Bayreuth, we were to visit famous cities, magnificent cathedrals, palaces and castles, but also 
industrial centres, shipyards and ports. "It shall be the whole of Germany," said Adolf. This was 
one of his favourite sayings. 

The day of the draw arrived. 

Adolf came rushing wildly round to the workshop with the list of results. I have rarely heard him 
rage so madly as then. First he fumed overthe State Lottery, this officially organised exploitation 
of human credulity, this open fraud atthe expense of docile citizens. Then his fury turned against 
the state itself, this patchwork often or twelve, or God knows how many nations, this monster 
built up by Hapsburg marriages. Could one expect other than that two poor devils should be 
cheated out of their lastfew crowns? 

Neverdid it occur to Adolf to reproach himself for having taken it for granted that the first prize 
belonged to him by right; and this in spite of the fact that he had brooded for hours overthe 
conditions of the Lottery and calculated exactly how small our chances were in view of the 
number of tickets in existence and the number of prizes offered. I could find no explanation for 
this contradiction in his character. But there it was. 

For the firsttime he had been deserted by his will power which always seemed to move matters 
that concerned him in the desired direction. This he could not bear, for it was worse than the loss 
of the money and having to give up the flat and the lady-housekeeper receiving our guests with 
distinguished nonchalance. 

It seemed to Adolf more reasonable to rely on himself and build his own future, rather than trust 
government institutions like lotteries. This would spare him from such setbacks. Thus, after a 
short period of utter depression, he returned to his earlier projects. 

One of his favourite plans was the replacement of the bridge which linked Linz and Urfahr. We 
used to cross this bridge daily, and Adolf was particularly fond of this walk. When the floods of 
May 1868 destroyed five supports of the old wooden bridge, it was decided to build an iron 
bridge, which was completed in 1872. This rather ugly bridge was far too narrow for the traffic, 
although in those days there were not even any motorcars; and it was always overcrowded to a 
frightening degree. 



Adolf liked to listen to the cursing drivers, who with wild oaths and much cracking of the whip, 
would try to make a way for themselves. Although generally he showed little interest in the thing 
at hand and preferred to take the long view for his projects, he suggested here a provisional 
solution to remedy the existing state of affairs. Without altering the bridge itself, to either side 
should be added a footpath, two metres wide, which would carry the pedestrian traffic and thus 
relieve the roadway. 

Naturally, nobody in Linz listened to the suggestions this young dreamer, who could not even 
produce decent school reports. All the more enthusiastically did Adolf now occupy himself with 
the complete rebuilding of the bridge. 

The ugly iron structure must be demolished. The new bridge must be so proportioned as to give 
the visitor who approached the Danube from the main square the impression of seeing, not a 
bridge, but a broad, impressive street. Mighty statues would underline the artistic aspect of the 
whole. 

It is greatly to be regretted that, so far as I know, none of the numerous sketches which Hitler 
then made for the new bridge has been preserved; for it would be very interesting to compare 
these sketches with the plans which, thirty years later, Adolf Hitler prepared for this bridge and 
ordered to be executed. We owe it to his impatience to see the new Linz built that, in spite of the 
outbreak of war in 1939, that structure, being the central project of the Linz town planning, 
actually was completed. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 10 - In That Hour It Began 



It was the most impressive hour I ever lived through with my friend. So unforgettable is it, that 
even the most trivial things, the clothes Adolf wore that evening, the weather, are still present in 
my mind as though the experience were exempt from the passing of time. 

Adolf stood outside my house in his black overcoat, his dark hat pulled down over his face. It was 
a cold, unpleasant November evening. He waved to me impatientiy. I was just cleaning myself up 
from the workshop and getting ready to go to the theatre. Rienzi was being given that night. We 
had never seen this Wagner opera and looked forward to it with great excitement. In order to 
secure the pillars in the Promenade we had to be early. Adolf whistied, to hurry me up. 

Now we were in the theatre, burning with enthusiasm, and living breathlessly through Rienzi's rise 
to be the Tribune of the people of Rome and his subsequent downfall. When at last it was over, it 
was past midnight. My friend, his hands thrust into his coat pockets, silent and withdrawn, strode 
through the streets and out of the city. Usually, after an artistic experience that had moved him, 
he would start talking straightaway, sharply criticizing the performance, but after Rienzi he 
remained quiet a long while. This surprised me, and I asked him what he thought of it. He threw 
me a strange, almost hostile glance. "Shut up!" he said brusquely. 

The cold, damp mist lay oppressively over the narrow streets. Our solitary steps resounded on 
the pavement. Adolf took the road that led up to the Freinberg. Without speaking a word, he 
strode forward. He looked almost sinister, and paler than ever. His turned-up coat collar 
increased this impression. 

I wanted to ask him, "Where are you going?" But his pallid face looked so forbidding that I 
suppressed the question. 

As if propelled by an invisible force, Adolf climbed up to the top of the Freinberg. And only now 
did I realize that we were no longer in solitude and darkness, for the stars shone brilliantly above 
us. 

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. The words did not come smoothly from his mouth as they 
usually did, but rather erupted, hoarse and raucous. From his voice I could tell even more how 
much this experience had shaken him. 

Gradually his speech loosened, and the words flowed more freely. Never before and never again 
have I heard Adolf Hitier 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. 

I cannot repeat every word that my friend uttered. I was struck by something strange, which I had 
never noticed before, even when he had talked to me in moments of the greatest excitement. It 
was as if another being spoke out of his body, and moved him as much as it did me. It wasn't at 
all a case of a speaker being carried away by his own words. On the contrary; I rather felt as 
though he himself listened with astonishment and emotion to what burst forth from him with 
elementary force. I will not attempt to interpret this phenomenon, but it was a state of complete 



ecstasy and rapture, in which he transferred the character of Rienzi, without even mentioning him 
as a model or example, with visionary power to the plane of his own ambitions. But it was more 
than a cheap adaptation. Indeed, the impact of the opera was rather a sheer external impulse 
which compelled him to speak. Like flood waters breaking their dikes, his words burstforth from 
him. He conjured up in grandiose, inspiring pictures his own future and that of his people. 

Hitherto I had been convinced that my friend wanted to become an artist, a painter, or perhaps an 
architect. Now this was no longer the case. Now he aspired to something higher, which I could 
not yet fully grasp. It rather surprised me, as I thought that the vocation of the artist was for him 
the highest, most desirable goal. But now he was talking of a mandate which, one day, he would 
receive from the people, to lead them out of servitude to the heights of freedom. 

It was an unknown youth who spoke to me in that strange hour. He spoke of a special mission 
which one day would be entrusted to him, and I, his only listener, could hardly understand what 
he meant. Many years had to pass before I realized the significance of this enraptured hourfor 
my friend. 

His words were followed by silence. 

We descended into the town. The clock struck three. We parted in front of my house. Adolf shook 
hands with me, and I was astonished to see that he did not go in the direction of his home, but 
turned again towards the mountains. 

"Where are you going now?" I asked him, surprised. He replied briefly, "I want to be alone." 

In the following weeks and months he neveragain mentioned this houron the Freinberg. Atfirstit 
struck me as odd and I could find no explanation for his strange behavior, for I could not believe 
that he had forgotten it altogether. Indeed he never did forget it, as I discovered thirty-three years 
later. But he kept silent about it because he wanted to keep that hour entirely to himself. That I 
could understand, and I respected his silence. After all, it was his hour, not mine. I had played 
only the modest role of a sympathetic friend. 

In 1939, shortly before war broke out, when I, for the first time visited Bayreuth as the guest of the 
Reichs Chancellor, I thoughtl would please my host by reminding him of that nocturnal houron 
the Freinberg, so I told Adolf Hitler what I remembered of it, assuming thatthe 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 I sensed that 
he vividly recalled that hour and had retained all its details in his memory. He was visibly pleased 
that my account confirmed his own recollections. I was also present when Adolf Hitler retold this 
sequel to the performance of Rienzi in Linz to Frau Wagner, at whose home we were both 
guests. Thus my own memory was doubly confirmed. The words with which Hitler concluded his 
story to Frau Wagner are also unforgettable forme. He said solemnly, "In that hour it began." 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 11 - Adolf Leaves for Vienna. 



I had been noticing for along time tiiat Adolf, whether he was talking about art, politics or his own 
future, was no longer satisfied with friendly and familiar, though Philistine Linz, and cast his eyes 
more and more frequently towards Vienna. Vienna, still a resplendent Imperial city and the 
metropolis of a State of forty-five million people, promised him fulfillment of all his hopes for the 
future. At the time of which I speak, the summer of 1907, Adolf knew Vienna from a visit he had 
paid it in the previous year. In May and J une, 1906, be had stayed there long enough to grow 
enthusiastic about everything that had specially attracted him -- the Hof Museum, the Hof Opera, 
the Burg Theatre, the magnificent buildings on the Ring -- but not long enough to observe the 
distress and misery which were concealed by the magnificentfacade of the city. This deceptive 
picture, largely produced by his artistic imagination, held a powerful attraction for him. In his 
thoughts he was often no longer in Linz but already in Vienna, and his incredible capacity for 
ignoring the reality in f front of him, and for accepting as real what existed only in his imagination, 
now came here into full play. 

I have to correct here a small error which Adolf Hitler made in Mein Kampf'm regard to his first 
stay in Vienna. He is wrong when he says that he was then not yet sixteen years old, for actually 
he had just had his seventeenth birthday. F or the rest, his account of it corresponds entirely with 
my own. 

I well rememberthe enthusiasm with which my friend spoke of his impressions of Vienna. Details 
of his account, however, escape my memory. It is all the more fortunate that the postcards he 
wrote to me on this firstvisitare still preserved. There are, altogether, four postcards which, apart 
it from their biographical interest, are important graphological documents; for they are the earliest 
substantial examples of Adolf Hitler's handwriting still existing. It is a strangely mature, rather 
flowing hand, which one would hardly connect with a youth of barely eighteen, while the incorrect 
spelling not only bears witness to patchy schooling, but also to a certain indifference in such 
matters. All the picture postcards he sent me were, significantly enough, of buildings. A different 
kind of young man of his age would certainly have chosen a different kind of picture postcard for 
his friend. 

The first of these cards -- dated May 7, 1906 -- is a masterpiece of the postcard production of the 
period and must have cost him a pretty penny: it opens out into a kind of triptych, with a full view 
of the Karlsplatz, with the church -- the Karlskirche -- in the centre. The text is: "In sending you 
this postcard I have to apologise for not having written sooner. Well, I have safely arrived and am 
going around everywhere. Tomorrow I am going to the Opera, 'Tristan,' and the day after, 'The 
Flying Dutchman,' etc. Although I find everything very beautiful, I am longing for Linz. Tonight 
Stadt-Theatre. Greetings, your friend, Adolf Hitier." 

On the picture side of the card, the Conservatory is expressly marked, probably the reason for his 
choice of this particular view, for he was already playing with the idea tiiat someday we would 
study together in Vienna, and never missed an opportunity of reminding me of this possibility in 
the most alluring form. On the lower margin of the picture, he adds: "Greetings to your esteemed 
parents." 

I would like to mention that the words "Although I find everything very beautiful, I am longing for 
Linz" do not refer to Linz but to Stefanie, for whom his love was all the greater the farther from her 
he was. It certainly satisfied his impetuous longing for her that he, a lonely stranger in this 



heartless metropolis, could write these words which only his friend who shared his secrets would 
understand. 

On the same day, Adolf sent me a second postcard which depicts the stage of the Hof Opera 
House. Presumably this particularly successful photograph, which shows a part of the decor, had 
appealed to him. On it he wrote: "The interior of the edifice is not very stirring. If the exterior is 
mighty majesty, which gives the building the seriousness of an artistic monument, the inside, 
though commanding admiration, does not impress one with its dignity. Only when the mighty 
sound waves flow through the hall and when the whispering of the wind gives way to the terrible 
roaring of the sound waves, then one feels the grandeur and forgets the gold and velvet with 
which the interior is overloaded. Adolf H." 

On the front of the card there is again added: "Greetings to your esteemed parents." 

Adolf is completely in his element here. The friend is forgotten, even Stefanie is forgotten; no 
greeting, not even a hint, so overwhelmed is he by his recent experience. His clumsy style clearly 
reveals that his power of expression is not sufficient to do justice to the depth of his feelings. But 
even his poor style, which sounds like the ecstatic stammering of an enthusiast, reveals the 
magnitude of his experience. After all, it had been the greatest dream of our boyhood in Linz to 
see, someday, a perfect production atthe Vienna Opera House instead of the performances in 
our provincial theatre, which leftso much to be desired. Certainly Adolf, with his glowing 
description, aimed at my own art-loving heart. For what could make Vienna more attractive to me 
than the enthusiastic echo of such artistic impressions? 

On the very next day. May 8, 1906, he wrote again; it is rather surprising that he wrote three 
times in the space of two days. His motive becomes clearfrom the contents of the postcard, 
which shows the exterior of the Vienna Opera House. 

He wrote: "I am really longing for my dear Linz and Urfar. Want and must see Benkieser again. 
What might he be doing, so I am arriving on Thursday on the 3.55 in Linz. If you have time and 
permission, meet me. Greetings to your esteemed parents! Your friend, Adolf Hitier." 

The word "Urfar," misspelt in the hurry, is underlined, although Adolf s mother was still living in 
Humboldtstrasse, and not in Urfahr. Of course, that remark referred to Stefanie, ie, and so did the 
agreed code word, Benkieser. The phrase "Wantand mustsee Benkieser" is typical of Adolfs 
style and character. Also significant are the words, "If you have time and permission, meet me." 
Although it was a matterof urgency for him, he respects my duty of obedience towards my 
parents, nordoes he omit to greetthem on this card. 

Unfortunately, I cannot verify whether Adolf really returned to Linz on the following Thursday, or if 
this indication was only intended to satisfy his unappeasable longing for Stefanie. His remark in 
Mein Kampf that his sojourn in Vienna lasted only a fortnight is incorrect. Actually, he stayed 
there aboutfour weeks, as is evidenced by the postcard of] une 6, 1906. This card, which shows 
the Franzensring and House of Parliament, is on conventional lines: "To you and to your 
esteemed parents, I send herewith best wishes for the holidays and kind regards. Respectfully, 
Adolf Hitler." 

With this memory of his first stay in Vienna transfigured by his yearning for Stefanie, Adolf 
entered the critical summer of 1907. What he suffered in those weeks was in many respects 
similar to the grave crisis of two years earlier. Then, after much heart-searching, he had finally 
settled his accounts with the school and made an end of it, however painful this might be for his 
mother. A grave illness bad rendered the transition easierfor him. But this transition led him only 
to the "hollowness of the life of leisure." Without school, with no career in mind, he had spent two 
years living with his mother and not earning a penny. These were by no means idle years. Having 



had daily contact with Adolf, I can testify how intensely my friend, studied and worked in those 
days. But this private study, as well as his artistic activity, had no determined goal. He felt himself 
that it couldn't continue. Something had to happen, a profound change would give a clear 
direction to his aimless, day-to-day mode of life. 

Outwardly, this seeking for a new path showed itself in dangerous fits of depression. I knew only 
too well those moods of his, which were in sharp contrastto his ecstatic dedication and activity, 
and realised that I couldn't help hint. At such times he was inaccessible, uncommunicative and 
distant. It might happen that we didn't meet at all for a day or two. If I tried to see him at home, his 
mother would receive me with great surprise. "Adolf has gone out," she would say, "he must be 
looking for you." Actually, Adolf would wander around aimlessly and alone for days and nights in 
the fields and forests surrounding the town. When I met him at last, he was obviously glad to 
have me with him. But when I asked him what was wrong, his only answer would be, "Leave me 
alone," or a brusque, "I don't know myself." And if I insisted, he would understand my sympathy, 
and then say in a milder tone, "Nevermind, GustI, but not even you can help me." 

This state lasted several weeks. One fine summer evening, however, when we were strolling 
beside the Danube, the tension began to ease. Adolf reverted to his old, familiar tone. I remember 
this moment exactly. As usual, we had been to see Stefanie pass by arm-in-arm with her mother. 
Adolf was still under herspell. Even though he saw her, atthis time, almost every day, these 
meetings never became something commonplace for him. While Stefanie had probably long 
since become bored by the silent, but strictly conventional adulation of the pale, thin youth, my 
friend lost himself increasingly in his wishful dreams the more he saw her. Yet he was pastthose 
romantic ideas of elopement or suicide. He explained to me in eloquent words his state of mind: 
the vision of the beloved pursued him day and night; he was unable to work or even to think 
clearly; he feared he would go mad if this state of affairs went on much longer, though he saw no 
way of altering the situation, for which Stefanie was not to blame, either. "There is only one thing 
to be done," he cried. "I must go away - far away from Stefanie." 

On our way home he explained his decision in greater detail. His relationship with Stefanie would 
become more bearable for him once he was living at a distance and could not meet her every 
day. It did not occur to him that in this way he might lose Stefanie altogether- so deeply 
convinced was he that he had won her forever. The true situation was different. Adolf perhaps 
already realised that if he wanted to win Stefanie, he would have to speak to her or take some 
such decisive step - it is probable that even he began to find the exchange of glances on the 
Landstrasse a littie childish. Nevertheless, he felt instinctively that it would abruptly destroy his 
life's dream if he actually made Stefanie's acquaintance. Indeed, as he said to me: "If I introduce 
myself to Stefanie and her mother, I will have to tell her at once what I am, what I have and what I 
want. My statement would bring our relations abruptly to an end." This awareness, and the 
simultaneous realisation that he had to put his relationship with Stefanie on a firm basis to avoid 
ridicule, were the horns of a dilemma for him, from which he saw only one way out - flight. He 
started at once to expound his plan to the last detail. I received precise instructions what to tell 
Stefanie if she asked, full of astonishment, what had become of my friend. (She never did!) Adolf 
himself realised that if he wanted to marry her, he would have to offer her a secure existence. 

But this unsolved and, for a person of my friend's nature, insoluble problem of his relationship 
with Stefanie was only one of the many reasons which prompted him to quitLinz, although the 
most personal and therefore decisive. Another reason was that he was anxious to escape the 
atmosphere that prevailed at home. The idea that he, a young man of eighteen, should continue 
to be kept by his mother had become unbearable to him. It was a painful dilemma which, as I 
could see for myself, made him almost physically ill. On the one hand, he loved his mother above 
everything; she was the only person on earth to whom he felt really close, and she reciprocated 
his feeling to the same extent, although she was deeply disturbed by her son's unusual nature, 
however proud she was attimes of him. "He is differentfrom us," she used to say. On the other 
hand, she felt it to be her duty to carry out the wishes of her late husband, and to prevail on Adolf 



tD embark on a safe career. But what was "safe," in view of the peculiar ciiaracter of iier son? He 
had failed at school and had ignored all his mother's wishes and suggestions. A painter-- thats 
what he had said he wanted to become. This could not seem very satisfactory to his mother, for, 
simple soul thatshe was, anything connected with artand artists appeared to herfrivolous and 
insecure. Adolf tried to change her mind by telling her of his intention to study at the Academy. 
That sounded better; after all, the Academy, of which Adolf spoke with increasing enthusiasm, 
was really a kind of school, where his mother thought he might make up for what he had missed 
in the Technical School. When listening to these domestic discussions, I was always surprised by 
the sympathetic understanding and patience with which Adolf tried to convince his mother of his 
artistic vocation. Contrary to his habit, he never became cross or violent on these occasions. 
Often Frau Klara would also unburden herself to me, for she saw in me, too, an artistically gifted 
young man with high aims. Having a better understanding of musical matters than of her son's 
dabbling in drawing and painting, she frequently found my opinions more convincing than his, and 
Adolf was very grateful for my support. But in Frau Klara 's eyes there was one important 
difference between Adolf and me: I had learntan honest trade, finished my apprenticeship and 
passed my journeyman's examination. I would always have a safe haven to shelter in, whereas 
Adolf was just steering into the unknown. This vision tormented his mother unceasingly. 
Nevertheless, he succeeded in convincing her that it was essential for him to go to the Academy 
and study painting. I still remember distinctiy how pleased he was over it. "Now mother will not 
raise any more objections," he told me one day. "I definitely go to Vienna atthe beginning of 
September." Adolf had also settled with his mother the financial side of his plan. His living 
expenses and the Academy fees were to be paid out of the small legacy left him by his father and 
now administered by his guardian. Adolf hoped that, with great economy, he would be able to 
manage on this fora year. Whatwould happen afterwards remained to be seen, he said. Perhaps 
he would earn sometiiing by the sale of some drawings and pictures. 

The main opponent of this plan was his brother-in-law, Raubal, who, with his limited revenue 
official's horizon, was incapable of understanding Adolfs thoughts. That was rubbish, he said; it 
was high time that Adolf learned something respectable. Although Raubal, after some violent 
altercations with Adolf, in which he always came off worst, avoided any further argument with 
him, he tried all the harderto influence Frau Klara. Adolf found out most of this from "the kid," as 
he used to call his eleven-year-old sister. When Paula told him that Raubal had been to see his 
mother, Adolf would fall into a rage. "This P harisee is ruining my home for me," he once remarked 
to me furiously. Apparently Raubal had also got in touch with Adolf's guardian, for one day the 
worthy peasant Mayrhofer, who would have liked best to make a bakeroutof Adolf and had 
already found an apprenticeship for him, came from Leonding to see Frau Klara. Adolf was afraid 
that his guardian might induce her to hold back the legacy. This would have put a stop to his 
moving to Vienna. But the plan did notgetso far, though for some time the decision was very 
much in doubt. By the end of this tough struggle, everybody was against Adolf- even, as 
happens in tenement buildings, the other tenants. Frau Klara listened to this more or less well- 
meant chatter and became completely confused by it all. Often, when Adolf had his fits of 
depression and was wandering through the woods, I used to sit with her in her little kitchen, 
listening sympathetically to her laments, trying hard to comfort the wretched woman without being 
unfair to my friend, and atthe same time helping him where I could. I could easily put myself in 
Adolf's shoes. It would have been simple enough for him, with his greatenergy, justto pack up 
and go, if consideration for his mother had not prevented him. He had come to hate the Philistine 
world in which he had to live. He could hardly bear to return to that narrow world after lonely 
hours spent in the open. He was always in a ferment of rage, hard and intractable. I had a lotto 
put up with in those weeks. But the secret of Stefanie, which we shared, bound us inseparably 
together. The sweet magic which she, the unattainable, radiated calmed the stormy waves. So, 
as his mother was so easily influenced, the matter remained undecided, although Adolf had long 
since made up his mind. 

On the other hand, Vienna was calling. Thatcity had a thousand possibilities for an eageryoung 
man like Adolf, opportunities which might lead to the most sublime heights or to the most sombre 



depths. A city magnificent and attiie same time cruel, promising everything and denying 
everything -- tiiatwas Vienna. She demanded the higheststal<e from everyone who pledged 
himself to her. And that is what Adolf wanted. 

No doubt Adolf had his father's example before, him. What would he have become if he hadn't 
gone to Vienna? A poor, haggard cobbler somewhere in the poverty-stricken Waldviertel. And 
see what Vienna made of this poor, orphaned cobbler's boy! 

Ever since his first visit in the spring of 1906, these rather vague ideas had assumed concrete 
form in Adolf's mind. He who had dedicated his life to art could develop his talents only in Vienna, 
for in that city were concentrated its most perfect achievements in every field. During his first 
short stay there he had already been to the Hof Opera House and seen The Flying Dutchman, 
Tristan, and Lohengrin. By these standards, the performance in the Linz Theatre appeared 
provincial and inadequate. In Vienna, the Burg Theatre, with its classic productions, awaited the 
young man. There was also the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra which, with justification, was then 
considered the best in the world. Then the museums, with their immeasurable treasures, the 
picture galleries, the Hof Library, provided unending possibilities for study and self-improvement. 

Linz had little more to offer Adolf. What rebuilding had to be done in this city he had already done, 
mentally, and no more large tempting problems were left for him to solve. And I was always there 
to report any further alterations to the town, such as the new building of the Bank of Upper Austria 
and Salzburg on the main square, or the projected new theatre. But he wanted to look at grander 
things - the magnificent buildings of the centre of Vienna, the vast, truly imperial layout of the 
Ringstrasse - rather than the humble little Landstrasse in Linz. Moreover, his growing interest in 
politics found no outlet in conservative Linz, where political life ran in well-defined grooves. 
Simply nothing happened that might have had any political interestfor a young man; there was no 
tension, no conflict, no unrest. It was a great adventure to move from this absolute calm into the 
centre of the storm. All the energies of the Hapsburg State were concentrated in Vienna. Thirty 
nations struggled for their national existence and independence, and thus created an atmosphere 
like thatof a volcano. How the young heart would rejoice atthrowing itself unrestrainedly into this 
struggle! 

At long last the great moment arrived. Adolf, beaming with delight, came to see me at the 
workshop, where we were very busy atthattime. "I'm leaving tomorrow," he said briefly. He 
asked me to accompany him to the station, as he didn't want his mother to come. I knew how 
painful it would have been for Adolf to take leave of his mother in frontof other people. He 
disliked nothing more than showing his feelings in public. I promised him to come and to help him 
with his luggage. 

Next day I took time off and went to the Bliitengasse to collect my friend. Adolf had prepared 
everything. I took his suitcase, which was rather heavy with books he did not want to leave 
behind, and hurried away to avoid being present at the farewells. Yet I couldn't avoid them 
entirely. His mother was crying and littie Paula, whom Adolf never bothered with much, was 
sobbing heart-rendingly. When Adolf caught up with me on the stairs and helped me with the 
suitcase, I saw that his eyes, too, were wet. We took the tram to the railway station, chatting 
about trivialities, as often happens when one wants to hide one's feelings. It moved me deeply to 
say goodbye to Adolf, and I feltmiserable going home alone. Itwas a good thing thatthere was 
so much work waiting forme at the workshop. 

Unfortunately, our correspondence ofthatperiod is lost. I only remember that for several weeks I 
had no news at all from him. And it was during those days that I felt most deeply how much he 
meant to me. Other young people of my age did not interest me, as I knew in advance that they 
would only turn out to be disappointing, with few interests other than their own shallow and 
superficial doings. Adolf was much more serious and mature than most people of his age. His 
horizon was wide and his passionate interest in everything had carried me along with it. Now I felt 



very lonely and miserable, and to find some comfort I went to the Bliitengasse to see Frau Klara. 
Talking to somebody so fond of Adolf would certainly make me feel better. 

I thought that Adolf would already have written to his mother, forafterall, it was a fortnight since 
he had left; and I would get his address and write to him, according to instructions, of all that had 
happened meanwhile. Actually, not much had happened, butfor Adolf, every detail was 
important. I had seen Stefanie atthe Schmiedtoreck, and indeed, she was surprised when she 
saw me there alone, for that much she knew about us, that in this "affair" I played only a 
secondary role. The chief protagonist was missing. That seemed strange to her. What could it 
mean? Though Adolf was only a silent admirer, he was more persistent and tenacious than all the 
others. She did not want to lose this faithful adorer. Her enquiring glance caughtme so 
unexpectedly, thati was almosttempted to address her. ButStefanie was notalone, being, as 
usual, accompanied by her mother, and moreover my friend had given me strict instructions to 
wait until Stefanie, herself asked me. Surely, as soon as she realised that he had gone for good, 
she would take the first opportunity of running over the bridge alone to entreat me impetuously to 
tell her what had become of my friend. Perhaps he had had an accident, or he was ill again as he 
was thattime two years ago, or perhaps even dead. Unthinkable! Anyhow, though that 
conversation had not yet taken place, I had enough material to fill four pages of a letter. But what 
on earth had happened to Adolf? Not a line from him. Frau Klara opened the door to me and 
greeted me warmly, and I could see that she had been .longing forme to come. "Have you heard 
from Adolf?" she asked me, still atthe door. So he hadn't written to his mother either, and this 
made me feel anxious. Something out of the ordinary must have happened. Perhaps things 
hadn'tgone according to plan in Vienna. 

Frau Klara offered me a chair. I saw how much good itdid herto be able to unburden herself. Ah, 
the old lament, which I had come to know by heart! But I listened patiently. "If only he had studied 
properly atthe technical school he would almost be ready to matriculate. But he won't listen to 
anybody." And she added, "He's as pigheaded as his fatiier. Why this crazy journey to Vienna? 
Instead of holding on to his littie legacy, its just being frittered away. And after that? Nothing will 
come of his painting. And story-writing doesn't earn anything either. And I can't help him -- I've 
got the littie one to look after. You know yourself whata sickly child she is, butjustthe same she 
must get some decent training. Adolf doesn't give it a thought, he goes his way, just as if he were 
alone in the world. I shall not live to see him making an independent position for himself. .." 

Frau Klara seemed more careworn than ever. Her face was deeply lined. Her eyes were lifeless, 
her voice sounded tired and resigned. I had the impression that, now that Adolf was no longer 
there, she had let herself go, and looked older and more ailing than ever. She certainly had 
concealed her condition from her son to make the parting easier for him. Or perhaps it was 
Adolf's impulsive nature that had kept up her vitality. Now, on her own, she seemed to me an old, 
sick woman. 

I forget, unfortunately, what happened during the course of the following weeks. Adolf had briefly 
informed me of his address. He was living in the 6th District, at No. 29 Stumpergasse, Staircase 
II, second floor, door No. 17, in the flat of a woman with the curious name of Zakreys. That was 
all he wrote. But I guessed thatthere was more behind this obstinate silence, fori knew that 
Adolf's silences usually meant that he was too proud to talk. 

I quote, therefore, from his own description in Mein Kampfof his second sojourn in Vienna, which 
by general consent is entirely truthful: 

... / had gone to Vienna with the intention of talcing the entrance examination for the Academy. I 
had set out, armed with a thicl< wad of drawings, convinced that it would be child's play to pass. 
Atthe technical school I had been by far the best in my class at drawing, and since then my 
ability had developed quite extraordinarily; so I was quite satisfied with myself and this made me 
proudly and happily hope for the best... 



So here I was for the second time in the beautiful city, waiting impatientiy, but hopefully, for the 
resultofthe entrance examination. I was so sure of success thatthe news of my rejection hitme 
like a bolt from tfie blue. Yet, ttiatwas what happened. When I went to see tfie Rector and asked 
to know ttie reasons why I had not been admitted to the general painting school of tfie Academy, I 
was told by this gentleman tiiatthe drawings I had submitted showed clearly ttiati had no 
aptitude for painting, my ability seemed rattier to lie in the field of architecture, and I should not go 
to tfie painting school, but rather to the school of architecture of the Academy. That I had never 
been to a school for building, nor received any training in architecture, seemed to him hard to 
believe. 

Defeated, I left the monumental building on the Schiller Square, for tiie first time in my young life 
at variance with myself For what I had been told about my ability seemed to me to disclose in a 
flash of lightning a discord from which I had long suffered without hitherto, clearly realising ttie 
why and wherefore. 

In a few days, I knew myself that I would become an architect Yet this was an incredibly difficult 
path, for what I had missed, out of obstinacy, in the technical school, now took its bitter revenge. 
The attendance at the school of architecture of the Academy was dependent on the attendance at 
a technical school for building, and entrance to the latter required one to have passed the 
matriculation examination at a secondary school. I didn't fulfil any one of these conditions. As far 
as could be foreseen, therefore, the fulfilment of my dream to become an artist was impossible. 

He had been refused by the Academy, he had failed even before he had got a footing in Vienna. 
Nothing more terrible could have happened to him. But he was too proud to talk about it, and so 
he concealed from me what had happened. He concealed it from his mother, too. When later we 
met again, he had to some extent already lived down this hard verdict. He did not mention it at all. 
I respected his silence and didn't ask him any questions, because I suspected that something had 
gone wrong with his plans. Not until the next year, when we were living together in Vienna, did all 
these circumstances gradually become clear to me. 

Adolf's talentfor architecture was so obvious that it would have justified an exception -- how 
many less talented students were to be found atthe Academy! This decision was therefore as 
biased and bureaucratic as it was unjust. YetAdolfs reaction to this humiliating treatment was 
typical. He made no attemptto obtain exceptional treatment, orto humiliate himself in front of 
people who did not understand him. Then were neither revolt nor rebellion; instead came a 
radical withdrawal into himself, an obstinate resolve to cope alone with adversity, an embittered 
"Now, more than ever!" which he flung atthe gentlemen of the Schillerplatz, justas, two years 
earlier, he had settled his account with his school teachers. Whatever disappointments life 
brought him, they were but a spur for him to brave all obstacles, and to continue on the path on 
which he had embarked. 

In his book Mein KampfUe writes: "As the Goddess of Misery took me in her arms and so often 
threatened to break me, the Will to Resist grew, and in the end the Will triumphed." 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 12 - His Mothet's Death. 



I remember that Adolf's mother had to undergo a serious operation atthe beginning of 1907. She 
was then in the Hospital of the Sisters of Mercy in the Herrenstrasse, and he visited herthere 
daily. I forget what her illness was, but it was probably cancer of the breast. Although Frau Klara 
recovered sufficiently to run her household again, she remained very weak and ailing, and every 
now and then she had to take to her bed. Yet, a few weeks after Adolf had left for Vienna, she 
seemed to be better, fori met her by chance on the Promenade, where at that time a street 
market used to be held, peasant women coming in from the country to sell eggs, butter and 
vegetables. "Adolf is right," she told me contentedly. "If only I knew what on earth he is studying! 
Unfortunately, he does not mention that at all. However, I imagine that he is very busy." 

That was good news, which pleased me, too, for Adolf had not written to me about his activities in 
Vienna. Our correspondence was mainly concerned with "Benkieser" -- otherwise Stefanie. But 
his mother, of course, must not be told of that. I asked Frau Klara how she was. Not at all well, 
she said; she had a lot of bad pain, and very often could not sleep at night. But she warned me 
not to write to Adolf about it, for perhaps she would soon be better. When we parted, she asked 
me to come to see her soon. 

We were then very busy in the workshop, indeed business had never before been as good as in 
thatyear, and orders came in regularly and often. Yet in spite of this heavy work, I devoted every 
moment of leisure to my musical training, I played the viola both in the Music Society and the 
greatSymphony Orchestra. So the weeks passed, and it was late in November when atlastl 
found time to visit Frau Hitler. I was shocked when I saw her. How wilted and worn was her kind, 
gentle face! She was lying in bed and stretched out her pale, thin hand to me. Little Paula pushed 
a chair up beside her. She started at once to talk a bout Adolf and was happy about the hopeful 
tone of his letters. I asked her if she had informed him of her illness, and offered to do so for her 
in case writing was too great an effort. But she hastily refused. If her condition did not improve, 
she said, she would have to send for Adolf from Vienna. She was sorry she had to tear him away 
from his hard work -- but what else could she do? The little one had to go to school every day, 
Angela had enough worries of her own (she was expecting a second baby) and on her son-in- 
law, Raubal, she could not rely atall. Since she had taken Adolf's side and supported him in his 
decision to go to Vienna, Raubal had been angry with her and now never showed up; he had 
even prevented his wife from looking after her. So, she said, there was nothing left but to go to 
the hospital - as the doctor had advised. The Hitlers' family doctor was the very popular Dr. 
Bloch, known in the town as the "poor people's doctor," an excellent physician and a man of great 
kindness, who sacrificed himself for his patients. If Dr. Bloch had advised Mrs. Hitlerto go to the 
hospital, her condition must be grave. I was wondering whether it was not, after all, my duty to 
inform Adolf. Frau Klara said how awful it was for her that Adolf was so faraway. I never realised 
as clearly as on that visit how devoted she was to her son. She thought and planned for his 
welfare with all the strength that was left to her. In the end, she promised me that she would tell 
Adolf of her condition. 

When I took leave of her that evening, I was very dissatisfied with myself. Was there no way of 
helping the poor woman? I knew how devoted Adolf was to his mother; something had to be 
done. If his mother really needed help, little Paula was too clumsy, too frightened to be of any 
use. When I got home, I talked to my mother. She offered at once to look after Frau Hitler, 
although she was a complete stranger. But this was vetoed by my father who, with his 
exaggerated ideas of correct behaviour, thought it was bad manners to offer one's help without 
being asked. A few days later I wentagain to see Frau Klara. I found her up, busy in the kitchen. 



She felt somewhat better and she was already regretting that she had told Adolf about her illness. 
I stayed with her a long time that evening; she was more talkative than usual and, quite contrary 
to her habit, she began to tell me about her life. Some of it I understood, and a lot I guessed at, 
though much was left unsaid; nevertheless, the story of a life of suffering was disclosed to a 
young man then in the full hopes of his nineteen years. 

But in the workshop time was pressing, and my father was a strict boss. Even concerning my 
artistic ambitions he used to say: Work first-- then music. And with a special performance coming 
on, there was one orchestral rehearsal after another. Sometimes I literally didn't know how to 
cram in everything. Then one morning, as I was energetically filling a mattress, Adolf suddenly 
appeared in the room. He looked terrible. His face was so pale as to be almosttransparent, his 
eyes were dull and his voice hoarse. I felt that a storm of suffering must be hidden behind his icy 
demeanour. He gave me the impression that he was fighting for life against a hostile fate. 

There was hardly a greeting, no question about Stefanie, nothing about what he had been doing 
in Vienna. 

"Incurable, the doctor says" - this was all he could utter. I was shocked by the unequivocal 
diagnosis. Probably Dr. Bloch had told him of his mother's condition. Perhaps he had called in 
another doctor for consultation; and he couldn't reconcile himself to this cruel verdict. 

His eyes blazed, his temper flared up. "Incurable - what do they mean by that?" he screamed. 
"Not that the malady is incurable, but that the doctors aren't capable of curing it. My mother isn't 
even old. Forty-seven isn'tan age where you give up hope. Butas soon as the doctors can't do 
anything, they call it incurable." 

I was familiar with my friend's habit of turning everything he came across into a problem. But 
never had he spoken with such bitterness, with such passion as now. Suddenly itseemed to me 
as though Adolf, pale, excited, shaken to the core, stood there arguing and bargaining with 
Death, who remorselessly claimed his victim. 

I asked Adolf if I could help him. He didn't hear me - he was too busy with this settling of 
accounts. Then he interrupted himself and declared in a sober, matter-of-fact voice: "I shall stay 
in Linz and keep house for my mother." "Can you do that?" I asked. "One can do anything, when 
one has to." And he said no more. 

