The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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by G. Ward Price

They are leaders who rose to supreme authority 
by embodying the national desire to escape from 
a condition of inferiority. Their functions are 
defined by the titles of Fuehrer and Duce that they 
Price-p. 3

Hitler's humor is more ingenuous and personal. He 
is gay and whimsical in the circle of his close 
friends, but too earnest in his attitude towards 
public affairs to be jocular about them.
Price-p. 4

He does not lend himself so readily as Mussolini to 
the give-and-take of question and answer, rejoinder 
and comment. Intercourse with him rather resembles 
the Socratic form of dialogue: the inquirer propounds 
a theme, and Hitler enlarges upon it. When more than 
two people are present, even though they are of his 
intimate circle, there is no general discourse. Either 
Hitler talks and the all listen, or else they talk 
among themselves and Hitler sits silent.
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Hitler's manner is more formal. He greets his guest 
with a handshake, the arm held straight and low. 
His friendly smile is accompanied by a silence 
which, to a first-comer, is disconcerting. Or, when 
his caller is already known to him, he may murmur 
a quizzical "na?" - an interrogative interjection which 
puts the onus of starting the talk upon the visitor.
Mussolini gives the immediate impression of a lively 
and eager brain reacting to each  new stimulus. The 
temperament of Hitler is more dreamy and introspective. 
His bearing remains tranquil until his attention is 
aroused by some political remark, Then his eyes light 
up, his relaxed frame stiffens, and in a hoarse, somber 
voice, he pours forth a voluble reply. Hitler's public 
speeches are long and digressive, like the style of his 
autobiography. The Duce talks to the crowd in short, 
staccato phrases, and writes as compactly as if his 
words were to be carved in stone.
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Whereas Mussolini is objective and practical, Hitler is 
subjective and mystical. Mussolini delights in complicated 
reports and official memoranda. Hitler detests them and 
shuns discussion of administrative detail. The one is a 
realist, the other a visionary. Mussolini's mental processes 
are dominated by facts; Hitler's are governed by ideals. 
It was a prominent German who once said to me, "You 
cannot really compare them, for the one is rational, 
the other intuitive."
Different in type as the two dictators are, they 
have the common quality of intense conviction. 
Both are fatalists. Mussolini believes in his star; 
Hitler in his call by Providence to the political 
redemption of Germany.
This certainty that their names and deeds are 
written in the Book of Fate gives confidence and 
directness to their utterances.
Both are extremely objective in their outlook on 
world-affairs. Their character as public men has 
been formed in the great struggle which each has 
had to wage in his own country. To this experience 
they owe their intensely nationalist angle of vision.
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This conception of Hitler as a grim political robot is 
far from accurate. Behind the forceful character which 
he displays in public there is a human, pleasant 
personality known only to his intimates.
Although a passion for Germany was the earliest 
influence in his life, there is much of the Austrian 
in Adolf Hitler. The land of his birth and upbringing 
has endowed him with the artistic, visionary tendencies 
of the South German type. He makes no effort to control 
his feelings. When he tells the story of the trials and 
hardships of his youth and of the early struggling days 
of the Nazi movement, tears come readily to his eyes.
There is a strong strain of sadness and tenderness 
in his disposition. The intensity of feeling that 
imparts such high voltage to his 
public activities makes him sensitive to private 
griefs. When a close friend said to him: "You have 
been so lucky in everything you have undertaken" 
he replied "In my
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political life I have always been lucky, but in my 
private life I have been more unfortunate than 
anyone I have ever known."

