The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/h/hitler.adolf/oss-papers/text/oss-profile-04-04

Friction developed between himself and his fellow workmen. It seems 
logical to suppose that he was working beneath his class and refused 
to mingle with them for he tells us that he sat apart from the others 
and ate his lunch. Further difficulties developed inasmuch as the 
workmen tried to convert him to a Marxian point of view. Their 
attitudes and arguments jarred him since they were far from the ideal 
Germany that had been portrayed by his favorite Linz teacher, Ludwig 
Poetsch, an ardent German nationalist. But Hitler found himself unable 
to answer their arguments. He made the unpleasant discovery that the 
workmen knew more than he did. He was fundamentaily against everything 
they said but he was unable to justify his point of view on an 
intellectual level - he was at a terrible disadvantage. In order to 
remedy the situation he began reading all kinds of political pamphlets 
and attending political meetings but not with the idea of understanding 
the problem as a whole, which might have enabled him to form an 
intelligent opinion, [00010123.GIF  Page 117]
but to find arguments which would support his earlier conviction. 

This is a trait that runs throughout his life. He never studies to 
learn but only to justify what he feels. In other words, his judgments 
are based wholly on emotionel factors and are then clothed with an 
intellectual argument. Soon, he tells us, he knew more than they did 
about their own political ideology and was able to tell them things 
about it which they did not know themselves.

It was this, according to Hitler, which antagonized the workmen against 
him. In one case, he was run off the job with the threat that if he 
appeared again they would push him off the scaffold. This must have been 
during the first half of 1909 when he was twenty years old. Without a 
job, he sunk lower and lower in the social scale and at times must have 
been on the verge of starvation. At times he found an odd job such as 
carrying luggage, shoveling snow or running errands but a large part of 
his time was spent in breadlines or begging on the streets. 

In November, 1909, he was ousted from his room because he did not pay 
his rent and was forced to seek refuge in a flophouse. Here he met 
Reinhold Hanisch who was in much the same predicament. Years later, 
Hanisch wrote a long book about his associations with Hitler during 
this period. It is a gruesome story of unbelievable poverty. Hltler 
must have been a sorry sight during these days with a full black beard, 
badly clothed and a haggard look. Hanisch writes:

"It was a miserable life and I once asked him what he was really 
waiting for. The answer: 'I don't know myself'. I have never seen 
such hopeless letting down in distress."

[00010124.GIF  Page  118]

Hanisch took him in hand end encouraged him to do some painting. The 
difficulty was that neither one had the money with which to buy 
materials. When Hanisch discovered that Hitler had signed over his 
inheritance to his sister, he persuaded Hitler to write 
her and obtain a small loan. This was presumably his half-sister, Angela. 
When the money was received Hitler's first thought was to take week's 
vacation in order to recuperate. At this time he moved into  the 
Maennerheim Brigittenau which was slightly better than the flophouses in 
which he had been staying.

He and Hanisch went into business together. It was Hitler's job to 
paint post cards, posters and water-colors which Hanisch then took around 
Vienna and peddled to art dealers, furniture stores, etc. In this he was 
quite successful but his difficultes were not at an end. The moment 
Hitler got a little money, he refused to work. Hanisch describes this 

"But unfortunately Hitler was never an ardent worker. I often was 
driven to despair by bringing in orders that he simply wouldn't carry 
out. At Easter, 1910, we earned forty kronen on a big order and we 
divided it equally. The next morning, when I came downstairs and asked 
for Hitler, I was told he had already left with Neumann, a Jew.... After 
that I couldn't find him for a week. He was sightseeing Vienna with 
Neumann and spent much of the time in the museum. When I asked him what 
the matter was and whether we were going to keep on working, he 
answered that he must recuperate now, that he must have some leisure, 
that he was not a coolie. When the week was over, he had no longer any 

At this time, Hitler was not a Jew-hater. There were a number of Jews 
living in the Mne's Home with whom he was on excellent
terms. Most of his paintingss were sold to Jewish dealers who paid
[00010125.GIF  Page 119] just as much for them as the Aryans, He also 
admired Rothschild for sticking to his religion even if it prevented 
him from entering court. During this time he also sent two postcards
to Dr. Bloch, in Linz, who was s Jew. One of these 
was just a picture postcard of Vienna; the other, a copy which he 
had painted. On both of them he wrote of his deep gratitude to the 
doctor. This is mentioned because it is one of the very few cases of 
which we have any record in which Hitler showed any lasting gratitude. 
During this time Hitler himself looked very Jewish. Hanisch writes:       

"Hitler at that time looked very Jewish, so that I often joked with him 
that he must be of Jewish blobd, since such a large beard rarely grows 
on a Christian's chin. Also he had big feet, as a desert wanderer must have."