I went with him as far as the street. Now, I thought, he would certainly ask after Stefanie; perhaps 
he had not liked to mention her in the workshop. I would have been glad if he had, because I had 
carried out my instructions faithfully and could tell him a good deal, even though the expected 
conversation had not taken place. I also hoped thatAdolf, in his deep spiritual affliction, would 
find comfort in the thought of Stefanie. And it certainly was so. Stefanie meant more to him in 
those dark weeks than ever before. But he stifled any mention of her, so deeply engrossed was 
he in his preoccupation with his mother. 

I cannot recollect exactly when Adolf returned from Vienna. It was perhaps late in November, but 
possibly even December. But the weeks thatfollow remain indelibly in my memory; they were in a 
certain sense the most beautiful, the most intimate weeks of our friendship. How deeply these 
days impressed me can be gathered from the mere factthatfrom no other period of our 
association do so many details stand out in my memory. He was as though transformed. So far I 
had been certain that I knew him thoroughly and in all his aspects. After all, we had lived together 
for more than three years in an exclusive friendship that did not permit of any secrets. Yet in 
those weeks itseemed to me that my friend had become a different person. 



Gone were the problems and ideas which used to agitate him so much, gone all thoughts of 
politics. Even his artistic interests were hardly noticeable. He was nothing but his mother's faithful 
and helpful son. 

I had not taken Adolf very seriously when he said thathe would now take overthe household in 
the BliJtengasse, for I knew Adolf's low opinion of such monotonous chores, necessary though 
they were. And so I was skeptical as to his good intentions and imagined that they would not 
exceed a few well-meant gestures. 

But I was profoundly mistaken. I did not understand that side of Adolf sufficiently, and had not 
realized that his unbounded love for his mother would enable him to carry out this unaccustomed 
domestic work so efficiently that she could not praise him enough for it. Thus one day, on my 
arrival atthe Bliitengasse, I found Adolf kneeling on the floor. He was wearing a blue apron and 
scrubbing out the kitchen, which bad not been cleaned for a long time. I was really immensely 
surprised and I must have shown it, for Frau Klara smiled in spite of her pain and said to me: 
"There, you see, Adolf can do anything." Then I noticed that Adolf had changed the furniture 
around. His mother's bed now stood in the kitchen because that was heated during the day. The 
kitchen cupboard had been moved into the living room, and in its place was the couch, on which 
Adolf slept, so that he could be near her during the night as well. The little one slept in the living 
room. I could not refrain from asking how he managed the cooking. "As soon as I've finished the 
scrubbing, you can see for yourself," said Adolf. But, before I did, Frau Klara told me that every 
morning she discussed the dinner with Adolf. He always chose herfavourite dishes, and prepared 
them so well that she herself couldn't have done better. S he enjoyed her food immensely, she 
insisted, and she had never eaten with such good appetite as since Adolf came home, 

I looked at F rau Klara, who had sat up in bed. The fervour of her words had coloured her usually 
pale cheeks. The pleasure of having her son back and his devotion to her had transfigured the 
serious, worn face. But behind this mother's joy were the unmistakable signs of suffering. The 
deep lines, the drawn mouth and the sunken eyes showed how right the doctor had been. 

To be sure, I should have known that my friend would netfail, even in this out-of-the-ordinary 
task, for whatever he did, he did thoroughly. Seeing the seriousness with which he carried out the 
running of the household, I suppressed a chaffing remark, although Adolf, who was always so 
punctilious about his neat dress, certainly looked comical in his old clothes with the apron tied 
around him. Nor did I utter a word of appreciation, so touched was I by his changed attitude, 
knowing how much self-restraint this work was costing him. 

Frau Klara 's condition was changeable. Her son's presence improved her general state and 
cheered her up. Sometimes she would even get up in the afternoon and sit in the arm. chair. 
Adolf anticipated her every wish and took the most tender care of her. I had never before seen in 
him such loving tenderness. I didn't trust my own eyes and ears. Nota cross word, notan 
impatient remark, no violent insistence on having his own way. He forgot himself entirely in those 
weeks, and lived only for his mother. Although Adolf, according to Frau Klara, had inherited many 
of his father's traits, I realised then how much his nature resembled his mother's. Certainly this 
was partly due to the fact that he had spent the last four years of his life alone with her. But, over 
and above that, there was a peculiar spiritual harmony between mother and son which I have 
never since come across. All that separated them was pushed into the background. Adolf never 
mentioned the disappointment which he had suffered in Vienna. Forthe time being, cares for the 
future no longer seemed to exist. An atmosphere of relaxed, almost serene contentment 
surrounded the dying woman. 

Adolf, too, seemed to have forgotten everything that had preoccupied him. Only once, after I had 
said goodbye to Frau Klara, did he come to the door with me and ask me if I had seen Stefanie. 
But this question was now put in a different tone. It no longer expressed the impatience of the 
impetuous lover, but the secretanxiety of a young man who feared thatfate would now deprive 



him of the last thing that made life worth living. I gathered from his hasty question how much this 
girl meant to him in those grave days, more perhaps than if she bad actually been as close to him 
as he would have wished. I reassured him; I often metStefanie, with her mother, going over the 
bridge, and everything seemed unaltered. 

December was cold and unfriendly. For days on end, damp, heavy mist hung over the Danube; 
the sun shone rarely, and when it did, so feebly as to give no warmth at all. His mother's condition 
deteriorated visibly and Adolf asked me to come, only every other day. As often as I entered the 
kitchen Frau Klara greeted me by lifting her hand a little and stretching it out towards me, and a 
faint smile would pass over her face, now distorted with pain. I remember a small but significant 
incident. Going through Paula's exercise books, Adolf had noticed thatshe was notgetting on in 
school as well as her mother expected. Adolf took her by the hand and led her to their mother's 
bed and there made her swear always to be a diligent and well-behaved pupil. Perhaps Adolf 
wanted to show his mother by this little scene that he had meanwhile realised his own faults. If he 
had stayed on atthe Technical School until matriculation, he would have avoided the disaster in 
Vienna. No doubt this decisive event which, as he said later, had for the firsttime puthim at 
variance with himself was atthe back of his mind during those terrible days and added to his 
depression. 

When I returned to the Bliitengasse two days later and knocked softly on the door, Adolf opened 
it immediately, came out into the corridor and closed the door behind him. He told me that his 
mother was not at all well and was in terrible pain. Even more than his words, his emotion made 
me realise the seriousness of the situation. I thought it better to leave and Adolf agreed with me. 
We silently shook hands, and I departed. 

Christmas was approaching. Snow had fallen at last and the town had assumed a festive garb. 
But I didn't feel like Christmas. I walked across the Danube bridge to Urfahr. I learned from the 
people in the house that Frau Hitler had already received Extreme Unction. I wanted to make my 
visitas shortas possible. I knocked, and Paula opened the door. I entered hesitantly. Frau Klara 
was sitting up in bed. Adolf had his arm around her shoulders to support her, as, while she was 
sitting up, the terrible pain was less severe. 

I remained standing by the door. Adolf signed to me to go. As I was opening the door, Frau Klara 
waved to me with her outstretched hand. I shall never forget the words which the dying woman 
then uttered in a whisper. "GustI," she said -- usually she called me Mr. Kubizek, but in thathour 
she used the name by which Adolf always called me -- "go on being a good friend to my son 
when I'm no longer here. He has no one else." 

With tears in my eyes I promised, and then I went. This was the evening of December 20. 

The nextday Adolf came to see us at home. He looked worn out and we could tell from his 
distraught face what had happened. His mother had died in the early hours of the morning, he 
said. It was her last wish to be buried by the side of her husband in Leonding. Adolf could hardly 
speak, so deeply shaken was he by the loss of his mother. 

My parents expressed their sympathy, but my mother realised that the best thing was to turn to 
practical matters straightaway. Arrangements had to be made for the funeral. Adolf had already 
seen the undertakers and the funeral was fixed for December 23 at 9 A.M. But there was much 
else to be seen to. The removal of the body to Leonding had to be arranged, the necessary 
documents procured and the funeral announcements printed. All this helped Adolf to get over his 
emotional shock, and he calmly made the necessary preparations. 

On December 23, 1907, I went with my mother to the house of mourning. The weather had 
changed; it was thawing and the streets were covered in slush. The day was damp and misty. 



and one could hardly see the river. We entered the apartment to take leave of the dead with 
flowers, as was customary. Frau Klara was laid out on her bed. Her waxen face was transfigured. 
I feltthatdeath had come to the dead woman as a relief from terrible pain. Little Paula was 
sobbing, but Adolf restrained himself. Yet a glance at his face was sufficient to know how he had 
suffered in those hours. Not only had he now lost both his parents, but with his mother he had lost 
the only creature on earth on whom he had concentrated his love, and who had loved him in 
return. 

My mother and I went down into the street. The priest came. The body had been laid in the coffin, 
which was brought down to the hall. The priest blessed the dead and then the small cortege 
moved off. Adolf followed the coffin. He wore a long black overcoat, black gloves, and carried in 
his hand, as was customary, a black top hat. The dark clothing made his white face seem even 
paler. He looked stern and composed. On his left, also in black, was his brother-inlaw, Raubal, 
and between them the eleven-year-old Paula. Angela, who was well advanced in pregnancy, 
followed the mourners in a closed carriage. The whole funeral made a wretched impression on 
me. In addition to my mother and myself, there were only a few tenants of No. 9 Blutengasse, and 
a few neighbours and acquaintances from their former home in the Humboldtstrasse. My mother, 
too, felt how miserable this cortege was, but in the kindness of her heart she immediately 
defended those who had stayed away. Tomorrow was Christmas, she said, and it was quite 
impossible for many women, with the best will in the world, to get away. 

Atthe church door the coffin was taken from the hearse and carried inside. Afterthe Mass, the 
second blessing took place. As the body was to be taken to Leonding, the funeral cortege then 
went through the Urfahr Hauptstrasse. The church bells were ringing as itapproached. 
Instinctively, I raised my eyes to the windows of the house where Stefanie lived. Perhaps my 
ardent wish that she should not desert my friend in this, his gravest hour had called her. I can still 
see how the window opened, a young girl appeared, and Stefanie looked down, interestedly, at 
the little procession that was passing beneath. I glanced at Adolf; his face remained unchanged, 
but I did not doubt that he, too, had seen Stefanie. He told me, later, thatthis was indeed so, and 
confessed bow much in that painful hour the sight of the beloved had comforted him. Was it by 
intention or was it by chance that Stefanie came to the window at that moment? Perhaps it was 
just that she had heard the church bells and wondered why they were ringing so early in the 
morning. Adolf, of course, was convinced that she wanted to show him her sympathy. 

In the Hauptstrasse, a second closed carriage was waiting, which Adolf and Paula entered, while 
the procession broke up. Raubal joined his wife. Then the hearse and the two carriages started 
off to Leonding for the interment. 

On the following morning, December 24, Adolf came to my house. He looked worn out, as though 
any minute he might collapse. He seemed to be desperate, quite empty, with no spark of life in 
him. As he felt how worried my mother was about him, he explained that he had not sleptfor 
days. My mother asked him where he was going to spend Christmas Eve. He said thatthe 
Raubals had invited him and his sister; Paula had already left, but he had not made up his mind 
yet whether he would go or not. My mother exhorted him to help to make Christmas a peaceful 
occasion, now that all the members of the family had suffered the same loss, Adolf listened to her 
in silence. But when we were alone he said to me brusquely: "I shall not go to Raubal's." 

"Where else will you go?" I asked him impatiently. "After all, its Christmas Eve." 

I wanted to ask him to join us. But he did not even let me finish, and shut me up quite 
energetically, in spite of his sorrow. 

Suddenly he pulled himself together and his eyes became bright. 



"Perhaps I shall go to Stefanie," he said. 

This answer was doubly characteristic of my friend: first, because he was capable of forgetting 
completely in such moments that his relationship with Stefanie was nothing but wishful thinking, a 
beautiful illusion, and secondly, because even when he realised this he would, after sober 
reflection, prefer to stick to his wishful thinking rather than unbosom himself with real people. 

Later he confessed to me that he had really been determined to go to Stefanie, although he knew 
very well that such a sudden visit, without a previous appointment, without even having been 
introduced to her, and moreover on Christmas Eve, was contrary to good manners and social 
convention and would probably have meantthe end of his relationship with her. But, he told me, 
on his way he had seen Richard, Stefanie's brother, who was spending his Christmas holiday in 
Linz. This unexpected meeting had made him give up the idea, for it would have been painful for 
him if Richard, as was inevitable, had been presentatthe interview. I did notask any more 
questions; it really did notmatter whether Adolf was deceiving himself with this pretext, or 
whether he only offered it to me as an excuse for his behaviour. Certainly I, too, had seen 
Stefanie atthe window, and the sympathy which showed on herface was undoubtedly genuine. 
However, I doubt very much if she recognised Adolf at all in his extraordinary attire and in these 
peculiar circumstances. But of course I did not express this doubt to him, because I knew that it 
would only have robbed my friend of his last hope. 

I can well imagine whatAdolfs Christmas Eve in the year 1907 was really like. That he did not 
want to go to Raubal I could understand. I could also understand that he did not want to disturb 
our quiet little family celebration, to which I had invited him. The serene harmony of our home 
would have made him feel his loneliness even more. Compared with Adolf, I considered myself 
fortune's favourite, for I had everything that he had lost: a father who provided for me, a mother 
who loved me and a quiet home which welcomed me into its peace. 

But he? Where should he have gone thatChristmas Eve? He had no acquaintances, no friends, 
nobody who would have received him with open arms. For him the world was hostile and empty. 

So he went-- to Stefanie. That is to say - to his dream. 

All he ever told me of thatChristmas Eve was that he had wandered around for hours. Only 
towards morning had he returned to his mother's home and gone to sleep. What he thought, felt 
and suffered, I never knew. 



The Young Hitler I Knew -- August Kubizek 



Chapter 13 -- "Come with me, Gustl!" 



Adolf had often said these words jestingly when speaking of his intention of going to live in 
Vienna. But, later on, when he realised how impressed I was by his remarks, the idea grew in his 
mind that we would go there together, he to attend the Academy of Arts and I the Conservatory. 
With his magnificent imagination he produced such a colourful picture of this life, so clear and so 
detailed, that I often did not know whether it was just wishful thinking or reality. Forme, such 
fantasies had a more practical aspect. To be sure, I had learned my trade well and satisfied my 
father as well as our customers by my efforts. But the hours in the dusty workship bad impaired 
my health, and our doctor, my secret ally, advised emphatically against my continuing to work as 
an upholsterer. This meantfor me that I would try to make my beloved music my profession, a 
desire which assumed a more and more concrete shape, although the obstacles were many. I 
had learned all thatthere was to be learned in Linz. My teachers, too, encouraged me in my 
decision to devote my life to music, but this meant my going to live in Vienna. Thus the "Come 
with me, Gusti" which my friend had at first uttered so lightheartedly took on the character of a 
firm invitation and a definite goal. Nevertheless, I feel that without Adolf's determined intervention, 
my unadventurous nature would not have allowed me to change my profession and go to live in 
Vienna. 

Yet my friend certainly thought primarily of himself. He had a horror of going alone, because this, 
his third journey to Vienna, was a quite different proposition from his earlier visits. Then, he still 
had his mother, and though he was away, his home still existed. He was not then taking a step 
into the unknown, for the knowledge that his mother was waiting to welcome him with open arms 
at any time and in any circumstances gave a firm and reliable substance to his insecure life. His 
home was the quiet centre round which his stormy existence revolved. Now he had lost it. Going 
to Vienna would be the last and final decision from which there was no turning back-a jump into 
the dark. During the months he had spent there lastautumn, he had notsucceeded in making 
any friends; perhaps he had no desire to do so. Relatives of his mother were living there with 
whom he had formerly had some contact and, unless I am mistaken, he had even stayed with 
them during his first visit. He never went to see them again and did not even mention them. It was 
quite understandable that he should have avoided his relatives, because he was afraid thatthey 
might question him about his work and livelihood. They would certainly have discovered then that 
the Academy had rejected him, and he would have suffered starvation and misery rather than 
have appeared to be in need of help. Nothing, therefore, was more natural than that he should 
take me with him, as I was not only his friend, but also the only person with whom he shared the 
secret of his great love. Since his mother's death, Adolf's "Come with me, Gusti" had begun to 
sound more like a friendly entreaty. 

After New Year's Day, 1908, 1 went with Adolf to visit the grave of his parents. It was a fine winter 
day, cold and clear, which has forever remained in my memory. Snow covered all the familiar 
landmarks. Adolf knew every inch of our route, as for years this had been his way to school. 

He was very composed, a change that surprised me for I knew that his mother's death had 
shaken him deeply, and had even caused him physical suffering that had brought him near to 
collapse from exhaustion. My mother had invited him to share our meals during Christmas, in 
order that he might recover his strength and leave for a while the empty, cold house in which 
everything reminded him of his mother. He had come, but had sat silent and serious at our table. 
It was not yet time to talk to him of future plans. 



Now, as he walked solemnly by my side, looking much older than I, much more mature and 
manly, he was still deeply immersed in his own affairs. Yet I was surprised how clearly and 
detachedly he spoke of them, almost as if it were of someone else's business. Angela had let him 
know that Paula could now live with them. Her husband had agreed to that, but had refused to 
receive Adolf into his family as he, Adolf, had behaved disrespectfully to him. Thus, he was 
relieved of his greatest worry, for the child at least had a secure home. He himself had never 
intended to seek asylum with the Raubals. He had expressed his gratitude to Angela and had 
informed her that all his parents' furniture would go to Paula. The funeral expenses were paid out 
of his mother's estate. Incidentally, Angela had had a baby girl the day before, who was also to 
be christened Angela, and his guardian, he added, the Mayor of Leonding, had promised to settle 
the affairs connected with the inheritance and also to help him to apply for an orphan's pension. 

All this sounded very sober and sensible. Afterwards, he began to talk of Stefanie. He was 
determined, he said, to bring the present state of affairs to an end. At the next opportunity, he 
would introduce himself to Stefanie and her mother, as this had not been possible during the 
Christmas holidays. Itwas high time, he said, to bring matters to a bead. 

We were walking through the snow-covered village. There was a small one-storied house. No. 
61, which had once belonged to Adolf s father; the big beehive, of which his father had been so 
proud, was still there, but now itwas owned by strangers. Next to itwas the cemetery. His 
father's grave, in which his mother had now been buried, was near the eastern wall, and the fresh 
little mound was covered with snow. Adolf stood in front of it with a stern, setface; he looked hard 
and severe, and there were no tears in his eyes. His thoughts were with his beloved mother. I 
stood by his side and prayed. 

On our way back, Adolf said that he would probably stay in Linz throughout the month of J anuary 
until the home was finally disposed of and the estate settled. He foresaw, he said, some heated 
arguments with his guardian. Certainly his guardian wanted to do his bestfor Adolf, but what use 
was this to him if the "best" was nothing more than an apprenticeship to a master baker in 
Leonding? 

Old J osef Mayrhofer, Hitler's guardian, now well advanced in years, still lives in Leonding. 
Naturally, he has often been asked about his experiences with the young Hitler, and his 
impressions of him. In his simple, disinterested manner, he has replied to all questioners - first 
the enemies, then the friends, and then again the enemies of his ward - and his replies have 
always been the same, irrespective of the questioner's opinions. 

One day in J anuary, 1908, he would say, the Hitler-Adi, grown tall, with dark down on his upper 
lip and a deep voice, almost a grown man, came to see him to discuss the question of his 
inheritance. But his first sentence was: "I am going to Vienna again." All attempts to dissuade him 
failed - a stubborn fellow, like his father, the old Hitler. 

J osef Mayrhofer still has in his possession the documents relating to these discussions. The 
application for an orphan's pension for himself and his sister which Adolf made at his guardian's 
request, reads as follows: 

To the Respected Imperial and Royal Finance Administration. The respectfully undersigned 
herewith request the kind allocation of the Orphans' Pension due to them. Both of these 
applicants, afterthe death of their mother, widow of an Imperial and Royal Customs Official, on 
December 21, 1907, are now without either of their parents, are minors, and are incapable of 
earning their own living. The guardian of both applicants -- Adolf Hitler, born on the 20th April, 
1889, in Braunau-on-Inn, and Paula Hitler, born on the 21stj anuary, 1898, in Fischlham, near 
Lambach, Upper Austria -- is Mr.j oseph Mayrhofer, of Leonding, near Linz. Both applicants 
are domiciled in Linz. 



ADOLF HITLER — PAULA HITLER 

Incidentally, Adolf obviously signed the application for his sister Paula, forthe name "Hitler" in 
both signatures shows the same downward-sloping tendency which was so characteristic of his 
signature in lateryears. Besides, he made a mistake in the date of birth of his sister; Paula was 
not born in 1898, but in 1896. 

According to the legislation then in force regarding state officials, orphans of under twenty-four 
years of age, with no means of their own, were entitled to claim an orphan's pension amounting 
to one half of the widow's pension which their mother had been receiving. Frau Hitler had 
received a pension of 100 crowns a month since her husband's death; therefore, Adolf and Paula 
were entitled to a total of 50 crowns a month, and Adolfs share was thus 25 crowns a montii. 
This, of course, was not enough for him to live on: for example, he had to pay 10 crowns a month 
for his room at Mrs. Zakreys'. 

The application was granted, and tiie first payment was made on February 12, 1908, when Adolf 
was already in Vienna. Incidentally, three years later he renounced his share in favour of his 
sister Paula, altiiough he could have continued to claim it until he reached the age of twenty-four, 
i.e., in April, 1913. The document of renunciation, dated May 4th, 1911, is still in the possession 
of his guardian, J oseph Mayrhofer. 

The document concerning tiie inheritance, which Adolf signed in the presence of his guardian 
before he left for Vienna, also mentioned his share in his fatiier's estate, amounting to about 
seven hundred crowns. It is possible tiiat he had already spent part of this money during his 
previous stay in Vienna, but in view of his very economical way of life - tiie only large item in his 
budget was books - he was left with enough to tide him over at least the beginning of his new 
sojourn tiiere. As regards our future together, Adolf was more fortunate tiian I, not only because 
he had some capital and a fixed monthly income, however small - a matter which I had still to 
arrange with my parents - but also because, having prevailed over his guardian, he was free to 
make his own decisions, whereas my decisions were subject to my parents' confirmation. For me, 
moreover, moving to Vienna meant giving up the trade I had learned, whereas Adolf could 
continue to lead there more or less his previous life. All these circumstances made it increasingly 
difficult for me to come to a decision; Adolf could not understand this for some time, although 
from tiie beginning he had taken tiie lead in this whole difficult affair. As far back as the beginning 
of our friendship, when I could still only visualise my future in tiie dusty, upholsterer's workshop, 
Adolf, tiiough nearly a year younger than I, had made itabundantly clearto me tiiatl oughtto 
become a musician. Having put this idea into my head, he never gave up his efforts to persuade 
me. He comforted me when I despaired, he bolstered up my self-confidence when I was in 
danger of losing it, he praised, he criticised, he was occasionally rude and violent and railed at 
me furiously, but he never lost sight of the goal which he had setfor me; and if sometimes we had 
such furious rows that I believed it was the end of everything, we would enthusiastically renew 
our friendship after a concert performance in which I had taken part. 

By God, nobody on eartii, not even my mother who loved me so much and knew me so well, was 
as capable of bringing my secret desires into tiie open and making tiiem come ti-ue as my friend, 
although he had never had any systematic musical ti-aining. 

In tiie winter of 1907, when work in our business was slackening and I had more time to myself, I 
took lessons in harmonics from the conductor of the Linz Theatre. My shjdies were as thorough 
as they were successful, and filled me witii enthusiasm. Unfortunately, there was no scope in Linz 
for stijdying tiie other special subjects of musical tiieory, such as counterpoint, orchesti-ation and 
tiie history of music. Nor was there a seminary for training in conducting and composition, much 
less any stimulus forfree composition. This sort of training was only available atthe Vienna 
Conservatory; besides, there I would have the opportunity of hearing firstclass performances of 
operas and concerts. Though I had made up my mind to go to Vienna, unlike my friend I lacked 



the necessary determination to carry out my decision against all odds. But Adolf had already 
prepared the ground. Without my knowledge, he bad succeeded in convincing my mother of my 
musical vocation; for what mother does not like to hear a brilliant career prophesied for her son as 
a conductor, especially when she herself is so devoted to music? Thus, she soon became our 
ally. And there was also her justifiable anxiety about my health, as my lungs could no longer 
stand the perpetual dust in the workshop. So my mother, who had grown fond of Adolf justas 
Frau Klara had become fond of me, was won over, and everything now depended on my father's 
consent. Not that he openly opposed my wish. My father was in every respect the opposite of 
Adolf's father, as he had been described to me by my friend. He was always quiet, and 
apparently took no interest in what was going on around him. All his thoughts were devoted to the 
business which he had created out of nothing, had successfully steered through grave crises, and 
had now built up into a reputable, prosperous enterprise. He regarded my musical tastes as idle 
dilettantism, as he could not believe that it was possible to build a secure existence on more or 
less useless fiddling and strumming. To the last, he could not understand that I, knowing poverty 
and distress, was willing to renounce security in favour of a vague future. How often did I hear 
him say "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," or bitterly, "What was the use of all my 
drudgery?" 

I was working harder than ever in the workshop, as I did not want it said that I was neglecting my 
trade for the sake of my musical studies. My father saw in my industry a sign that I wanted to 
remain in the trade and take over his business someday. My mother knew how devoted my father 
was to his work, and so kept silent in order not to upset him. So at the time when my musical 
future depended absolutely on my attending the Vienna Conservatory, things seemed to have 
reached a deadlock within our domestic circle: I worked feverishly in the workshop, and said 
nothing. My mother also said nothing, and my father, thinking that I had finally abandoned the 
plan, did the same. 

Atthis juncture, Adolf came to see us. Atone glance he realised whatthe situation was, and 
intervened immediately. To begin with, he brought me back into "form." During his stay in Vienna, 
he had made detailed enquiries about the study of music and now he gave me exact information 
on the subject, telling me, in his tempting way, how much he had enjoyed attending operas and 
concerts. My mother's imagination was also fired by these vivid descriptions, and so a decision 
became more and more imperative. It was, however, essential that Adolf himself should convince 
my father. 

A difficult enterprise! What use was the most brilliant eloquence if the old master upholsterer had 
no regard for any thing connected with art? He was quite fond of Adolf but, after all, he only saw 
in him a young man who had failed at school and thought too highly of himself to learn a trade. 

My father had tolerated ourfriendship, but actually would have preferred a more sound 
companion forme. Adolf was, therefore, in a decidedly unfavorable position, and it is astonishing 
that he nevertheless managed to win over my father to our plan in so comparatively short a time. I 
would have understood it if there had been a violent clash of opinions; in that case, Adolf would 
have been in his elementand able to play all the trump cards which he held. Butthatwas not the 
case. I cannot recollect that any argument in the usual sense took place at all. Adolf treated the 
whole matter as of no great importance and, in particular, implied that the decision rested with my 
father alone. He accepted the factthatmy father only half gave his consent, suggesting a 
temporary solution: as the current scholastic year atthe Conservatory had already started in the 
previous autumn, I should go to Vienna for a trial period only to look around for a while. If the 
facilities for training came up to my expectations, I could then make a final decision, but failing 
this, I could return home and enter my father's business. Adolf, who hated compromise and with 
whom it was usually all or nothing, was, surprisingly enough, agreeable to this course. I was 
blissfully happy as never before in my life, for now I had achieved my purpose without upsetting 
my father, and my mother shared my joy. 



Atthe beginning of February, Adolf returned to Vienna. His address remained tiie same, lie told 
me when he left, as he had continued to pay his rentto Mrs. Zakreys, and I should write to him in 
good time announcing my arrival. I helped him carry his luggage to the station, four cases 
altogether unless I am mistaken, every one of tiiem very heavy. I asked him whatthey contained, 
and he answered "All my belongings." They were almost entirely books. 

Atthe station Adolf once again spoke of Stefanie. Unfortunately, he had had no opportunity to talk 
to her, he said, for he had never met her unaccompanied. What he had to tell Stefanie was for 
her ears only. "Perhaps I shall write to her," he added in conclusion. But I thought that this idea, 
expressed by Adolf for the first time, was merely a sign of embarrassment, or at the most, a 
cheap consolation. My friend entered the train and, standing atthe window, shook me by the 
hand. As the train moved off, "Follow me soon, GustI," he called out to me. 

My good mother had already started preparing my clothes and linen for my journey to great, 
unknown Vienna. In the end, even my father wanted to contribute something; he made me a big 
wooden box which was reinforced with strong iron bands. I put into it my music, and my mother 
filled the remaining space with clothes and shoes. 

In the meantime, a postcard arrived from Adolf, dated February 18, 1908, showing a view of the 
Armour Collection atthe Vienna Museum of the History of Art: "Dear Friend" itbegan-and this 
form of address proved how much our relationship had deepened since his mother's death. "Dear 
Friend, am anxiously expecting news of your arrival. Write soon so thati can prepare everything 
for your festive welcome. The whole of Vienna is awaiting you, therefore come soon. I will, of 
course, come and meet you." On the back of the postcard he wrote: "Now the weather here is 
improving. I hope you will have better weather too. Well, as I said before, atfirstyou will stay with 
me. Later we shall see. One can get a piano here in the so-called 'Dorotheum' for as littie as 
50/60 F Is. Well, many regards to you and your esteemed parents, from your friend, Adolf Hitler." 
Then a postscript. "Beg you again, come soon." 

Adolf had addressed the card as usual to "G ustav" Kubizek. He spelt G ustav sometimes with a 
"v" and sometimes with a "ph." He heartily disliked my first name, August, and always called me 
"GustI," which was more like Gustav than August. He would probably have preferred it had I 
formally changed my first name. He even addressed me as G ustav when he wrote to me on my 
Saint's day, the feast of Saint Augustine, August 28. Under my name there is the abbreviation 
"Stud.", and I remember that he liked to refer to me as "Stud. Mus." 

This postcard, unlike the previous ones, is much more cheerful. Typical of Adolfs mood is his 
humour, which permeates it. "The whole of Vienna is awaiting you," he says, and he intends to 
prepare a "festive welcome." All this indicates that, after the dark and depressing days which he 
had spent in Linz following his mother's death, he was feeling relaxed and free in Vienna, 
however uncertain the future might be. Nevertheless, he must have been very lonely. The 
"anxiously" in the first sentence of his card was no doubt meant seriously, and the fact that he 
repeats the "come soon," even in the form "beg you again to come soon," proves how much he 
was looking forward to my arrival. Even the information as to the cheap piano was intended to 
encourage me to come without delay. He may have feared secretly that my vacillating father 
would change his mind atthe last moment. 

The day of my departure arrived. In the morning I went to church with my mother; I felt how 
painful my departure was for her, although she stuck tenaciously to her resolve. Yet I also 
remember a typical remark which my father made when he saw my mother weeping. "I can't 
understand why you are so depressed. Mother," he said. "We haven't asked Gusti to leave his 
home; he wanted to himself." My mother, in her grief at our parting, concentrated on my creature 
comforts, giving me a nice piece of roast pork; and the dripping, which was to be spread on my 
bread, was put into a special container. She baked some buns forme, gave me a large piece of 



cheese, a jar of jam and a bottle of coffee. My brown canvas bag was full to overflowing with 
food. 

So off I went to the station after my last dinner at home, well provided for in every respect. My 
parents saw me off; my father shook my hand and said "Always remain honest." But my mother, 
with tears in her eyes, kissed me and, as the train started, made the sign of the Cross on my 
forehead. For a long time I felt her tender fingers there as they traced the Cross. 



The Young Hitler I Knew -- August Kibizek 



Chapter 14 -- 29 Stumpergasse. 



My first impression on arriving in Vienna was one of noisy and excited confusion. I stood there, 
holding my heavy case, so bewildered that I did not know which way to turn. All these people! 
And this noise and tumult! This was terrible. I was almost inclined to turn tail and go straight home 
again. But the crowds, thrusting and complaining, were jostling me through the barrier where the 
ticket inspectors and police stood, till I found myself in the Station Hall looking round for my 
friend. I shall always remember this first welcome in Vienna. While I stood there, still 
overwhelmed by all the shouting and hustling, recognisable from a mile away as a country 
bumpkin, Adolf behaved as a perfectly acclimatised city dweller. In his dark, good-quality 
overcoat, dark hat and the walking stick with the ivory handle, he appeared almost elegant. He 
was obviously delighted to see me and greeted me warmly and, as was then the custom, kissed 
me lightly on the cheek. 

The first problem was the transport of my bag for, thanks to my mother's presents, this weighed 
very heavily. As I was looking around for a porter, Adolf grabbed one of the handles and I took 
the other. We crossed the Mariahilferstrasse -- with people everywhere, coming and going about 
their affairs, and such a terrible noise that one could not hear oneself speak; but how thrilling 
were the electric arc-lights that made the station yard as bright as day. 

I still remember how glad I was when Adolf soon turned into a side street, the Stumpergasse. 
Here it was quiet and dark. Adolf stopped in front of a fairly new-looking house on the right side. 
No. 29. As far as I could see, it was a very fine house, most imposing and distinguished looking, 
perhaps too distinguished for such youngsters as we were, I thought. ButAdolf went straight 
through the entrance and crossed a small courtyard. The house on the far side of this courtyard 
was much humbler. We went up a dark staircase to the second floor. There were several doors 
opening on this floor - ours was No. 17. 

Adolf unlocked the door. An unpleasant smell of kerosene greeted me, and ever since, this smell 
has been connected, for me, with the memory of that apartment. We seemed to be in a kitchen, 
but the landlady was not about. Adolf opened a second door. In the small room that he occupied, 
a miserable kerosene lamp was burning. I looked around me. 

The first thing that struck me were the sketches that lay around on the table, on the bed, 
everywhere. Adolf cleared the table, spread a piece of newspaper on it and fetched a bottie of 
milk from the window. Then he brought sausage and bread. But I can still see his white, earnest 
face as I pushed all these things aside and opened the bag. Cold roast pork, stuffed buns, and 
other lovely things to eat. All he said was, "Yes, thats what it is to have a mother!" We ate like 
kings. Everything tasted of "home." 

After all the commotion, I began to collect myself. Then came the inevitable question about 
Stefanie. When I had to confess that! had not been for the evening stroll on the Landstrasse for 
some considerable time, Adolf told me that! ought to have gone for his sake. Before I could reply 
there was a knock on the door. A little old woman, withered, and altogether of a rather comic 
appearance slipped inside. 

Adolf rose and introduced me in his mostformal manner: "My friend, G ustav Kubizek, of Linz, a 
music student." "Pleased to meet you, pleased to meet you," the old woman repeated several 
times, and announced her own name: Maria Zakreys. From the singsong tone and the peculiar 



accent, I realised thatFrau Zakreys was not a real Viennese. Or rather, she was a Viennese, 
perhaps even a typical one, but she had notfirstseen the light of day in Hernals or Lerchenfeld 
but rather in Stanislau or Neutitschein. I never asked and neverfound out, and after all, it made 
no difference. In any case, Frau Zakreys was the only person in this city of millions with whom 
Adolf and I ever had any dealings. 

Tired as I was this first evening, I remember that Adolf showed me around the city How could a 
person who had justcome to Vienna go to bed without having seen the Opera House? So I was 
dragged to the Opera House. The performmace was notyetover. I admired the entrance hall, the 
magnificent staircase, the marble balustrade, the deep, soft carpets and the gilded decorations on 
the ceiling. Once awayfrom the humble abode in the Stumpergasse, I feltas though I had been 
transported to another planet, so overwhelming was the impression. 

Now it was I who insisted on seeing the St. Stephen's Spire. We turned into the Karntnerstrasse. 
But the evening mist was so thick that the spire was lost to view. I could just see the heavy, dark 
mass of the nave stretching up into the grey monotony of the mist, almost unearthly, as though 
not built by human hands. In orderto show me something else special, Adolf took me to the Maria 
am Gestade Church, which, compared with the overpowering bulk of St. Stephen's, seemed to 
me like a delicate Gothic chapel. 

When we got home we each had to pay the grumpy concierge whom we had awakened a 
Speirsechserl (a penny for unlocking) for opening the big door of the house. Mrs. Zakreys had 
made me up a primitive bed on the floor of Adolf's room. Although midnight was long past, Adolf 
still kept talking excitedly. But I stopped listening -- it was just too much forme. The moving 
farewell from my home, my mother's sad face, the journey, the arrival, the noise, the clamour, the 
Vienna of the Stumpergasse, the Vienna of the Opera House -- worn out, I fell asleep. 

Of course, I could not stay at Frau Zakreys'. Anyhow, it was impossible to put a grand piano in 
the little room. So the next morning, when Adolf finally got up, we set out to look for a room. As I 
wanted to stay as near as possible to my friend, we wandered atfirst along the nearby streets. 
Once more I saw this alluring city, Vienna, from the "other side." Gloomy courtyards, narrow, ill-lit 
tenements and stairs, evermore and more stairs. Adolf paid Frau Zakreys ten crowns, and that 
was what I reckoned to pay. But the rooms we were shown atthat price were mostly so small and 
wretched that it would have been impossible to get a grand piano into them, and when we did find 
a room that would have been big enough, the landlady would not hear of having a lodger who 
played the piano. 

I was very depressed and low-spirited and full of home sickness. What kind of big city was this 
Vienna? Full of indifferent, unsympathetic people - it must be awful to live here. I walked, 
despairing and miserable, with Adolf along the Zollergasse. Once more we saw a notice "Room 
to Let." We rang the bell and the door was opened by a neatly dressed maid, who showed us into 
an elegantly furnished room containing magnificent twin beds. "Madame is coming immediately," 
said the maid, curtsied, and vanished. We both knew atonce thatitwas too stylish for us. Then 
"Madame" appeared in the doorway, very much a lady, notso young, but very elegant. 

She wore a silk dressing gown and slippers trimmed with fur. She greeted us smilingly, inspected 
Adolf, then me, and asked us to sit down. My friend asked which room was to let. "This one," she 
answered, and pointed to the two beds. Adolf shook his head and said curtly, "Then one of the 
beds will have to come out, because my friend must have room for a piano." The lady was 
obviously disappointed thatitwas I and notAdolf who wanted a room, and asked whether Adolf 
already had a room. When he answered in the affirmative, she suggested that I, together with the 
piano I needed, should move into his room and he should take this one. While she was 
animatedly suggesting this to Adolf, through a sudden movement the belt which kept the dressing 
gown together came undone. "Oh, excuse me, gentlemen," the lady exclaimed, and immediately 



fastened the dressing gown together again. Buttiiat second iiad sufficed to siiow us thatunder 
liersill< covering siie wore nothing but a brief pair of panties. 

