The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Office of Strategic Services
Hitler Source Book
by Konrad Heiden
(Part 2 of 4)

[Page 5]

A pale, gaunt man with a pointed beard was making a speech to half a dozen comrades. (Hitler-Heiden-p. 43)

That was Adolf Hitler's business. And now we know what he had been during the Munich Soviet regime--a spy.

This occupation did not apparently inspire him with any horror. " There will be no peace in the land until a body is hanging from every lamp-post," he frequently remarked. (Hitler-Heiden-p.52)

Anyone acquainted with the unhappy life of this lonely man knows why hatred and persecution mania guided his first political footsteps. In his heart he nursed a grudge against the world, and he vented it on guilty and innocent alike. His croaking voice, his jerky gait, his sawing gestures expressed a hatred of which all who saw him were conscious. He was lashed on by the craving to persecute: "I went, filled with loathing"--with this sentiment did he part from his fellow-laborers at the building-site in Vienna. "In these nights there grew in me a hatred, hatred of the authors of the revolution." That was the result of the winter in Treunstein. (Hitler-Heiden-p.53)

After the war the position suddenly changed. Anti-Semitism immediately became a mass movement, even before Hitler. The Prussian Minister of War, General von [unreadable], published statistics by which he tried to prove that the German Jews had not made as many sacrifices in the World War as the other sections of the population. In reply it was pointed out that the German princely houses had not lost a single prince... (Hitler-Heiden-p.59)

"As I always woke up before five in the morning, I had formed the habit of amusing myself by strewing on the floor a few pieces of stale bread or crusts for the mice which had made their home in the little room, and of watching the droll little animals scurrying about after these tidbits. I had already suffered so much distress in the course of my life that I could picture only too well the hunger and consequently the delight of these little creatures. I could not go off to sleep again, and I suddenly recalled the previous evening and remembered the pamphlet. So I began to read." (Hitler-Heiden-p. 68)

[Page 6]

Then some ingenious brain conceived the brilliant idea of inserting an advertisement in an anti-Semitic weekly, the Munchener Beobachter. A miracle happened: eighty people arrived! (Hitler-Heiden-p. 69)

Rohm developed something like a genuine affection for the queer soldier, but in Hitler too Rohm's frank, brutal energy seemed to inspire a blissful [unreadable] of security. (Hitler-Heiden-p. 71)

Then Hitler came forward; the audience became restless; the speaker did not appeal to them. Hitler began to expound his program, and the audience became more attentive. From time to time there were exclamations of approval. When Hitler left the platform, he was convinced that he had achieved a great success. (Hitler-Heiden-p. 75)

On a summer afternoon of the year 1919, a few people collected before the steps of the new [unreadable] in Munich. A pale gaunt man with a pointed beard had mounted the balustrade... (Hitler-Heiden-p.76)

Eighteen months later the same man again stood on a raised platform before the Munich public. He no longer wore a beard. The people knew his name. (Hitler-Heiden-p. 76)

It must not be imagined that the first National Socialist meetings were outwardly very different from any other political meeting. Hitler spoke; a discussion was opened; someone ventured a contradiction, and Hitler patiently refuted the contradiction. (Hitler-Heiden-p. 81)

As to Hitler's voice there are different opinions. Some think it fascinating, others revolting. Certain it is that the extraordinary power of this organ, which even on a stormy mountain-height loses little of its volume and only at excited (Hitler-Heiden-p.85)

[Page 7]

(Hitler-Heiden-p. 85 cont.)

moments becomes a croak stirs and thrills people. The tone and attitude of the orator at the beginning convey a sense of intense earnestness and responsibility, and this makes the frenzied bawling which follows all the more impressive. At the climax of his speech he is so carried away that whatever he is saying, be it purest truth or crassest lie, is at that moment so entirely the expression of his nature, his mood, and his conviction of the profound necessity for all he does that even the lie echoes like truth in the ears of his audience. The oneness of man and word is the second secret of his success. (Hitler-Heiden-p. 85)

Hitler had to get [unreadable] as best he could."You have no idea," he said later to Gregor Strasser, "what a problem it was in those days to find the money to buy my ticket when I wanted to deliver a speech at Nuremberg."

No one knows how he lived. As a man, he appeared a thorough bohemian. He was said to have no money, but he spent it. And there were distressing inconsistencies. Here is the verbal report of one of his business friends on the year 1923: Believe me, Hitler is personally the most modest man in the world and grateful for the smallest favor. Once, when I gave him an old blue coat of mine, he grasped my hand in his and the tears started in his eyes. The poor fellow has certainly had a hard life and evidently has not experienced much kindness." The speaker added with conviction: "You might have stood the Hitler of November 9, 1923 on his head in the Felderrnhalle, and not a copper would have fallen out of his pocket." (Hitler-Heiden-p. 90)

In July 1921, discontented members of the party attacked him in a broadsheet which asserts: "If any member asks him how he lives and what was his former profession, he always becomes angry and excited. Up to now no answer has been supplied to these questions. So his conscience cannot be clean, especially as his excessive intercourse with ladies, to whom he often described himself as 'King of Munich,' costs a great deal of money." The actual statements contained in this broadsheet were derived from Anton Drexler." (Hitler-Heiden-p. 90-91)

[Page 8]

"I also have my midday meal with various party comrades in turn. I am further assisted to a modest extent by a few party comrades." (Hitler-Heiden-p. 91)

Certainly all those who believed the Hitler of the first years to be a poor devil in chronic want of money were laboring under a delusion. His craving for abrupt alternations between profound solitude and teeming society resulted, in view of his limited means, in a modest lodging and [unreadable] tavern carousals. He simply could not manage money, any more than he could manage his time, husband his strength, employ his staff economically, or arrange a speech or written composition architectonically. Hitler is an unbridled being, sometimes as insensitive to pain and toil, as though in a state of intoxication, and therefore capable of wonderful feats of strength, but incapable of prolonged self-discipline. (Hitler-Heiden-p. 91-92)

He received few invitations [unreadable] were almost closed against him. Why any awkward, conspicuous for his exaggerated bows and the greedy haste with which he gobbled his food, he soon decided to be interesting at close quarters. Dressed not shabbily but without any [unreadable] of personal taste, his oiled hair parted almost in the middle, his scrubby mustache introducing an [unreadable] accent into an otherwise insipid face--the whole man gave the impression of a poor copy of a type existing only in the imagination. (Hitler-Heiden-p. 93)

Hitler found a sort of home with Frau Carola Hofmann, a simple soul, the widow of a headmaster, who lived in the villa-suburb of Solln, near Munich. In 1920 she heard Hitler speak for the first time and immediately took a fancy to him. This women of sixty-one years of age became to the thirty- year old bohemian the mother for whom he [unreadable] yearned. (Hitler-Heiden-p. 93)

The first house with some pretensions to grandeur to which Hitler was admitted on a friendly footing was not in Munich, but in Berlin. It was that of Bechstein, the piano-manufacturer. The Bechsteins were old friends of Dietrich Eckart, and the latter introduced pupil to them. Frau Helene Bechstein took a great liking to Adolf Hitler. "I wish he were my son," she said. (Hitler-Heiden-p. 94)

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