The sobriety of Hitler's private life is well known. 
He is a vegetarian, a teetotaler, and non-smoker. 
His favorite dishes are _nudelsuppe_, a soup with 
little dumplings in it; spinach; apples; either 
baked or raw; and _Russiche Eier,_ which are 
cold hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise sauce. 
At tea-time, despite anxiety to avoid putting on 
weight, he is fond of chocolate eclairs. He drinks 
neither tea nor coffee, but only mineral water and 
infusions of camomile or lime-flowers.
Sometimes at the end of a hard day, or when he 
thinks he may have caught a chill, he swallows a 
little brandy in milk--but with distaste. He finds 
the smell of tobacco so unpleasant that no one is 
allowed to smoke in his presence, even after 
dinner, which to Germans is a serious deprivation.
Walking at Berchtesgaden is his only exercise, yet 
his appearance is healthy, his skin of a fresh color, 
and his pale blue eyes are always bright. In Berlin 
he never leaves his official residence except by 
automobile. Despite these sedentary habits, he 
shows great resistance to fatigue. I have seen him 
stand upright for five hours on end in his automobile 
at Nurnberg, holding the big yearly review of his 
Storm Troopers, most of the time keeping his arm 
stretched out stiffly in salue [sic]. During the crisis 
of the Rhineland reoccupation he worked continuously 
for two days and two nights. On the third evening he 
invited Frau Goebbels and some other friends to dinner. 
They looked at moving-picture films till 2 A.M., and 
when Frau Goebbels suggested that the Chancellor 
should get some rest, he said: "If you leave me now, 
I shall only sit up reading till 4 o'clock, so I hope 
that you will stay."
That is about his regular bedtime, most of his 
study of state documents being done in the small 
hours. Berchtesgaden is the only place where he 
can get a night's rest without a sleeping draught, 
which he takes in capsule form after his evening 
meal, together with some digestive medicine. 
Whenever his public engagements allow, he stays 
in bed until noon. Hiss [sic] general health is good, 
and the operation performed on him by Dr. Sauerbruch 
in the spring of 1935 was only to remove from the 
vocal cords one of those harmless "polyps" common 
to people who strain their voices by public speaking.

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Hitler is always smartly turned out, his thick brown 
hair brushed smooth, and his fresh-complexioned face 
closely shaved. Neither grayness nor baldness has yet 
touched his head. His teeth are strong. His white, 
spatulate-fingered hands are well manicured. 
Particularly noticeable is the big ball of his thumb, 
which palmists associate with strength of will. 
The lobes of his ears are large, an indication regarded 
by physiogonomists as a sign of vitality.

....But only Nature could have provided the shape 
of the head, the facial angles, and that rather 
whimsical expression in the eyes, as if the brain 
behind them were occupied with some private 
joke, which is characteristic of Hitler.

....He often says that as a poverty-stricken young 
man in Vienna he made up his mind that when he 
became rich he would allow himself two luxuries--
to have open fireplaces in every room (unusual in 
Germany) and to chance his shirt twice a day.
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Herr Hitler is a widely read man. His closest friends 
declare that he is familiar with the works of all the 
leading German philosophers, and his mastered [sic] 
the history, geography and social and economic 
conditions of the chief European countries. His 
days of serious study are past, however, and he 
finds relief from responsibilities in stories and 
adventure. Karl May, a writer of the G.A. Henry type, 
whose books, like Through the Desert, are popular 
with German boys, is one of his favorites.

In works on travel, the maps and plans get most 
of his attention. He says that if he ever went to 
London or Paris he would immediately be able to 
find his way about, and he claims that there is 
hardly a famous building in the world which he 
could not draw from memory. The only cities 
outside Germany and Austria that he has ever 
visited are Brussels, to which he once went on 
leave during the war, and Venice, where he met 
Mussolini in 1934.
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Although he plays no instrument himself, music is 
a passion with Hitler. He never misses an opportunity 
of listening to Wagner and Beethoven. Grand opera is 
his favorite entertainment. A state performance of 
Die Meistersinger, with all the best German artists 
in the cast, is a standing feature of the Party 
Congress at Nurnberg. Hitler claims to have heard 
this opera a hundred times.
"I think I am one of the most musical people in the 
world," he says, with a whimsical smile.