Adolf turned as red as a peony, gripped my arm, and said, "Come, Gusti." 

I do not remember how we got out of the house. All I remember is Adolf furiously exclaiming as 
we got into the street again, "What a Mrs. Potiphar." Apparently, such experiences, too, were part 
of Vienna. 

Adolf must have realised how hard it was for me to find my way around in this bewildering city, 
and on our way home he suggested that we should take a room together. He would speak to 
Frau Zakreys; perhaps she would fix up something in her own house. 

In the end he succeeded in persuading Frau Zakreys to move into his little room and let us take 
over the somewhat bigger room that she occupied. We agreed on a rent of twenty crowns a 
month. She had nothing against my playing the piano, so this was an excellent solution for me. 

The next morning, while Adolf was still asleep, I went to register atthe Conservatory. I produced 
my references from the Linz Music School and was immediately examined. First came an oral 
examination, then I had to sing something at sight, and finally, a test in harmony. All went well, 
and I was asked to go to the Administration Office, Director Kaiser-- and forme he was really the 
Emperor-congratulated me, and told me about the curriculum. He advised me to register as an 
extramural studentatthe University and to attend lectures in the history of music. Then he 
introduced me to the conductor, Gustav Gutheil, with whom I should study, among other things, 
the practical side of conducting. In addition to this, I was accepted as viola player in the 
Conservatory's orchestra. All this was quite straightforward and soon, in spite of the initial 
bewilderment, I felt on firm ground. As so often happened in my life, I found help and consolation 
in music; even more, it now became my whole life. I had finally escaped from the dusty 
upholsterer's workshop and could devote myself entirely to my art. 

In the nearby Liniengasse I discovered a piano store, called Feigl. I inspected the instruments for 
hire; of course, they were not particularly good ones, but I did finally find a grand piano that was 
fairly good and I hired it for ten crowns a month. When Adolf came home in the evening - I did 
not yet know how he spenthis days - he was astonished to see the grand piano. Forthat 
comparatively small room an upright model would have been more suitable. But how was I to 
become a conductor without a grand piano! Admittedly, it was not as easy as I had thought. 

Adolf immediately took a hand to try out the best place to put it. He agreed that to get enough 
light, the piano had to stand near the window. After much experiment, the contents of the room- 
two beds, a night chest, a wardrobe, a washstand, a table and two chairs, were distributed to the 
best advantage. In spite of this, the instrument took up the whole space of the right-hand window. 
The table was pushed into the other window enclosure. The space between the beds and the 
piano, as well as that between the beds and the table, was hardly more than one foot wide. And 
for Adolf, room to stride up and down was every bit as important as playing the piano was forme. 
At once he tried it out. From the door to the curve of the piano - three steps! That was enough, 
because three steps one way, and three steps the other made six, even though Adolf in his 
continual pacing up and down had to turn so often that it became almost a case of moving around 
his own axis. 

The bare, sooty rear side of the house in front was all we could see from our room. Only if you 
stood very close to the free window, and looked sharply upwards, would you see a narrow slice of 
the firmament, but even this modest bit of sky was generally hidden by smoke, dust or fog. On 
exceptionally lucky days the sun would shine through. To be sure it shone hardly at all on our 
house, much less in our room. But on the rear of the house in front streaks of sunshine were to 



be seen for a couple of hours, and this had to compensate us for the sun that we so sorely 
missed. 

I told Adolf thati had got through the entrance examination atthe Conservatory quite well and 
was glad that I was now firmly settled down to my studies. Adolf remarked baldly, "I had no idea I 
had such a clever friend." This did not sound very flattering, but I was used to such remarks from 
him. Apparently he was at a very critical period, was very irritable, and shut me up brusquely 
when I began to talk about my studies. He finally reconciled himself to the piano. He could 
practise a bit too, he remarked. I said I was willing to teach him -- but here again I had put my foot 
into it. Ill-temperedly he snarled at me: "You can keep your scales and such rubbish. I'll get on by 
myself." Then he calmed down again and said, in a propitiating tone, "Why should I become a 
musician, G usti? After all, I have you!" 

Our circumstances were modest in the extreme. I certainly could not do much with the monthly 
allowance my father made me. Regularly atthe beginning of each month, Adolf received a certain 
sum from his guardian. I do not know how much this was, perhaps only the twenty-five crowns 
orphan's pension, of which he had immediately to pay out ten to F rau Zakreys; perhaps it was 
more, if his guardian was paying out of capital in installments whatever his parents may have left. 
Perhaps relatives helped to support him, for instance, the humpbacked AuntJ ohanna; but I do 
not know. I only know that even then Adolf often went hungry, although he would not admit this to 
me. 

What did Adolf have for an ordinary day's meals? A bottle of milk, a loaf of bread, some butter. 
For lunch he often bought a piece of poppyseed cake or nutcake to add to it. That is what he 
made do with. Every fortnight my mother sent a food parcel, and then we feasted. But in money 
matters Adolf was very precise. I never knew how much, or rather, how little, money he had. 
Doubtless he was secretiy ashamed of it. Occasionally, anger got the better of him and he would 
shout with fury, "Isn't this a dog's life?" Nevertheless, he was happy and contented when we 
could go once more to the opera, or listen to a concert, or read an interesting book. 

For a long time I could notfind out where he ate his lunch. Any enquiries about it he would 
crossly dismiss -- these were not subjects one discussed. As I had some spare time in the 
afternoon, sometimes I used to come home directly after lunch; but I never found Adolf at home. 
Perhaps he was sitting in the Soup Kitchen in the Liniengasse where I sometimes had my midday 
meal. No, he was not there, I went to the "Auge Gottes." Neither was he there. When I asked him 
in the evening why he never came to the Soup Kitchen, he made a long speech about the 
contemptible institution of these soup kitchens which only symbolise the segregation of the social 
classes. 

As an extramural student of the university I was permitted to eat in the canteen -- it was still the 
old canteen, for the new one erected by the German Schools Society did not then exist-- and I 
could also procure cheap meal tickets for Adolf, and finally he consented to come with me. I knew 
how much he liked sweets, so, as well as the main dish, I got some cakes, 

I thought he would enjoy this because you could see from his face how hungry he was, but as he 
sulkily gulped it down, he venomously hissed at me, "I don't understand how you can enjoy 
anything among such people!" Of course, there used to gather in the canteen students from all 
the nations of the realm, together with several] ewish students. That was reason enough to stop 
him going there. But, to tell the truth, in spite of all his determination, he let hunger getthe better 
of him. He squeezed himself in next to me in the canteen, turned his back on the rest and 
greedily wolfed down his favourite nutcake. Many a time, in my political indifference, was I 
secretly amused to see him swinging between anti-Semitism and his passion for nutcake. 



For days on end he could live on milk and bread and butter only. I certainly was not spoilt, butthis 
was beyond me. 

We did not make any acquaintances. Adolf would never have permitted me time for anybody but 
himself. More than ever did he regard our friendship as one that excluded any other relationship. 
Once, as a result of pure chance, he treated me to a very explicit reproof in this respect. 

Harmony was my hobbyhorse; in Linz, too, I had shone at it, and here I got on swimmingly. One 
day P rofessor Boschetti called me to the office and asked me whether I would like to do some 
coaching in the subject. Then he introduced me to my future pupils. The two daughters of a 
brewer in Kolomea, the daughter of a landowner in Radautz, and also the daughter of a 
businessman in Spalato. 

I was most depressed by the startling differences between the good-class boardinghouse in 
which these young ladies lived and our wretched hole that always stank of kerosene. Usually, at 
the end of the lesson, I partook of a tea so substantial that it served me for supper as well. When 
there was added to the group the daughter of a cloth manufacturer from J agerndorf in Silesia and 
the daughter of a magistrate in Agram, my half-dozen pupils together represented every corner of 
the widespread Hapsburg Empire. 

And then the unexpected happened. One of them, the girl from Silesia, found she could not get 
on with a piece of written homework, and came round to me in the Stumpergasse to ask for my 
help. Our good old landlady raised her eyebrows when she saw the pretty young girl. But that 
was all right; I was indeed only concerned with the musical example which she had not 
understood, and I explained it to her. As she copied it down quickly, Adolf came in. I introduced 
him to my pupil, "My friend from Linz, Adolf Hitler." Adolf said nothing. But hardly had the girl got 
outside when he wentfor me wildly - for since his unfortunate experience with Stefanie he was a 
woman hater. Was our room, already spoilt by that monster, that grand piano, to become the 
rendezvous for this crew of musical women, he asked me furiously? 

I had a job to convince him that the poor girl was not suffering from the pangs of love, but from 
examination-pains. The result was a detailed speech about the senselessness of women 
studying. Like blows the words fell upon me, as though I were the cloth manufacturer or the 
brewer who had sent his daughter to the Conservatory. Adolf got himself more and more involved 
in a general criticism of social conditions. I cowered silentiy on the piano stool while he, enraged, 
strode the three steps along and the three steps back and hurled his indignation in the bitterest 
terms, first against the door, and then againstthe piano. 

Altogether, in these early days in Vienna, I had the impression that Adolf had become 
unbalanced. He would fly into a temper atthe slightestthing. There were days when nothing I 
could do seemed rightto him, and he made our life togethervery hard to bear. ButI had known 
Adolf now for over three years. I had gone through terrible days with him after the wreck of his 
scholastic career, and also after his mother's death. I did not know to whatthis present mood of 
deep depression was due, but I thought that sooner or later it would improve. 

He was at odds with the world. Wherever he looked, he saw injustice, hate and enmity. Nothing 
was free from his criticism; nothing found favour in his eyes. Only music was able to cheer him up 
a little, as, for instance, when we went on Sundays to the performances of sacred music in the 
Burgkapelle. Here, one could hear at no expense soloists from the Vienna Opera House and the 
Vienna Boys' Choir. Adolf was particularly fond of this famous Boys' Choir, and he told me again 
and again how grateful be was for that early musical training he had received atLambach. But in 
other ways, to remember, just at that time, his carefree childhood was particularly painful to him. 



All this time he was ceaselessly busy. I had no idea whata studentatthe Academy of Arts was 
supposed to do. In any case, the subjects must have been exceedingly varied; one day he would 
be sitting for hours over books, then again he would sit writing till the small hours, or another day 
would see the piano, the table, his bed and mine, and even the floor, completely covered with 
designs. He would stand, staring tensely down at his work, move stealtiiily on tiptoe among the 
drawings, improve something here, correct something there, muttering to himself all the time and 
underlining his rapid words with violent gestures. Woe betide me if I disturbed him on these 
occasions. I had great respect for this difficult and detailed work, and said I liked what I saw of it. 

When, getting impatient, I would open the piano, he would shuffle the sheets quickly together, put 
them in a cupboard, grab up a hook and make off to Schonbrunn. He had found a quiet bench 
there among the lawns and trees, where no one ever disturbed him. Whatever progress he made 
with his studies in the open air was accomplished on this seat. I, too, was fond of this quiet spot, 
where one could forget one lived in a metropolis. Often in later years I visited this lonely bench. 

It would seem that a student in architecture could spend much more time in the open air and work 
more independently than could a Conservatory student. On one occasion, when he had once 
more written till all hours of the night-- the ugly littie smoky kerosene lamp had nearly burnt out 
and I was still awake - I asked him bluntiy what was going to be the end of all this work. Instead 
of answering, he handed me a couple of hastily scribbled sheets. Astounded, I read: "Holy 
Mountain in the background, before it the mighty sacrificial block surrounded by huge oaks; two 
powerful warriors hold the black bull, which is to be sacrificed, firmly by the horns, and press the 
beasts mighty head againstthe hollow in the sacrificial block. Behind them, erect in light-coloured 
robes, stands the priest. He holds the sword with which he will slaughter the bull. All around, 
solemn, bearded men, leaning on their shields, their lances ready, are watching the ceremony 
intentiy." 

I could not see any connection between this extraordinary description and the study of 
architecture, so I asked what it was supposed to be. 

"A play," replied Adolf. 

Then, in stirring words, he described the action to me. Unfortunately, I have long since forgotten 
it. I only remember that it was set in the Bavarian mountains atthe time of the bringing of 
Christianity to those parts. The men who lived on the mountain did not wantto accept the new 
faith. On tiie contrary! They had bound themselves by oath to kill the Christian missionaries. On 
this was based the conflict of the drama. 

I would have liked to have asked Adolf whether his studies in the Academy left him so much free 
time that he could write dramas, too, but I knew how sensitive he was about everything 
appertaining to his chosen profession. I could appreciate his attitude, because certainly he had 
struggled hard enough to get his chance to study. I suppose that is what made him so touchy in 
this respect. But, nevertheless, there seemed to me something not quite right about it all. 

His mood worried me more and more as the days went by. I had never known him torment 
himself in this way before. On the contrary! In my opinion, he possessed rather too much than too 
littie self-confidence. But now things seemed to have changed round. He wallowed deeper and 
deeper in self-criticism. Yetitonly needed the slightest touch - as when one flicks on the electric 
light and everything becomes brilliantly clear- for his self-accusation to become an accusation 
againstthe times, againstthe whole world; choking with his catalogue of hates, he would pour his 
fury over everything, against mankind in general who did not understand him, who did not 
appreciate him and by whom he was persecuted. I see him before me, striding up and down the 
small space in boundless anger, shaken to his very depths. I sat atthe piano with my fingers 
motionless on the keyboard and listened to him, upset by his hymn of hate, and yet worried about 



him, for his ranting atthe bare walls was heard only by me, and perhaps by Frau Zakreys working 
in the kitchen, who would be worrying about whether the crazed young man would be able to 
produce his next month's rent. But those atwhom these burning words were directed, they did 
not hear him at all. So of what use was all the great display? 

Suddenly, however, in the middle of this hate-ridden harangue where he challenged a whole 
epoch, one sentence revealed to me how deep was the abyss on whose edge he was tottering. 

"I shall give up Stefanie." These were the most terrible words he could utter, for Stefanie was the 
only creature on God's earth whom he excepted from this infamous humanity -- a being who, 
made radiant by his glowing love, gave his tormented existence sense and purpose. His father 
dead, his motherdead, his only sister still a child, whatwas there left to him? He had no family, 
no home; only his love, only Stefanie in the midst of all his sufferings and catastrophes had 
remained steadfastly by his side -- admittedly only in his imagination. Until now this imagination 
had been strong enough to be a help to him. But in the spiritual convulsion through which he was 
now passing, apparently even this obstinately held conviction had broken down. 

"I thought you were going to write to her?" I interposed, meaning to help him by this suggestion. 

He brushed my remark away with an impatient gesture (it was only forty years later that I learned 
that he really had written to her then), and then came words that I had never before heard him 
utter: 

"It's mad to wait for her. Certainly Mama has already picked out the man for Stefanie to marry. 
Love? They won't worry about that. A good match, that's all that matters. And I'm a poor match, at 
least in the eyes of Mama." 

Then came a furious reckoning with the "Mama," with everybody who belonged to these fine 
circles who, through cleverly arranged marriages among themselves, continue to enjoy their 
unmerited social privileges. 

I gave up the attempt to practise the piano, and went to bed, while Adolf became absorbed in his 
books. I still remember how shocked I was then. If Adolf could no longer cling to the thought of 
Stefanie, whatever would become of him? 

My feelings were divided: on the one hand, I was glad that he was finally released from this 
hopeless love for Stefanie, and on the other hand, I knew that Stefanie was his only ideal, the 
only thing that kept him going and gave his life an aim. 

The next day, for a trifling reason, there was a bitter row between us. I had to practise, Adolf 
wanted to read. As it was raining he could not go off to Schonbrunn. 

"This eternal strumming," he shouted at me, "One's never safe from it." 

"It's quite simple," I answered, and getting up took my timetable out of my music case, and with a 
drawing pin fixed it on the cupboard door. Now he could see exactly when I was out, when not, 
and just when my hours for practising were. "And now hang your timetable under it," I added. 
Timetable! He didn't need any such thing. He kept his timetable in his head. That was good 
enough for him and it had to be good enough for me. 

I shrugged my shoulders doubtfully. His work was anything but systematic. He worked practically 
only at night; in the morning he slept. 



I had quickly settled into the life of the Conservatory, and my teachers were satisfied with my 
work -- more than satisfied, as was shown by their offering me the extra coaching. Naturally, I 
was proud of it, and certainly a bitconceited. Music is perhaps the one art where a lack of formal 
education does not seem to matter so much. So, pleased with myself, and contented, I setoff 
happily every morning for the Conservatory. Butjustthis sureness of purpose, this certainty of 
success, awoke in Adolf the most bitter comparisons, although he never mentioned it. 

So now, the sight of the timetable stuck on the wall, which must have seemed to him like an 
officially accredited guarantee for my future, brought about an explosion. 

"This Academy," he screamed, "a lot of old-fashioned fossilized civil servants, bureaucrats, 
devoid of understanding, stupid lumps of officials. The whole Academy ought to be blown up!" His 
face was livid, the mouth quite small, the lips almost white. But the eyes glittered. There was 
something sinister about them. As if all the hate of which he was capable lay in those glowing 
eyes! 

I was just going to point out that those men of the Academy on whom he so lightly passed 
judgment in his measureless hatred were, after all, his teachers and professors, from whom he 
could certainly learn something. But he forestalled me. 

"They rejected me, they threw me out, they turned me down." 

I was shocked. So that was it. Adolf did not go to the Academy at all. Now I understood a good 
deal that had puzzled me about him. 

I felt his hard luck deeply, and asked him whether he had told his mother that the Academy had 
not accepted him. 

"What are you thinking of?" he replied. "How could I burden my dying mother with this worry?" 

I could not help but agree. 

For a while we were both silent. Perhaps Adolf was thinking of his mother. Then I tried to give the 
conversation a practical turn. 

"And what now?" I asked him. 

"What now, what now," he repeated irritably. "Are you starting too -- what now?" 

He must have asked himself this question a hundred times and more, because he had certainly 
not discussed it with anyone else. 

"What now?" he mocked my anxious inquiry again, and instead of answering, sat himself down at 
the table and surrounded himself with his books. "What now?" 

Then he adjusted the lamp, took up one of the books, opened it and began to read. 

I made to take the timetable down from the cupboard door. He raised his head, saw it and said 
calmly, "Nevermind." 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 15 - Adolf Rebuilds Vienna. 



We often saw the old Emperor when he rode in his carriage from Schonbrunn through the 
jviariahilferstrasse to the Hofburg. On such occasions Adolf did not make much ado about it, 
neither did he refer to it later, for he was not interested in the Emperor as a person but only in the 
State which be represented, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. 

All my recollections of life in Vienna are sharpened by contrasts, and are thus more clearly etched 
in my memory. Indeed, in the course of the turbulent year 1908, there took place two political 
events which agitated the people. 

On the one hand, there was the Emperor's Diamond J ubilee. On the other, there was the 
annexation of Bosnia, decreed in connection with the J ubilee, a matter which caused heated 
arguments among the citizens. This extension of the external power of the country only revealed 
its weakness within, and soon all the signs were of war. In fact, the events which took place in 
1914 might easily have happened then, six years earlier. It was no mere coincidence thatthe 
1914/18 war actually had its origins in Sarajevo. 

The people of Vienna, among whom we two unknown youngsters were living, were atthattime 
torn between loyalty to the old Emperor and anxiety about the threatening war. 

Everywhere we noticed a deep chasm between the social classes. There was the vast mass of 
the lower classes who often had not enough to eat and merely existed in miserable dwellings 
without light or sun. In view of our standards of living, we unhesitatingly included ourselves in this 
category. It was notnecessary for us to go out to study the mass misery of the city -- it was 
brought into our own home. Our own damp and crumbling walls, bug-infested furniture and the 
unpleasant odour of kerosene were typical of the surroundings in which hundreds of thousands of 
people in this city lived. When we went with empty stomachs into the centre of the city, we saw 
the splendid mansions of the nobility with garishly attired servants in front, and the sumptuous 
hotels in which Vienna's rich society -- the old nobility, the captains of industry, landowners and 
magnates -- held their lavish parties; poverty, need, hunger on the one side, and reckless 
enjoyment of life, sensuality and prodigal luxury on the other. 

I was too homesick to draw any political inferences from these contrasts. But Adolf, homeless, 
rejected by the Academy, without any chance of changing his miserable position, developed 
during this period an ever growing sense of rebellion. The obvious social injustice which caused 
him almost physical suffering also roused in him a demoniacal hatred of that unearned wealth, 
presumptuous and arrogant, which we saw around us. Only by violently protesting againstthis 
state of affairs was he able to bear his own "dog's life." To be sure, it was largely his own fault 
that he was in this position; but this he would never admit. Even more than from hunger, he 
suffered from the lack of cleanliness, as he was almost pathologically sensitive about anything 
concerning the body. Atall costs, he would keep his linen and clothing clean. No one, meeting 
this carefully dressed young man in the street, would have thought that he went hungry every 
day, and lived in a hopelessly bug-infested back room in the Sixth District. Itwas more the lack of 
cleanliness in the surroundings in which he was forced to live than the lack of food which 
provoked his inner protests against the prevailing social conditions. The old Imperial City, with its 
atmosphere of false glamour and spurious romance and its now evident inner decay, was the 
ground on which his social and political opinions grew. All that he later became was born of this 
dying Imperial Vienna. Although he wrote later, "The name of this city of lotus eaters represents 



for me five years of misery and distress," this statement siiows only the negative side of iiis 
experience in Vienna. Tiie positive side was tiiathis constant revolt against the existing social 
order produced his political philosophy to which little was added in later years. 

In spite of his sympathetic interest in the poverty of the masses, he never sought direct contact 
with the inhabitants of the Imperial City. He profoundly disliked the typical Viennese. To begin 
with, he could not stand their soft, though melodious accent, and he even preferred the clumsy 
German spoken by Frau Zakreys. Above all, he hated the subservience and dumb indifference of 
the Viennese, their eternal muddling through, their reckless improvidence. His own character was 
justthe opposite. As far as I can remember, Adolf was always very reserved, simply because he 
disliked any physical contact with people; but within him everything was in a ferment and urged 
him on to radical and total solutions. How sarcastic he was about the Viennese partiality to wine, 
and how he despised them for it! Only once did we go to the Prater pleasure gardens, and this 
only out of curiosity. He could not understand why people wasted their precious time with such 
nonsense. When he heard people laughing uproariously at some sideshow, he would shake his 
head, full of indignation at so much stupidity, and ask me angrily if I could understand it. In his 
opinion, they must have been laughing atthemselves, which he could well understand. In 
addition, he was disgusted atthe medley of Viennese, Czechs, Magyars, Slovaks, Rumanians, 
Croats, Italians and God knows whatelse which surged through the Prater. To him, the Prater 
was nothing but a Viennese Babel. There was here a strange contradiction which always struck 
me: all his thoughts and ambitions were directed towards the problem of how to help the masses, 
the simple, decent, but underprivileged people, with whom he identified himself-- they were ever- 
present in his thoughts. But in actual fact he always avoided any contact with people. The motley 
crowd in the Prater was physically repugnant to him; however much he feltforthe little man, he 
always kept him atthe greatest possible distance. 

On the other hand, the arrogance of the ruling classes was equally alien to him, and he 
understood even less the apathy and resignation which in those years was gaining a hold on the 
leading intellectuals. The knowledge that the end of the Hapsburg State was inevitable had bred, 
especially among the traditional upholders of the Monarchy, a kind of fatalism which accepted 
whatever might befall, with the typically Viennese "there's nothing one can do about it." This 
bittersweet tone of resignation prevailed also among Vienna's poets; for instance, Rilke, 
Hofmannstahl, Wildgans - names which never reached us, not because we had no appreciation 
of the words of a poet, but because the mood which prompted the work of those poets was 
foreign to us; we had come from the country and were nearer to nature than were the townsfolk. 
In addition, we were of a different generation from those weary and resigned people. While the 
hopeless social conditions in their apparent inevitability produced in the older generation nothing 
but apathy and complete indifference, they forced the younger generation into racial criticism and 
violent opposition. And Adolf, too, felt the urgent need to criticise and counterattack. He did not 
know what resignation meant. He who resigned, he thought, lost his rightto live. But he 
dissociated himself from his contemporaries, who were at that time very arrogant and turbulent, 
and went his own way, refusing to join any of the then existing political parties. Although he 
always felt a sense of responsibilit/ for everything that happened he was always a lonely and 
solitary man, determined to rely upon himself only, and to reach his goal. 

One otherthing should be mentioned - Adolfs visit to the typical working-class district of 
Meidling. Although he never told me exactly why he went there, I knew that he wanted to study 
personally the housing and living conditions of the workers' families. He was not interested in any 
individual; he only wanted to know the ways of the class as a whole. He, therefore, made no 
acquaintances in Meidling, his aim being to study a cross section of the community quite 
impersonally. 

However much he avoided close contact with people, he had nevertheless grown fond of Vienna 
as a city; he could have lived quite happily without the people, but never without the city. Small 
wonder, then, that the few people whom he came later to know in Vienna thought of him as a lone 



wolf and an eccentric, and regarded as pretence or arrogance his refined speecii, iiis 
distinguisiied manners and iiis elegant bearing, which belied his obvious poverty. In fact, the 
young Hitler made no friends in Vienna. 

All the more enthusiastic was he about what people had built in Vienna. Think only of the 
Ringstrasse! When he saw itforthe firsttime, with its fabulous buildings, itseemed to him the 
realisation of his boldest artistic dreams, and it took him a long time to digest this overwhelming 
impression. Only gradually did he find his way about this magnificent exhibition of modern 
architecture. I often had to accompany him on his strolls along the Ring. Then he would describe 
to me at some length this or that building, pointing out certain details, or he would explain to me 
its origins. He would literally spend hours in front of it, forgetting not only the time but all that went 
on around him. I could not understand the reason for these long drawn out and complicated 
inspections; afterall, he had seen everything before, and already knew more about it than most of 
the inhabitants of the city. When I occasionally became impatient, he shouted at me rudely, 
asking whether I was his real friend or not; if I was, I should share his interests. Then he 
continued with his dissertation. At home he would draw for me ground plans and sectional plans, 
or enlarge upon some interesting detail. He borrowed books on the origin of various buildings, the 
Hof Opera, the House of Parliament, the Burg Theatre, the Karlskirche, the Hof Museums, the 
Town Hall; he brought home more and more books, among them a general handbook of 
architecture. He showed me the various architectural styles, and particularly pointed out to me 
that some of the details on the buildings of the Ringstrasse demonstrated tiie excellent 
workmanship of local craftsmen. 

When he wished to study a certain building, the external appearance alone did not satisfy him. I 
was always astonished how well informed he was about side doors, staircases, and even back 
doors and little-known means of access. He approached a building from all sides; he hated 
nothing more than splendid and ostentatious facades intended to conceal some fault in the 
layout. Beautiful facades were always suspect. Plaster, he thought, was an inferior material that 
no architect should use. He was never deceived, and often was able to show me that some 
construction which aimed at mere visual effect was just bluff. Thus, the Ringstrasse became for 
him an object by which he could measure his architectural knowledge and demonstrate his 
opinions. 

Atthattime also, his firstschemes forthe replanning of large squares emerged. I distinctly 
remember his expositions: for instance, he regarded the Heldenplatz, between Hofburg and 
Volksgarten, as an almost ideal spotfor mass meetings, not only because the semicircle of the 
adjacent buildings lent itself in a unique way to holding the assembled multitude, but also 
because every individual in the crowd would receive a great monumental impression whichever 
way he looked. I thoughtthese observations were the idle play of an overheated imagination, but 
nevertheless I always had to take part in such experiments. The Schwarzenbergplatz was also 
very much beloved by Adolf. We sometimes went there during an interval at the Hof Opera in 
order to admire in the darkness the fantastically illuminated fountains. That was a spectacle after 
our own hearts. Incessantly the foaming water rose, coloured red, yellow and blue in turn by the 
various spotlights. Colour and movement combined to produce an incredible abundance of light 
effects, casting an unreal and unearthy spell over the whole square. 

To be sure, Adolf, influenced by the Ringstrasse architecture, was also interested in great 
projects during his time in Vienna: concert halls, theatres, museums, palaces, exhibitions. But 
gradually his style of planning changed. In the first place, these monumental buildings were in a 
certain sense so perfect that even he, with his unbridled will to build, could find no room for 
change or improvement. Linz had been quite different in this respect. With the exception of the 
massive pile of the old Castle, he had been completely dissatisfied with every building he had 
seen in Linz. Small wonder, therefore, thathe planned a new and more dignified successorto the 
old town hall of Linz which was rather narrow and, squeezed in among the houses of the main 
square, was not very imposing; and that in the end, during our strolls through the town, he rebuilt 



the whole city. Vienna was different, not only because it was difficult for him to conceive as a unit 
the enormous dimensions of the city, but also because with growing political understanding, he 
became increasingly aware of the necessity for healthy and suitable housing for the masses of 
the population. In Linz it had never been a matter of great concern to him how these people, who 
would be affected by his great building projects, would react to them. In Vienna, however, he 
began to build for people. What he explained to me in long, nocturnal discussions, what 
he drew and planned, was no longer, as it had been in Lint, building for building's sake, but 
conscientious planning which took into account the needs and requirements of the occupiers. In 
Linz, it was still purely architectural building; in Vienna, social building; that is how one could 
describe his progress. This was also due to the merely external factor that Adolf had been fairly 
comfortable in Linz, especially in the pleasant apartment in Urfahr. Now, in contrast, in the 
gloomy sunless back room of the Stumpergasse in Vienna, he felt every morning when he awoke, 
looking at the bare walls and depressing view, that building was not, as he had thought hitherto, 
mostly a matter of show and prestige, but rather a problem of public health, of how to remove the 
masses from their miserable hovels. 

Adolf had told me that during the past winter when he was still alone in Vienna, he had often been 
to warmed public rooms in order to save fuel, of which his inadequate stove consumed large 
quantities without giving much heat. There, one could sit in a warmed room without payment, and 
there were plenty of newspapers available. I suppose that Adolf, in his conversations with the 
people who frequented these places, gained his first depressing insight into the scandalous 
housing conditions of the metropolis. 

In our huntfor lodgings which, so to speak, heralded my entry into Vienna, I had had a foretaste 
of the misery, distress and filth that awaited us. Through dark, foul-smelling backyards, up and 
down stairs, through sordid and filthy hallways, past doors behind which adults and children 
huddled together in a small sunless room, the human beings as decayed and miserable as their 
surroundings --this impression has remained unforgettably with me, just as the reverse side of 
the medal, that in the one house which might have come up to our sanitary and aesthetic 
standards, we met that acme of viciousness which, in the person of the seductive "Mrs. Potiphar," 
seemed to us more repulsive than the wretchedness of the poor people. There followed those 
nocturnal hours in which Adolf, striding up and down between door and piano, explained to me in 
powerful words the causes of these squalid housing conditions. 

He started with the house in which we ourselves were living. On an area which was hardly large 
enough for an ordinary garden, there were tightiy packed three buildings, each in the others' way 
and robbing each other of light, air and elbow room. 

And why? Because the man who boughtthe ground wanted to make as large a profitas possible. 
He therefore had to build as compactly as possible and as high as possible, because the more of 
these boxlike compartments he could pile one on top of the other, the more income he received. 
The tenant, in his turn, has to getfrom his apartment as much value as he can, and therefore 
sublets some of the rooms, usually the best ones; take, for instance, our good Frau Zakreys. And 
the subtenants crowd together in order to have room available for a lodger. So each one wants to 
make a profit out of the other, and the result is that all except the landlord have not enough living 
space. The basementflats are also a scandal, getting no light, sun or air. If this is unbearable for 
grownups, for children it is deadly. Adolfs lecture ended in a furious attack on the real estate 
speculators and the exploiting landlords. One word which I heard for the first time on that 
occasion still rings in my ears: These "professional landlords" who make a living from the awful 
housing condition of the masses. The poor tenant usually never meets his landlord, as the latter 
does not live in these tenements he owns - G od forbids - but somewhere in the suburbs, in 
Hietzing orGrinzing, in luxurious villas where they enjoy in abundance that of which they deprive 
others. 



Another day Adolf made his observations from tiie tenants angle. What were such a poor devil's 
minimum needs for a decent home? Light-the houses must be detached. There must be gardens, 
playgrounds for the children -- air -- the sky must be visible; something green, a modest piece of 
nature. But look at our back building, he said. The sun shines only on the roof. The air-- of that 
we would rather not speak. The water - there is one single tap outside on the landing, to which 
eightfamilies have to come with their pails and jugs. The whole floor has one highly unsanitary 
lavatory in common, and it is almost necessary to take one's turn in a queue. And on top of all 
that, the bugs! 

When, during the weeks thatfollowed - I had learned in the meantime that he had been rejected 
by the Academy - I asked Adolf occasionally where he was during the day, he answered: "I am 
working on the solution of the housing problem in Vienna, and I am doing certain research for this 
purpose; I therefore have to go around a lot." 

During that period he would often pore over his plans and drawings throughout the night, but he 
never spoke about it, nor did I ask him any more questions. But suddenly, I think it was towards 
the end of March, he said: "I shall be away for three days." 

He returned on the fourth day, dead tired. Goodness knows where he had been, where he had 
sleptand how hungry he had been! From his scanty reports I gathered thathe had approached 
Vienna from some outlying point, perhaps from Stockerau orfrom the Marchfeld, to gain an idea 
of the land available for the purpose of relieving the city's congestion. He worked all night again, 
and then, at long last, he showed me the project. In the first place, some simple ground plans, 
workers' flats with the minimum requirements: kitchen, living room, separate bedrooms for 
parents and children, water laid on in the kitchen, lavatory and, atthattime an unheard-of 
innovation, a bath. Then Adolf showed me his plans for various types of houses, neatly sketched 
in India ink. I remember them so clearly because for weeks these sketches were hanging on our 
walls, and Adolf returned repeatedly to the subject. In our airless and sunless subtenants' 
existence, I realised more sharply the contrast between our own surroundings and Adolf's 
attractive lightand airy houses. For, as my glance wandered away from these pretty sketches, it 
fell on the crumbling, badly distempered wall which still showed traces of our nightly bug hunt. 
This vivid contrast has indelibly printed on my memory the vast and grandiose plans of my friend. 

"The tenements will be demolished." With this pithy pronouncement Adolf began his work. I 
should have been surprised had it been otherwise, as in everything he planned, he went all out 
and detested half measures and compromise - life itself would bring these. But his task was to 
solve the problem radically - that is to say, from the roots. Private speculation in land would be 
forbidden. Areas along both banks of the Danube would be added to the open spaces resulting 
from the demolition of the working-class districts, and wide roads would be laid across the whole. 
The vast building area would be provided with a network of railway lines. Instead of big railway 
stations, there would be suitably scattered over the whole territory, and connected with the town 
centre, a series of small local stations which would cater for specified districts and offer 
favourable speedy communication between home and place of work. The motorcar atthattime 
had not been envisaged as an important means of transport. The streets of Vienna were still 
dominated by the horsedrawn fiacre. The bicycle was only slowly becoming a cheap and practical 
means of travel. Only the railways were, is those days, able to provide transport for the masses. 

Adolf's design was by no means concerned with the one. family or owner-occupier type of house, 
as is being built today, nor was he interested in "settlement." His idea was still based on the old 
type of tenement house, carved up into fractions. Thus came into being as his smallest unit the 
fourfamily house, a one-storied, well-proportioned structure, containing two flats on the ground 
floor and two on the firstfloor. This basic unit was the prevailing type. Where conditions required, 
from four to eight of these units were to be combined to form housing blocks for eight or sixteen 
families, but these blocks, too, remained "near the ground," that is to say, they still consisted of 



one story only, and were surrounded by gardens, playing grounds and groups of trees. The 
sixteen-family house was the limit. 

Having designed the types of house necessary to relieve the congestion in the town, my friend 
could now turn his attention to the problem itself. On a big map of the town, which was too large 
for the table and had to be spread out on the piano, Adolf laid out the network of railways and 
roads. Industrial centres were marked, residential districts suitably located. I was always in his 
way when he was engaged on this vast planning job. There was, indeed, not a square foot of 
space in the room that was not utilised for this task. If Adolf had not pursued his course with such 
grim determination, I would have regarded the whole thing as an interesting but idle pastime. 
Actually, I was so depressed by our own bad housing that I became almost as fanatical as my 
friend, and that is no doubt the reason why so many details have remained in my memory. 

In his way, Adolf thought of everything. I still remember that he was preoccupied with the problem 
of whether inns would be necessary or not in this new Vienna. Adolf was as radically opposed to 
alcohol as he was to nicotine. If one neither smoked nor drank, why should one go to an inn? In 
any case, he found for this new Vienna a solution which was as radical as it was bold: a new 
popular drink! On one occasion in Linz I had to redecorate some rooms in the office building of 
the firm of Franck, who manufactured a coffee substitute. Adolf came to see me there. The firm 
provided the workers with an excellent iced beverage which cost only one heller a glass. Adolf 
liked this drink so much that he mentioned it again and again. If one could provide every 
household, he said, with this cheap and wholesome beverage, or with similar nonalcoholic drinks, 
one could do without the inns. When I remonstrated that the Viennese, from my knowledge of 
them, would be most unlikely to give up their wine, he replied brusquely, "You won't be asked!" as 
much as to say in other words "Nor will the Viennese either." 

Adolf was particularly critical of those countries, and Austria was one of them, which had 
established a tobacco monopoly. In this way, he argued, the State ruined the health of its own 
subjects; therefore all tobacco factories must be closed and the import of tobacco, cigars and 
cigarettes forbidden. But he did notfind a substitute fortobacco as a companion to his "People's 
Drink." 

Altogether, the nearer Adolf came in his imagination to the realisation of his projects, the more 
Utopian did the whole business become. As long as it was only a matter of the basic principles of 
his planning, everything was quite reasonable; but when he thought out the details of its 
execution, Adolf juggled with ideas which seemed to me completely nebulous. Having to pay ten 
of my father's hardearned crowns for a half share in a bug-ridden room, I had the fullest sympathy 
with the idea that in his new Vienna there should be no landlords and tenants. The ground was to 
be owned by the state, and the houses were to be not private property but administered by a sort 
of housing cooperative. One would pay no rent but instead a contribution to the building costs or 
the house, or a kind of housing tax. So far I could follow him. But when I timidly asked him, "Yes, 
but in this way you cannotfinance such an expensive building project. Who is going to pay for it?" 
I provoked his most violent opposition. Furiously, Adolf flung replies at me, of which I understood 
but little. Besides, I can hardly remember details of these explanations, which consisted almost 
entirely of abstract conceptions. But what remains in my memory were certain regularly recurring 
expressions which, the less they actually meant, the more they impressed me. 