In spite of his close association with Hanisch the relationship ended 
in a quarrel. Hitler accused Hanisch of withholding some of the money 
he had received for a picture. He had Hanisch arrested and appeared as 
a witness against him. We have little  knowledge of what happened to 
Hitler after this time. According to Hanfstaengl the home in which 
Hitler lived has a reputation of being a place where homosexual men 
frequently went to find companions. Jahm said that he had information 
from a Viennese official that on the police record Hitler was listed as 
a sexual pervert but it gave no details of offenses. It is possible that 
the entry may have been made solely on suspicion. Simone (467) claims 
that the Viennese police file in 1912 recorded a charge of theft 
against Hitler and that he moved from Vienna to Munich in order to 
avoid arrest. This would fit in with Hanfstaengl's suspicion that 
Hitler's elder half-brother (who was twice convicted for theft) was 
in Vienna at that time and [00010126.GIF  Page 120]
that they may have become involved in some minor crime. This would 
not be impossible for Hanisch tells us that Hitler frequently spent his 
time figuring out shady ways of making money. One example may be of 

"He proposed to fill old tin-cans with paste and sell them to shopkeepers, 
the paste to be smeared on windowpanes to keep them from freezing in 
winter.' It should be sold.... in the summer, when it couldn't be tried 
out. I told him it wouldn't work because the merchants would just say, 
come back in the winter.... Hitler answered that one must possess a 
talent for oratory."

Since Hitler could only be brought to work when he was  actually hungry 
he spent a good deal of time reading political pamphlets, sitting in 
care houses, reading newspapers and delivering speeches to the other 
inmates of the home. He became a great admirer of Georg von Schoenerer 
and the Viennese mayor, Karl Lueger. It was presumably from them that 
he learned his anti-Semitism and many of the tricks of a successful 
politician. According to Hanisch his companions were greatly amused 
by him and often ridiculed him and his opinions. In any event it seems 
that he got a good deal of practice in speech making during these years 
which stood him in good stead later on. Even in these days, he talked 
about starting a new party.

It is not clear why he remained in Vienna and lived in such poverty for 
five years, when he had such a deep love for Germany and could have gone 
there with relatively little difficulty. It is also not clear why he went 
when he did unless there is some truth in the supposition that he fled 
Vienna to avoid arrest. His own explanation is that he could not tolerate 
the mixture of people, [00010127.GIF  Page 121]
particularly the Jews and always more Jews, and says that for him
Vienna is the symbol of incest.

But as far as Hitler is concerned this time was not lost.
As he looks back over that period he can say:

"So in a few years I built a foundation of knowledge from which I 
still draw nourishment today." (MK 29)

"At that time I formed an image of the world and a view of life 
which became the granite foundation for my actions." 


In Munich before the war, things were no better for him.
As far as poverty is concerned he might as well have stayed in Vienna.
He earned a little money painting postcards and posters and at
times painting houses. Early in 1913 he went to Salzburg to report
for duty in the army but was rejected on the gr.unds of poor physical
conition. He returned to Munich and continued to work at odd
jobs and sit in cafe houses where he spent his time reading newspapers. 
Nothing of which we have any knowledge happened during this
time which is particularly pertinent to our present study. The prospects 
of ever making anything out of himself in the future must have been 
very black at that time.                        


Then came the World War. He writes of this occasion:

"The struggle of the year 1914 was forsooth,
not forced on the masses, but desired by the
whole people."

"To myself those hours came like a redemption
from the vexatious experiences of my youth.
Even,to this day I am not ashamed to say that,
in a transport of enthusiasm, I sank down on
my knees and thanked Heaven from an overflowing heart...."

[00010128.GIF  Page 122]

On August 3, 1914, Hitler joined a Bavarian regiment as a volunteer. 
During the first days of the war his regiment suffered very heavy 
losses and was not particularly popular among the Bavarian people. 
Hitler became an orderly in Regimental Headquarters as well as a runner. 
The one thing that all his comrades commented on was his subservience 
to superior officers. It seems that he went out of his way to court 
their good graces, offering to do their washing and other menial tasks 
much to the disgust of his comrades. He was not popular with the other 
men and always remained aloof from them. When he did join them he usually 
harangued about political matters. During the four years of war he 
received no packages or mail from anyone. In this he was unique. At 
Christmastime when everyone else was receiving gifts and messages he 
withdrew from the group and sulked moodily by himself. When his comrades 
encouraged him to join the group and share their packages he refused. On 
October 7, 1916, he was wounded by a piece of shrapnel and sent to a 
hospital. It was a light wound and he was soon discharged and sent to 
Munich as a replacement. After two days there he wrote his commanding 
officer, Captain Wiedemann, asking that he be reinstated in his regiment 
because he could not tolerate Munich when he knew his comrades were at 
the Front. Wiedemann had him returned to the regiment where he remained 
until October 14th when he was exposed to mustard gas and sent to a 
hospital in Pasewalk. He was blind and, according to Friedelinde Wagner, 
lost his voice.

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.