He has a great liking for the ordinary theater and 
variety, but seldom gets a chance to indulge it.
Art has also a great appeal for him, and he knows a 
good deal about pictures. He recently acquired a Cranach 
and two Brueghels for his Munich flat.
The greatest practical interest in his life, however, 
is architecture. In everything but name he is the 
Chief State Architect of Germany.
No public buildings may go up until its style and 
layout have been submitted to the Chancellor, who 
examines them with the closest interest and attention. 
There is a room at the Chancellery in Berlin with a 
drawing-table, always spread with plans, at which 
he stands for hours, drafting original designs or 
modifications to be used in public works. The 
architectural features of the network of motor-
roads which he has brought into existence were 
all of his contrivance.
....His taste is thoroughly modern, with a preference 
for simplicity, symmetry, and spaciousness.
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The cinema is one of Hitler's favorite distractions. 
All new films arriving in Germany or made there are 
sent to him. Frequently after dinner he will watch 
two full-length shows in a large drawing-room at 
the Chancellery. One of his favorite films is _Lives of 
a Bengal Lancer,_ which I have heard he saw three nights 
Fondness for children and dogs is regarded as evidence 
of good nature. This is a strong trait in Hitler's 
character. He keeps several Alsatians at Berchtesgaden, 
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felt great grief when one of his favorite dogs was 
poisoned, supposedly by the Communists.
Golden-haired, six-year-old Helga Goebbels is a 
favorite playmate of the Chancellor, and her mother, 
Frau Magda Goebbels, an extremely intelligent 
woman whose striking blond beauty has been 
passed on to her little daughter, is his closest 
German friend of the opposite sex.
Price-p. 20-21.

Those in Hitler's intimate circle say that he is a 
very good mimic, and likes relating anecdotes to 
which added point is given by his impersonations 
of the characters concerned. After a concert 
following a state dinner, I have seen him standing 
among a group of the performers telling stories in 
a lively manner which kept his hearers in continual 
The Chancellor has also a strong mechanical bent. 
Without any practical experience of engineering he 
takes particular interest in automobiles and motor-
boats, being familiar with all the latest refinements 
of the internal-combustion engine, and quick to 
notice the features of a new model. Herr Werlin, 
a director of the Daimler-Benz Company, who is 
one of his personal friends, has told me that in 
discussing a forthcoming motor-show, Hitler once 
described to him an engine of a special type which 
he had seen at least twency-five years before in 
Vienna, and did so with all the accuracy of an expert. 
When there is an automobile exhibition in Berlin he 
will spend a couple of hours a day there examining 
each car in turn. He claims to have motored more 
than half a million miles. "I am grateful to the 
motor-car, for it brought all Germany within my 
reach," in one of the Fuehrer's sayings.
Price-. 21-22.

Hitler has a fantastically retentive memory. he can 
recall the contents of any book he has ever read, the 
pot of any play or film he has seen. His staff know 
that whatever they say to him is automatically 
recorded in his mind and will be quoted against 
them if, at some later date, they make a statement 
at variance with it.

His temperament is too individualistic to spare those 
who work under him. "He does not believe in helping 
people out of difficulties," said a close collaborator. 
"It is only when one
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of his subordinates is on the point of being 
overwhelmed by his work or responsibilities 
that he will come to his aid. Even then he does 
no more than lift the man's chin above the surface 
so that he can struggle for himself."

Inexorable as Hitler has shown himself upon 
occasion, his character is not one that cherishes 
small grudges.
"How many of your personal enemies did you pay 
out when you got to power?" he was once asked.
"None," was the answer. "There were many people 
against whom I had old scores, but when I became 
Chancellor that seemed so insignificant. During my 
imprisonment at Landsberg, one of the warders was 
very disagreeable. He used to call me a _dorfler_ 
(village lout). I dare say he had a few qualms when 
I became head of the Government, but it would have 
been ridiculous to do anything to him."
Directly the Chancellor's emotions are touched, his 
generosity is prompt and liberal. In the summer of 
1936 he was motoring in Upper Bavaria, and stopped 
by the roadside to admire a mountain view. An 
attractive young peasant-girl of about seventeen 
tried to approach him, and, on being prevented by 
his guards, burst into tears. Hitler saw her distress 
and asked what was the matter. She told him that 
her fiance had been expelled from Austria for his 
Nazi principles, and that as he could not find work, 
they would be unable to get married.
Hitler promised to look after both her and him, 
and not only found a job for the young man, but 
also equipped the couple with a furnished flat in 
Munich, complete as he says with a smile, down 
to a baby's cot. In this case the Chancellor had his 
reward, for when the young woman after the 
wedding came to thank him, she flung both her arms 
round his neck and kissed him.
Towards subordinates and servants he is considerate, 
though capable of flashes of blistering wrath, but 
his personality and prestige are so strong that, 
without any effort on his part, he is surrounded, 
particularly in Berlin, by much awe on the part of 
his entourage. The atmosphere of his official 
residence has the unmistakable character of a 
court, though its routine and outward appearance 
are as simple as they can be where the head of a 
government is concerned.
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00010595.GIF  Page 8