The principal problems of the whole project were to be solved, as Adolf put it, "in the Storm of the 
Revolution." It was the first time that in our wretched dwelling this ponderous word was uttered. I 
do not know if Adolf picked it up from his copious reading. At any rate, at the moment when his 
flight of ideas would come to a standstill, regularly the bold words "Storm of the Revolution" would 
crop up and give a new fillip to his thoughts, though he never paused to explain the phrase. It 
could mean, I found out, either nothing or everything. For Adolf it was "everything," but for me 
"nothing," until he, with his hypnotic eloquence, had convinced me, too, that it only needed a 
tremendous revolutionary storm to break over the tired old earth to bring about all that which had 



long since been ready in iiis tiiougiits and plans, just as a mild rain in late summer brings the 
mushrooms springing up everywhere. 

Another ever recurring expression was the "German Ideal State," which, together with the 
conception of the "Reich," was the dominating factor in his thinking. This "Ideal State" was in its 
basic principles, both national and social, social above all in respect of the poverty of the masses 
of the working class. More and more thoroughly, Adolf worked on the idea of a state which would 
give its due to the social requirements of ourtimes. But the idea remained vague and was largely 
determined by his reading. Thus he chose the term, "Ideal State" -- most likely he had read it in 
one of his many books -- and left it to the future to develop the details of this ideal state, for the 
time being only sketched in general outline, but, of course, with the "Reich" as its final aim. 

Also in connection with his bold building projects, Adolf first adopted a third expression which had 
already become a familiar formula in that period: "Social Reform." This expression, too, embraced 
much thatwas still swirling around in his brain in a very unformed state. But the eager study of 
political literature and visits to the House of Parliament, to which he dragged me, too, gradually 
lent the expression "Social Reform" a concrete meaning. 

One day, when the Storm of the Revolution broke and the Ideal State was born, the long overdue 
Social Reform would become reality. This would be the moment to tear down the tenements of 
the "professional landlords," and to begin with the building of his model houses in the beautiful 
meadows behind Nussdorf. 

I have dwelt so long on these plans of my friend's because I regard them as typical of the 
development of his character and his ideas during his sojourn in Vienna. To be sure, I realised 
from the beginning that my friend would not remain indifferent to the misery of the masses of the 
metropolis, fori knew that he did not close his eyes to anything and that it was quite contrary to 
his nature to ignore any important phenomenon. Yet I would never have believed thatthese 
experiences in the suburbs of Vienna would have stirred up his whole personality so enormously. 
For I had always thoughtof my friend as, basically, an artist, and would have understood if he 
had grown indignant in the face of the masses, who appeared to be hopelessly perishing in their 
misery, yet remained aloof from all this, so as not to be dragged down into the abyss by the city's 
inexorable fate. I reckoned with his susceptibility, his aestheticism, his constantfear of physical 
contact with strangers -- he shook hands rarely and then only with a few people -- and I thought 
this would be sufficient to keep him at a distance from the masses. This was only true of personal 
contacts. But with his whole, overflowing heart, he stood then in the ranks of the underprivileged. 
It was not sympathy, in the ordinary sense, he felt for the disinherited. That would not have been 
sufficient. He not only suffered with them, he lived for them and devoted all his thoughts to the 
salvation of these people from distress and poverty. No doubtthis ardent desire for a total 
reorganisation of life was his personal response to his own fate, which had led him, step by step 
into misery. Only by his noble and grandiose work, which was intended "for everybody" and 
appealed to "all," did he find again his inner equilibrium. The weeks of dark visions and grave 
depressions were past; he was again full of hope and courage. 

Butforthe time being, good old Maria Zakreys was the only person who occupied herself with 
these plans. To be exact, she did not really occupy herself with them, for she had given it up as a 
bad job to try to bring order into this mess of plans, drawings and sketches. She was satisfied as 
long as the two students from Linz paid their rent punctually. 

As far as Linz was concerned, Adolf had not contemplated more than to transform it into a fine, 
attractive town whose distinguished buildings should raise it from its low, provincial standing. But 
Vienna he wanted to transform into a modem residential town in which distinction and prestige did 
not matter-- this he left to the Imperial Vienna: what mattered was thatthe uprooted masses, who 
had become estranged from their own soil and their own people, should again settle down on firm 
ground. 



The old Imperial City changed, on the drawing board of a nineteen-year-old youth who lived in a 
dark back room of the Mariahilf suburb, into a spacious, sunlitand exuberant city, which 
consisted of four- eight- and sixteen-family houses. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 16 - Solitaty Study and Reading. 



There can be no doubt that Adolf was, atthattime, convinced that he was destined to become an 
architect. How he would everfind his way into practice, even with this thorough private study, 
unable as he was to produce any testimonials and diplomas -- this never caused him any worry. 
We hardly ever spoke about it, for my friend was absolutely sure that by the time he had 
concluded his studies, circumstances would have changed (either peacefully or with violence, as 
a consequence of his Storm of the Revolution) to such an extentthatformal qualifications would 
no longer matter, but only actual ability. 

Thus, Adolf saw his future clearly before him. Back in Linz he had already defeated what he 
called his school's biased, unjust and idiotic treatment of him, by throwing himself heart and soul 
into the study of a subject of his own choosing, so he had no difficulty in doing the same here in 
Vienna, where a similar situation confronted him. He cursed the old-fashioned, fossilized 
bureaucracy of the Academy where there was no understanding for true artistry. He spoke of the 
trip-wires which had been cunningly laid - I remember his very words! - for the sole purpose of 
ruining his career. But he would show these incompetent, senile fools that he could go ahead 
without them! From his salvoes of abuse of the Academy, I gained the impression thatthese 
teachers, by rejecting the young man, had involuntarily engendered in him more eagerness and 
energy than their teaching would ever have done. 

But my friend had to face another problem: What was he to live on during his years of study? 
Many years would pass before he could make himself a position as an architect. Personally, I 
doubted if, indeed, anything would ever come of my friend's private studies. Admittedly he studied 
with incredible industry and a determination which one would have thought beyond the strength of 
his undernourished and weakened body. But his pursuits were not directed towards any practical 
goal. On the contrary, every now and again he got lost in vast plans and speculations. Drawing a 
comparison with my musical studies, which were progressing absolutely according to plan, I could 
only conclude that Adolf was casting his nets far too wide and dragging in anything that had even 
the remotest connection with architecture; and he did it, moreover, with the greatest 
thoroughness and precision. How could all thatever lead to any conclusion - not to mention the 
fact that more and more new ideas assailed him and distracted him from his professional training. 

The contrast between his boundless, unsystematic labours and my precisely regulated studies at 
the Conservatory did nothing to help our friendship, if only because our respective work at home 
necessarily led to friction. When, on top of this. Professor Boschetti sent me some private pupils, 
our disagreements became sharper. Now one could see, he said, that bad luck was pursuing him; 
there was a great conspiracy against him-he had no possibility of earning any money. 

One evening - I suppose it was after a pupil of mine had been in for a lesson-l seized the 
opportunity to try to persuade him to look around for some remunerative work. Of course, if one is 
lucky, one can give lessons to young ladies, he began. I told him that without my taking the 
initiative. Professor Boschetti had sent me these pupils - it was a pity that they had to be taught 
harmonics rather than architectture. Incidentally, I went on more firmly, if I were as gifted as he 
was, I would have long since looked around for some part-time job. 

He listened with interest, almost as though the whole thing did not refer to him at all, and then I let 
him have it: drawing, for instance, that was something he really could do, as even his teachers 
had admitted. What about looking for a job with a newspaper or in a publishing firm? Perhaps he 



could illustrate books, or do sketches for newspapers. He answered evasively that he was glad I 
credited him with such skill, but anyhow this kind of newspaper illustration was best left to the 
photographers, for not even the best artist could be as quick as a photographer. 

Then what about a job as a dramatic critic, I continued? 

This was a job which he was actually doing, because after every visit to tiie theatre he came 
home to me with a very severe and radical, yet interesting and comprehensive review. Why 
should I remain tiie only inhabitant of Vienna ever to hear his opinions? He should try to get in 
touch with an influential paper. But he would have to take care not to show too much bias. What 
did I mean by that, he wanted to know? The Italian, Russian and French operas, too, had their 
right to exist, I replied. One had to acceptforeign composers as well, for art has no national 
frontiers. We started a heated argument, as whenever music was tiie topic under discussion I 
stood my ground; fori did notspeakfor myself alone, but felt that I was \he representative of the 
Institute whose pupil I was. Altiiough I fully shared Adolf's entiiusiasm for Richard Wagner, I 
could nevertheless not bring myself to reject all the rest. But he stuck uncompromisingly to his 
point. I still remember well thatin my excitementi flung atAdolf the words from the final Chorus 
of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, "Seid umschlungen Millionen, diesen Kuss derganzen Welt." 
The work of tiie artist must belong to tiie whole world. So there was trouble even before he took 
ttie job of an opera critic, remarked Adolf. And so this plan, too, was buried. 

Adolf wrote a great deal during this period. I had discovered that it was mainly plays, dramas 
actually. He took the plots from tiie Germanic Mythology or German history. But hardly any of 
tiiese plays were really finished. Nevertheless, it might have been possible to make some money 
out of them. Adolf showed me some of his drafts, and I was struck by tiie fact that he attributed 
much importance to magnificent staging. Except forthe drama about the coming of Christianity, I 
cannot remember any one of these plays, but only that they all required an enormous production. 
Wagner had accustomed us to tiie idea of pretentious productions, but Adolph's ideas dwarfed 
anytiiing devised by tiie Master. I knew a thing or two about operatic production and was notslow 
to utter my doubts. With his settings ranging tiirough Heaven and Hell, I explained to him, no 
producer would accept any one of his plays. He should be much more modest in all tiiat 
concerned his scenery. Altogetiier it would be best for him not to write operas at a II, but rather 
simple plays, comedies perhaps, which were popular with ttie public. The most profitable thing 
would be to write some unpretentious comedy. Unpretentious? This was all tiiatwas needed to 
make him furious. So this attempt, too, ended in failure. 

Gradually I came to realise all my efforts were wasted. Even if I had managed to persuade Adolf 
to submit his drawings or his literary work to a newspaper editor or a publisher, he would soon 
have quarreled with his employer, for he could never tolerate any interference witii his work, and 
it would presumably make no difference that he was getting paid for it. He simply could not bear 
taking orders from people, for he received enough orders from himself. 

So I chose another way. Through tiie generosity of my parents and through the private lessons I 
gave, I was financially better off ttian he was, and therefore I helped him wherever I could, 
preferably witiiouthis realising it at all, for he was very touchy and sensitive in these matters, 
Only on our walks and excursions did he consent to be my guest. 

Later, when we had already parted, Adolf found, in Vienna, a very characteristic solution for tills 
problem, which enabled him to make a modest living and still remain his own master. As his 
talent was best suited to drawing works of architecture rather ttian the human figure, he made 
mostaccurate and neatsketches of famous Vienna buildings, such as the Karlskirche, the House 
of Parliamentand similar subjects, coloured them and sold them whenever he could. 



Having no expert knowledge, I cannot give any opinion on the special studies Adolf was then 
pursuing. Moreover, I was too busy myself to get any real idea of his work. What I noticed, 
however, was that he surrounded himself increasingly with technical books. I recall especially a 
big history of architecture because he loved to choose one of its pictures at random, cover the 
caption, and tell me what it was, Chartres Cathedral, for instance, or the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. 
His memory was prodigious; itneverfailed him and was, of course, a great advantage in his 
work. 

He worked tirelessly on his drawings. I had the impression that he had already learnt, in Linz, the 
basic principles of draughtsmanship, though only from books. I do notremember Adolf ever 
having tried to apply in practice what he had learnt, or ever attending classes in architectural 
drawing 

He never showed any desire to mix with people who shared his own professional interests, or to 
discuss with them common problems. Rather than meet people of specialised knowledge, he 
would sitalone on his bench in the Schonbrunn Park, holding imaginary conversations with 
himself about the subjectmatter of his books. This extraordinary habit of studying a certain 
subject and penetrating deeply into its very essence, while anxiously avoiding any contact with its 
practical application, this peculiar self-sufficiency, reminded me of Adolf's relationship with 
Stefanie. His boundless love of architecture, his passionate interest in building remained 
fundamentally a mere intellectual pastime. J ustas he used to rush to the Landstrasse to see 
Stefanie when he needed some tangible confirmation of his feelings, so he would escape from 
the overpowering effects of his theoretical studies into the Ringstrasse, and recover his inner 
equilibrium among its splendours. 

As time went on, I came to understand my friend's one-sided preference for the Ringstrasse, 
although, to my mind, the impact of such buildings as St. Stephen's, or the Belvedere - older and 
more original in their style - was stronger and more convincing. But Adolf altogether disliked 
Baroque, as it was too ornate for his taste. The Ringstrasse buildings had been constructed after 
the demolition of the city's fortifications; that is to say, in the second half of the past century, and 
were anything but uniform in style. On the contrary! Almost every style was represented. The 
House of Parliament was in the Classic, or rather pseudo-Hellenic style, the Town Hall neo- 
Gothic, and the Burg Theatre, an object of Adolf's special admiration, late Renaissance. Yetthey 
had one thing in common which was especially attractive for my friend-their ostentation. But the 
real motive for his unceasing preoccupation with these buildings, his use of the Ringstrasse as 
his professional training ground, was the fact that these buildings of the preceding generation 
enabled him to study without difficulty the history of their construction, to redraw their plans, to re- 
erect, so to speak, by his own effort every single structure, and to recall the life and achievements 
of the great architects of thatepoch - Theophil Hansen, Semper, Hasenauer, Siccardsburg and 
van der Null. 

I discovered with apprehension that new ideas, experiences and projects disorganised my 
friend's professional studies. As long as these new interests had some connection with 
architecture, they became just part of his general education, but there was much that was 
diametrically opposed to his professional plans, and, moreover, politics gained an increasingly 
firm hold on him. I asked Adolf, occasionally, what connection there was between the remote 
problems which we encountered during our visits to Parliament and his professional preparation. 
He would answer, "You can build only when you have first created the political conditions for it." 
Sometimes his answers were rather rude. Thus I remember him once answering my question as 
to how he proposed to solve a certain problem, "Even if I had found the solution to this problem, I 
wouldn't tell it to you because you wouldn't understand it." Butalthough he was often brusque, 
moody, unreliable and farfrom conciliatory, I could never be angry with him because these 
unpleasant sides of his character were overshadowed by the pure fire of an exalted soul. 



I stopped asking him questions about iiis profession. It was mucii better for me to go quietly my 
own way and show him my own ideas of how to reach one's goal. After all, I had not even 
reached the lower classes of the technical school and had only been to a council school, but just 
the same, I was now a studentatthe Conservatory, as good as any boy who had matriculated. 
But my friend's studies took just the opposite course to mine. While normally, training for a 
profession grows more and more specialised in the course of time, Adolfs studies became more 
general, more diffuse, more abstract and remote from anything practical. The more tenaciously 
he repeated his own slogan, "I want to become an architect," the more nebulous did this goal 
become in reality. It was the typical attitude of a young man who would actually be hindered by a 
profession in reaching what he feels is his true vocation. That was always the case with my 
friend. 

Books were his whole world. In Linz, in order to procure the books he wanted, he had subscribed 
to three libraries. In Vienna he used the Hof Library so industriously that I asked him once, in all 
seriousness, whether he intended to read the whole library through, which of course earned me 
some rude remarks. One day he took me to the library and showed me the big reading room. I 
was almost overwhelmed by these enormous masses of books, and I asked him how he 
managed to get what he wanted. He began to explain to me the use of the catalogue, which 
confused me even more. 

Hardly anything would disturb him when he was reading. But sometimes be disturbed himself, for 
as soon as he opened a book he started talking about it, and I had to listen patiently whether I 
was interested in the subject or not. Every now and then, in Linz even more frequently than in 
Vienna, he would thrust a book into my hands and demand that I, as his friend, should read it. It 
did not matter so much to him that I should widen my own horizon as that he should have 
somebody with whom he could discuss the book, even though that somebody was only a listener. 

As I have mentioned before, outstanding among his books were the German heroic legends. 
Whatever his mood or external circumstances, he always came back to them and read them 
again, although he already knew them all by heart. The volume which he had in Vienna was, I 
believe, entitled Legends of Gods and Heroes: the Treasures of Germanic Mythology. 

Already in Linz, Adolf had started to read the classics. Of Goethe's Faust he once remarked that 
itcontained more than 'the human mind could grasp. Once he saw, atthe Burg Theatre, the 
rarely performed second part, with] oseph Kainz in the title role. Adolf was very moved and spoke 
of itfora long time. It is natural that, of Schiller's works, Wilhelm Tell affected him most deeply. 
On the other hand, strange to relate, he did not like Die Raubervery much. He was profoundly 
impressed by Dante's Divine Comedy although, to my mind, he was much too young when he 
read it. I know that be was interested in Herder, and we saw together Lessing's Minna von 
Barnhelm. He liked Stifter, partly perhaps because he encountered in his writings the familiar 
picture of his native landscape, while Rosegger struck him, as he once put it, as too "popular." 

Every now and then he would choose books which were Then in vogue, but in order to form a 
judgment of those who read them rather than of the books themselves. Ganghofer meant nothing 
to him, while he greatly praised Otto Ernst, with whose works he was familiar. Of modem plays 
we saw Frank Wedekind's Friihlingserwachen, and Der Meistervon Palmyra by W libra ndt. Adolf 
read Ibsen's plays in Vienna without being very much impressed by them. 

As for philosophical works, he always had his Schopenhauer by him, later Nietzsche, too. Yet I 
knew little about these, for he regarded these philosophers as, so to speak, his own personal 
affair -- private property which he would not share with anybody. This reticence was possibly also 
due to the fact that we shared a love of music and this provided us with common ground more 
rewarding than that of philosophy, which forme was rather a remote subject. 



In conclusion I should like to stress the same point with regard to my friend's reading that I have 
mentioned before, in describing his professional studies: he read prodigiously and, with the help 
of his extraordinary memory, stored up an amount of knowledge which was far above the normal 
standard of a twenty-yea r-old-but he avoided any factual discussion about it. 

When he urged me to read a certain book he knew in advance that I would never be his equal in 
any argument, and it is even possible that he selected the books which he recommended me to 
read with this thought in mind. He was not interested in "another opinion," nor in any discussion of 
the book. 

His attitude to books was the same as his attitude to the world in general. He absorbed with 
fervour everything he could lay his hands on, but he took great care to keep at a safe distance 
from anything that might put him to the test. 

He was a seeker, certainly, but even in his books he found only what suited him. One day when I 
asked him if he really intended to complete his studies by the aid of books alone, he looked at 
me, surprised, and barked: "Of course, you need teachers, I can see that. But for me they are 
superfluous." In the further course of this conversation he called me an "intellectual scrounger" 
and a "parasite atother people's tables." I neverfelt, and particularly not in those days when we 
were living together in Vienna, that he was seeking anything concrete in his piles of books, such 
as principles and ideas for his own conduct; on the contrary, he was looking only for confirmation 
of those principles and ideas he already had. For this reason his reading, except perhaps the 
German Mythology, was not a matter of edification, but a sort of check-up on himself. 

I remember him in Vienna expounding his many problems and usually winding up with a 
reference to some book, "You see, the man who wrote this is of exactly the same opinion." 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 17 - Nights at the Opera. 



The high spots of our friendship were our visits together to the H of Opera, and memories of my 
friend are inseparably connected with these wonderful experiences. The theatre in Linz saw the 
beginning of our youthful friendship, and this was reaffirmed whenever we visited the foremost 
Opera House in Europe. As we grew older, the contrasts between us made themselves 
increasingly noticeable and the difference in our family backgrounds, our professional aspirations 
and ourattitude to public and political life separated us more and more. Yetourfervent 
enthusiasm for everything that was beautiful and noble, which found its highest artistic expression 
in the performances of the Vienna Opera, linked us ever more closely. In Linz our relationship 
had been smooth and harmonious. But in Vienna the conflicts and tensions grew, largely owing to 
our living together in a single room. It was fortunate that at the same time the influence of our 
common artistic experience fortified our friendship. 

True to tradition, we humble poverty-stricken students had to fight hard for the chance of seeing 
those performances. It is true that in theory there existed cheap tickets for the P romenade which, 
in Vienna, as in Linz, used to be our aim; but we never got one, not even through the 
Conservatory. So we had to pay the full price -- two crowns -- a lot of money, when one thinks 
that Adolf, after having paid his rent, was left with fifteen crowns for the whole month. And 
although we paid full price, we had to fight hard to get these tickets, the sale of which started only 
one hour before the performance began. 

Having finally secured the ticket, there started a rush towards the Promenade, which fortunately 
was not far from the box office. It was below the Imperial box and one could hear excellently. 
Women were not admitted to the P romenade, which pleased Adolf hugely, but on the other hand 
it had the disadvantage of being split up into two halves by a bronze railing, one for civilians, one 
for the military. These young lieutenants who, according to my friend, came to the Opera less for 
the sake of the music than for social reasons, paid only ten hellers for their tickets, while we poor 
students were fleeced twenty times that amount. This always made Adolf very wild. Looking at 
these elegant lieutenants who, ceaselessly yawning, could hardly wait for the interval to display 
themselves in the foyer as though they had just come out of their box, he said that among the 
visitors to the Promenade, artistic understanding varied in inverse proportion to the price of the 
tickets. Moreover the military half of the Promenade was never full, while in the civilian half 
students, young employees and artisans trod on each others' toes. 

One disadvantage was thatthe Promenade was usually the haunt of the claque, and this often 
spoilt our pleasure. The usual procedure was very simple: a singer who wanted to be applauded 
at a certain point would hire a claque for the evening. Its leader would buy their tickets for his men 
and, in addition, pay them a sum of money. There existed professional claqueurs who "worked" at 
a fixed rate. So it would often happen that, at a most unsuitable moment, roars of applause would 
break out around us. This made us boil with indignation. I remember once, during Tannhauser, 
that we silenced a group of claqueurs by our hissing. One of them, who continued to shout 
"Bravo" although the orchestra was still playing, was punched in the side by Adolf. On leaving the 
theatre, we found the leader of the claque waiting for us with a policeman. Adolf was interrogated 
on the spot and defended himself so brilliantiy thatthe policeman let him go, but he was in time to 
catch up with the claqueur in question in the street and give him a sound box on the ears. 



As nobody was admitted to the Promenade in iiatand coat, we left them beiiind wiien we wentto 
the Opera, to save the cloal<room fee. To be sure, it was often bitterly cold, coming out of the 
overheated theatre into the night. But what did that matter after Lohengrin or Tristan? 

What was most annoying for us was that we had to be home by ten o'clock at the latest if we 
wanted to save the Sperrsechserl (the tip forthe concierge). It took us, according to Adolfs 
precise calculations, at least fifteen minutes to walk home from the Opera, and so we had to 
leave there ata quarter to ten. The consequence was, that Adolf never succeeded in hearing the 
end of those operas which finished later and I had to play for him on the piano what he had 
missed. 

Richard Wagner's music dreams were still the object of our undivided love and enthusiasm. For 
Adolf, nothing could compete with the great mystical world that the Master conjured up for us. 
Thus, for instance, when I wanted to see some magnificent Verdi production in the Hof Opera, he 
would bully me until I gave up my Verdi and went with him to the People's Opera in Wahring, 
where they were doing Wagner. He preferred a mediocre Wagner performance a hundred times 
to a first-class Verdi. I thought differently, but what was the use? I had to yield, as usual, for when 
it was a question of a Wagner performance, Adolf would tolerate no opposition. No doubt he had 
heard a much better performance of he work in question-l do notremember whether it was 
Lohengrin orTristan -- atthe Hof Opera. But this was not the pointatissue. Listening to Wagner 
meant to him, nota simple visit to the theatre, but the opportunity of being transported into that 
extraordinary state which Wagner's music produced in him, that trance, that escape into a 
mystical dream world which he needed in order to endure the tensions of his turbulent nature. 

The standard of the castand orchestra atthe People's Opera was remarkably high and much 
superior to anything we had been accustomed to in Linz. Another advantage was that one could 
geta cheap seatthere without having to line up atthe box office. Whatdispleased us was the 
cold, modernistic style of the building, and the dull, unimaginative inside of the theatre, which was 
matched by the lack of glamour in its productions. Adolf used to call this theatre the Soup 
Kitchen. 

Ourtheatregoing in Linz had given us the grounding forthe full enjoyment in Vienna of the 

immortal Master's work. We were thoroughly familiar with his operas, without having been spoilt, 

and consequently the Hof Opera and even tJie more modest theatre in Wahring seemed to create 

anew for us Richard Wagner's world. 

Of course, we knew by heart Lohengrin, Adolf's favourite 

opera-l believe he saw it ten times during our time together in Vienna-and the same is true of the 

Meistersinger. j ustas other people quote their Goethe or Schiller, we would quote Wagner, 

preferably the Meistersinger. We know, of course, that Wagner intended to immortalise his friend 

Franz Liszt in the figure of Hans Sachs, and to attack his bitter enemy Hanslick, in the person of 

Beckmesser. Adolf often quoted from the third scene of the second act. 

"And still I don't succeed. 

I feel it and yet I cannot understand it. 

I can't retain it, nor forget it. 

And if I grasp it, I cannot measure it." 

In this, my friend saw the unique, eternal formula with which Richard Wagner castigated the want 
of comprehension of his contemporaries and which, so to speak, applied to his own fate; for his 
father, his family, his teachers, although they certainly had "felt" that there was something 
outstanding abouthim, forthe love of God could not understand it. And when people had, atlong 
last, grasped what he wanted, they still remained incapable of "measuring" the extent of his will. 
These lines were for him a daily exhortation, a never failing comfort which helped him in his dark 
hours. 



We studied, with libretto and score, tiiose worl<s of Wagner tiiat we iiad not seen in Linz. So 
Wagnerian Vienna found us well prepared and, naturally enough, we entered at once the ranks of 
his worshipers, and wherever we could we acclaimed the work of the Master of Bayreuth with 
fervent enthusiasm. 

What had been for us the height of artistic experience in Linz was reduced to the level of poor, 
well-intentioned provincial performances after we had seen the perfect Wagner interpretations by 
Gustav Mahler at the Vienna H of Opera. But Adolf would not have been Adolf if he had contented 
himself with regretful memories. He loved Linz, which he always thought of as his home town, 
although both his parents were dead and there was only one human being left there to whom he 
was passionately devoted, Stefanie, who still did not know what she meant to the pale youth who 
had stood and waited for her day after day atthe Schmiedtoreck. The cultural life of Linz had to 
be brought to a level commensurate with that of Vienna : with savage determination Adolf set to 
work. 

On leaving Linz, he had put great hopes in the Theatre Building Society, of which he had become 
an enthusiastic member. But these worthies who had gottogetherto give Linz a new, dignified 
theatre apparently were making no headway. Nothing was ever heard of it and Adolf's impatience 
grew. So he started working on his own. He took pleasure in applying to his own home town that 
style of monumental architecture that he had become familiar with in Imperial Vienna. 

He had already removed from the central area of the town the railway station with its ugly 
workshops, smoke-stained sheds and cumbersome railway tracks and transferred it to the 
outskirts. This enabled him to enlarge the Park and add a Zoo, a Palm House and, of course, an 
illuminated fountain. It was in the centre of this well-tended park thatthe new Linz Opera House 
should be erected, smaller in size than the Vienna Hof Opera, but its equal in technical 
equipment. The old theatre was to become a Playhouse and was to be put under the same 
direction as the Opera. 

In this way my friend got over the deplorable conditions of his home town and all the greater was 
the enjoyment that he derived from Vienna's artistic attractions. 

We saw almostall Richard Wagner's works. The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin, Tannhauser, 
Tristan and Isolde, Die Meistersinger have remained unforgettable to me, as has The Ring, and 
even Parsifal. 

Occasionally, of course, Adolf saw other operas as well, but they never meant as much to him as 
Wagner's. In Linz we had already seen a surprisingly good Figaro, which had filled Adolf with 
delight. I still remember him saying, on our way home, that the Linz theatre should in future 
concentrate on operas which, like Figaro, were within their scope. A production of The Magic 
Flute, on the other hand, was a complete failure, and Weber's FreischiJtz was so bad that Adolf 
never wanted to see it again. But in Vienna, of course, every thing was different. We saw perfect 
performances, not only of the Mozart operas, but also of Beethoven's Fidelio. Italian opera never 
attracted Adolf, although Italian composers like Donizetti, Rossini, Bellini and especially Verdi, as 
well as Puccini, who was then still very modern, were highly appreciated in Vienna and played to 
full houses. 

The Verdi operas we saw together were The Masked Ball, 11 Trovatore, Rigoletto and La 
Traviata, butAida was the only one which he liked at all. For him, the plots of Italian operas laid 
too much emphasis upon theatrical effect. He objected to trickery, knavery and deception as the 
basic elements of a dramatic situation. He said to me once, "What would these Italians do if they 
had no daggers?" He found Verdi's music too unpretentious, relying too much on melody. How 
rich and varied by comparison was Wagner's range! One day when we heard an organ grinder 
playing La donna e mobile, Adolf said, "There's your Verdi!" When I replied that no composer was 



safe from such profanation of his works, he barked at me furiously, "Can you imagine Lohengrin's 
narration on a barrel organ?" 

Neither Gounod, whose Faust he regarded as vulgar, nor Tchaikovsky, nor Smetana met with his 
approval. No doubt he was handicapped here by his obsession with German mythology. He 
rejected my contention thatmusic should appeal to all races and nations. For him nothing 
counted butGerman ways, German feeling and German thought. He accepted none but the 
German masters. How often did he tell me that he was proud to belong to a people who had 
produced such masters. 

When he listened to Wagner's music he was a changed man; his violence left him, he became 
quiet, yielding and tractable. His gaze lost its restlessness; his own destiny, however heavily it 
may have weighed upon him, became unimportant. He no longer felt lonely and outlawed, and 
misjudged by society. He was intoxicated and bewitched. Willingly he let himself be carried away 
into that mystical universe which was more real to him than the actual workaday world. From the 
stale, musty prison of his back room, he was transported into the blissful regions of G ermanic 
antiquity, that ideal world which was the lofty goal for all his endeavours. 

Thirty years later, when he met me again in Linz, his friend whom he had last seen as a student 
of the Vienna Conservatory, he was convinced that I had become an important conductor; but 
when I appeared before him as a humble municipal employee. Hitler, then Reichs Chancellor, 
said to me, "So you have become a pen-pusher? But you are an artist. We'll talk about it." With 
these words, he was probably alluding to the possibility of my assuming the direction of an 
orchestra. 

I declined, gratefully. I no longerfelt up to the task. When he realised that he could not help his 
friend with this generous offer, he recalled our common experiences in the Linz Theatre and in 
the Vienna Hof Opera, which had elevated our friendship from the commonplace to the sacred 
sphere of his own world, and invited me to come to Bayreuth. 

I should never have thought that those outstanding artistic experiences of my Vienna student 
days could still be surpassed. And yet this was the case. For what I experienced in Bayreuth as 
the guest of the friend of my youth was the culmination of everything that Richard Wagner had 
ever meant in my life. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 18 - Adolf Writes an Opera. 



Soon our life together in Vienna showed its drawbacl<s because of the different subjects that 
Adolf and I were studying. In the morning, when I was atthe Conservatory, my friend was still 
asleep; and in the afternoon when Adolf wanted to work, my practising disturbed him. This led to 
frequentfriction. 

Conservatory, fiddlesticks! What did he have his books for? He wanted to prove to me that, even 
without the Conservatory he could equal my achievements in the musical field. For it was not the 
Professor's wisdom that counted, he said, but genius. 

This ambition led him to a most extraordinary experiment and I am still at a loss to say whether 
this experiment was of any value or not. Adolf harked back to the elementary possibilities of 
musical expression. Words seemed to him too complicated for this purpose, and he tried to 
discover how isolated sounds could be linked to notes of music; and with this musical language 
he combined certain colours. Sound and colour were to become one and form the foundation of 
that which would finally appear on the stage as an opera. I, myself, convinced of the truth of what 
I had learntatthe Conservatory, rejected these experiments somewhat disdainfully, which 
annoyed him very much. He busied himself for some time with these abstract experiments, 
perhaps because he hoped to strike at the roots of my superior academic knowledge, I was 
reminded of my friend's essays in composition when a few years later a Russian composer 
caused some sensation in Vienna by similar experiments. 

In those weeks Adolf wrote a lot, mainly plays, but also a few stories. He sat at his table and 
worked until dawn, without telling me very much about whathe was doing. Only now and then 
would he throw onto my bed some closely written sheets of paper or would read out to me a few 
pages of his work, written in a strangely exalted style. 

I knew that almost everything he was writing was set in the world of Richard Wagner; that is to 
say, in Germanic antiquity. One day I remarked, casually, that I had learned, during lectures on 
the History of Music, thatthe outline of a music drama about Wieland, the Smith, had been found 
among Wagner's posthumous writings. It was, in fact, only a short, hastily sketched text, and no 
drafts for a stage version existed, nor was anything known about the musical treatment of the 
material. 

Adolf immediately turned up the Wieland legend in his book on gods and heroes. Strangely 
enough, my friend did not object at all to the plot of the Wieland legend, although King Nidur's 
action was entirely motivated by avarice and greed. The hunger for gold, so important an element 
in Germanic mythology, produced in him neither a negative nor a positive response. Nor was he 
atall impressed by the factthatWieland kills his sons out of vengeance, rapes his daughter, and 
drinks from beakers fashioned out of the skulls of his sons. He started to write that same night. I 
was sure that in the morning he would surprise me with the draft of his new drama, Wieland, the 
Smith. 

Yetthings turned out differently. In the morning -- nothing happened. But when I returned for 
lunch I found Adolf, to my great surprise, sitting atthe piano. The scene thatfollowed has 
remained in my memory. 



Without any further explanation, he greeted me with the words, "Listen, Gust], I am going to mal<e 
the Wieland into an opera." 

I was so surprised that I was strucl< dumb. 

Adolf enjoyed my reaction to his announcement and wenton playing the piano, or whatfor him 
passed for "playing." Old Prewratzky had taught him something in his day, undoubtedly, but not 
enough to "play the piano" as I understood it. 

When I had recovered, I asked Adolf how he imagined he would set about it. 

"Quite simple -- 1 shall compose the music, and you will write itdown." 

Adolf's plans and ideas always moved more or less on a plane above normal comprehension -- 1 
had long since grown used to that. But now, when my own special domain, music, was in 
question, I really could not keep up with him. With all due respect to his musical gifts, he was no 
musician; he was not even capable of playing an instrument. He had not the slightest idea of 
musical theory. How could he dream of composing an opera? 

I only remember that my pride as a musician was hurt, and I walked out without uttering a word, 
and went to a small cafe nearby to do my homework. 

However, my friend was not in the least offended by my behaviour, and when I returned home in 
the evening he was somewhat calmer. "Now, the prelude is ready -- listen!" 

And he played, from memory, what he had thought up as the prelude to his opera. 

I cannot recall, of course, a single note of this music. But one thing remains in my memory: it was 
a sort of illustration of the spoken word, by means of natural, musical elements, and he intended 
to have it performed on old instruments. As this would not have sounded harmonious, my friend 
decided in favour of a modern symphony orchestra, reinforced by Wagnerian tubas. At any rate, 
that was music which one could follow. Each separate musical theme in itself made sense, and if 
the whole impressed one as so primitive, it was only because Adolf could not play better; that is 
to say, he was incapable of expressing his ideas more clearly. 

The composition was, of course, entirely influenced by R ichard Wagner. The whole prelude 
consisted of a sequence of single themes. But the development of these themes, however well 
chosen they were, had been beyond Adolf's ability. After all, where should he have acquired the 
necessary knowledge? He entirely lacked any training for such a task. 

Having finished his playing, Adolf wanted to hear my judgment. I knew how highly he valued it 
and what my praise in musical matters meantto him. But this was no simple problem. 

The basic themes were good, I said, but he had to realise that with these themes alone it was 
impossible to write an opera, and I declared my readiness to teach him the necessary theoretical 
knowledge. 

This roused his wrath, 

"Do you think I'm mad?" he shouted atme. "Whathave I got you for? First of all you will put down 
exactly what I play on the piano." 



I knew only too well my friend's mood when he spoke fn this manner, and realised that it was no 
good arguing. So I wrote down as faithfully as possible what Adolf had played. But it was late, 
Frau Zakreys was knocking on the door, and Adolf had to stop. 

Next morning I left early, and when I returned for lunch, Adolf reproached me for having run away 
"in the middle of working on his opera." He had already prepared the music paperfor me and 
immediately began to play. As Adolf stuck neither to the same time nor to a uniform key, it was 
hard to take down what I heard. I tried to make it clear to him that he had to keep to one key. 

He ranted, "Who is the composer, you or I?" 

All I had to do was to write down his musical thoughts and ideas. 

I asked him to start again. He did, and I wrote. Thus we made some progress; yetfor Adolf it was 
too slow. I told him that, to begin with, I wanted to play through what I had taken down. He 
agreed, and I satdown atthe piano, and it was his turn to listen. 

Curiously enough, I liked whati was playing betterthan he did, perhaps because he had a very 
precise idea of his composition in his head and neither his own poor playing nor my notation and 
playing corresponded to it. 

Nevertheless, we concentrated for several days, or rather nights, on this prelude. I had to put the 
whole thing into a suitable metric form. But whatever I did, Adolf was not satisfied. There were 
periods in the course of his composition in which the time changed from one bar to the next. I 
succeeded in convincing Adolf that this was impossible; but as soon as I tried to render the whole 
section in one time, he protested again. 

Today I can understand what brought him to the edge of despair during those strenuous nights 
and tested our friendship to the uttermost. He carried this prelude in his head as a finished 
composition, just as he had had ready the plan for a bridge or a concert hall even before he put 
pencil to paper. But, while he was complete master of the pencil and could give form to his idea 
till the drawing was completed, such means were denied him in the musical field. His attempt to 
make use of me made the whole thing even more complicated, for my theoretical knowledge only 
hindered his intuition. It reduced him to utter despair that he had an idea in his head, a musical 
idea which he considered bold and important, without being able to pin it down. There were 
moments in which he doubted his vocation, in spite of his pronounced self-conceit. 

But soon he found a way out of the dilemma between passionate will and insufficient ability. It 
was as ingenious as it was original: he would compose his opera, he declared determinedly, in 
the mode of musical expression corresponding to that period in which the action was set, tiiat is 
to say in Germanic antiquity. I intended to object that oie audience, in orderto "enjoy" the opera 
properly, should be composed of old Teutons, rather than people of the twentieth century. But 
even before I had raised this objection, he was already working fervently on his new solution. I 
had no opportunity to dissuade him from this experiment which I considered quite impossible. 
Besides he would probably have succeeded in convincing me that his solution was feasible, by 
insisting that the people of our century would just have to learn to listen property. 

He wanted to know if there was anything preserved of the German music. 

"Nothing," I replied briefly, "except the instruments," 

"And what were they?" 



I told him that drums and rattles had been found, and in some places in Sweden and Denmark 
also a kind of flute, made of bones. Experts had succeeded in restoring these strange flutes and 
in producing with them some not very harmonious sounds. But most important were the Luren, 
wind instruments made of brass, almost two metres long and curved like a horn. They probably 
served only as bugles between homesteads, and the crude sounds they produced could hardly 
be called music. 

I thought that my explanation, which he had followed with careful attention, would suffice to make 
him give up his idea, for you could not orchestrate an opera with rattles, drums, bone flutes and 
Luren. ButI was wrong. He started talking about the Skalds, who had sung to the accompaniment 
of harplike instruments, something I had really forgotten. 

It should be possible, he went on, to deduce, from the kind of instruments the Germanic tribes 
had, whattheir music was like. 

Now my book learning came into its own. "That has been done," I reported, "and it has been 
shown thatthe music of the Teutons had a vertical structure, and possessed some sort of 
harmony; they even had, perhaps, some inkling of major and minor keys. To be sure, these are 
only scientific assumptions, so-called hypotheses . . ." 

This was sufficient to induce my friend to start composing for nights on end. He surprised me with 
ever new conceptions and ideas. It was hardly possible to write down this music, which did notfit 
into any scheme. As the Wieland legend, which Adolf arbitrarily interpreted and extended, was 
rich in dramatic moments, a wide scale of sentiments had to be translated into the musical idiom. 
To make the thing at all "tolerable" for the human ear, I finally persuaded Adolf to give up the idea 
of using the original instruments from the Germanic tombs, and to replace them by modem 
instruments of a similar type. I was content, when after nights of work, at long last the various 
Leitmotifs of the opera were established. 

We then agreed on the characters, of whom only Wieland, the hero of the opera, had so far any 
substance. Thereupon Adolf divided the whole action into acts and scenes. In the meantime, he 
designed the scenery and costumes and made a charcoal sketch of the winged hero. 

As my friend did not make any progress with the libretto, which was supposed to be in verse, I 
suggested that he should finish the prelude first, to which he agreed after several rather heated 
arguments. I gave him a lot of help with it, and consequently the prelude turned out quite 
presentable. But my suggestion thatthe composition should be orchestrated, and played by an 
orchestra as soon as an opportunity arose, was rejected by him out of hand. He refused to have 
the prelude classed as program music, and would not hear of an "audience" -- which was in any 
case problematical. And yet he worked feverishly on it, as though an impatient opera producer 
had allowed him too litde time and was waiting to snatch the manuscriptfrom his hands. 

He wrote and wrote and I worked on the music. When I fell asleep, overwhelmed by fatigue, Adolf 
roused me roughly. I had hardly opened my eyes and there he was in front of me, reading from 
his manuscript, the words tumbling over each other in his excitement. It was past midnight and he 
had to speak softly. This, in its contrast to the scenes of volcanic violence described in his verse, 
lent to his impassioned voice a sound of strange unreality. I had long since known this behaviour 
of his, when a self-imposed task engrossed him completely and forced him to unceasing activity; 
it was as though a demon had taken possession of him. Oblivious of his surroundings, he never 
tired, he never slept. He ate nothing, he hardly drank. Atthe most he would occasionally grab the 
milk bottle and take a hasty gulp, certainly without being aware of it, for he was too completely 
wrapped up in his work. But never before had I been so directiy impressed by this ecstatic 
creativeness. Where was it leading him? He squandered his strength and talents on something 
that had no practical value. How long would this weakened, delicate body stand this overstrain? 



I forced myself to stay awake and to listen, nor did I ask him any of the questions thatfilled me 
with anxiety. It would have been easy for me to take as an excuse one of our frequent quarrels to 
move out. The people atthe Conservatory would have been only too pleased to help me find 
another room. Why did I not do it? After all, I had often admitted to myself that this strange 
friendship was no good for my studies. How much time and energy did I lose in these nocturnal 
activities of my friend? Why, then, did I not go? Because I was homesick, certainly, and because 
Adolf represented forme a bit of home. But, after all, homesickness is something a young man of 
twenty can overcome. Whatwas it then? Whatheld me? 

Frankly, it was just hours like those through which I was now living which bound me even more 
closely to my friend. I knew the normal interests of young people of my age: flirtations, shallow 
pleasures, idle play and a lot of unimportant meaningless thoughts. Adolf was the exact opposite. 
There was an incredible earnestness in him, a thoroughness, a true passionate interest in 
everything that happened and, most important, an unfailing devotion to the beauty, majesty and 
grandeur of art. It was this that attracted me especially to him and restored my equilibrium after 
hours of exhaustion. All this was well worth a few sleepless nights and those more or less heated 
quarrels to which, in my quiet, sensible way, I had become accustomed. 

I still remembered that some of the opera's more dramatic scenes haunted me for weeks in my 
dreams. Only some of the pictures which Adolf designed still stand out in my memory. Pen and 
pencil were too slow for him and he used to draw with charcoal. He would outline the scenery 
with a few bold, quick strokes. Then we would discuss the action: first, Wieland enters from the 
right, then his brother Egil from the left, and then, from the back, the second brother Slaghid. 

I have still before my eyes the Wolf Lake, where the first scene of the opera was laid. From the 
Edda, a book that was sacred for him, he knew Iceland, the rugged island of the North, where the 
elements which formed the world meet now, as they did in the days of C reation: the violent storm, 
the bare, dark rock, the pale ice of the glaciers, the flaming fire of the volcanoes. There he laid 
the scene of his opera, for there Nature herself was still in those passionate convulsions which 
inspired the actions of gods and human beings. There, then, was the Wolf Lake on whose banks 
Wieland and his brothers were fishing, when one morning three light clouds, borne along by the 
winds, floated towards the men. There were three Valkyries in glittering coats of mail and shining 
helmets. They wore white, fluttering robes, magic garments which enabled them to float through 
the air. I remember what headaches these flying Valkyries caused us, as Adolf categorically 
refused to do without them. Altogether there was a lot of "flying" in our opera. In the last act, 
Wieland, too, had to forge himself a pair of wings, with which he would have to fly, a flight on 
wings of metal, which moreover had to be accomplished with the utmost ease in order to remove 
any doubts about the quality of his workmanship. This was for us, the creators of this opera, one 
more technical problem, which attracted Adolf in particular, perhaps because just in those days 
the first "heavier than air" machines were being flown by Lilienthal, the Wright brothers, Farman 
and Bleriot. The "Flying Valkyries" married Wieland, Egil and Slaghid. Mighty horns summoned 
the neighbours to the wedding feast at the Wolf Lake. 

It would take too long were I to recountthe various episodes of the old saga; besides, I can no 
longer tell whether we followed it word for word in our work. But the impression of dramatic 
events driven on by wild, unbridled passion, expression in verses that inexorably engraved 
themselves on the heart, carried by just such inexorably severe and elemental music is still vivid 
in my memory. 

I do not know what became of our opera. One day new, pressing problems confronted my friend, 
which required immediate solution; as even Adolf, in spite of his immense capacity for work, had 
only one pair of hands, he had to put aside the half-finished opera. He spoke less and less of it, 
and in the end did not mention itatall. Perhaps the insufficiency of his endeavours had 
meanwhile dawned on him. To me, it had been obvious from the beginning that we would never 



succeed in our attempt to write an opera, and I tool< good care notto raise the subject. "Wieland, 
the Smith," Adolf's opera, remained a fragment. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 19 - The "Mobile Reichs Orchestra". 



My friend's interest in music was gratifyingly broadened in Vienna. Having previously been 
interested in opera only, he now turned increasingly to concerts. To be sure, even in Linz he had 
frequented the symphony concerts organised by the Music Society, and must have heard in those 
years altogether, say, six or seven concerts. But he came less for the sake of the music than for 
my sake, as I was playing in the orchestra, a fact that was important to him. With my quiet, 
compliant nature he did not think me capable of playing in public, and each time he was eager to 
see the result. At any rate, I remember that after the performances, be used to speak much more 
about me than about the concert. 

Vienna changed all this, helped by the fact that atthe Conservatory I was given two or sometimes 
three concert tickets every week. Adolf always got one of these, sometimes even two or all three, 
when I was prevented from going by my evening practice. As these free tickets were usually for 
good seats, this was notsuch a strain as going to the Hof Opera. 

In discussing these concerts with him, I noticed to my surprise that Adolf was developing a taste 
for symphonic music. This pleased me because it created for us a new common interest. 

The head of the Conductors' School of the Conservatory, Gustav Gutheil, was also the conductor 
of the Vienna Concert Society. But our special favourite was Ferdinand Loewe, the director of the 
Conservatory, who occasionally conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; he was a great 
admirer of Bruckner. The musical life of Vienna at that time was still dominated by the Brahms- 
Bruckner controversy, although both masters had been dead for over ten years. Eduard Hanslick, 
the formidable music critic, whom we always called "Beckmesser," was also dead, but his 
pernicious influence was still noticeable. Hanslick who was our declared enemy, if only because 
he had attacked Richard Wagner violently and notalways fairly, had firmly supported Brahms and 
fought furiously against Anton Bruckner. In Ferdinand Loewe, on the other hand, Bruckner had an 
inspired partisan; and also Franz Schalk, laterdirector of the Vienna Opera, was a Bruckner 
supporter. 

For our part, we had no difficulty in making up our minds in this controversy. I loved Bruckner and 
Adolf, too, was thrilled and moved by his symphonies. Besides, Bruckner came from our part of 
the country, and in exalting his work, we were exalting our homeland. Yet this was no reason for 
us to reject Brahms. In this dispute, we regarded ourselves as representatives of the younger 
generation, paid our tribute to both masters and smiled atthe zeal of the older people, which 
seemed to us utterly superfluous. As for Adolf, he went even further. J ustas Bayreuth had 
become the centre of Richard Wagner's most impressive work, he said, so Linz should become 
the shrine of Anton Bruckner's works. The Linz Concert Hall, plans for which he had just finished, 
should be consecrated to Bruckner's memory. 

Apart from the greatsymphonies by the classical masters, Adolf liked especially the music of the 
Romanticists, Carl Maria von Weber, Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Robert 
Schumann. He was sorry that Richard Wagner had written only for the stage and not for the 
concert hall, so that usually only the overtures or some of his operas were performed. 

I must not forget Edward Grieg, of whom Adolf was particularly fond and whose Piano Concerto 
in A M inor always delighted him. 



In general Adolf was not very partial to virtuoso performances by soloists. But certain concertos 
he never missed, such as Mozart and Beethoven's piano and violin concertos, Mendelssohn's 
Violin Concerto in E Minor and, above all, Schumann's Piano Concerto in A Minor. 

But there was something about his frequent visits to concerts, which made Adolf restless. For a 
long time I could not understand what it was. Any other young man would have been more than 
content with these performances; not so my friend. 

There he sat in his free seat in the Concert Hall blissfully enjoying Beethoven's brilliant Violin 
Concerto in D Major and was happy and contented. Yet, on looking round the hall, he could count 
only four or five hundred people who had come to hear the concert. How puny was this number in 
comparison with the thousands who could not hear it. No doubt there were many, not only among 
the students, but also among the artisans and workers who would have been as happy as he was 
to be able to hear this immortal music either without payment, or at a price they could afford. And 
it was not Vienna alone one had to consider, for in Vienna it was comparatively easy for music 
lovers to go to concerts. Butoutside Vienna, the small places, the provincial towns. Oh! he had 
seen it himself in Linz, how little was done to satisfy the cultural needs of these places. This must 
be changed. The enjoyment of concerts should no longer be the privilege of the lucky few. The 
system of free tickets was no cure, however much he benefited from it personally; a radical 
remedy was called for. 

This kind of thinking was typical of Adolf. Nothing could happen around him from which he would 
not draw some general conclusions. Even purely artistic experiences, like listening to a concert, 
which others accepted passively, roused his active interest and became problems of universal 
concern, for nothing was allowed to remain unimportant in the "Ideal State" of his dreams. The 
"Storm of the Revolution" mustfling wide open the gates of Art, which hitherto had been locked to 
so many -- "social reform" even in the field of artistic enjoyment. 

No doubt, many young people thought as he did in those years. His protest against the privileged 
position of certain classes with regard to art was by no means isolated. On the contrary. Not only 
were there fanatical pioneers of the idea of bringing art to the people, butalso societies, 
organisations and institutions which worked towards that aim, and not without success. What was 
unique, however, was the manner in which my friend was trying to remedy this sorry state of 
affairs. While others were content to apply modest measures and to approach their goal step by 
step, Adolf disdained half measures and strove for a total solution regardless of when and where 
it could be realised. As far as he was concerned, it was reality from the very moment when he 
first pronounced the basic idea. 

And another characteristic of his: he was not content with simply stating this idea, but started 
immediately to elaborate it in all detail exactly as though he had received orders from "higher 
quarters." This detailed planning was for him, so to speak, as good as the actual realisation. 
Once an idea had been thoroughly thought out and elaborated in detail, it would only need a 
command to carry it out. However, this command was never given during the course of our 
friendship and that is why I, in my heart of hearts, regarded Adolf as a visionary, however much I 
was convinced of the "reasonableness" of his words. He himself was even then absolutely certain 
that one day he, personally, would give this command, whereby the hundreds and thousands of 
plans and projects which he had at his fingertips would be carried out. To be sure, he mentioned 
them only rarely and then only to me, because he knew that I believed in him. I have often heard 
him, when an idea took possession of him, developing it to such an extent that the listener would 
be compelled to ask, "All well and good, but who is going to pay for it?" When we were still in 
Linz, I was indeed often careless enough to utter this question because it seemed to me so 
obvious and all-important. In Vienna I had learned to be more cautious and refrained from 
discussing finance too frankly. Adolf's replies to these questions, which appeared to him 
superfluous, changed. In Linz, his standard reply was, "The Reich," which I thoughtwas no 
answeratall. In Vienna he was a littie more explicit: "That's a matterforthe financial experts." But 



it also happened that he would shut me up rudely with, "You will be the last person to be 
consulted on this matter, foryou don't know anything about it." Oreven more briefly, "Please let 
this be my worry." 

The first indication that he was working on a particular idea was always some peculiar phrase that 
would crop up in his diatribes, or in our discussions, some special expression which he had never 
used before. So long as he had notfirmly decided what was the purpose of his idea, his phrase 
would keep changing. Thus, during the weeks of his frequent concert-going, he would speak at 
first only of "that orchestra which tours the provinces." I thought that there really did exist such an 
orchestra in Vienna, and that Adolf was speaking of an actual fact. Later, however, I discovered 
that this "mobile orchestra," as he came to call it (because the word "touring" reminded him too 
much of second-rate theatrical companies), existed only in his imagination. As he was never 
satisfied with half measures, he soon made of it a "mobile Reichs orchestra." I still remember that 
Adolf, after we had laid down the plans for this organisation, was so enthusiastic about his 
creation that he planned to setup and send out ten such orchestras, so that even the remotest 
corner of the Reich could enjoy Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Major. 

One evening when he was speaking forthe firsttime atgreater length of this orchestra, I asked 
him why on earth it was just musical matters to which he devoted his attention. I thought he was 
intending to become an architect? His reply was short and to the point, "Because, forthe time 
being, I have you around." By which he meantthatas long as I was athand, he could always 
take advantage of my advice and of my special knowledge as a future conductor. This, of course, 
flattered me. But when I took my courage into both hands and hopefully asked him to whom he 
would entrust the direction of his orchestra, he immediately saw through me, laughed 
sarcastically and exclaimed, "Certainly notyou!" But, serious once again, he added that perhaps 
he might actually contemplate making me the conductor of the mobile Reichs orchestra. 
However, I was offended and replied that I could do without this honour, fori was interested in 
becoming the conductor of an orchestra which actually existed, not a nebulous dream orchestra. 
That was enough to bring on an outburst of fury, for he could not bear it if one doubted that his 
plans would be realised. "You will be only too glad if I appoint you to such a post," he screamed 
atme. 

I recall all the details concerning the mobile Reichs orchestra betterthan many other projects of 
Adolf's, because it was essentially my own sphere. Naturally, I was allowed to have a much 
bigger say than usual, even more than on the occasion of his attempt to supplement Richard 
Wagner's music dramas by a new opera, Wieland, the Smith. How thoroughly we tackled this 
task can be gathered from the fact that one evening we had a quarrel about the double-action 
harp. Certainly, the "mobile Reich's orchestra" needed a double-action harp. But Adolf insisted on 
three of these very expensive instruments, which moreover were frightfully difficult to transport. 
'To what purpose?" I said. "An experienced conductor can manage with only one double-action 
harp." "Ridiculous," Adolf exclaimed angrily. "How can you play the Fire Music with only one 
double-action harp in the orchestra?" 'Then the Fire Music won't be included in the repertoire," I 
replied. "You bet it will," Adolf insisted. I made a last effort. "Don't forget that a double-action harp 
costs eighteen thousand florins." That would make him change his mind, I thought. But I was 
wrong. "Oh, to hell with money," he exclaimed. That settled the matter. The mobile Reichs 
Orchestra was equipped with three double-action harps. 

Today I cannot help smiling when I think of the heat with which we argued about matters that only 
existed in our own imagination, and yet those were wonderful times when we got more excited 
over nebulous dreams than over the reality of everyday life. I marvelled at my friend's uncanny 
imagination, which enabled him to find his way in his dream world better than in the real world. 
Yet, what was for me only idle fantasy was much more importantfor him. 

The basic idea of this mobile Reichs orchestra was very plausible, and I had often thought about 
the problem myself. Adolf's solution was both brilliant and simple: an orchestra under a gifted 



conductor would be organised, capable of performing classic, romantic and modern symphonic 
music and sent out to the country according to a pre-established plan. Adolf asked me what size, 
in my view, this orchestra should be. The mere fact that he asked my advice, instead of looking it 
up in his books, filled me with pride. I can still see us building up this orchestra, the strings, the 
woodwinds, the brass and the percussion and remember how Adolf wanted to be informed about 
every trivial detail, how he questioned me about the peculiar orchestration of symphonic works, 
so that he would not overlook anything and would make the orchestra perfect in every respect. 
This was the strange, enigmatic trait in his character, a contradiction that I could not explain: he 
would build projects on a foundation of thin air, butatthe same time make them quite 
unassailable in themselves. The more the whole plan was only a matter of wishful taking, the 
more elaborate had to be its details. 

The night was half over before we had finished our work. The orchestra which we had built up 
consisted of a hundred players, a respectable body of sound, which would be able to compete 
with any one of the big orchestras. Equipment was the next problem. Adolf was rather startied 
when I enumerated the requirements. Not only first-class instruments, whose careful transport 
had to be safeguarded, but an ample music library, and moreover desks, chairs and so forth. He 
agreed that a first-class cellist could not sit every night on a different chair. Finally he asked me to 
approach the Secretary of the Orchestra Society forfurther information about these purchases, 
and to make enquiries atthe Musicians' Union about the engagement of musicians, and then 
work out a budget. Adolf was satisfied with the result of my inquiries. He dismissed the high 
amount of the budget with a disdainful gesture; but we had a heated argument about a uniform 
dress for the orchestra. Naturally the orchestra had to be pleasing to the eye. I suggested a 
suitable uniform, but Adolf was against it. We agreed in the end on a dark outfit, distinguished but 
unobtrusive. 

A grave problem was the transport of the orchestra, for there were parts of the country that were 
inaccessible by railway. And these were the regions that mattered. But there were running in the 
streets those newfangled motorcars. In those days people still stopped and stared atthese 
vehicles which raced up and down the Ring, noisy and smelly, atthe "murderous" speed often 
miles per hour. What about loading our Reich's orchestra on such vehicles? No doubtthese 
would increase the mobility of the orchestra and, consequently, its range. I forget to what point we 
developed this idea, which I personally disliked; for I could not imagine that an orchestra which 
arrived with such a devilish din could make people more receptive to harmonious sounds. 

Well! The orchestra arrives, is ceremoniously greeted by the Mayor and makes its way through 
the festively decorated streets. First question: Where should it perform? Only a few towns 
possess a hall which can accommodate an orchestra of one hundred players and an audience of 
several hundred. "We shall play in the open," said Adolf. "Concerts under the starlit sky are 
certainly very impressive," I interjected, "provided, however, that the starlit sky will last throughout 
the duration of the concert." Besides, these concerts would be more for the benefit of the stars 
than of the audience because of the acoustical conditions. The whole plan almostfoundered on 
this hard fact. Adolf pondered a while and then said, "There are churches everywhere. Why don't 
we play in the churches?" From the musical point of view there could be no objection. Adolf 
suggested I should ask the ecclesiastical authorities whetherthey would put the churches atthe 
disposal of the mobile Reichs orchestra for concerts. This, in my opinion, was going a bit too far. 
But I kept silent, and Adolf forgot to ask me what the results of my inquiries had been. 

We differed strongly over the planning of the program. Adolf wanted to know how much rehearsal 
time an orchestra would need for a symphony, and was annoyed that no fixed rules could be 
applied. He categorically refused to accept my view that there were no earlier German composers 
- and on German composers solely he positively insisted - than Bach, Gluck and Handel, and 
perhaps Heinrich Schiitz. "And what was before that?" he inquired. "Nothing suitable for an 
orchestra," I replied. "Who says so?" he shouted. I told him, calmly, that in this instance he could 



safely rely on my answer, unless he wanted to study the history of music himself. "And so I will," 
he said, angrily. And that brought our discussion to an end. 

I had not taken his words seriously, for the study of the history of music is not a simple matter, 
apart from being outside the 

range of his professional interests. Moreover, he knew that I was really well versed in this field, as 
I was attending lectures atthe University. I was the more surprised when on the nextday I found 
him immersed in a heavy volume. The Development of Music in the Course of Time. He was 
quite unapproachable fora few days, but the book did notquite satisfy him. He asked me for 
other writings on the history of music and ploughed steadily through them. 

"The Chinese had good music as early as two thousand years ago," he remarked; "why should 
we not have had the same? After all, one instrument certainly existed already -- the human voice. 
Because those learned gentlemen are fumbling in the dark about the origins of music, that is to 
say, know nothing about it, that does not mean to say that nothing existed." 

I had great respect for my friend's thoroughness. But sometimes I was driven to despair by his 
mania to get to the roots of everything. He did not give up until he had reached complete 
deadlock, and even then he would not accept defeat, and remained sceptical. I could well 
imagine how this attitude of his would have driven all the Professors of the Academy crazy. 

Atany rate, it was now established thatwe should start the program of the Mobile Reich's 
Orchestra with J ohann Sebastian Bach and follow up with Gluck and Handel, to Haydn, Mozart 
and Beethoven. Then should come the Romanticists, with all the symphonies of Anton Bruckner 
as the culminating point. As far as the Moderns were concerned-the young, still unknown 
composers -- Adolf himself wished to be sole arbiter of these. He had no intention of being guided 
by the judgments of the Viennese music critics, whom he lost no opportunity of assailing, calling 
them "mere experts" and "specialists." 

From the time when we first set up the mobile Reichs orchestra, Adolf prepared himself a special 
notebook, which I quite well remember. It was a small book, easy to slip in the pocket, in which, 
after every concert he attended, he wrote the titles of the works, the name of the composers and 
the name of the conductor, as well as his own opinion of them. It was the highest praise a work 
could earn if he said, "This will be included in our program." 

Fora long time to come I thought a bout the "mobile Reichs orchestra." It is true the gramophone 
already existed. To be sure it was a pitiable, scratchy monster of a thing but, with it, the path to 
"mechanical" music was already opened. Wireless telegraphy was still in its infancy. Meanwhile, 
in spite of the fact that records and radio have since triumphed to such an extent that it looks as 
though "performed" music only exists to supply the needs of "mechanical" music, the basic 
question which my friend tried to solve with the help of the mobile Reichs orchestra still remains 
for all intelligent, genuine art lovers: How to bring to the people who appreciate it fine music, 
perfectly performed, directiy -- that is to say without any mechanical aids -- wherever they may 
live. 



The Young Hitler I Knew -- August Kubizek 



Chapter 20 -- Unmilitary Interlude. 



One fine day -- it must have been the beginning of April -- 1 received a letter. As Adolf never got 
any letters, I used to be discreet about mine to spare his feeling, but he noticed atonce thatthis 
letter must have some special significance. "Whats the matter, Gusti?" he asked, 
sympathetically. 

I replied simply, "Here, read it." 

I can still see how his face changed colour, how his eyes took on that extraordinary glitter which 
used to herald an outburst of rage. Then he started raving. 

"You are not to register, on any account, GustI," he screamed. "You're a fool if you go there. The 
bestthing to do is to tear up this stupid bit of paper!" 

I jumped up and snatched my calling-up papers away from him, before he in his fury tore them to 
pieces. 

I was so upsetmyself that Adolf soon calmed down. Striding angrily between door and piano, he 
immediately drew up a plan to help me out of my present predicament. 

"Its not even certain, yet, whether you will be passed as fit," he remarked more calmly. "After all, 
its only a year since you nearly went under with that bad attack of pneumonia. If you are unfit, as 
I hope, all this excitement will have been in vain." 

Adolf suggested that I should go to Linz and present myself before the medical board according 
to instructions. In case I should be passed as fit, I should forthwith cross the border into Germany 
secretly, atPassau. On no account was I to serve in the Austro-Hungarian army. This moribund 
Hapsburg Empire did not deserve a single soldier, he declared. As my friend was nine months 
younger than I, he did not expect his call-up until the following year, 1909. But, as was now 
evident, he had already made up his mind in this respect and was determined not to serve in the 
Austrian army. Perhaps he was quite pleased to use me as a guinea pig and find out how his 
suggested solution would really work in practice. 

The next morning I went to the Director of the Conservatory and showed him my call-up papers. 
He explained to me that, as a member of the Conservatory, I was entitied to serve only one year, 
but he advised me, as the only son of a businessman, to register with the Reserve. There, I 
should only have to do eight weeks training, and later on, three further periods of four weeks. I 
asked him what he thought of the idea of my going to Germany to escape military service 
altogether. He was shocked by this unusual suggestion and energetically advised me against it. 

For Adolf, even the idea of my serving in the Reserve was too great a concession to the 
Hapsburg Empire, and he went on and on, trying to persuade me to fall in with his plan right up to 
the moment I had finished my packing. 

In Linz, I told my father what my friend had suggested, for I was more than a littie intrigued by the 
idea. I could not get up any enthusiasm for military service, and even the eight weeks in the 
Reserve seemed to me dreadful. 



My father was even more horrified than the Director had been. "In Heaven's name, what are you 
thinl<ing of?" he exclaimed, shaking his head. If I went over the border secretly or, to call a spade 
a spade, deserted, I would be liable to prosecution, he declared. On top of that, I could never 
come home again and my parents, who had already sacrificed so much for me, would lose me 
altogether. 

These words of my father's, together with my mother's tears, sufficed to bring me to my senses. 
My father that very day went to see a government official, with whom he was friendly, a bout the 
possibility of getting me put down forthe Reserve, and he immediately drafted an application, 
which he advised me to hand in, should I be passed fit for service. 

I wrote Adolf thati had decided to follow the Conservatory Director's advice and was attending for 
the medical examination in a few days. After that I would be coming to Vienna with my father. 
Perhaps Adolf, too, had meanwhile thought better of it, and had realised thatthe way he had 
devised for himself was not suitable forme, because in his reply he did not even mention it. Or, of 
course, perhaps he did not like to put down this plan, which after all was, fairly risky, in black and 
white. On the other hand, he was obviously very pleased thatmy father intended coming back 
with me when I returned to Vienna. (Actually the trip never took place.) I had also written Adolf 
that I was bringing my viola with me, in case I had the chance of an orchestra engagement, so 
that I could make a little extra money. During my studies in Vienna, I had contracted 
conjunctivitis, and was treated in Linz by an oculist, and I warned Adolf that he should not be 
surprised if I arrived at the Westbahnhof wearing spectacles. 

Fortunately I still have the letter he wrote in reply, addressed to the "stud. mus. Gustav Kubizek": 

DearGusti, 

While thanking you foryour letter, I musttell you immediately how pleased I am thatyour dear 
father is really coming with you to Vienna. Providing thatyou and he have no objection, I will meet 
you atthe station on Thursday at 11 o'clock. You write thatyou are having such lovely weather, 
which almost upsets me as, if it were not raining here, we too should be having lovely weather. I 
am very pleased thatyou are bringing a viola. On Tuesday I shall buy myself 2 crowns' worth of 
cotton wool and 20 kreuzers' worth of paste, for my ears naturally. That-- on top of this - you are 
going blind affects me very deeply; you will play more wrong notes than ever. Then you will 
become blind and I gradually mad. Oh, dear! But meanwhile I wish you and your esteemed 
parents at least a happy Easter and send them my hearty greetings as well as to you. 

Yourfriend, ADOLF HITLER 

The letter is dated April 20, so Adolf had written it on his birthday. In view of his circumstances at 
thattime, it is notsurprising thathe does not mention it. Perhaps he had not even realised thatit 
was his birthday. 

Everything in the letter that concerns my father is perfectly polite. He even asks if it is in order to 
come and meet us. But as soon as he refers to the weather, his sarcasm breaks through, "If it 
were not raining, we, too, should be having lovely weather." And then, when he comes to my 
viola, he gives full play to his grim humour. He even jokes about the trouble with my eyes until he 
pulls himself up with the "Oh dear!" and then closes the letter in a very formal manner. That Adolf 
still had not come to terms with spelling is particularly clear in the original German of this letter. 
His former German teacher. Professor Huemer, would not even have given him a "Fair" for it, and 
the punctuation is even worse. 

On the appointed day I wentfor my medical examination. I was passed as fit and presented the 
application for acceptance in the Reserve. 



When I returned to Vienna -- without the dreaded spectacles -- Adolf greeted me very warmly, 
because, in spite of everything, he was glad that I would continue to live with him. Of course, he 
made greatfun of the "Reservist." He could not possibly imagine how they would make a soldier 
out of me, he said. For that matter, neither could I. But it was something, that I could go on with 
my studies. At home, Adolf sketched my head and drew a cocked hat with a plume on top of it. 
"There you are, GustI," he joked, "you look like a veteran even before you're a recruit." 

Afterthe long, dull winter, spring was making its appearance. Since I had seen once again, on my 
visit to Linz, the familiar meadows, woods and hills, our gloomy back room in the Stumpergasse 
seemed to me gloomierthan ever. Looking back on our countless walks throughout the length 
and breadth of the countryside around Linz, I tried to persuade Adolf to make some excursions 
into the country around Vienna. I had more time to spare now as my pupils, having successfully 
passed their examinations, had returned home, but not without giving me a nice little present, 
which came as a pleasant surprise; so thatthere was once again a little money in the kitty (so far 
as I was concerned, at any rate). When, in the gardens along the Ring, the blossoms came out 
and the mild spring sunshine enticed us, I could not stand the stifling walls of the city any longer. 
Adolf, too, was longing to get out into the open. 

I knew how fond he was of the open country, the woods and, in the distance, the blue range of 
mountains. He found a solution to this problem, in his own way, long before I did when it became 
too close and stuffy for him atFrau Zakreys' and the stink of kerosene became unbearable, he 
went off to the Schonbrunn Park. But this was not enough for me. I wanted to see more of the 
country around Vienna. So did Adolf, but first, he explained, he had no money for such "extra 
expenses." That could be got over, as I invited him to be my guest on such excusions and, to 
make sure of it, I bought provisions for both of us the day before. Secondly -- and this was much 
more difficult-- if we really wanted to make a full day's excusions, he had to get up early. He 
would rather do anything than this, as it was a most difficult thing for him. 

To try to shake him awake was a risky undertaking - he was likely to become utterly impossible. 
"Why do you wake me so early?" he would shoutatme. When I told him thatthe day was well 
advanced, he would never believe me. I would lean right out of the window and twist my head 
upwards so that I could see the small strip of sky. "Not a cloud in sight; the sun is shining 
brightly," I would announce, but even as I turned round, Adolf was fast asleep again. 

If I succeeded in getting him out of bed and on the move, I had to consider the firstfew hours lost, 
because after having been awaked so "early," he would be silent and sullen for a long time, 
replying to questions only with reluctant grunts. Only when we gotfaraway in the bright green 
countryside did he finally come out of his sulks. Then, to be sure, he was happy and contented 
and even thanked me for having persisted in my efforts to get him up. 

Our first objective was the Hermannskogel in the Vienna woods and we were very lucky with the 
weather. On the summit, we vowed to go out far more frequently. 

The nextSunday we went to the Vienna woods again. We felt ready for anything, although we 
certainly did not look very enterprising in our city clothes and light shoes. We made a very long 
trip that day, according to our standards, from tiie start of the Tullner Feld, and by Ried and 
Purkersdorf, back to the city. Adolf was enchanted by thatpartof the countryside and said it 
reminded him of a certain part of the MiJhlviertel, of which he was very fond. Undoubtedly, he too 
suffered inwardly from homesickness for the land of his childhood and adolescence, although not 
a single soul remained there who still cared about him. 

I took a day off from the Conservatory for the trip to the Wachau. We had to get to the station very 
early to catch a train to Melk, and it was not till he saw the marvellous monastery thatAdolf 
became reconciled to this early rising. But then how he enjoyed it-l could hardly tear him away. 



He would not stick to the conducted tour, but sought everywhere for secret passages and hidden 
steps which would take him to the foundations; he wanted to examine how these had been built 
into the rocks. Indeed, one could almost believe that the mighty pile had grown out of the stone. 
After that, we spent a long time in the beautiful library. 

Then we went, on the steamer, through the glory of Maybedecked Wachau. Adolf was a changed 
person, even if only through being on the Danube, his beloved river, again. For Vienna was not 
so closely builtaboutthe Danube as was, for instance, Linz, where one could stand on the bridge 
and await the approach of a distinguished, blond maiden from Urfahr. He missed the Danube 
almost as much as he still missed Stefanie. And now the casties, the villages, the hillside 
vineyards passed us gently by. For it did not seem as though we were moving forward; but rather 
as though we were standing still with this wonderful landscape floating by us in a peaceful 
rhythm. What a romantic world. It acts on us like magic. Adolf stands in the bows, engrossed in 
the landscape. Till long past Krems, sailing along through the broad monotonous woods that line 
the river on either bank, he does not utter a word. Who knows where his thoughts may be? 

As though this magic trip needed a counterbalance, our next trip was down the Danube to 
Fischamend. I was disappointed. Was this really the same riverthathad so delighted us, our 
dear, familiar Danube? Wharves, warehouses, oil refineries, and in between them miserable 
fishermen's huts, slums, and even real gypsy encampments. Where on earth had we to go? This 
was the "other" Danube which no longer belonged to the picture of our homeland, but was part of 
the strange, eastern world. We went home, Adolf very thoughtful and I disillusioned. 

But most vivid in my memory is a mountain excursion we made in early summer. The journey to 
Semmering was far 

enough to allow Adolf to recover from his early rising. Immediately after Wiener Neustadt the 
country became mountainous. The railway had to reach the heights of the Semmering in wide 
curves. To attain a height of 980 metres, many turns, tunnels and viaducts were necessary. Adolf 
was thrilled by the bold design of the track; one surprise came on top of another. He would have 
liked to get out and walk this stretch of the track, so that he could inspect it all. I was already 
prepared to listen to a fundamental lecture on the building of mountain railways atthe next 
opportunity, for certainly he had already thought out a bolder design, even higher viaducts and 
longer tunnels. 

Semmering! We got out. A beautiful day. How pure the air was here after all the dust and smoke, 
how blue the sky! The meadows gleamed green, with the dark woods rising from them, and 
above, their peaks still snow-covered, towered the mountains. 

The train back to Vienna did not leave till evening; we had plenty of time, the whole day was ours. 

Adolf quickly made up his mind what our target should be. Which was the highest of these 
mountains? We were told, I believe, the Rax. So, let us climb the Rax. 

Neither Adolf nor I had the faintest idea of mountaineering. The highest "mountains" we had 
conquered in our lives were the gentle hills of M ijhlviertel. The Alps, themselves, we had till now 
only seen at a distance. But we were now in the midst of them and very impressed by the thought 
thatthis mountain was over two thousand metres high. 

As always with Adolf, his will had to make up for whatever else was lacking. We had no food with 
us, because we had originally intended justto walk down from the Semmering heights to 
G loggnitz. We did not even have a rucksack and our clothes were those that we wore for our 
strolls through the city. Our shoes were much too light, with thin soles and without nails. We had 
trousers and jacket, butnota scrap of warm clothing. But the sun was shining, and we were 
young -- so forward! 



The adventure we had on our way down overshadowed our upward climb so completely that I 
can no longer tell which route we took. I only remember now that we climbed for several hours 
before we reached the plain atthe summit of the mountain. We now seemed to be on a peak, 
though it might not have been the Rax. I had never climbed a mountain peak; I had a strange, 
unfettered feeling, as though I no longer belonged to the earth, but was already close to heaven. 

Adolf, deeply affected, stood on the plateau and said not a word. 

We could see far and wide across the land. Here and there in the colourful pattern of meadow 
and forest a church tower or a village would spring up. How puny and unimportant did the works 
of man look! 

It was a wonderful moment, perhaps the most beautiful that I have ever experienced with my 
friend. 

Tiredness was forgotten in our enthusiasm. Somewhere in our pockets we found a bit of dry 
bread and we made do with that. In the pleasure of the day, we had hardly noticed the weather. 
Had not the sun just been shining? Now, suddenly, dark clouds made their appearance and a 
mist fell; this happened as rapidly as though it were the change of a stage set. 

The wind sprang up and whipped the mist before us in long, fluttering shrouds. Far off a storm 
was rumbling; hollow and uncanny, the thunder rolled around the mountains. 