...They and his chauffeurs are on democratic, almost 
friendly relations with their master. Traveling by 
Hitler's special train, I have seen them taking their 
meals in the dining car at the next table to that at 
which the Chancellor sat with Marshal Blomberg, 
General Fritsch, and Admiral Raeder, the Naval 
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Yet Hitler has no fear of assassination, believing 
that his fate will protect him. "I always knew I 
should be a great man, even in my poorest days," 
he says, "and I feel convinced that I shall live to 
finish my task."
Storeies [sic] of his dashing through the streets at 
high speed in a closed automobile between double 
ranks of S.S. men are quite imaginary. No head of a 
state shows himself more freely to the crowd, for 
he generally stands upright in the front seat of an 
open car which moves at a walking pace.
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Though Hitler, as I am told by those in his confidence, 
always carries a revolver, his nerves are good. Once 
when he was entertaining aparty [sic] of young women, 
one of them mischievously dropped a _knallebse_ on 
the floor. .... Yet Hitler showed no alarm, but only laughed.
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...This head-butler, though small, is of imposing 
corpulence, and when he stands behind his master's 
chair at an intimate dinner party, one of Hitler's 
favorite jokes is to exclaim over his shoulder, 
"Kennenberg, tell us, how many chins have you 
really got?"
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The principal living -room is long and narrow, with 
a similiar angle to that of the hall. The walls are 
hung with a variety of pictures. In addition to a 
fifteenth-century Cranach and the original of the 
well-known portrait of Bismarck by Lenbach, there 
are several of those popular paintings by Jose
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Frappa, a French artist on the eighteen-nineties, 
which depict cardinals in scarlet robes dining amid 
sumptuous surroundings.
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"On the Berg"--so he and his friends refer to his 
house at Berchtesgaden--the domestic arrangements 
were formerly under his elder, widowed half-sister, 
Frau Raubal, with whom he lived during the early 
days of the Party in Munich. She is a strongly built, 
imposing woman of fifty-four, and there is no family 
resemblance between them. Two years ago Frau 
Raubal married again and went to live at Dresden 
with her new husband, who is of about her age and 
a professor at the university. Her brother did not 
attend the wedding. His friends say that he disapproves 
of marriage for elderly peope.
Price-p. 28
The Fuehrer's style of living there is simple. He 
generally wears Bavarian peasant-costume or 
civilian clothes. From the house, which stands on a 
spur of the hills, a straight dirve [sic] leads down to 
the public road, where a post of S.S. guards is always 
on duty. Here, especially in the holiday-season, a 
throng of Germans assemble daily in the hopes of 
seeing their leader, and Hitler is fond of walking 
down to greet them. He pays special attention to the 
children, signing the pictures of himself which they 
hold out to him and sometimes asking them up to the 
house for lemonade and cakes. Nor does he resent the 
intrusion of young people when he dines at one of his 
favorite little Munich restaurants. Parties of the Hitler 
Youth or the League of German Girls are allowed to come 
in and look at him. He generally calls them over to his 
table, shakes hands, and orders ice-cream and chocolates 
for them.
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Although Hitler dislikes being alone and is fond of 
the company of intimate friends, he takes little 
pleasure in formal entertainment.
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00010597 Page 10

"This is an anniversary in my career," announced the 
Chancellor, as we sat down. "It is ten years today 
since I was released from prison from Landsberg."
Not many statesmen refer in public to their early 
reverses. Hitler, with the simplicity of genius, he 
has the unsuccessful Putsch of November 1923, 
into the proudest anniversary of the Nazi movement. 
Instead of being passed over as a failure it is 
celebrated as a glorious martyrdom.
The Chancellor continued his reminiscences of Landsberg 
during the first part of dinner. "When I was released after 
thirteen months," he said, "practically the entire staff 
of the prison, including the Governor, had been converted 
to the Nazi movement. The Bavarian Government was 
furious, and sent most of the warders to the Police 
School as punishment. Before they had been there six 
months the place had become a Nazi recruiting-center, 
and had to be closed. That was a good thing, for it spread 
about over the whole of Bavaria a lot of policemen who 
made propaganda for our principles."