We began to freeze in our pitiful "Ringstrasse suitings." Ourthin trousers fluttered round our legs 
as we hurried down to the valley. But the path was stony, and our shoes not up to the demands 
the mountain made on them. Moreover, foral! our haste, the storm gained on us. Already the first 
drops were spattering down in the woods; and then the rain really set in. And what rain! Actual 
streams of water poured down on us from the clouds that seemed to hang just above the 
treetops. We ran and ran, as hard as we could. It was hopeless to try to protect ourselves. Soon 
there was not a single dry spot on us and our shoes, too, were full of water. 

And no house, no hut, no kind of shelter wherever we turned. Adolf was not at all put out by the 
thunder and lightning, the storm and the rain. To my surprise he was in a splendid mood and, 
although soaked to the skin, became more and more genial as the rain grew heavier. 

We skipped along the stony path and suddenly, just off it, I spotted a littie hut. There was no 
sense in continuing to run in the rain, besides, it was getting dark, so I suggested to Adolf that we 
should stay in this little cabin overnight. He immediately agreed -- for him the adventure could not 
go on long enough. 

I searched the little wooden hut. In the lower half lay a pile of hay, dry, and sufficientfor us both to 
sleep in. Adolf took off his shoes, jacket and trousers and began to wring out his clothes. "Are you 
terribly hungry, too?" he asked. He feltsomewhat better when I told him that! was. A sorrow 
shared is a sorrow halved; apparently that applied to hunger too. 

Meanwhile, in the upper part of the hut, I had found some large squares of canvas, which were 
used by the peasants to carry the hay down the steep mountain sides. I felt very sorry for Adolf, 
standing there in the doorway in his soaking underclothes, chattering with cold as he wrung out 
the sleeves of his jacket. Sensitive as he was to any kind of chill, how easily he could catch 
pneumonia. So I took one of the big squares, stretched itouton the hay and told Adolf to take off 
his wet shirt and pants and to wrap himself in the cloth. This he did. 



He laid himself naked on the cloth and I took hold of the ends and wrapped it firmly round him. 
Then I fetched a second square and put that over him. This done, I wrung out all our clothes and 
hung them up, wrapped myself, too, in a canvas and lay down. So that we should not get icy cold 
in the night, I threw a bale of hay over the bundle that was Adolf, and another one over myself. 

We did not know the time as neither of us had a watch. But for us it was enough to know that 
outside it was pitchdark with the rain rattling unceasingly on to the roof of the hut. Somewhere in 
the distance a dog barked; so we were not too far away from human habitation, a thought that 
comforted me. When I mentioned it to Adolf, however, it left him quite indifferent. In the present 
circumstances people were quite superfluous for him. He was enjoying the whole adventure 
hugely and its romantic ending especially appealed to him. Now we were getting warm, and it 
would have been almost cosy in the little hut, if we had not been racked with hunger. 

I thought once more of my parents, then I fell asleep. 

When I awoke in the morning, daylight was already showing through the gaps in the boards. I got 
up. Our clothes were almost dry. 

I still remember what a job it was to get Adolf to wake up. When he was finally roused, he worked 
his feet free of their wrappings and, with the canvas wrapped round him, walked to the door to 
look atthe weather. His slim, straight figure, with the white cloth thrown toga-wise across the 
shoulders, looked like thatof an Indian ascetic. 

This was our last great excursion together. 

J ustas my journey to the medical board had unpleasantly interrupted our stay in Vienna, so were 
these walks and adventures beautiful and extremely welcome interruptions in our gloomy sunless 
existence in the Stumpergasse. 



The Young Hitler I Knew -- August Kubizek 



Chapter 21 -- Adolf's Attitude to Women. 



When we used to walk up and down the foyer during the intervals atthe Opera, I was struck by 
how much attention the girls and women paid to us. Understandably enough, atfirst I used to 
wonder which of us was the object of this undisguised interest, and secretly thought that it must 
be me. Closer observation, however, soon taught me that the obvious preference was not for me, 
butfor my friend. Adolf appealed so much to the passing ladies, in spite of his modest clothing 
and his cold, reserved manner in public, that occasionally one or the other of them would turn 
round to look at him, which, according to the strict etiquette prevailing atthe Opera, was 
considered highly improper. 

I was all the more surprised at this as Adolf did nothing to provoke this behavior; on the contrary, 
he hardly noticed the ladies' encouraging glances, or, at most, would make an annoyed comment 
about them to me. But these observations were enough to prove to me that my friend 
undoubtedly found favour with the opposite sex, although, to my amazement, he never took 
advantage of this. Did he not understand these unequivocal invitations, ordid he not want to 
understand them? I gathered it was the latter, as Adolf was too sharp and critical an observer not 
to see what was going on around him, especially if it concerned himself. Then why did he not 
seize these opportunities? 

That comfortless, boring life in the back room in the Mariahilf suburb, which he himself called a 
"dog's life," how much more beautiful it would have been made by a friendship with an attractive, 
intelligent girl! Was not Vienna known as the city of beautiful women? That this was true, we 
needed no convincing. What was it, then, that held him back from doing what was normal for 
other young men? That he had never considered this possibility was proved by the very fact that, 
athis suggestion, we shared a room together. He did notask me atthe time whether that suited 
me or not. As was his habit, he took it for granted that I should be willing to do what he 
considered to be the right thing. As far as girls were concerned, he was doubtless quite pleased 
about my shyness, if only for the reason that it left me with more free time to spare for him. 

One small episode has stayed in my memory. One evening atthe Opera, as we went back to our 
places in the Promenade, a liveried attendant came up to us and, plucking Adolf by the sleeve, 
handed him a note. Adolf, in no way surprised but as though this were an everyday happening, 
took the note, thanked him and hastily read it. Now, I thought, I was on the track of a great secret, 
oratleastthe beginning of a romantic one. Butall Adolf said, contemptuously, was, "Another 
one," and passed the note over to me. Then, with a semi-mocking glance, he asked me whether 
perhaps I would like to keep the suggested appointment. "Its your affair, not mine," I replied, a bit 
sharply, "and anyhow I wouldn't like the lady to be disappointed." 

Each time when it had to do with members of the fair sex, it was "his affair, not mine," no matter 
to what class the woman in question might belong. Even in the street my friend was shown 
preference. When, at night, we came home from the Opera or the Burg Theatre, now and again 
one of the streetwalkers would approach us, in spite of our poor appearance, and ask us to come 
home with her. But here again it was only Adolf who got the invitation. 

I remember quite well that in those days I used to ask myself what the girls found so attractive 
about Adolf. He was certainly a well-set-up young man, with regular features, but not at all what is 
understood by a "handsome" man. I had seen handsome men often enough on the stage to know 
what women meant by that. Perhaps it was the extraordinarily bright eyes that attracted them. Or 



was it the strangely stem expression of the ascetic countenance? Or periiaps it was justiiis 
obvious indifference to the opposite sex that invited them to test his resistance. Whatever it was, 
women seemed to sense something exceptional about my friend -- as opposed to men, such as, 
for instance, his teachers and professors. 

The presentimentof decay that existed in those years in the Hapsburg Empire had produced in 
Vienna a shallow, easygoing atmosphere, whose empty moral sense was covered by the famous 
Viennese charm. The slogan then so much in vogue, "Sell my clothes, I'm going to Heaven," 
drew even the solid bourgeois classes into the superficiality of the morbid "higher circles." That 
sultry eroticism which held sway in Arthur Schnitzler's plays set the tone of society. The then 
famous saying, "Austria is going to the bad through her women," certainly seemed to be true as 
far as Viennese society was concerned. In the midst of this brittle milieu, whose persistent, erotic 
undertone insinuated itself everywhere, my friend lived in his self-imposed asceticism, regarding 
girls and women with lively and critical sympathy, while completely excluding anything personal, 
and handled matters which other young men of his age turned into their own experiences, as 
problems for discussion. And this he would do in his evening talks, as coldly and factually as 
though he himself were quite remote from such things. 

As in all the other chapters of this book, so in this one dealing with Adolfs attitude to women 
during ourfriendship, I am concerned with keeping entirely to my own personal experience. From 
the autumn of 1904 to the summer of 1908, that is, for almostfour years, I lived side by side with 
Adolf. In these decisive years when he grew from a boy of fifteen to a young man, Adolf confided 
to me things that he had told to no one, not even his mother. As far back as the days in Linz, our 
friendship was so intimate that I should have noticed if he had actually made the acquaintance of 
a girl. He would have had less time for me, his interests would have taken a different direction, 
and there would have been many similar signs. Yet, apart from his dream-love for Stefanie, no 
such thing happened. I cannot give any information about May and J une 1906, nor the Autumn of 
1907, the periods when Adolf was alone in Vienna. But I can only imagine that any really serious 
love affair would have continued into the period when we were living together. I think I can say, 
with certainty, Adolf never met a girl, either in Linz or in Vienna, who actually gave herself to him. 

My own personal experience from living with him, based on small, apparently insignificant, 
details, was confirmed by the profound and penetrating discussions which Adolf used to have 
with me on all questions concerning the relations between the sexes. I knew from previous 
experience that between what Adolf preached and what he practised there was indeed no 
difference. His social and moral conduct was not governed by his own desires and feelings, but 
by his knowledge and judgment. In this respect, he displayed the utmost self-control. He could 
not bear the shallow superficiality of certain circles in Vienna, and I cannot remember a single 
occasion when he let himself go in his attitude to the other sex. Atthe same time, I must 
categorically assert that Adolf, in physical as well as sexual respects, was absolutely normal. 
What was extraordinary in him was not to be found in the erotic or sexual spheres, but in quite 
other realms of his being. 

When he used to describe to me in vivid terms the necessity of early marriage, which alone was 
capable of ensuring the future of the people; when he used to setforth for my benefit measures 
for increasing the number of children perfamily, measures which later were actually put into 
practice; when he expounded to me the connection between healthy housing and a healthy family 
life and described how, in his Ideal State, the problems of love, sexual relations, of marriage, of 
family, of children would be solved, I would think of Stefanie; for, after all, what Adolf was laying 
down here in such a convincing manner was really only the dreamed-of, ideal life with her, 
transported to a political and social plane. He had wanted Stefanie for his wife, for him she was 
the ideal of German womanhood personified. From her he hoped for children, for her he had 
planned that beautiful country house, which had become for him a model of the abode for the 
ideal family life. 



But all this was illusion, wishful thinking. He had not seen Stefanie for several months, and spoke 
less and less of her. Even when I left for Linz for my call-up, he did not ask me to find out about 
Stefanie. Did she still mean anything to him? Had the enforced separation convinced Adolf that 
the most practical course was to forget Stefanie altogether? J ustas I had persuaded myself that 
this was so, there would be certain to come another tempestuous outburst to prove to me that he 
still clung to Stefanie with every fibre of his being. 

In spite of this, it was clear to me that Stefanie was losing her reality for Adolf more and more, 
and becoming purely an ideal. He could no longer rush to the Landstrasse to convince himself of 
the existence of the beloved. He received no further news about her. His feelings for Stefanie 
were plainly losing real foundation. Was this, then, the end of a love that had begun with such 
great hopes? 

Yes and no! It was the end in so far as Adolf was no longer the sentimental youth who, with the 
usual extravagance of the adolescent, compensated for the slightness of his hopes by a 
boundless conceit in himself. And yet, on the other hand, I could not understand how Adolf, now a 
young man with very concrete ideas and aims, could, nevertheless, still cling so firmly to this 
hopeless love; to such an extent, indeed, that it was sufficient to render him immune to the 
temptations of the big city. 

I knew the very strict ideas of my friend about the relations between men and women, and had 
often wondered how Adolf came to be possessed of this strict moral attitude. His conceptions of 
love and marriage were definitely not those of his father, and while his mother loved him dearly, 
she certainly had not influenced him much in this respect; nor was such influence needed, as she 
could see that Adolf was quite correct in his behaviour towards girls. Adolf's background was that 
of an Austrian civil servants family and a bourgeois household. Consequently, my only 
explanation of his strict views-which I shared with him to a certain degree, without being dogmatic 
about them, was his passion for social and political problems. His ideas of morality were based 
not upon experience, but on abstract, logical conclusions. 

In addition, he still looked upon Stefanie, although she had become unattainable for him, as the 
ideal model of German womanhood, unrivalled by anything he saw in Vienna. When a woman 
made a strong impression on him, I often noticed how he immediately began to talk about 
Stefanie and to draw comparisons which were always in herfavour. 

Incredible as it may sound, the "distant beloved," who did not even know the name of the young 
man whose love she was supposed to return, exercised such a strong influence over Adolf that 
not only did he find his own ideas of morality confirmed in his relations with her, but he regulated 
his life in accordance with them as seriously and consistently as a monk who has consecrated his 
life to God. In Vienna, this sink of iniquity, where even prostitution was made the object of the 
artists glorification -- this was an exception indeed! 

Actually, Adolf had written to Stefanie once during that period. It can no longer be established 
whether this letter was sent before or during our time together in Vienna. The letter itself is lost, 
and I came to hear about it in a curious manner, I told a friend of mine, an archivist, who is 
working on a biography of Adolf Hitler and of whose scientific soundness I am assured, about 
Adolf's love for Stefanie. The scholar ascertained the address of the old lady, the widow of a 
colonel, living in Vienna, called on her and laid before her his peculiar request-that she should tell 
him about her youthful acquaintance with a young, pale studentfrom the Humboldtstrasse, who 
later moved to the Bliitengasse in Urfahr. He used to stand and waitfor heratthe Schmiedtoreck 
every evening, he added, accompanied by his friend. Upon this, the old lady began telling him 
about balls, excursions, carriage trips and so on which she had enjoyed with young men, mostly 
officers, but with the best will in the world she could not recollect this strange young man; even 
when, to her astonishment, she learnt his name. But suddenly a memory awoke within her. Didn't 
she once receive a letter, written in a confused manner, which spoke of a solemn vow, begged 



her to keep faith and only to expect further news of the writer when he had finished his training as 
an artist and had an assured position? The letter was not signed. From its style, it can almost 
certainly be concluded that it was Adolf who sent it. And that was all the old lady could tell him. 

When the thought of his beloved became too much for him, he no longer spoke directly of 
Stefanie, but threw himself headlong, with a great display of feeling, into dissertations about early 
marriages to be promoted by the State, about the possibility of helping working girls to get their 
trousseaus by means of a loan, and assisting young families with many children to acquire a 
house and garden, I remember that here, on one particular point, we had the most violent 
arguments. Adolf suggested the establishment of State furniture factories, in order that young 
married couples should be able to furnish their homes cheaply. I was strongly againstthis idea of 
mass-produced furniture. After all, on this subject I was qualified to speak. Furniture must be of 
good, high-quality craftsmanship, not machine made. We made our calculations and economised 
in other ways, so thatthe newly married couple could have fine, good-quality furniture in their 
home, softfeatherbeds, cloth-covered chairs and couches in good taste, so that one could see 
there still existed master upholsterers who knew their job. 

Much that Adolf used to tell me in those long nightiy talks is concentrated into one particular 
phrase in my memory, and in this case, that which connotes these passionate discussions is the 
strange cliche, "The Flame of Life." Wheneverthe questions of love, marriage or sex relations 
were raised, this magic formula would crop up. To keep the Flame of Life pure and unsullied 
would be the most important task of that Ideal State with which my friend occupied himself in his 
lonely hours. With my inherent preference for precision, I was not quite sure what Adolf meant by 
this Flame of Life, and occasionally the phrase would change its meaning. But I think, in the end, I 
did understand him aright. The Flame of Life was the symbol of sacred love which is awakened 
between man and woman who have kept themselves pure in body and soul and are worthy of a 
union which would produce healthy children for the nation. 

Such phrases, impressively delivered and repeated again and again - and Adolf had a large 
stock of these expressions - had quite a queer effecton me. When I heard them solemnly 
proclaimed for the first time they seemed to me rather pathetic, and I smiled inwardly at these 
bombastic formulas which were in such contrast to our insignificant existence. But despite that, 
the words stayed in my memory, j ust as a thistie clings to one's sleeve with a hundred barbs, so 
did this phrase cling. I could not get rid of it. Then, if I found myself in a situation which had only 
the remotest connection with this theme - I would meet a girl as I went along the 
Mariahilferstrasse, let us say, alone in the evening; a pretty young lady she seemed to me, a little 
flighty perhaps, for she turned round very openly to look at me. At least, this time I was sure it 
was I in whom she was interested! As a matter of fact, she must have been very flighty, because 
she waved to me invitingly! But then, suddenly, the words "Flame of Life" would appear before 
me - one single, thoughtless hour and this holy flame is extinguished forever! - and even though 
I was annoyed by these moralisings, nevertheless, in such moments, they worked. One phrase 
was linked to another. It began with the "Storm of the Revolution," and went on through countless 
political and social slogans to the "Holy Reich of all the Germans." Perhaps Adolf found a certain 
number of these phrases in books, but others I knew he coined himself. 

Gradually, these single statements evolved into one compact system. As everything that 
happened was of interest to Adolf, each new phenomenon of the times was examined to see how 
it would fit into his political philosophy. 

Sometimes my memory indulges in strange juxtapositions; so that immediately following the holy, 
unapproachable Flame of Life would come the Sink of Iniquity, although in my friend's world of 
ideas this expression represented the lowest grade. Of course, in the Ideal State there was no 
longer any Sink of Iniquity. With these words Adolf described the prostitution which was then rife 
in Vienna. As a typical phenomenon of those years of general moral decadence, we would come 
across it in the mostvaried forms, both in the elegant streets of the centre, and in the slums of the 



suburbs. All this filled Adolf with boundless rage. But for this spreading prostitution he blamed not 
only those actually practising it, but those responsible forthe prevailing social and economic 
conditions. A "Monument to the Shame of ourTimes," he called this prostitution. Ever and again 
he tackled the problem and searched for a solution whereby in the future any kind of "commercial 
love" would be rendered impossible. 

There was one evening that I have never forgotten. We had been to a performance of 
Wedekind's FriJhlingserwachen and, as an exception, had stayed forthe lastact. Then we made 
our way across the Ring homewards and turned down into the Siebensterngasse. Then Adolf 
took my arm and said, unexpectedly, "Come, Gusti. We must see the Sink of Iniquity once." I do 
not know what had given him the idea, but he had already turned into the small, ill-lit 
Spittelberggasse. 

So there we were. We walked along pastthe low, one-story houses. The windows, which were on 
street level, were lighted so that we could see directly into the rooms. The girls sat there, some 
behind the windowpane, some at the open window; a few of them were still remarkably young, 
others prematurely aged and faded. In their scanty and slovenly attire they satthere, making up 
their faces or combing their hair or looking at themselves in the mirror, without, however, for one 
moment losing sight of the men strolling by. Here and there a man would stop, lean towards the 
window to look at the girl of his choice; a hasty, whispered interchange would take place. Then, 
as a sign thatthe deal was concluded, the light would be turned out. I still remember how this 
custom in particular struck me, as one could tell by the darkening of the windows how trade was 
going. Among the men, itwas the accepted convention notto stand before the unlighted 
windows. 

We, for our part, did not even stand in front of the lighted windows, but made our way along to the 
Burggasse atthe other end of the street. Arrived there, however, Adolf made an about-turn and 
we walked once more along the Sink of Iniquity. I was of the opinion thatthe one experience 
would have sufficed, but Adolf was already dragging me along to the lighted windows. 

Perhaps these girls, too, had noticed the "something special" aboutAdolf, perhaps they had 
realised that here they had to deal with men of moral restraint, such as came sometimes from the 
religious countryside to the unholy city; at any rate, they thought it necessary to redouble their 
efforts. I recall how one of these girls seized just the moment when we were passing her window 
to take off her chemise, presumably to change it, while another busied herself with her stockings, 
showing her naked legs. I was genuinely glad when this exciting running of the gantlet was over 
and we finally reached the Westbahnstrasse, but I said nothing, while Adolf grew angry atthe 
prostitutes' tricks of seduction. 

At home, Adolf started on a lecture on his newly acquired impressions, with a cold objectivity as 
though it were a question of his attitude towards the fightagainsttuberculosis, ortowards 
cremation. I was amazed that he could speak about it without any inner emotion. Now he had 
learnt the customs of the marketfor commercial love, he declared, and thus the purpose of his 
visit was fulfilled. The origin lay in the fact that man felt the necessity for sexual satisfaction, while 
the girls in question thought only of their earnings; earnings with which, possibly, they kept one 
man whom they really loved, always assuming thatthese girls were capable of love. In practice, 
the Flame of Life in these poor creatures was long since extinct. 

There is another incident I should like to recount. One evening, atthe corner of 
Mariahilferstrasse-Neubaugasse, a well-dressed, prosperous-looking man spoke to us and asked 
us about ourselves. When we told him that we were students ("My friend studies music," 
explained Adolf, "and I architecture"), he invited us to supper atthe Hotel Kummer. He allowed us 
to order anything we pleased and for once Adolf could eat as many tarts and pastries as he could 
manage. Meanwhile, he told us that he was a manufacturer from Vocklabruck and did not like 
anything to do with women, as they were only gold diggers. I was especially interested in what he 



said about the chamber music which appealed to him. We thanl<ed him, he came out of the 
restaurant with us, and we went home. 

There Adolf asl<ed me if I liked the man. "Very much," I replied. "A very cultured man, with 
pronounced artistic leanings." 

"And what else?" continued Adolf with an enigmatic expression on his face. 

"What else should there be?" I asked, surprised. 

"As apparently you don't understand, GustI, what its all about, look at this littie card!" 

"Which card?" 

For, in fact, this man had slipped Adolf a card without my noticing it, on which he had scribbled an 
invitation to visit him at the Hotel Kummer. 

"He's a homosexual," explained Adolf in a matter-of-fact manner. 

I was startied. I had never even heard the word, much less had I any conception of what it 
actually meant. So Adolf explained this phenomenon to me. Naturally this, too, had long been one 
of his problems and, as an abnormal practice, he wished to see itfought against relentlessly, and 
he himself scrupulously avoided all personal contact with such men. The visiting card of the 
famous manufacturer from Vocklabruck disappeared into our stove. 

Itseemed to me quite natural that Adolf should turn with disgustand repugnance from these and 
other sexual aberrations of the big city, that he refrained from masturbation which was commonly 
indulged in by youths, and that in all matters of sex he obeyed those strict rules that he laid down 
for himself and for the future state. But then why did he not try to escape from his loneliness, to 
make friends and find stimulus in serious, intelligent and progressive company? Why did he 
always remain the lone wolf, who avoided any contact with people, although he was passionately 
interested in all human affairs? How easy it would have been for him, with his obvious talents, to 
win himself a place in those social circles in Vienna which held themselves aloof from the general 
decadence, from which he would not only have gained new insight and enlightenment, but which 
would have wrought a change in his lonely life. There were many more thoroughly decent people 
in Vienna than the other kind, though they were less in evidence. So he had no reason to avoid 
people on moral grounds. As a matter of fact, it was not arrogance that held him back. It was 
rather his poverty, and the consequent sensitiveness, that caused him to live on his own. 
Moreover, he thought he was lowering himself if he went to a social gathering, or any kind of 
distraction. He had too high an opinion of himself for a superficial flirtation orfora merely physical 
relation with a girl. For that matter, he would never have allowed me to indulge in such affairs. 
Any step in this direction would have meant the inevitable end of our friendship, as, apart from the 
distaste with which Adolf viewed such connections, he would never have tolerated my having any 
interest in other people. As always, our friendship had to be utterly exclusive of all other interests. 

One day, although I knew how opposed Adolf was to all social activities, I nevertheless attempted 
to arrange something for him. The opportunity which occurred seemed to me too good to be 
missed. 

Sometimes music lovers came to the office of the Conservatory looking for students to take part 
in a musical evening at their houses. This meant not only much-needed extra money - we 
usually received a fee of five crowns, as well as supper- butalso broughta littie social glamour 
into my humble students life. As a good viola player, I was much sought after, and it was through 



this that I came to know the family of a wealthy manufacturer in the Heiligenstadterstrasse, Dr. 
J ahoda. They were people with a deep appreciation of art, of very cultivated tastes, a really 
intellectual group of the kind that flourished only in Vienna, who traditionally enriched the artistic 
life of the city. When, at table, the opportunity arose, I mentioned my friend, and was invited to 
bring him with me the next time. This was what I had been aiming at, and now I was content. 

And Adolf did indeed go with me, and he enjoyed himself very much. He was particularly 
impressed with the library, which for Adolf was a real yardstick forjudging these people. What 
pleased him less, however, was that throughout the whole evening he had to remain a silent 
listener, although he himself had chosen this role. On the way home, he said he would have got 
on quite well with these people, but as he was not a musician he had not been able to join in the 
conversation. Nevertheless, he also came with me to musical evenings in one or two other 
houses, where it was only his inadequate dress that upset him. 

In the midst of this corrupt city, my friend surrounded himself with a wall of unshakable principles 
which enabled him to build up an inner freedom, in spite of all the dangers around, him. He was 
afraid of infection, as he often said. Now I understand that he meant, not only venereal infection, 
but a much more general infection, namely, the danger of being caught up in the prevailing 
conditions and finally being dragged down into the vortex of corruption. It is not surprising that no 
one understood him, thatthey took him for an eccentric, and thatthose few who came in contact 
with him called him presumptuous and arrogant. 

But he went his way, untouched by what went on around him, but also untouched by a really 
great, consuming love. He remained a man alone and guarded -- an odd contradiction -- in strict 
monklike asceticism, the holy F lame of Life. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 22 - Political Awakening. 



The picture of my friend, as I iiave drawn it so far, would be incomplete without a reference to his 
immense interest in politics. If I deal with it only at the end of this book and, in spite of all my 
efforts, inadequately, it is not because of my lack of understanding, but because my interest lay 
more in art and was hardly concerned with politics at all. 

Even more so than in Linz, I felt myself a budding artist at the Vienna Conservatory, and had no 
wish to be mixed up in politics. My friend's development was just in the opposite direction. 
Though in Linz his interest in art had far surpassed that of politics, in Vienna, the centre of the 
political life of the Hapsburg Empire, politics prevailed to the extent of absorbing all other 
interests. 

I began to understand how almost every problem which he encountered led him ultimately into 
the political sphere, however little real connection it might have with politics. His original way of 
looking atthe phenomena which surrounded him through the eyes of an artist and aesthete 
increasingly turned into a habit of regarding them from a politician's standpoint. 

Human beings interested him so much that he began to adjust his professional plans to political 
considerations. For, if he really wanted to build all that was ready in his mind and even partiy laid 
down in elaborate schemes -- a new Linz embellished by impressive edifices such as a bridge 
over the Danube, a town hall, and so forth, and a Vienna whose slums were to be replaced by 
vast residential districts, a revolutionary storm had first to put an end to the existing political 
conditions which had become unbearable, and to open up the possibility for creative work on an 
ambitious scale. 

Politics came to assume an increasingly important position in his scale of values. The most 
difficult problems became easy when they were transferred to the political plane. 

With the same consistency with which he explored all phenomena which occupied him until he 
had reached rock bottom, he discovered amid the noisy, political life of the metropolis the focal 
point of all political events: Parliament. 

"Come with me, GustI," he said one day. I asked him where he wanted to go -- 1 had to attend my 
lectures atthe University and to practise for my examination in piano-playing. But my objections 
did not impress him at all. He said none of that was as important as what he intended to do; he 
had already procured a ticketfor me. 

I wondered whatthis could be -- an organ concert, perhaps, ora conducted tourthrough the 
picture gallery of the Hof Museum? But my lectures and my exam? It would be very bad forme if I 
failed. 

"Oh, come on, hurry!" he cried angrily. I was familiar with that look on his face, which would not 
tolerate any contradiction. Besides, it must be something very special, for it was unusual for Adolf 
to be up and about as early as half past eight in the morning. 



So I yielded, and wentwith him to tiie Ring. Atnine o'clocl< siiarp we turned into tiie 
Stadiongasse, and stopped in front of a small side entrance where a few nondescript people, 
idlers apparently, had collected. At long last, I saw daylight. 

"To Parliament?" I asked apprehensively. "What am I supposed to do there?" 

I remembered that Adolf had occasionally mentioned his visits to Parliament-- 1 personally 
considered it sheer waste of time. But before I could say another word, he pressed the ticket into 
my hand, the door opened, and we were directed to the Strangers' Gallery. 

Looking down from the gallery, one had a very good view of the imposing semicircle which the 
greatassembly chamberformed. Its classic beauty would have provided a fitting background for 
any artistic performance - a concert, a choir singing hymns, or even with some adjustments, an 
opera. 

Adolf tried to explain to me what was really happening. "The man who sits up there, looking 
rather helpless, and who rings a bell every now and then, is the President. The worthies on the 
raised seats are the Ministers; in front of them are the shorthand writers, the only people who do 
any work in this house. That is why I rather like them, though I can assure you thatthese hard- 
working men are of no importance whatsoever. On the opposite benches there should be seated 
all the deputies of the realms and provinces represented in the Austrian Parliament. But most of 
them are strolling round the lobbies." 

My friend went on to describe the procedure. One member has tabled a motion and is now 
speaking in support of it. Almost all the other deputies, not being interested in the motion, have 
left the room. Butsoon the chairman would call for a debate and things would become lively. 

Adolf was really well versed in parliamentary procedure; he even had an order paper in front of 
him. Everything happened exactly as he had foretold. 

As soon as, to put it into musical terms, the solo performance of the deputy had ended, the 
orchestra struck up. The deputies flowed back into the C hamber and all started shouting together, 
interrupting each other remorselessly in the process. The P resident rang his bell. The deputies 
responded by lifting the lids of their desks and banging them down again. Some whistled, and 
words of abuse, shouted in German, Czech, Italian, Polish and God knows what other language 
filled the air. 

I looked atAdolf. Was not this the appropriate moment to leave? Butwhathad happened to my 
friend? He had jumped to his feet, his hands clenched, his face burning with excitement. This 
being so, I preferred to remain quietiy in my seat, although I had no idea what the tumult was 
about. 

Parliament attracted my friend more and more, while I tried to wriggle out of it. Once, when Adolf 
had forced me to go with him - I would have risked the end of our friendship if I had refused - a 
Czech member was "filibustering." Adolf explained to me thatthis was a speech which was only 
made to fill in time and prevent another member from speaking. It did not matter what the Czech 
said, he could even go on repeating his words, but on no account must he stop. It really seemed 
to me as though this man was speaking all the time "da capo al fine." Of course, I did not 
understand a word of Czech, nor did Adolf, and I was really upset about wasting my time. 

"You don't mind if I go now?" I said to Adolf. 

He replied angrily, "What, now, in the middle of the sitting?" 



"But I don't understand a word the man is saying." 

"You don't iiave to understand it. This is 'filibustering.' I've already explained it to you." 

"So I can go, then?" 

"No!" be cried furiously, and pulled me back on to the seat by my coattails. 

So I justsatthere and let the valiantCzech, who was already nearly exhausted, talk on. I have 
never been so puzzled by Adolf as I was at that moment. He was so extraordinarily intelligent and 
certainly had all his senses about him, and I justcould notcomprehend how he was able to sit 
there, tense, listening to every word of a speech which, after all, he did not understand. But 
perhaps, I thought, the fault is mine and I presumably do not realise wherein lies the essence of 
politics. 

In those days I often asked myself why Adolf compelled me to go with him to Parliament. I could 
not solve this riddle until one day I realised that Adolf needed a partner with whom he could 
discuss his own impressions. On such days he would wait impatiently for my return in the 
evening. Hardly had I opened the door, when he would start, "Where have you been all this 
time?" and before I had had time to gut myself a bite of supper, would come, "When are you 
going to bed?" 

This question had a particular significance. As our room was so small, Adolf could only walk up 
and down if I either crouched on the stool behind the piano or went to bed, and so he wanted to 
clear the decks for what he had to say. 

No sooner had I crept into bed, than he began to stride up and down, holding forth. If only by the 
excited tone of his voice, I could tell how much his thoughts were pressing upon him. He simply 
had to have an outlet in order to bear the enormous tension. 

So there I lay in bed, while Adolf, as usual, strode up and down ranting at me as passionately as 
though I were a political power who could decide the existence or non-existence of the German 
people, instead of only a poor little music student. 

Another of these nocturnal talks remains in my memory. Hysterically he described the sufferings 
of this people, the fate that threatened it, and its future full of danger. He was neartears. 

But after these bitter words, he came back to more optimistic thoughts. Once more he was 
building the "Reich of all the Germans," which put the "Guest Nations," as he called the other 
races of the Empire, where they belonged. 

Sometimes, when his diatribes became too lengthy, I fell asleep. As soon as he noticed it, he 
shook me awake and shouted at me to know whether I was no longer interested in his words; if 
so, I should go on sleeping, like all those who had no national conscience. So I made an effort 
and forced myself to keep my eyes open. 

Later, Adolf developed more friendly methods on these occasions. Instead of losing himself in 
Utopias, he raised questions which he thought would be of more interest to me. As for instance, 
one day when he inveighed againstthe Savings Groups which had been formed in many of the 
small inns of the working-class districts. Each member paid in a weekly sum and received his 
savings at Christmas. The treasurer was usually the innkeeper. Adolf criticised these groups, 
because the money the worker spent on such "Savings Evenings" was greater than the amount 
laid by, so that in reality the publican was the only one to benefit. Another time he described to 



me in vivid colours wiiatiie imagined tiie student Jiostels would be like in his Ideal State. Bright, 
sunny bedrooms, common rooms for study, music and drawing, simple but nourishing food, free 
tickets for concerts, opera and exhibitions, and free transport to their colleges. 

One night he spoke of the aeroplane of the Wright brothers. He quoted from a newspaper that 
these famous aviators had built a small, comparatively lightweight gun into their aircraft and had 
made experiments in the effect that shooting from the air would be likely to have. Adolf, who was 
a pronounced pacifist, was outraged. As soon as a new invention is made, he said, it is 
immediately put to the service of war. Who wants war? he asked. Certainly not the "little man" -- 
far from it. Wars are arranged by crowned and uncrowned rulers, who in turn are guided and 
driven by their armament industry. While these gentlemen earned gigantic sums and remained far 
from the firing line, the "little man" has to risk his life without knowing to what purpose. 

Altogether the "little man," the "poor, betrayed masses," played a dominating role in his thoughts. 
One day we saw workers demonstrating on the Ring. We were hemmed in among the onlookers 
near the House of Parliament and got a good view of the exciting scene. Is this the mood, I asked 
myself anxiously, that Adolf calls the "Storm of the Revolution"? Some men walked ahead of the 
procession carrying a big banner on which was written the one word "Hunger!" There could not 
have been any more stirring appeal to my friend, because he had so often suffered himself from 
bitter hunger. 

There he stood, next to me, and absorbed the picture eagerly. However strongly he might have 
felt with these people, he remained aloof and viewed the whole event, in all its detail, objectively 
and coolly as though his only interest were to study the technique of such a demonstration. In 
spite of his solidarity with the "little man" he would never have dreamed of taking an active part in 
this manifestation, which was, in fact, protesting against increase in the price of beer. 

More and more people were arriving. The whole Ring seemed to be crammed with excited 
humanity. Red flags were carried. But the seriousness of the situation was shown by the ragged 
appearance and the hunger-lined faces of the demonstrators; far more than by flags and slogans. 

The head of the procession had reached the House of Parliamentand was trying to storm it. 
Suddenly the mounted police who had accompanied it, drew their swords and began to lay about 
them. The reply was a hail of stones. For a moment the situation balanced on a razor's edge, but 
in the end police reinforcements managed to disperse the demonstrators. 

The spectacle had shaken Adolf to the core. But not until we had arrived home did he voice his 
feelings. Yes, he was on the side of the hungry, the underprivileged. But he was also againstthe 
men who organised such demonstrations. Who are the wire-pullers who stand behind these 
doubly betrayed masses and guide them according to their will? None of them appeared on the 
scene. Why? Because it suited them better to conduct their affairs in obscurity - they did not 
want to risk their lives. Who are the leaders of the wretched masses? Not men who had 
themselves experienced the misery of the "littie man," but ambitious politicians, lusting for power, 
who wanted to exploit the people's poverty for their own benefit. An outburst of rage against these 
political vultures brought my friend's embittered harangue to an end. That was his demonstration. 

One question tormented him after such occurrences, although he never gave expression to it: 
Where did he, himself, belong? To judge by his own circumstances and the social environment in 
which he lived, there was no doubt that he belonged to those who followed the Hunger banner. 
He lived in a miserable, bug-ridden back room; many times his lunch consisted of nothing but a 
piece of dry bread. Some of the demonstrators were perhaps better off than he. Why, therefore, 
did he not march with these men? What held him back? 



Perhaps he felt that he belonged to a different social class. He was the son of an Austrian State 
official, whose rank was equivalent to a Captain's. He remembered his father as a much- 
respected customs official, to whom people raised their hats, and whose word carried much 
weight among his friends. His father had absolutely nothing to do with these people in the street. 

Greater even than his fear of being infected by the moral and political decadence of the ruling 
classes, was his fear of becoming a proletarian. Undoubtedly he lived like one, but he did not 
want to become one. Perhaps what drove him to his intensive studies was his instinctive feeling 
that only a thorough education could save him from descending to the level of the masses. 

In the last resort, the decisive pointfor Adolf was that he did notfeel attracted to any of the 
existing parties or movements. To be sure he often told me that he was a convinced follower of 
Schonerer, but he said so only in the privacy of our room. He, the hungry, penniless student, 
would have cuta very poorfigure in oie ranks of Georg Ritten von Schonerer. The Schonerer 
movement would have needed much stronger socialist tendencies to capture Adolf fully. What 
had Schonerer to offer to the hungry masses demonstrating in the Ring? On the other hand, 
however, the Social Democrats had no comprehension of German nationalism in Austria. Among 
the leading political personalities of those days, Adolf had most admiration forVienna's 
Burgomaster, Karl Lueger. But what put him off his party was the connection with the church, 
which was constantly interfering in political questions. Thus, in those days, Adolf found no 
spiritual home for his political ideals. 

In spite of his unwillingness to join a party, or organisation -- with one exception which I shall 
mention later-- one had only to walk along the street with him to see how intensely interested he 
was in the fate of others. The city of Vienna offered him excellent object lessons in this respect. 
For instance, when home-going workers passed us by, Adolf would grip my arm and say, "Did 
you hear, GustI? Czechs!" Another time, we encountered some brickmakers speaking loudly in 
Italian, with florid gestures. "There you have your German Vienna," he cried, indignantly. 

This, too, was one of his oft-repeated phrases: "German Vienna," but Adolf pronounced it with a 
bitter undertone. Was this Vienna, into which streamed from all sides Czechs, Magyars, Croats, 
Poles, Italians, Slovaks, Ruthenians, and above all Galician j ews, still indeed a German city? In 
the state of affairs in Vienna my friend saw a symbol of the struggle of the Germans in the 
Hapsburg Empire. He hated the babel in the streets of Vienna, this "incest incarnate" as he called 
it later. He hated this State, which ruined Germanism, and the pillars thatsupported this State: 
the reigning house, the Church, the nobility, the capitalists and the] ews. 

This Hapsburg State, he felt, mustfall, and the sooner the better, for every moment of its 
continued existence cost the Germans honour, property and their very life. He saw in the fanatical 
internecine strife of its races the decisive symptoms of its coming downfall. He visited Parliament 
to feel, so to speak, the pulse of the patient, whose early demise was expected by all. He looked 
forward to that hour full of impatience, for only the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire could open 
the road to those schemes of which he dreamed in his lonely hours. 

His accumulated hatred of all forces which threatened the Germans was mainly concentrated 
upon the] ews, who played a leading role in Vienna. I soon came to notice this, and a small, 
seemingly trivial occurrence stands out in my memory. 

I had come to the conclusion that my friend could no longer go on in his poverty-stricken 
circumstances. The easiest way of helping him, I thought, would be to make use of some of his 
literary work. A fellow student of mine atthe Conservatory worked as a journalist on the Wiener 
Tagblatt, and I mentioned Adolf to him. The young man was full of sympathy with Adolfs 
precarious situation and suggested that my friend should bring some of his work to him in his 
office, where the matter could be discussed. During the night Adolf wrote a short story, of which I 



remember nothing but the title, Itwas "The NextJVlorning," an ominous one, forthe next morning 
when we went to see my fellow student, there was a terrific row. As soon as Adolf had seen the 
man, he turned about, even before he had entered the room, and going down the stairs shouted 
at me, "You idiot! Didn't you see that he is a J ew?" Actually, I had not. But in future I took care not 
to bum my fingers. 

Things got worse. One day, when I was very busy with preparations for my exam, Adolf stormed 
into our room, full of excitement. He had just come from the police, he said; there had been an 
incident in the Mariahilferstrasse, connected with a J ew, of course. A Handelee had been 
standing in front of the Gerngross store. The word "Handelee" was used to designate eastern 
J ews who, dressed in caftan and boots, sold shoe laces, buttons, braces and other small articles 
in the streets. The Handelee was the lowest stage in the career of those quickly assimilated 
J ews, who often occupied leading positions in Austria's economic life. The Handelees were 
forbidden to beg. But this man had whiningly approached passers-by, his hand outstretched, and 
had collected some money. A policeman asked him to produce his papers. He began to wring his 
hands and said he was a poor, sick man who had only this little trading to live on, but he had not 
been begging. The policeman took him to the police station, and asked bystanders to act as 
witnesses. In spite of his dislike of publicity, Adolf had presented himself as a witness, and he 
saw with his own eyes that the Handelee had three thousand crowns in his caftan, conclusive 
evidence, according to Adolf, of the exploitation of Vienna by immigrant eastern J ews. 

I well remember, at that time, how eagerly Adolf studied the J ewish problem, talking to me of it 
again and again, although I was not interested. Atthe Conservatory there were J ews among both 
teachers and students, and I had never had any trouble with them and, in deed, had made some 
friends among them. Was notAdolf himself enthusiastic about Gustav Mahler, and was he not 
fond of the works of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy? One should not judge the] ewish question only on 
the strength of Handelees. I cautiously tried to deflect Adolf from his point of view. His reaction 
was very strange. 

"Come, GustI," he said, and once again, to save the fare, I had to walk with him to the Brigittenau. 
I was astounded when Adolf led me to the Synagogue. We entered. "Keep your hat on," Adolf 
whispered. And indeed, all the men had their heads covered. Adolf had discovered that at this 
time a wedding was taking place in the Synagogue. The ceremony impressed me deeply. The 
congregation started with an alternate chant, which I liked. Then the Rabbi gave a sermon in 
Hebrew and finally laid the phylacteries of the foreheads of the bridal pair. 

I concluded from our strange visit that Adolf really wanted to study thoroughly the] ewish problem 
and thereby convince himself that the religious practices of the J ews still survived. This, I hoped, 
might soften his biased view. 

But I was mistaken, for one day Adolf came home and announced decidedly, "Today, I joined the 
Anti-Semite Union and have put down your name as well." 

Although I had got used to his domineering over me in political matters, this was the culminating 
point. It was all the more surprising, as Adolf usually avoided joining any society or organisation. I 
kept silent, but I resolved to handle my affairs myself in future. 

Looking back on those days in Vienna and on our long, nocturnal conversations, I can assert that 
Adolf then adopted that philosophy of life which was to guide him henceforward. He gathered it 
from his immediate impressions and experiences in the streets and extended and deepened it by 
his reading. What I heard was its first version, often still unbalanced and immature, but 
propounded with all the more passion. 



Butatthattime I did not take all these things very seriously, because my friend played no part in 
public life, never had anybody but me, and accordingly all his plans and political projects were 
floating in mid-air. That later he would bring them to fruition, I would never have dared to think. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Chapter 23 - The Lost Friendship. 



The competitive examinations atthe Conservatory were over, and I liad come outof tiiem very 
well. Now I had only to conduct the end-of-term concert in the J ohannessaal which, in view of the 
stagefrightof the performers-and the conductor-was not an easy task. But everything went well. 
Much more exciting for me was the second evening when the singer, Rossi, sang three songs I 
had composed, and two movements from my sextet for strings were performed for the firsttime. 
Both compositions met with great success. Adolf was in the artists' room when Professor Max 
J entsch, my composition teacher, congratulated me. The Head of the Conductors' School, 
Gustav Gutheil, also added his congratulations and, to crown all, the Director of the Conservatory 
came into the artists' room and shook me warmly by the hand. This was a little too much for me, 
who only a year ago had been working in the dusty upholsterer's workshop. Adolf glowed with 
enthusiasm and seemed genuinely proud of his friend. But I could well imagine what he was 
thinking in his heart of hearts. Certainly, he had never realised with such bitterness the futility of 
his time in Vienna as when he saw me in the midst of my resounding triumphs with my feetfirmly 
planted on the road which led to my ultimate goal. 

Only a few more days and the term would end. I was looking forward with great pleasure to going 
home, as, in spite of my successful studies, the dire feeling of homesickness had never left me 
throughout the time I had been in Vienna. 

Adolf had no home and did not know where he would go. We discussed how we should pass the 
coming months. Frau Zakreys joined us in our room and hesitantly asked us what our plans were. 

"Whatever happens we shall stay together," I declared immediately; I did not mean only that I 
should stay with Adolf -- that seemed to me a matter of course -- but also that we should both go 
on lodging with Frau Zakreys, with whom we got on so well. Moreover, my plans were quite 
decided. Immediately after the end of term I would go to Linz and stay with my parents till the 
autumn, when I would undergo my eight weeks' training with the Army Reserve. Atthe latest, I 
wanted to be back in Vienna by the second half of November. I promised to send my share of the 
rent regularly to Frau Zakreys so that she could keep the room for us. 

Frau Zakreys, too, wanted to go to visit relatives in Moravia during the next few days, and she 
was worried about leaving the flat empty. But Adolf soon reassured the old dear. He would stay 
there and wait until she came back. Then he could still go for a few days to his mother's family in 
the Waldviertel. 

Frau Zakreys was very pleased with this solution, and assured us that we had been most 
satisfactory lodgers: two such nice young gentlemen, who paid their rent punctually and never 
brought girls home, you wouldn't find anywhere else in Vienna. 

When I was alone with Adolf, I told him that I would try to get an engagement as a viola player 
with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra during the next school year. Then I would be so much 
better off that I would be able to help him substantially as well. Adolf, who in those days was very 
irritable, made no response to my suggestion. Neither did he tell me a word of his future plans, 
but in view of my own success, I did nottake offence atthis. Moreover, to my great astonishment, 
I was not instructed to keep him informed about Stefanie. Nevertheless, I made up my mind to 
write him all that I could find out about her. Adolf promised to write often and keep me informed of 
everything of interestto me that went on in Vienna. 



The parting was hard for both of us; its date, the beginning of J uly 1908, is of particular 
significance. Although it had not always been easy, in spite of my compliant nature, to get on with 
Adolf, yet our friendship had always triumphed over personal difficulties. We had known each 
other now for nearly four years and had got used to each other's ways. The rich treasure of 
artistic experiences enjoyed together in Linz, as well as the joy of lovely excursions, had been 
increased and deepened by our time together in Vienna. In Vienna, Adolf was like a bit of home 
for me; he had shared the most beautiful impressions of my boyhood, and knew me better than 
anybody else. Itwas him I had to thankforthe factthati was atthe Conservatory. 

This feeling of gratitude, strengthened by a friendship springing from shared experiences, bound 
me firmly to him. I was more than willing, in the future, to put up with any of the peculiarities 
caused by his impulsive temperament. With growing maturity and discernment, my appreciation 
of Adolf as my friend increased, as is proved by the fact that in spite of our cramped quarters and 
the divergence of our interests, we had got on much better together in Vienna than in Linz. I was 
prepared, for his sake, to go not only to Parliament, and to a Synagogue, but even to the 
Spittelberggasse, and God knows where, and was already looking forward to spending my next 
year with him. 

Naturally, I meantfar less to Adolf than he did to me. That I had come with him to Vienna from his 
home town only served to remind him, perhaps unwillingly, of his own difficult family background 
and the apparent hopelessness of his boyhood, though, to be sure, my presence also reminded 
him of Stefanie. Above all, he had learnt to appreciate me as an eager audience. He could not 
wish for a better public as, because of his overwhelming gift of persuasion, I agreed with him 
even when in my heart I held a completely different opinion. For him, and with what he had in 
mind, however, my views were quite unimportant. He needed me justto talk to, for, after all, he 
could not sit on the bench in the Schonbrunn and make long speeches to himself. When he was 
full of an idea and had to unburden himself, then he needed me as a soloist needs an instrument 
to give expression to his feelings. This, if I may use the expression, "instrumental character" of 
ourfriendship rendered me of more value to him than my own modest nature merited. 

So we said goodbye. Adolf assured me, for the hundredth time, how littie he wanted to be left 
alone. I could imagine, he said, how dull it would be for him alone in the room we had shared. 
Had I not already written the date of my arrival to my parents, perhaps, in spite of my attacks of 
grievous homesickness, I might have stayed in Vienna another couple of weeks. 

He accompanied me to the West Bahnhof; I stowed away my luggage and joined him on the 
platform. Adolf hated sentimentality of any kind. The more anything touched him, the cooler he 
became. So now, he just took both my hands -- two hands was most unusual for him -- and 
pressed them firmly. Then he turned and made for the exit, perhaps a littie overhastily, without 
once turning round. I was feeling wretched. I got onto the train and was glad that it started right 
away and prevented me from changing my mind. 

My parents were delighted to have their son home again. In the evening, I had to tell them all 
about the end-of-term concert; my mother's eyes, shining with happiness, were my greatest 
reward. When, the next morning, I appeared in the workshop in my blue apron with my shirt 
sleeves rolled up and set to work, my father, too, was satisfied. Without more ado, he asked me 
to carry out an important order commissioned by the government. 

In my free time I missed Adolf sadly. I would have liked to write him about Stefanie, although he 
had notasked me to do so, buti never managed to see her. Probably she had gone on holiday 
with her mother. 



As there were still some things to be settled in Vienna, I wrote to Adolf and asked him to deal with 
them. There were my dues to be paid to Riedl, the treasurer of the Musician's Union, and I also 
wished him to collect my Member's book and send on to me all the Union's publications. 

Adolf attended to all this most conscientiously, and on a picture postcard dated J uly 15, 1908, 
depicting the so-called "Graben," he confirms this. The card reads: 

Dear Gust], 

I called on Riedl three times and never found him in and it was not until Thursday evening that I 
could pay him. My heartiest thanks for your letter and particularly your postcard. It looks very 
prosaic, I mean the fountain. I've been working very hard since you left, sometimes till two or 
three in the morning. I'll write you when I'm leaving. I'm not very keen on it if my sister is coming, 
too. It is not warm here now, and it even rains occasionally. I am sending you your newspapers 
and also the littie book. Kindest regards to you and your esteemed parents. 

ADOLF HITLER 

The fountain which Adolf describes as very "prosaic" had been erected in the public park. The 
sculpture that was supposed to adorn it was by the sculptor Hanak and was called "The J oy of 
Beauty," a description which Adolf, in view of the dullness of the work, considered ironical. 

The remark concerning his sister is interesting; he means Angela Raubal. Adolf was not at all 
pleased with the idea that his sister should also go to the Waldviertel, as, after his violent quarrel 
with her husband, he did not wish to meet her again. 

A few days later another card arrived from Adolf dated J uly 19, 1908, showing a picture of the 
airship Zeppelin. It read: 

Dear Friend, 

My best thanks for your kindness. You don't need to send me butter and cheese now. But I thank 
you most gratefully for the kind thought. Tonight I am going to see Lohengrin. Kindest regards to 
you and your esteemed parents. 

ADOLF HITLER 

Around the edge is written, "Frau Zakreys thanks you for the money and send regards to you and 
parents." 

I had told my mother how hard up my friend was and that he sometimes went hungry. That was 
enough for my dear mother. Without saying a word to me she had sent Adolf, during that summer 
of 1908, a number of food parcels. The reason he asked her not to send any more was because 
of his forthcoming trip to the Waldviertel. But more important than all this was the fact that he 
could see Lohengrin. I was with him in this. 

I wondered what he would be doing alone in our room, and I often thought of him. Perhaps he 
took advantage of the fact that he now had the room to himself to start, once again, on his big 
building plans. He had long ago decided to rebuild the Vienna Hofburg. On our strolls through the 
centre of the city he was always coming back to this project, the ideas for which were already 
formulated and needed only to be put on paper. Itannoyed him thatthe old Hofburg and the court 
stables were built of brick. Bricks, according to him, were not a solid enough material for 
monumental buildings. So these buildings must come down and be rebuilt in a similar style in 



stone. In addition, Adolf wanted to match the wonderful semicircle of columns of the new Burg 
with a corresponding one on the opposite side, and thus magnificently enclose the Heldenplatz. 
The Burgtor should remain. Across the Ring, two mighty triumphal, arches -- the question which 
"triumphs" they should commemorate Adolf very wisely left unanswered -- should bring the 
wonderful square and the Hof M useum into one design. The old court stables should be 
demolished and be replaced by a monumental building equal to the Hofberg and linked by two 
other triumphal arches to the whole complex. Thus, according to my friend, Vienna would have a 
square worthy of a metropolis. 

ButI was mistaken. Adolf was not concerned aboutVienna, butaboutLinz. Perhaps this was for 
him the best way to still that bitter feeling which the loss of his parental home and the 
estrangementfrom his home town had roused in him. Linz, where he had suffered such cruel 
blows from Fate, should now learn how much be loved her. 

A letter arrived, a rarity for Adolf for, if only to save the postage, he used only to write postcards. 
Although he has no idea what he can "dish up" forme, he feels the urge to chat with me about his 
hermit's life. The letter is dated J uly 21, 1908, and reads: 

Dear Friend, 

Perhaps you have wondered why I haven't written for so long. The answer is simple. I didn't know 
what I could dish up for you and what would be of particular interest to you. First, I am still in 
Vienna and will stay here. I am alone here because Frau Zakreys is at her brother's. 
Nevertheless, I'm getting on quite well in my hermits life. There's only one thing I miss. Until now, 
Frau Zakreys always banged on my door early in the morning and I got up and started work, 
whereas now I have to depend on myself. Has anything happened in Linz? One doesn't hear any 
more of the Society for Rebuilding the Theatre. When the bank is finished, please send me a 
picture postcard. And now I have two favours to ask of you. First, would you be so good as to buy 
for me the Guide to the Danube City of Linz, notthe Wohrl, but the actual Linz one published by 
Krakowitzer. On the coverthere is a picture of a Linz girl, and the background shows Linz from 
the Danube, with the bridge and castle. It costs 60 hellers which I enclose in postage stamps. 
Please send it to me immediately, either postage paid, or collect. 1 will repay you the expense. 
But be sure thatthe timetable of the steamship company, as well as the map of the town, are 
both there. I need a few figures which I have forgotten and which I can't find in the Wohrl. And 
secondly, I would ask you, when you go on the boat again, to get me a copy of the guide you had 
this year. This "pay-what-you-wish" cost I will refund to you. So, you will do this for me, won't 
you? There is no other news, except that this morning I caught an army of bugs which were soon 
swimming in my blood, and now my teeth are chattering with the "heat." 

I think there have been very few summers with such cold days as this. Its the same with you, isn't 
it? Now with kindest regards to you and your esteemed parents, and once more repeating my 
requests, I remain your friend. 

ADOLF HITLER 

Adolf was so keenly interested in his new plans for rebuilding Linz that he spared from his scanty 
means sixty hellers for me to buy the Krakowitzer edition of the Town Guide. The "bank" he refers 
to is the building of the Bank for Upper Austria and Salzburg. Adolf was very worried lest this 
building should detractfrom the compact appearance of the Linz main square. I could understand 
that he awaited impatiently for definite news of the Theatre Building Society because the theatre, 
together with the Danube bridge, were his favourite building projects. 



How conscientious Adolf was, in spite of iiis desperate poverty, is siiown not only by the 
enclosure to pay for the G uide, but by the remark that he would repay me the small sum I might 
spend for the "pay-what-you-wish" G uide that was obtainable on board the steamers. 

And, oh, the bugs! That spiteful trick of fate's. I myself was practically immune, while Adolf was 
terribly afflicted by them. When I used to sleep through his nightly bug hunt, how often the next 
morning would he show me, carefully spiked on a pin, the result of his nights activity. At that time 
many houses in Vienna suffered from bugs. Well, another army of them had paid the extreme 
penalty. 

For some time I did not hear from him. But then there came a lovely letter, dated August 17, 
1908, probably the most revealing letter that he ever sent me. It reads: 

Good Friend, 

First I must ask you to forgive me for not having written for so long. This had its own good -- or 
rather bad -- reasons; I didn't know what I could find to tell you. That I am writing you now only 
shows how long I had to search before I could collect together a little news. First, our land-lady, 
Zakreys, thanks you forthe money. And secondly, 1 want to thank you heartily foryour letter. 
Probably Frau Zakreys finds writing letters difficult (her German is so bad) but she has asked me 
to thank you and your esteemed parents for the money. I have just got over a sharp attack of 
bronchial catarrh. Itseems thatyour Musician's Union is facing a crisis. Who actually published 
the newspaper that I sent you lasttime? I had already paid the money long since. Do you know 
anything more about it? We're having nice fine weather now; it's pouring rain. And this year, with 
the baking heat we've had, that's really a blessing from heaven. But I shall only be able to enjoy it 
for a littie while now. Probably Saturday or Sunday I shall have to leave. Shall letyou know 
exactly. Am writing quite a lot lately, mostly afternoons and evenings. Have you read the latest 
decision of the Council with regard to the new theatre? Itseems to me they intend to patch up the 
old junk heap once more. It can't go on like this any longer, because they won't get the 
permission from the authorities. In any case, the whole claptrap of these highly respected and all- 
powerful people shows thatthey understand aboutas much about building a theatre as a 
hippopotamus does of playing the violin. If my architect's manual didn't look so shabby, I would 
like to pack it up and send it to them with the following address: Theatre - Rebuilding - Society - 
Committee - for- the - Execution - of - the - Project- for- the - Rebuilding - of - the -Theatre. To 
the local, highly well-born, most strict and archlaudable committee forthe eventual construction 
and required decoration! ... 

And with this I close. With kindest regards to you and your esteemed parents, I remain, your 
friend, ADOLF HITLER 

This is absolutely typical of Adolf. Even the unusual opening, "Good Friend," shows that he is in 
an emotional state. Then follows the long-winded introduction corresponding to that characteristic 
"take-off" of his which he always used for his nocturnal orations in order to get going. 

The joke about "pleasant rainy weather," which already appears in another guise in his letter of 
April 20 of the same year, is warmed up to loosen the hesitant pen. To begin with, our good old 
landlady, with her melodious accent, is pulled to pieces. Then Adolf has a go atthe Musician's 
Union. But these are only preliminary skirmishes, justto sharpen up the sword, for now he 
slashes out with all his own special vehemence againstthe Linz Theatre Society, which is not 
putting up a new building, but which proposes to renovate the "old junk heap." Bitterly he 
denounces these retrograde philistines who are mucking up his favourite project, one that has 
occupied him for years. Reading this letter I could, so to speak, see Adolf pacing up and down 
between the door and the piano, going bald-headed for these bureaucratic city councillors. He did 
actually go on the journey that he mentions in this letter, as on August 20, that is, three days later. 



he sent me a picture postcard of Weitra Castle from the Waldviertel. He does not seem to have 
liked it at his relatives', as very soon there comes a card from Vienna, congratulating me on my 
Saints Day. 

So everything went according to plan. Frau Zakreys went to Moravia, Adolf to the Waldviertel. 
While life in the Stumpergasse was once again running on its accustomed lines, I -- greatly to my 
distress -- had to reportatthe barracks of the Austro-Hungarian Infantry RegimentNo. 2. WhatI 
had to do in those, eight weeks -- or to be more precise, what was done with me in this period of 
training -- 1 prefer to leave unrecorded. These eight weeks represent, so to speak, a complete 
void in my life. But even they came to an end and finally, on November 20, 1 was able to inform 
Adolf of my arrival in Vienna. 

I had, as I wrote him, taken the early train to save time, and arrived atthe WestBahnhof atthree 
o'clock in the afternoon. He would be waiting, I thought, atthe usual spot, the platform barrier. 
Then he could help me to carry the heavy case which also contained something for him from my 
mother. Had I missed him? I went back again, but he was certainly not at the barrier. I went into 
the waiting room. In vain I looked around me; Adolf was not there. Perhaps he was ill. He had 
indeed written me in his last letter that he was still being plagued by his old trouble, bronchial 
catarrh. I put my case in the left-luggage office and, very worried, hastened to the Stumpergasse. 
Frau Zakreys was delighted to see me, but told me immediately thatthe room was taken. "But 
Adolf, my friend?" I asked her astonished. 

Frau Zakreys stared at me with wide open eyes from her lined, withered face. "But don't you 
know that H err Hitler has moved out?" 

"No, I didn't know." 

"Where has he moved to?" I asked. 

"Herr Hitler didn't tell me that." 

"But he must have left a message for me-a letter perhaps, or a note. How else shall I get hold of 
him?" 

The landlady shook her bead. "No, Herr Hitler didn't leave anything." 

"Not even a greeting?" 

"He didn't say anything." 

I asked Frau Zakreys if the rent had been paid. Yes, Adolf had duly paid his share. Frau Zakreys 
gave me back the money that was due to me, as I had already paid my rent until November. She 
was very sorry to lose us both, but nothing could be done about it, and she gave me a makeshift 
bed for the night. 

The next morning I went to lookfor another room, found a pleasant, light little room in the 
Glasauerhof, and hired an upright piano. 

Nevertheless, I missed Adolf very much, although I was convinced that some day he would turn 
up again atmy lodgings. To make iteasierfor him I left my new address with Frau Zakreys. Now 
Adolf had three ways of getting into touch with me-through Frau Zakreys, through the Office of 
the Conservatory or through my parents. He would certainly adopt one of these ways if he wanted 
to see me again. That I could have found him through the Central Registration Office at Police 



Headquarters naturally did not occur to me. But days went by. A week, another week -- Adolf still 
did notcome. Whathad happened to him? Had something come between us which made him 
leave me? 

In my thoughts I went over again the last weeks we had spent together. Of course there had been 
differences of opinion and rows, but with Adolf this was quite normal. It had always been the 
same with him. However much I pondered, I could not discover the slightest reason for his 
silence. After all, he himself had said many times that when I came back to Vienna in the autumn, 
we should live together again. He had never so much as hinted at our parting, even in moments 
of anger. In these four years, our friendship had become so close that it was taken for granted, 
and so was our resolve to stay together in the future. 

When I thought back over the last weeks we had spent together I could only establish, on the 
contrary, that our relationship had been better than ever before, closer and more full of meaning. 
Yes, those lastfew weeks in Vienna, when we had so many marvellous experiences at the 
Opera, atthe Burg Theatre, and on the adventurous trip to the Rax, had indeed been the climax 
of our friendship. 

What could have made Adolf leave me without a word or a sign? 

The more I racked my brain about it, the more I realised how much Adolf had meant to me. I felt 
deserted and alone, and with the constant memory of our friendship in my mind, I just could not 
decide to turn elsewhere for companionship. Although I appreciated that my studies would gain 
by it, yet my whole life now seemed to me so ordinary, almost boring. It certainly was some 
consolation to hear beautiful performances at concerts and atthe Opera. But it was depressing to 
have no one to share them with. At every concert and every opera I went to, I hoped to see Adolf. 
Perhaps he would be standing atthe exitatthe end of the performance, waiting for me, and I 
should hearagain his familiar, impatient voice saying, "Oh, come on, GustI!" 

But all my hopes of seeing Adolf again proved vain, and meanwhile something became clear: he 
did not want to come back to me. It was not by chance that he had left, neither was it the outcome 
of a passing mood or a series of mishaps. Had he wanted to find me, he certainly could have 
done so. 

It distressed me that he should want to break off this friendship, that had meant so much to me, 
withouta sign of thanks, a token of future meetings. So, the next time I was in Linz, I went to see 
Frau Raubal in the Biirgergasse, to get his address from her. 

She was alone, and received me with perceptible coolness. I asked her where Adolf was now 
living in Vienna. She did not know, she answered crossly, Adolf had never written to her again. 
So here, once more, I met with failure. And when Frau Raubal began to reproach me, saying that 
it was partly through my artistic ambitions that Adolf, now twenty years of age, still had no 
profession and no position, I told her plainly what I thought and defended Adolf vigorously, for, 
after all, Angela was only repeating her husband's opinion. And my opinion of the latter was no 
better than Adolfs. As the conversation was growing more and more unpleasant, I rose and took 
my leave abruptly. 

The year came to an end, without my having heard or seen anything of Adolf. It was from a Linz 
archivists research into Adolf Hitier's life that I was to learn, forty years later, that my friend had 
moved out of the Stumpergasse because the rent was too much for him and had found much 
cheaper accommodations ata so-called Men's Hostel in the Meldemannstrasse. Adolf had 
disappeared into the shadowy depths of the metropolis. Then began for him those years of bitter 
misery of which he himself says littie, and concerning which there is no reliable witness; for one 
thing is certain, that in this most difficult phase of his life, he no longer had a friend. I can now 



understand his behaviour atthattime. He did not wish to have a friend, because he was ashamed 
of his own poverty. He wanted to go his way alone, and bear alone whatever destiny brought him. 
It was the road into the wilderness. I personally experienced, after that parting, that one is never 
so lonely as in the midst of the crowds of people in a big city. 

Thus, ourfine adolescentfriendship came to an end thatwas anything but beautiful. But, with the 
passing of time, I became reconciled. Indeed, I came to feel thatthis sudden termination of our 
friendship by Adolf was of much more significance than if it had finished through our growing 
indifference towards each other, or if I had ceased to mean anything to him. Certainly such an 
end would have been harder for me to bear than thatforced farewell, which was really not a 
farewell at all. 



The Young HitJer I Knew ~ August Kubizek 



Epilogue 



Aftera course of fouryears intensive study attiie Vienna Conservatory, I was engaged as 
assistant conductor by the JVlunicipa I Theatre in JVlarburg on the Drau and opened my career 
there with Lortzing's DerWaffenschmied. I was very happy about this first, independent job. 
Although the town was smaller than Linz, it was very interested in art. I produced several good 
light operas, of which, in particular, Flotow's Martha had a greatsuccess. Atthe end of the 
season I moved, with my orchestra, to Bad Pystian to conduct the music there for the summer 
season. My engagement in Marburg continued for the following season and I was already 
completely at home in that bright little town. The support which I encountered on all sides 
increased my youthful self-assurance and spurred on my enthusiasm. 

One night, aftera first performance of Eva, the director called me to his box and introduced me to 
the Head of the Klagenfurt M unicipal Theatre, who was looking for an opera conductor. He was, 
apparently, so impressed by my performance that he engaged me on the spot for the next 
season. So in the early summer of 1914, atthe close of the season in Marburg, on my way home 
to Linz I broke my journey in Klagenfurt and made some enquiries about my future sphere of 
activities. A good orchestra, forty strong, a nice house, a modern stage, and all this in the capital 
city of Carinthia, renowned for its love of music. Here I could give Lohengrin, perhaps even the 
Meistersinger. What more could I ask? Truly the heavenly violins were, almost literally, already 
playing for me. 

Then, so near to their fulfillment, my youthful dreams disappeared in the fire of the Russian 
batteries when, a few months later, as a reservist of the Austro-Hungarian Infantry RegimentNo. 
2, 1 experienced my baptism of fire on the Galician front. This was not the music I had dreamed 
of. Although I was so unsuited to soldiering, I tried, like all my comrades, to do my duty. This 
endeavour brought me, after the frightful winter of 1915 in the Carpathians, to the wretched field 
hospital of Eperjes in Hungary. 

The sick and severely wounded were taken to Budapest, a terrible journey of seven days; at all 
the larger stations the dead were unloaded. I had given up hope and had already calculated at 
which station they would dump me. By a miracle I survived all the horrors and miseries of this 
journey -- but my strength was gone forever. 

When, after months of sickness, I was so much improved as to be able to visit my parents again, 
there too I found everything changed. My father, worn out by work and betrayed in his fond hope 
of handing over to his only son the firm he had so painstakingly built up had given up the 
business in 1916 and had boughta small farm atFraham, near Eferding. There he sought to 
regain his health, but in vain, and, while I was atthe frontfor a second time in September 1918, 
he died in all the misery and despair thatfilled those days. How I wish I could have made his old 
age happier! 

The end of the war came while I was with a transport formation in Vienna and here, on November 
8, 1918, 1 was demobilised. What should I do now? All the provincial theatres were closed, so I 
travelled to Vienna to look for some kind of job. To be sure, both the state theatres were still 
open, but it was hopeless to try to get a position in one. The orchestra in which for many years, 
while studying, I had earned my keep as a cellist had been disbanded. Nothing remained but a 
few dance bands in the big cafes. No, that was no good for me. For some while I conducted a six- 
piece band in one of the new cinemas, a band that was supposed to "provide the musical 



illustration" for the silentfilms, but I got no satisfaction out of this. I tried to get a job as a cellist or 
atleastto getsome occasional engagements of this kind, butwith no success. Nor was there any 
demand for private lessons. 

I was at the end of my tether when a letter came from my mother. She wrote me that in the town 
of Eferding they were advertising for a Secretary to the Council. With all her mother's guile she 
knew how to make this far from attractive job seem more palatable to me. She had told the Mayor 
of my musical ability and added that, in addition, they would like the future Council Secretary to 
reorganise the Music Society that had broken up during the war and to undertake its direction. 

I went home and looked into the proposition; the salary was small and the artistic possibilities 
seemed very limited. But meanwhile I had given up hope of becoming a professional conductor 
and, mainly to please my mother, I sent in my application. Then I returned to Vienna still hoping to 
get into an orchestra. There, in] anuary 1920, 1 received a notification from the Mayor advising 
me that the job of Secretary to the Council had been awarded to me out of a list of thirty-eight 
applicants. Thus I became a civil servant. 

Gradually I became familiar with the work and some years later I passed the Upper Austrian State 
examination for municipal employees. It was a humble job but it left me free to give myself up to 
my music. I built up a respectable orchestra and soon the musical life of the littie town began to 
develop very well indeed. What with the quiet chamber music of a string quartet, the open-air 
performances of the brass band and the gala performances of the choral society there was much 
satisfying and successful work for me. 

Throughout all this period I never succeeded in getting any news of the friend of my earlier years 
who had deserted me in such a strange fashion and I had finally given up trying. Besides, I had 
no idea how to try to find outabouthim. His brother-in-law Raubal was long since dead. Angela, 
his sister, was no longer living in Linz. Anything might have happened to my friend. That he was a 
better soldier than I had been, I was convinced; perhaps he, like so many of our generation, had 
been killed. 

Now and again I would hear talk of a German politician who was called Adolf Hitler. But I thought 
it must refer to some other man who happened to have the same name. After all, the name of 
Hitier was not so uncommon. I imagined that if ever again I heard of my erstwhile friend it would 
be to learn that he had become an important architect, or at least an artist, not just some 
insignificant politician, leastof all in Munich. 

Then one evening, as I was crossing our quiet market square, for no particular reason I stopped 
to look into the bookshop. There in the show window lay the Munchner lllustrierte. On the front 
page was the picture of a man in about the middle thirties with small, pale features - I recognised 
him the very first moment. That was Adolf; he had hardly changed at all. I reckoned how long it 
was since the days when we had lived together in the Stumpergasse - fifteen years! The face 
seemed to have become sterner, more mature, more manly, but hardly any older. 

The caption read, "The well-known National Socialist orator, Adolf Hitler." So my friend was in fact 
one and the same as that politician of whom there was so much talk. I was very sorry that he, like 
myself, had not been able to achieve an artistic career. I knew only too well what it meant to bury 
all one's hopes and dreams. And now he had to earn his living by making speeches at meetings. 
A hard job, although he was indeed a good and convincing speaker- I had had proof of that 
often enough. I could also understand his interest in politics, but politics was a thankless task as 
well as being dangerous. I was glad that, if only through my professional position, I was obliged to 
hold myself aloof from political events as, now being Town Clerk, I had to work in the interests of 
all the townsfolk alike, without any distinction. But my friend wentfull steam ahead into politics 



and I was not at all surprised that his stormy activities of which I read in the papers landed him in 
jail atLandsberg. 

But he turned up again and the press gave him more space than ever. His political ideas, which 
gradually found supporters in Austria too, did not surprise me in the least because, 
fundamentally, they were the same as those he used to expound to me, admittedly still confused 
and exaggerated, in Vienna. When I read his speeches I could actually see him in front of me, 
striding up and down in the gloomy back room in the Stumpergasse between the door and the 
piano, holding forth unceasingly. In those days I was his only listener; now his audience was 
counted in thousands. One heard his name everywhere and soon they were asking, "Where does 
he come from, this Hitler?" 

Well, I was certainly in a better position than many others to tell them. Did I not still have letters 
and drawings of his? I had forgotten all about them, but now I climbed up to the loft and there it 
still stood, the old wooden chestthathad remained in my parents' house atFraham until the time 
my mother sold the little farm and moved in with me, bringing It with her. I found the key and 
unlocked the chest. And, in fact, there lay a large blue envelope bearing the name "Adolf Hitler," 
written in my hand. I could not recollect this envelope. In the frightful happenings of the war and 
the misery that followed I had completely forgotten about it, just as my friend, too, would have 
faded slowly from my mind if he had not appeared again as a politician. 

I opened the envelope; there were my friend's postcards, letters and drawings, though certainly 
only a part of those I had received from him. But nevertheless, some well worthy of interest; I 
reread his cards and letters. Whatshould I do with them? Should I send him back the whole 
correspondence. But why? He had other things to do now than to warm up old boyhood 
memories. Perhaps he had long since forgotten the lanky, music-mad carpenter's apprentice 
whom he had met in the Linz Theatre. Should I write to him? That, too, seemed to me pointless, 
as even in those days he had scorned me for my feeble interest in politics and now he would be 
more than ever disappointed in me. 

So I contented myself with reading whatthe newspapers said about him. His supporters could 
now be counted by the million. Without stepping onto Austrian soil he managed, with his radical 
conceptions and ideas, to bring excitementand unrestto ourshrunken litde Austria, and this was 
even more reason for me to keep quiet. 

It might seem incomprehensible that, after Adolf had made himself a name as a politician, I did 
not immediately try to get in touch with him. But yet, looking back, I must say this: our boyhood 
friendship had sprung from our common interest in art; politics had no attraction for me and so I 
no longer felt drawn towards Adolf who, in turn, could not be expected to have any interest in me. 

Then on j anuary 30, 1933, 1 heard the news that Adolf Hitier had become Reichs Chancellor. 
Immediately I thought back to thatnighton the Freinberg when Adolf had described to me how 
he, like Rienzi, would rise to be the Tribune of the people. Whatthe sixteen-year-old had seen 
then in a visionary's trance had really come to pass. So I sat down and wrote a few lines to "The 
Reichs Chancellor Adolf Hitler in Berlin." 

I didn't expect any reply. A chancellor had more important things to do than to answer the letter of 
one August Kubizek from Eferding with whom he had been friendly a quarter of a century earlier. 
But it seemed to me, politics apart, the right thing to do as a former friend to congratulate him on 
the position he had reached. 

But one day to my great astonishment I received the following letter: 

To the Town Clerk Mr. AUGUST KUBIZEK Eferding, Upper Austria 



ADOLF HITLER 

Munich, August 4, 1933 The Brown House 

My dear Kubizek, 

I have only just been shown your letter of February 2. In view of the hundreds of thousands of 
letters I have received since J anuary this is not to be wondered at. So much the greater was my 
pleasure to receive news of you after so many years and to have your address. I should be very 
glad -- once the period of my hardest struggles is past-- to revive once more with you those 
memories of the best years of my life. Perhaps you could come to visit me. With all good wishes 
to you and your mother, I remain, in memory of our old friendship. 

Yours, ADOLF HITLER 

So be had notforgotten me. That in spite of all the strain of his work he remembered me made 
me very happy. He called the years we had spent together the "bestyears" of his life. So he had 
already forgotten the misery that went with them and only the exuberance of his youth remained a 
fond memory. But the end of the letter caused me some embarrassment. "Perhaps you could 
come to visit me," he wrote. That was easier said than done. I couldn't just simply go up to his 
house on the Obersalzberg and say "Here I am." Besides, this reunion would only have been a 
nuisance to him. What could I have told him? My own life, compared with his, was unimportant 
and uninteresting; to tell him about Eferding would only bore him. And for the rest I had nothing to 
relate. So I let the matter restand persuaded myself that this friendly invitation was justa formal 
courtesy, like the stereotyped greetings at the end of his letters; twenty-five years ago to my 
parents, now only for my mother. 