When dinner was over, Hitler rose, saying, "Will those 
who don't want to smoke come with me into the room 
on the right, and the rest go to into the room on the left?"
Price-p. 31

This dining-room is a new and spacious apartment 
designed by Hitler for such occasions, built out in 
what used to be the garden of the Chancellery. It is 
about 100 feet long by 50 across, with rose of red 
marble pillars forming an arcade along each side. 
Windows draped with brown curtains reach up to 
the lofty roof, which is flat and made of a mosaic 
of light blue and gold. One of Herr Hitler's staff told 
me that the color of this ceiling had been changed 
half a dozen times before the Chancellor was 
satisfied. Tall gold candlesticks stood at intervals 
along the floor, and the room's only adornment was 
a big Gobelin tapestry on the wall behind the head 
of the table, which had been brought from the 
German Museum at Munich.
Price-p. 33
Another respect in which an entertainment of this 
kind in Germany differs from the official dinners 
of most governments is the dresses of the women. 
Simplicity is the rigid rule of feminine attire under 
the Nazi regime. As "make-up" is contrary to its 
principles, and jewelry almost entirely barred by the
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Price-p. 34 cont.
Spartan views of the Government, state functions in 
Germany lack some of the glamor which feminine 
extravagance confers on them elsewhere.
Price-p. 34

In the first place Herr Hitler is no woman-hater. He 
shows a strong predilection for feminine society, in 
which his manners are marked by an old-world formality.
There can be few European statesmen whose greeting 
is so gracious as Herr Hitler's. He takes a lady's hand 
in his own, holds it for a moment as if it were some 
precious object while his blue, searching eyes smile 
into hers, and then bends forward in an elegant bow 
to touch it with his lips. In the company of women 
Hitler's manner takes on a lively air of interest which 
has no appearance of being forced. He shows marked 
appreciation of good looks, but unless a woman is 
also intelligent he avoids engaging her in conversation. 
Small talk is uncongenial to him.
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For Herr Hitler, living under the strain of the leadership 
of a great nation and the control of a huge party, the 
society of these young Englishwomen has an attraction 
which can be readily imagined. They can talk to him with 
a freedom which few German women would venture to 
use. Their outlook on life, derived from a different 
background and upbringing, is in marked contrast to 
that of most people whom he meets. They have a lively 
sense of humor, which is shared by few, except Dr. 
Goebbels and his wife, in the Chancellor's immediate 
circle. Their keenness and high spirits work as a mental 
tonic upon a man subject to the varying moods of a 
highly strung temperament.
Price-p. 36

Platonic relations with the other sex, of the kind that 
I have just described, may well represent the full extent 
of Hitler's taste for feminine companionship. is life is 
dominated by the conviction that he has a great mission 
to fulfill. He allows no outside influence to interfere 
with its achievement. By eliminating such complications 
as marriage or intrigue, the Fuehrer economizes energy 
and spares himself perpetual pre-
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occupation. He furthermore adds--though not, perhaps, 
deliberately--to his mystical prestige with his fellow 
countrymen. His single condition consorts well with his 
role as High Priest of the German people.

Intensity of purpose is no uncommon cause of celibacy, 
and, in Hitler's case, the sublimation of sexual impulses 
in the performance of public duties would be helped by 
the self-control that he shows by doing without tobacco 
and wine and limiting himself to food of monastic 

It is certain that this disciplined restraint of human 
instincts implies no lack of human sympathy, One of 
the most striking features of Hitler's personality is 
his faculty for putting himself in harmony with others. 
Men of most varying characters alike receive, in contact 
with him, the conviction that there is some special 
bond between them. His mind, like that of many great 
leaders in the past, has a strong psychic strain. I have 
been told that the Austro-German borderland where he 
was born is known, like the Scottish Highlands, to be 
prolific of people with this gift of intuition.

The susceptibility of the Chancellor's mind to psychic 
influences is shown in his public oratory. At the outset 
of a speech his delivery is sometimes slow and halting. 
Only as the spiritual atmosphere engendered by a great 
audience takes possession of his mind does he develop 
that eloquence which acts on the German nation like a 
spell. For he responds to this metaphysical contact in 
such a way that each member of the multitude feels 
bound to him by an individual link of sympathy. How 
own awareness of a psychic sense would seem to be 
indicated by one of the stories he tells of his experience 
in the War.