Of course it is very nice when a friend is so consistent in his behaviour, but I thought it was 
nonsense to be equally consistent in the continuance of our friendship, as fate had only too 
obviously cast us into paths so widely divergent. 

On March 12, 1938, however, on the very spot where his father had once served as a customs 
official, Adolf Hitier crossed the frontier. The German Army marched into Austria. On the evening 
of March 12 Adolf Hitler addressed the assembled populace from the balcony of the Linz Town 
Hall, which was still as modest and as shabby as it had been in our youth. I should have liked to 
have gone to hear him speak, but I was so busy with the billeting of the German troops that I 
could not leave Eferding. But when Hitler came again to Linz, on April 8, and stayed at the Hotel 
Weinzingeraftera political demonstration atthe Kraus locomotive works, I did make an attempt 
to see him. The Square in front of the hotel was crammed with people, but I made my way 
through to the cordon of S.A. men and told them that I would like to speak to the Chancellor. At 
firstthey gave me a queer look, probably thinking I was mad. Only after I had shown them one of 
Hitier's letters did they prick up their ears. They called over an officer and when he too had seen 
the letter he let me through immediately and conducted me to the entrance hall of the hotel. But in 
there it was like a beehive; generals were standing around in groups waiting and discussing 
events. Ministers of State whom I recognised from the illustrated papers, high-up Party leaders 
and other uniformed personalities came and went. A.D.C.s, recognisable by their gleaming 
shoulder tabs, strode busily about. And all this exciting activity centred around the man to whom I, 
too, wished to speak. I became quite giddy and realised that it had been foolish of me to come. I 
had to accept the fact that my erstwhile friend had become Reichs Chancellor and this highest 
position in tiie State had created between us an unbridgeable gulf. The years when I had been 
the only one to whom he gave his friendship and when he had confided to me the most intimate 
affairs of his heart, were definitely over. 



Therefore the bestthing I could do was to disappear quietly and not be a nuisance to these high- 
ranking gentlemen who undoubtedly were there on most important missions. 

One of the senior A. D.C.s, Albert Bormann to whom I had confided my request, soon approached 
me and told me thatthe Reichs Chancellor was not very well and would not be receiving anybody 
else that day; would I come again tomorrow at lunchtime. Bormann then invited me to sit down for 
a moment as there were things he wished to ask me. Had the C hancellor in his youth always 
gone to bed so late? he inquired plaintively; he never wentto bed before midnightand sleptfar 
into the morning, whereas his entourage who were obliged to stay up late with him in the evening 
had to be up and about early the next day. Bormann went on to complain about Hitler's outbursts 
of temper which nobody could cope with and about his queer diet, which consisted of meatless 
dishes, puddings and fruit juices. Had the Chancellor always eaten thus? 

I said yes, only adding that in his youth he had still been fond of meat. With this I took my leave. 
This Albert Bormann was a brother of the well-known Martin Bormann. 

The nextday again I wentto Linz. Everybody was outin the streets, which were packed with 
people, and the closer I got to the Hotel Weinzingerthe thicker became the throng. Finally I 
managed to fight my way through to the hotel and once more took up my obscure position in the 
foyer. The excitement and agitation was even greater than the previous day. For this was the eve 
of the plebiscite in Austria. 

It can be imagined that all big decisions had to be taken by Hitler himself. At any rate I could not 
have chosen a more unfortunate momentfor our reunion than this. I recalled that at the beginning 
of J uly, 1908, we had said goodbye in the hall of the Westbahnhof; today was April 9, 1938. So 
almostexactly thirty years had passed between our abrupt separation and today's meeting - 
always supposing this did take place. Thirty years - a whole lifetime! And what world-shaking 
events these thirty years had brought. 

I had no illusions about what would happen if Hitler did see me. A brief handshake, perhaps a 
familiar clap on the shoulder, a few friendly, hasty words in passing - I would have to be satisfied 
with this modest portion. For my part, I had prepared a few suitable words but I was somewhat 
worried about the form of address. I couldn't possibly call the Reichs Chancellor "Adolf." I knew 
whata stickler for form he was. Itwould be bestto keep to the formal mode of address. But then, 
I didn't even know if I would get as far as making the little speech. 

The memory of what really did happen is naturally influenced by my deep emotional feelings at 
the time. 

As Hitler suddenly came out of one of the hotel rooms, he recognised me immediately and with 
the joyful cry, "GustI!" he left his entourage standing there and came and took me by the arm. I 
still remember how he took my outstretched right hand in both of his and held it firmly and how his 
eyes, which were still as bright and as piercing as ever, gazed into mine. He was obviously 
moved, just as I was. I could hear it in his voice. 

The worthy gentlemen in the hall looked at each other. Nobody knew this curious civilian whom 
the FiJhrerand Chancellor greeted with such warmth. 

Then I pulled myself together and delivered myself of the speech I had prepared. He listened 
attentively, smiling slightly. When I had finished he nodded at me, as if to say. You've learnt it 
well, G usti, or perhaps even. And now my boyhood friend talks to me just like all the others. But 
to me, any familiarity on my part seemed out of place. 



After a little pause he said, "Come with me," using the formal mode of address "Sie." Perhaps 
through my prepared speech I had forfeited thatfamiliar "Du" which he had used in his letter of 
1933. But, to tell the truth, I was relieved to hear him use "Sie." 

The Chancellor preceded me to the lift. We went up to the second floor where he had his rooms; 
the A.D.C. opened the door. We entered; the A.D.C. left. We were alone. Once more Hitlertook 
my hand, gazed at me for a long time and said, "You are just the same as you always were, 
Kubizek. I should have recognised you immediately anywhere. You have not changed at all, just 
got older." 

Then he led me to the table and invited me to take a seat. He assured me how glad he was to 
see me once again after so long. He had been particularly pleased with my congratulations, as 
nobody knew better than I what a hard fight he had had. The present moment was not suitable for 
a heart-to-heart talk, but he hoped to have an opportunity for it in the future. He would let me 
know; it was not advisable to write to him direct as such letters often never even reached him, 
and all had to be carefully gone through to save his time. 

"I no longer have a private life as in those days, and can't do just what I want like other people." 

With these words he rose and went over to the window which looked out onto the Danube. The 
old iron bridge which, even in his boyhood, used to annoy him still stood there. As was to be 
expected, he started immediately: 

"That ugly thing," he exclaimed, "still there! But notfor much longer, you can be sure of that, 
Kubizek." 

And then he turned to me again and smiled, "j ustthe same I'd like to stroll across the old bridge 
with you once again. Butthats no longer possible. Wherever I go I'm surrounded. But believe me, 
Kubizek, I've got a lot of plans for Linz." 

Nobody knew that better than I. As I expected, he propounded once again all the plans which had 
occupied him in his youth as though not thirty years, butatthe mostthree years had passed 
since then. 

Shortly before he received me, he had driven through the streets of the town to find out what 
alterations there had been. Now he went through each single plan. The new Danube bridge, 
which was to be called the Nibelungs Bridge, was to be a masterpiece. He described to me in 
detail the shape of the two bridgeheads. Then he wenton to talk -I knew in advance in which 
order he would discuss things - of the theatre which, above everything, was going to be 
equipped with a modern stage. When the new Opera House, to be built on the site of the ugly 
station, was ready, that theatre would only be used for plays and operettas. In addition to this Linz 
needed a modern concert hall if it were to be worthy to be known as the "City of Bruckner." "I 
want Linz to have a leading place in culture and I will see that everything is done to this end." 

I thought that now the interview was finished. But then Hitler began to speak of setting up a grand 
symphony orchestra in Linz and, with this, the conversation suddenly took a more personal turn. 

"Now tell me, Kubizek, what have you become?" 

I told him that since 1920 I had been a municipal employee and at that moment had the job of 
Town Clerk. 

"Town Clerk," he asked, "whats that?" 



I was a bit embarrassed. How could I describe to iiim briefly what this job really involved? While I 
was still searching for suitable words he broke in. "So you've become a civil servant, a pen- 
pusher! Thats not the right thing for you. What has happened to your music?" 

I answered truthfully that the war we had lost had completely ruined my career. I had to get a 
different job, or starve. 

He nodded grimly and said, "Yes, the war we lost." Then, looking at me he said, "You won't end 
your days as a pen-pusher, Kubizek." Moreover, he would like once to have a lookatthis 
Eferding place I had mentioned. 

I asked him if he really meant it. 

"Of course I will come to see you, Kubizek," he remarked, "but my visit will be for you alone. Then 
we will go strolling along the Danube. I can't manage it here - they don't leave me alone." 

He wanted to know if I was still so keen on music. 

And now I was off on my hobby-horse and I told him at length of the musical activities in our little 
town. Considering the weighty and world-shaking problems that he had to deal with, I was afraid 
that my recital would bore him; but I was mistaken. If, to save time, I mentioned something only 
cursorily, he interrupted me immediately. 

"What, Kubizek, you even give symphonies in this little Eferding! But thats marvellous. Which 
symphonies have you played?" 

I recounted, Schubert's Unfinished, Beethoven's Third, Mozarts j upiter Symphony, Beethoven's 
Fifth. 

He wanted to know how many strong my orchestra was and how it was composed, was amazed 
atthe details I gave him and congratulated me on my success. 

"This is where I must help you, Kubizek," he exclaimed. "Make me outa reportand tell me what 
you need. And how are you getting on, personally; you are not hard up?" 

I replied that while my job brought in only a modest income it was enough for my needs and 
consequently I had no personal requests. 

Astonished, he glanced up; it was obviously new to him that one should have no personal wishes. 

"Have you any children, Kubizek?" 

"Yes, three sons." 

"Three sons," he shouted, impressed. He repeated it several times with a most earnest 
expression. "So you've gotthree sons, Kubizek. I have no family. I am alone. But I should like to 
look after your sons." 

I had to tell him all about my boys - he wanted to know every detail. He was pleased that they 
were all three musically gifted and thattwo of them were also clever draughtsmen. 



"I shall make myself responsible for the training of your three sons, Kubizek," he said to me. "I 
don't want gifted young people to have such a hard time of it as we had. You know best what we 
had to go through in Vienna. But the worsttime came forme later on, after we bad parted. Young 
talent must no longer be allowed to perish through sheer poverty. Wherever I can help personally, 
I do, and all the more when its a question of your children, Kubizek!" 

I hasten to add here thatthe Chancellor did indeed arrange for the musical studies of my three 
sons atthe Bruckner Conservatory in Linz to be paid through his office, and on his orders the 
drawings of my son Rudolf were examined by a Professor of the Academy in Munich. 

I had reckoned on a hasty handshake, and here we were sitting togetherfor a good hour. 

The Chancellor rose. I thought the interview was now at an end and I rose too. But he only called 
in his A.D.C. and gave him instructions concerning my sons; the A.D.C. took the opportunity of 
reminding him of his youthful letters which were still in my possession. 

And now I had to spread the letters, postcards and drawings out on the table. He was greatly 
surprised to see the number of mementoes I had and asked how these papers had come to be 
preserved. I told him of the black-painted trunk in the attic with the pocket in the lid and the 
envelope bearing the words, "Adolf Hitler." He paid particular attention to the water colour of the 
Postlingberg. He explained to me thatthere were certain clever painters who could copy his water 
colours so exactly that they couldn't be distinguished from the original. These people carried on a 
flourishing business and could always find fools ready to be taken in; the safest thing was never 
to let the original out of my hands. 

As there had already been attempts to get this material from me, I asked the Chancellor his 
opinion. "These documents are your own personal property, Kubizek," he answered, "No one can 
claim them." 

This led him to speak of Rabitsch's book. Rabitsch had attended the Linz Technical School a 
couple of years after Hitier and, certainly with the best of intentions, had written a book about 
Hitier's school years. But Hitier was very angry about it because Rabitsch had never known him 
personally. 'You see, Kubizek, from the very beginning I was not in favour of this book being 
written; only those who really know me should write about me. If anybody is indicated for it, it is 
you, Kubizek," and turning to his A.D.C. he added, "Make a note of that immediately." 

Then he once more gripped my hand, "See, Kubizek, its really necessary that we should meet 
more often. As soon as its possible I will send for you." 

The meeting was over; in a state of numbness I left the hotel. Unrest entered into my quiet, 
retired life during the following days and I was to discover that it was not all honey to have been 
the boyhood friend of such a famous man. Although I had told hardly anybody about it and was 
determined to be even more discreet in the future, I was soon to experience the drawbacks of 
having been a friend of Hitler's. Already in the previous March I had had a taste of what was in 
store for me. Hardly had Austria become part of the German Reich, than one day a motorcar 
drew up at my house in Eferding. The three men in uniform who got out of it had come direct from 
Berlin. They had instructions from the Fiihrerto collect from me all the documents relative to his 
youth and to take them to the Chancellery so that they could be kept in safety. Luckily I did not 
allow myself to be taken in. As was now clearto me Hitler, atthe time that attempt at confiscation 
had been made, had no idea that I was in possession of these papers. It was the independent 
move of some Party Office which had learned of my existence. In any case I refused to hand over 
the papers to the three S.S. men, which seemed to them hardly believable. Evidently they had 
expected to find the people in Austria more pliable than I was. Their brusque manner did not 
make the desired impression -- and to make matters worse this obstinate civilian wasn't even a 



member of the Party! Extraordinary whatqueerfish the Fiihrer had chosen forfriends in his 
youth, they must have thought, as they went off with empty hands. 

It was lucl<y that I had stood firm againstthis firstattacl<. Those thatfollowed were easierto parry 
as I could quote Hitler's own words, thatthese documents were my own personal property. 

In the following months the various Party Offices tried to outdo each other. As I now learned, 
often, when among his intimates the conversation turned on his youth. Hitler would refer them to 
me. "Ask Gusti" was the stereotyped reply they would get for anything that concerned his youthful 
experiences. But now this "Gusti," who had previously been more or less out of reach, had witii 
tiie Anschluss suddenly become a German citizen and well witiiin the grasp of all the political 
departments. 

Reichs Minister Goebbels sent a very likable young man to me. His name was Karl Cerff, but his 
rank and position I have forgotten. Cerff explained to me tiiattiiey were preparing the publication 
of a great biography of tiie Fiihrer, of which I was to be in charge of the period 1904-1908. At the 
appropriate time I would be called to Berlin so that I could carry out tills work with tiie help of 
acknowledged specialists.. Meanwhile tiiey would like me to make a start witii detailed notes of 
my memoirs. I explained to tiie young man tiiat I could not possibly find tiie time then as, since 
tiie Anschluss, we municipal employees were overwhelmed with work. He realised tiiatl didn't 
wish to bind myself and was very, amused at my way of putting it. But he exhorted me not to 
underrate my "unique responsibility to History," as he expressed it. If I so wished, he could easily 
get me leave of absence. This I refused definitely. So he departed, promising to come at a "better 
moment." But as tiie future only brought "worse moments," I never saw Karl Cerff again. In any 
case, he had ti-ied to carry out his ticklish job witii tactand charm. 

Much more insistent and unpleasant were the instructions that reached me from Martin Bormann, 
who seemed to feel himself solely responsible forme and my affairs and kept an anxious watch 
tiiatno one else should come in contact with me. His letters and orders read as though he had 
taken a lease on tiie life of Adolf Hitier and nobody must say or write one word about it without its 
being examined and agreed on by him. When he failed in his attempts to gettiiese documents 
from me to deposit them witii the Party Centi-al Office "where they belonged," as he wrote, he 
sent me strict orders thatthese papers should never be given up without his permission and tiiat 
no outsider should be permitted a glimpse of them. Forthis I certainly didn't need Martin 
Bormann's admonition -- tills had always been my intention. But when he instructed me to write 
out immediately tiie memoirs of my youthful friendship with Adolf Hitier and submit tiie draft to 
him, tiien I replied that I should have firstto talk this over witii Hitier himself. This method was a 
decided success. In fuhjre when I was being pressed by any of these bullying gentiemen, I had 
only to say, "Excuse me, but I must first discuss your suggestions witii tiie Chancellor personally 
... what was the name again?" This changed tiieir attitude completely and I was tiien handled with 
tiie utmost delicacy and care. 

In contrast to tills, I recollect my meeting witii Rudolf Hess with pleasure. He had come to Linz 
and invited me to call on him; he sent a car for me which took me to the Bergbahn Hotel on tiie 
Postiingberg. Reichs Minister Hess greeted me warmly. "So tills is Kubizek!" he exclaimed, 
beaming. 'The Fiihrer has told me so much about you." I sensed immediately tiiattiiis 
friendliness was really genuine and hearti'elt. 

Also, tiirough this visiti was able to confirm an impression I had thattiie closerto the Chancellor 
a person stood, the more he had been told about me. Rudolf Hess and Frau Winifred Wagner 
were the most fully informed aboutHitier's youtii and, consequently, about me. The Minister 
invited me to lunch which was served on tiie beautiful terrace of tiie hotel. After the meal I had to 
recount to him all my memories in greatdetail. He frequently commented and again and again 
asked me questions. I had the feeling tiiat, in a real, human way, Rudolf Hess was much closerto 
Hitierthan many otiiers and I was glad about tills. The otiier gentiemen, too, who were attiie 



table joined in and we iiad an animated and unrestrained conversation, marl<edly different from 
those dealings with the officials of the Party Central Office. I was particularly glad thatfrom this 
wonderful spot high above the city I could point out to the Minister the position of all the places of 
which we spoke as they lay before us. 

Rudolf Hess made a good impression on me with his simple, straightforward manner which 
differed so much from the behaviour of other, far less important political personalities. I was only 
sorry that he appeared so ill. 

Meanwhile, in my own country, too, they seemed to have become aware of me. To be sure I was 
still nota Party member, which seemed strange to many, as in theiropinion .the boyhood friend 
of Hitler's should actually have been Party member No. 2. But even in those days, politically I had 
always been a dubious supporterof my friend, not exactly because I actively disagreed with his 
politics, but politics did not interest me; or rather, I did not understand them. 

Naturally, too, I was soon flooded with requests for help and supportfrom people who, for one 
reason or another, were in trouble and wanted me to intercede for them. I was willing to help, 
although I had no illusion about my actual influence over political decisions and it was soon made 
clear to me that being "a boyhood friend of Adolf Hitler's" was not sufficient titie to warrant an 
active interference in these affairs. Itwas pointed out to me, politely but firmly, thatthis orthat 
particular matter was quite outside my sphere. 

As I expected, the visit to Eferding that Hitler had planned did not take place. Then, suddenly, my 
state of resignation, induced more by common sense than by sentiment, was broken into by the 
unexpected arrival of a registered letterfrom the Reichs Chancellery. My heart was thudding as I 
opened the envelope. There in its full glory, printed on the finest handmade paper stood what was 
to become the greatest joy of my whole life. By the command of the Reichs Chancellor I was 
invited to be presentatthis year's Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth. I was to report to Herr 
Kannenberg in Haus Wahnfried on j uly 25, 1939. 

It had always been my greatest desire to make the pilgrimage to Bayreuth to experience a 
performance of the great Master there. But I was not well off and with my humble position could 
never even contemplate such a journey. And now suddenly I was going! 

I arrived in good time forthe performance; the Festival in 1939 opened with the Flying Dutchman. 
An orchestra 132 strong -- 1 was bewitched. 

The next day they gave Tristan and Isolde, an unforgettable performance. Thursday,] uly 27, 
Parsifal was presented. I had already prepared myself forthis athome, had studied the piano 
score and read all the relative literature. The soft strains of the Abendmahl motif were heard, the 
world around me changed and I lived through the most happy hours of my earthly existence. 

With Gotterdammerung on Wednesday, August 2, my stay in Bayreuth came to an end. I 
prepared for my journey home and went once more to Herr Kannenberg to thank him for his care 
of me. "Mustyou really leave?" he asked me with a meaning smile. "It would be a good idea if 
you could stay another day." I understood his hint immediately and stayed in Bayreuth till August 
3. 

Attwo o'clock in the afternoon an S.S. officer came to fetch me; itwas notfarto Haus Wahnfried. 
In the hall Obergruppenfiihrer j ulius Schaub was waiting for me and he led me to a large salon 
where many people, whom I recognised from the former Linz visit or from the illustrated papers, 
were present. There stood Frau Winifred Wagner in lively conversation with Reichs Minister 
Hess. ObergruppenfiJhrer Bruckner was chatting with Herr von Neurath and several generals. 
Indeed there was a preponderance of military personalities presentand it struck me thatthe 



general situation was very strained, in particular with regard to Poland, and there was even talk of 
a resort to arms. I felt very out of place in this tense atmosphere and the same sinking feeling, 
like stagefright, that I had experienced in the Hotel Weinzinger in Linz came back to me. Probably 
the Reichs Chancellor wanted to exchange a few friendly words with me before he went back to 
the capital. With my heart beating wildly I prepared a few words of thanks. On the far side of the 
hall were large double folding doors. 

Suddenly the A.D.C. standing by these doors signals to Obergruppenfiihrer Schaub, whereupon 
he leads me forward. The A.D.C. opens both doors and steps aside. ObergruppenfiJhrer Schaub 
steps in with me and announces, "Mein Fuhrer, here is Herr Kubizek." Saying which, he steps 
back and closes the doors behind him. I am alone with the Reichs Chancellor. 

His bright eyes shine with the pleasure of seeing me again and be comes towards me with a 
beaming face. Nothing in his behaviour betrays the immense responsibility which rests on his 
shoulders; he seems to me just like any ordinary visitor to the Festival. He, too, shares that happy 
atmosphere which pervades Bayreuth. Now he takes my right hand in both of his and wishes me 
welcome. This heartfelt greeting on this holy spot moves me so much that I can hardly speak. 

My expressions of gratitude must have sounded very awkward and I was much relieved when his 
friendly "Well, lets sit down" released me from my confusion. 

I had to tell him all about my journey to Bayreuth, my visits to the various places associated with 
Wagner and, of course in the greatest detail, what I thought of the Festival performances. In 
doing this I recovered my self-control and now we were talking in just the same way as we had 
done in our youth about all that enchanted us. And this brought him round to the Wagner 
performances we had seen in Linz and Vienna and he exposed to me his plan to make the work 
of Richard Wagner available to the greatest possible number of the German people. Ah, how well 
I knew these plans from long ago! In his talks of nearly thirty-five years ago their fundamentals 
were already determined. But now it was no longer mere fantasy. Six thousand people, he told 
me, who had previously never been able to afford it were this year, as a result of excellent 
organisation, among the guests atthe Bayreuth Festival. I replied that I myself was among the 
number. He laughed and said-l remember his words exactly - "Now I have you as my witness in 
Bayreuth, Kubizek, for you were the only one present when as a poor, unknown person I first 
gave utterance to these ideas. In those days you used to ask me how these plans could be 
realised. And now you can see what has come of it." He went on to describe to me all that had 
been done up till then and what was still going to be done for Bayreuth, almost as though he had 
to render account to me. 

But now I had a very concrete problem. In my pocket was a large bundle of postcards, bearing his 
picture. In Eferding and Linz there were a great number of worthy people whom I could make 
happy with a photograph with Hitler's autograph. For some time I hesitated to bring out the cards 
as my desire seemed then very commonplace. On the other hand Hitler was justsitting there at 
his desk; if I missed this opportunity, perhaps I should never get such a one again. I thought of 
the people at home and plucked up courage. 

He took the cards and, as he looked for his glasses, I handed him my fountain pen. Then he 
signed and I helped him by drying the signatures with the blotting pad. In the middle of signing 
the cards he looked up, and seeing me standing by with the uplifted blotter, said smilingly, "One 
can see thatyou're a pen-pusher, Kubizek. But I just don't understand how you can stick to that 
job. In your place I'd have cut loose long ago. And, incidentally, why didn't you come and see me 
much eartier?" 

I was very embarrassed and searched for a suitable excuse. "Seeing thatyou wrote me on the 
fourth of August, 1933, thatyou would like to revive our common memories but only when the 



period of sternest struggle was over," I said, "I wanted to wait until then. Besides, until 1938, as 
an Austrian subjecti would have needed a passport to come to Germany. And I certainly should 
not have gotthat if I had revealed the true purpose of my visit." He laughed heartily and 
answered, "Yes, politically you were always a child." I too laughed now because I had expected 
him to use a different word. The "fool" of the Stumpergasse had meanwhile become a "child." 

Then the Reichs Chancellor packed the cards together and got up. I thanked him and put them 
carefully in my coat pocket. Now, I thought, the interview was at an end. Then he said solemnly, 
"Come!" 

He opened the french windows and preceded me into the garden down the stone steps. Well- 
tended paths brought us to a high, wrought-iron gate. He opened it. There were flowers and 
shrubs in full bloom, and the mighty trees, forming a roof above us, threw the place into semi- 
darkness. A few more paces and we stood in front of Richard Wagner's tomb. 

Hitiertook my hand and I could feel how moved he was. 

It was quite still; nothing disturbed the solemn peace. 

Hitier broke the silence, "I am happy that we have met once more on this spot which always was 
the mostvenerable place for us both." 

I pondered on the inscrutable ways of destiny. 

Whoever had known us both in those days in Vienna must have been certain that my future was, 
to all intents and purposes, predictable. After finishing at the Conservatory I would start my career 
as an opera conductor, a career to which my early successes pointed. It must have seemed 
equally certain that Adolf, with his purposeless studies and his disdain for all professional training, 
would turn out a failure. Now fate had given its verdict. Here at Richard Wagner's tomb stood, 
hand in hand, the two poor unknown students from the dark back room of the Stumpergasse. And 
what were they now? The "dead cert' was a little insignificant clerk in a small Austrian town who 
also dabbled in music, and the other whose future had been so much in doubt had risen to be the 
Chancellor of the Reich. And what did the future have in store for us? Only one thing could be 
safely predicted: while the one would remain in his obscurity, whatever might happen the other 
would go down in history. 

Afterwards the Reichs Chancellor showed me round Haus Wahnfried. Wieland Wagner, Frau 
Winifred's son and the Master's grandson, was waiting for us atthe garden entrance. He 
unlocked the various rooms for us and the Chancellor showed me all the relics. We started our 
tour with the old building, whose rooms were already familiar to me from pictures. In the music 
room there was the grand piano at which the Master had worked; it was left open, a gesture 
which moved me deeply. I saw also the magnificent library. Then Wieland left us and the 
Chancellor introduced me to Frau Wagner, who was obviously pleased to meet me. When our 
conversation turned on the youthful enthusiasm with which we had dedicated ourselves to the 
works of the Master, I recalled again thatmemorable Rienzi performance in Linz. And now Hitier 
evoked for Frau Wagner the unique experience of that night, concluding with the words that have 
remained engraved in my memory, "In that hour it began." 

Before we parted. Hitler gave me a few more words of advice. On my way home, he said, I 
should stop in Munich and hear the Reichs Symphony Orchestra, which had been so much on 
our minds when we were young, and I should also visit the great German Art Exhibition. He 
thought it would not be a good thing for us to meet in his home on the Obersalzberg, so he had 
given orders that I should always be able to come to Bayreuth when he was there. "I should like 
you to be always here with me," he said, and shook me by the hand. He stood atthe garden gate 



and waved to me as I went. Soon I heard the cheers of the crowds greeting him in the 
RichardWagner-Strasse -- the Chancellor was leaving Bayreuth to fly to Berlin. 

When, on J uly 8, 1940, 1 received the tickets for the first cycle of the Richard Wagner Festival 
which the Chancellor's office had sent me, I was faced with a dilemma. War had brought changes 
to our service and duties at home, too; would it not be irresponsible of me to leave my urgent 
tasks to go to Bayreuth? True the Chancellor had expressed the desire to have me there with 
him. But there was a war on, and nobody was more occupied with it than Hitler himself. Would he 
even be able to come? 

Unlike the previous year, apart from the Flying Dutchman, only The Ring was performed. Frau 
Wagner informed me that she had spoken to the Fuhreron the telephone and confirmed that he 
would be flying straightfrom his Headquarters to the performance of Gotterdammerung but had 
to return immediately afterwards. "He asked me whether you were here, Herr Kubizek," she 
added. "He wants to talk to you during the interval." 

On Tuesday, J uly 23, atthree o'clock in the afternoon, the trumpets -- provided forthe occasion 
by the Wehrmacht-- sounded the Siegfried motif, announcing the beginning of the opera. I took 
my seatand shortly after. Hitler entered his box. The Awakening Motif, the solemn, fateful tones 
swelled out. I forgot my surroundings and gave myself up to the magic of the wonderful work. 

During the first interval Wolfgang Wagner came hurriedly to tell me that the Fiihrer wanted to see 
me. We went to the drawing room where there were about twenty people standing around in 
groups engaged in lively conversation. I could not spot Hitier immediately as he was no longer in 
civilian clothes but in uniform. But his personal A.D.C. had already told him of my presence and 
he came towards me with both hands outstretched. He wore a simple grey-green tunic and his 
face was fresh and sunburnt. His delight at seeing me seemed to be even deeper, more heartfelt. 
Perhaps the war had made him even more serious. And I represented for him one who had 
known his youth, a friend who had been at his side during one period of his life. 

Hitler took me aside and we stood alone while the other guests continued their conversations at a 
distance. 

"This year this is the only performance which I can see," he said. "But it can't be helped, there's a 
war on." And then with an undertone of anger in his voice: 'This war is holding up our work of 
reconstruction for many years. It is a shame. After all I have not become the Chancellor of the 
GreaterGerman Reich to make war." 

I was astonished to hear the Chancellor speak in this way after the great military victories in 
Poland and France. Perhaps he was influenced by the fact that my presence reminded him of his 
age; for we had been young together, and as he noticed in me the unmistakable signs of the 
advancing years, he musthave realised thatthe years mustalso have left their mark on him, 
although in all the time of our acquaintance I had never seen him looking so strong and healthy. 

"This war is robbing me of my bestyears. You know my plans, Kubizek, you know how much I 
still want to build. That's what I want to see in my lifetime, you understand? You know best how 
many projects I have made ever since I was young. And only a few of them have I been able to 
realise so far. I still have so infinitely much to do. Who else is there to do it? And here I have to 
stand by and watch the war robbing me of my bestyears. It is a shame. Time doesn't stand still. 
We are growing older, Kubizek. Not many more years -- and it will be too late to do what remains 
to be done." 

And with that strangely excited voice so familiar to me from our early years, vibrating with 
impatience, he began to detail for me his great plans forthe future, the development of the 



Autobahnen, of canals, the modernisation of the railways and much else. I was hardly able to 
follow. But once again, as in the previous year, I felt that he wanted to justify himself before me, 
the witness of his youthful ideas. 

I tried to turn the conversation to the experiences we had shared in our youth. He immediately 
picked up a remark of mine and said, "Poor students, that's whatwe were. And, Heaven knows, 
we starved. Off we used to go with only a crust of bread in our pocket. But all this has changed 
now. Itwas only last year that young people went to Madeira in ourships." 

And so Hitler came to speak of his cultural plans. The crowds in front of the Festival Theatre were 
wanting to see him. But he had worked himself up to such a state that it was not possible to 
interrupt him, perhaps because he felt, just as in our conversations in the gloomy room of Frau 
Zakreys, that I followed him with full enthusiasm whenever he spoke of art and its problems. 

"I am still tied up by the war. But, I hope it won't last much longer and then I'll be able to build 
again and to carry out what remains to be done. When that moment comes I shall call you, 
Kubizek, and then you muststay with me always," he concluded. 

Outside the trumpets sounded to remind us thatthe performance was about to continue. I 
thanked the Chancellor for this demonstration of his friendship and wished him luck and success 
for the future. 

The Gotterdammerung came to an end; itwas a performance thatmoved me to the core. I 
walked slowly down the drive leading from the theatre and noticed thatthe street was roped off. I 
stopped atthe comer of Adolf-Hitier-Strasse to see the Chancellor once more. A few minutes 
later a motor column approached along the street. Hitier stood erect in his car; on either side, 
close to the ropes, moved the cars of his entourage. 

I shall never forget what happened during the next few moments. General Music Director 
Elmendorf with Frau Lange and Sister Susi, and an old lady, a painter, whose name I don't 
remember-- she was living in the Haus Wahnfried - stood with me and congratulated me. I didn't 
really know why. But now the motor column had reached us and was passing at a slow pace. I 
was standing nearthe cordon and I saluted. Atthis momentthe Chancellor recognised me and 
made a sign to the driver. The column halted and his car approached me. Hitier smiled at me, 
leaned out of his car and, taking my hand, shook it heartily, saying, "Auf Wiedersehen." And as 
the car moved off. Hitler turned round and waved farewell. Then the column proceeded to the 
airfield. 

Pandemonium broke outaround me. The bystanders wanted to know who thatstrange civilian 
was to whom Hitler had paid so much attention in public. I myself was hardly able to utter a word. 
The shouting and pushing grew frightening. Up to this moment my meetings with the Chancellor 
had always been in private or, atthe most, in the presence of a limited number of people, which 
had preserved the personal and intimate character of our friendship. But now it had become, so 
to speak, a matter of public interest, and only now did I fully understand how much this friendship 
of my youth really meant. Everybody wanted to shake hands with me. My friends tried to give 
some explanations to the crowd-in vain! they were unable to make themselves heard. I was being 
pushed and knocked about-everybody wanted to see me. Heaven knows what the people thought 
I was. Perhaps a foreign diplomatwho had come to offer peace - this atleastwould have made 
the pushing worth while. At long last I could breathe more freely. "Ladies and gentiemen," I 
shouted, "let me go - I'm only a boyhood friend of his!" 

On that twenty-third of] uly, 1940, 1 saw Hitierforthe lasttime. The war wenton, grew more 
widespread and bitter. There was no end in sight. 



I was fully occupied by my work in the municipal administration. The war heaped ever more 
burdens on the population with the result that my tasks increased. I was hardly able to cope with 
the work. Personal worries were added; my sons were called up. 

In 1942 I joined the National Socialist Party. Not that I had changed my basic ideas about politics. 
But my superiors were of the opinion that, now the struggle had become one of life and death, 
everyone must avow his principles. Of course, I was a followerof Adolf Hitier, but not in any 
political sense -- rather in a much wider and deeper way, namely as a friend of his early years. I 
could easily have refused to join the Party with tlie usual formula, "I would like to talk this over 
with Hitler personally." But we were in the midst of a war and I did not wish to claim any special 
position for myself. 

The Mayorof my town wanted to know: "Did the Fiihrer never ask you a bout your Party 
membership?" Of course not-- 1 was his friend, and that was all. Had he not shown clearly 
enough that he valued me as a friend and as a human being although I was - as he had now 
come to term it- politically "a child"? So I told the Mayorthat Hitler had never asked me why I 
had not joined his party. 

Yet I remember an episode in which Hitier seemed to be hinting atthis matter. When, on the 
occasion of my visit in 1939, Hitler introduced me to Frau Winifred Wagner, he pointed smilingly 
at me, unadorned as I was with any Party badge or decoration and, knowing that I represented 
the Linz branch of the Richard Wagner Union of German Women, he remarked, "And this is Herr 
Kubizek. He is a memberof your Union of German Women. Isn't that charming!" What he 
probably meant was - The only organisation to which my friend belongs is - a women's 
organisation. This shows you just what kind of fellow he is! 

The shadows of the war were darkening. To the general distress and preoccupations were added 
disappointments and bitter experiences of a personal kind. It was especially the case of Dr. Bloch 
which made me think. This kind "poor man's doctor," as he was called in the town, lived in Linz, a 
very old man, and wrote to me through an intermediary. Professor Huemer who had been Hitier's 
form master; he asked me to intercede for him with the Chancellor so that he, who was a J ew, 
would not be molested. He had been, he pointed out, the doctorof Adolf Hitler's mother. To me 
this request seemed only fair. Far back in the Vienna days I had had frequent arguments with my 
friend about the J ewish problem because I did notshare his radical views in this matter. I 
remembered that he had once been very rude to me when I, quite innocentiy, had brought him in 
touch with a J ewish journalist. I was convinced that Hitler would be reasonable as far as Dr. Bloch 
was concerned. I had never met the old gentleman personally, but! wrote at once to the Reichs 
Chancellery and enclosed the letter which I had received from Dr. Bloch. After some weeks I got 
a reply from Bormann who strictiy forbade me to intercede in future for any third person; as for 
Bloch, he had to inform me that the case would be dealt with in the same way as any other of its 
kind; these were the Fuhrer's express orders. Thus, I did not even know if the case had really 
been brought to Hitier's attention. As far as I was able to find out. Dr. Bloch was left in peace; but 
this alone did notallay my misgivings. For whatstruck me most was that! had no access to Hitter 
as long as I was unable to meet him in person; and this was out of the question for the duration of 
the war. 

The end came; the war was lost. Even though I, a fundamentally unpolitical individual, had always 
kept aloof from the political events of the period which ended forever in 1945, nevertheless no 
power on earth could compel me to deny my friendship with Adolf Hitler. 

My first and most pressing worry in this respect was the safety of the Hitler papers I possessed. 
Come what may, they must be saved for posterity. Years before I had carefully puttiie letters, 
postcards and drawings in cellophane covers to protect them from wear as I showed them 
around. Now I locked them up in a solid leather case. Then I removed several bricks in the deep, 
vaulted cellar of my house in Eferding, thrustthe case into the cavity and filled in the hole again 



so carefully that not the slightest trace of this work remained. It was only just in time as the very 
next day I was arrested and held for sixteen months in the notorious detention camp of 
Glasenbach. Naturally, an intensive search was made during my absence for the Hitler papers, 
but with no success. 

In the beginning I was often questioned, first in Eferding, then in G munden. These interrogations 
all ran on the same lines; something like: 

"You are a friend of Adolf Hitier's?" 

"Yes." 

"Since when?" 

"Since 1904." 

"Whatdo you mean by that? Atthattime he was nobody." 

"Nevertheless, I was his friend." 

"How could you be his friend when he was still a nobody?" 

An American officer of the Central Intelligence Corps asked: "So you are a friend of Adolf Hitler's. 
What did you get out of it?" 

"Nothing." 

"But you admit thatyou were his friend. Did he give you money?" 

"No." 

"Or food?" 

"Neither." 

"A car, a house?" 

"Not that either." 

"Did he introduce you to beautiful women?" 

"Nor that." 

"Did he receive you again, later on?" 

"Yes." 

"Did you see him often?" 

"Occasionally." 



"How did you manage to see him?" 

"I just went to him." 

"So you were with him. Really? Quite close?' 

"Yes, quite close." 

"Alone?" 

"Alone." 

"Withoutany guard?" 

"Without any guard." 

"So you could have killed him?" 

"Yes, I could have." 

"And why didn't you kill him?" 

"Because he was my friend."