"I was eating my dinner in a trench with several comrades," 
he says. "Suddenly a voice seemed to be saying to me, 
'Get up and go over there.' It was so clear and insistent 
that I obeyed automatically, as if it had been a military 
order. I rose at once to my feet and walked twenty 
yards along the trench, carrying my dinner in its tin 
can with me, Then I sat down to go on eating, my mind 
being once more at rest..
"Hardly had I done so when a flash and deafening 
report came from the part of the trench I had just 
left. A stray shell had burst over the group in which 
I had been sitting, and every member of it was killed."
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00010600.GIF  Page 13

To neither masters nor schoolfellows did Adolf Hitler 
then just entering his 'teens, appearing to possess 
any unusual qualities. The former, in their class 
reports, used to censure him as "lazy and self-willed." 
And though a boy defiant of authority enjoys a natural 
prestige among his classmates, the youthful Austrians 
of a generation ago took their studies too seriously for 
his insubordinate example to impress them. They knew 
that a good "school-leaving certificate" would be 
indispensable as the foundation-stone of their future 
career. Hitler himself, a few years later, came bitterly 
to regret his failure to pass this examination. For it 
led to the refusal of his application for admission to 
the School of Architecture in Vienna, and thus brought 
him up against the fact that, for a poor boy who had 
neither learnt a trade nor taken advantage of his 
educational opportunities, the only means of livelihood 
was manual labor.
As a schoolboy young Adolf was already a political 
agitator. His instinct reacted to those racial 
antagonisms which divided the polyglot Empire of 
Austro-Hungary into jealous nationalist sections.
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Young Hitler's enthusiasm for Germany and her 
achievements was further increased when, at the 
age of twelve or thirteen, he saw from the topmost 
gallery of the Linz Opera House a performance of 
_Lohengrin._ The splendor of Wagner's music stirred 
his soul. In it the boy found the emotional expression 
of his sense of kinship with a nation to which he 
felt himself dawn [sic] far more strongly than to 
the patchwork federation of races whose only link 
was the Imperial House of Austria. The bitterness 
which is the strength of a successful agitator was 
already taking root in his heart.

Adolf Hitler certainly did not inherit these anti-
Hapsburg sentiments from his father, whose earnest 
desire was that his son should become an Austrian 
government official like himself.
Price-p. 43

Alois Hitler was fifty-two years old when Adolf was 
born. Four years later he went on pension, and during 
the ten years that were left to him, the ambition of 
the retired Customs Officer was to see Adolf qualify 
for government service. He
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00010601.GIF   Page 14
Price-p. 44 cont. 

was sent to the Modern School in Linz, and nothing 
caused the father so much wrath and disappointment 
as his son's obstinate refusal to fall in with this plan. 
Adolf had made up his mind to be an artist, and idled 
away his time at school except in such subjects as he 
liked, which were drawing, history, and geography. Any 
political topic, however, aroused his eager attention.

Price-p. 44

For a day or two before the royal visit, young Hitler 
was busy canvassing his schoolfellows, and the result 
was that when the headmaster gave the signal, he was 
horrified to hear, instead of the official "Hoch! Hoch! 
Hoch!" a shrill chorus of "Heil! Heil! Heil!"

Price-p. 45

Adolf's father dropped dead one January morning in 
1903 while reading the newspapers in the local 
coffee-house at Leonding, a village near Linz where 
the family had settled after his retirement. Hitler 
was then fourteen, and in the absence of his father's 
authority, he neglected his lessons still more. About 
this time he was, moreover, discovered to have a 
weakness of the lungs, which kept him away from 
school for a whole twelve months. During the next 
five years, which included only a little more schooling 
at Linz and Steyr, he lived with his widowed mother.

To their neighbors in Linz, where Frau Hitler moved 
after her husband's death, this young man must have 
seemed on the way to become a ne'er-do-well. He had 
had a good middle-class education, but had lost the 
advantage of it by failing in his school-leaving 
examination. And now, in his later 'teens, when 
most youths of his class were already working, he 
continued to live at home with his mother, supported 
by her small pension as the widow of a Customs Officer. 
His affection for her was the happiest feature of his 
early life, and as a soldier at the front he carried her 
picture next to his heart.

Hitler had always been accustomed to poverty. 
He often speaks of the days when as a boy he 
went barefoot even in the snow. Yet the poor 
circumstances and precarious outlook of

Price-p. 45

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