Hitler in Linz and Leonding
In 1898 Hitler’s family moves again, changing to a semi-convenient house in a village in upper Austria (Hafeld) first for a short period within a small apartment in Lambaсh and then to a house in Leonding, a suburb of the city of Linz.
HITLER’S HOUSE IN LEONDING
Alois Hitler purchased this house in November 1898 for 7700 Krones and moved his family to Leonding already in February 1899. A couple of small rooms with a low ceiling, a tiny kitchen, and a pear garden with a graveyard on the opposite side of the narrow village road. The Hitler family had lived here from February 1899 until June 21, 1905, in strained circumstances.
Hitler’s house in Leonding was in private use as an accommodation for decades and in 2002 a local funeral service office has taken a building for permanent use. The building on Michaelsbegstrasse 16 in its modern state has two entrances, one main and one added. The second one (on the left side) was added years after Hitler’s family had lived here. One of the early paintings of Adolf Hitler depicts their home in Leonding with only one entrance on the side of the road and a cemetery.
HITLER’S SCHOOL IN LEONDING
After moving to Leonding in February 1899, a nine-year-old Adolf starts to attend a local school, one of two in a village. Decades after, a future Fuhrer of the Third Reich recalls his childhood in this school in Leonding, his wild behavior, and his independent opinion of the surroundings.
This building on Michaelsbegstrasse 29 is still here and has changed a little in the last century. The same entrance now leads us not to school, but to a ’Heimatmuseum’ museum.
A RESTAURANT, WHERE ALOIS HITLER DIED
In his mature years, Adolf Hitler characterized his father as a man, who had influenced him the most in his early years and depicted his death as a painful personal tragedy. Alois Hitler was a tough hard-line man, who was extremely demanding of his children and especially of his only son Adolf (a six-year Edmund passed in 1900). The father does not give money to his son for books, despite the fact that Adolf is passionate about reading. Then a boy starts to ignore education and his father punishes him. Years after, ‘’Mein Kampf’’ will reveal and explain that young Adolf did not want to become a rural bureaucrat like his father.
Hans Frank, a lawyer of Adolf Hitler as a party leader and future gauleiter of Poland, in an interview after the war, recalled the words of his chief. Hitler once said that the greatest shame of his life was to drag his drunk father Alois from the local beer pub to home. Alois Hitler, in fact, was a narrow-minded cruel old man retired, who had spent his time in bars of Leonding and Linz. These table talks included Pan-German and nationalist topics. In the early hours of January 3, 1903, Alois Hitler was sitting and drinking wine on his favorite leather sofa in his favorite restaurant called Gasthaus Stiefler (modern: Gasthof Wiesinger). He suddenly felt worse and died in the same spot because of a pulmonary hemorrhage (he choked on his own blood in the lungs). Alois Hitler was 65 years old and a memoir in a local newspaper described him as a progressive-friendly man. He was buried in the local cemetery, 30 meters away from his own house.
Gasthof Wiesinger is still a restaurant with the same title and its interior changed poorly since 1903 and the death of Alois Hitler. I made my way inside the café to find the very sofa and found it on the right side of the entrance. In fact, the disposition of this sofa is being changed periodically within the premises of the restaurant. It has been obviously renovated a few times, but it still contains a part of history, and the owners even gave it to the museum a few years ago.
THE GRAVES OF ALOIS AND CLARA HITLER IN LEONDING
Alois Hitler was buried in a local cemetery in Leonding after his death in 1903. Talking about Clara Hitler, Adolf Hitler’s mother, her state of health has been dramatically changing within her last years of life, with some spots of hope, but usually for the worse. On October 22, 1907, Adolf, who had previously returned from Vienna to Linz to take care of his mother, attends doctor Bloch and finds out that the state of health of Clara Hitler is badly inevitable. She soon starts to spend all the time in bed. Starting from November 6th, 1907 doctor Bloch attends their house every day to visit the patient and give her morphine. Clara Hitler passed at 2 a.m. on December 21, 1907. She was only 47 years old. Adolf made a painting of his mother within her last hours and spent a night at his mother’s bed, waiting for Doctor Bloch, who certificated the death.
A coffin with Clara Hitler was kept in the apartment in Linz till the day of the funeral on December 23, 1907. Cold foggy weather and two carriages (Adolf and his sister with her husband) escorted a catafalque to the cemetery of Leonding. Clara Hitler was buried near her husband, 30 meters from their former home on Michaelsbegstrasse. A six-year-old Edmund Hitler was buried nearby seven years before. On the next day, December 24, 1907, the family of Hitler visits Bloch’s office in Linz and pays off 300 Krones for treatment. Some time after a young Adolf Hitler makes a gift to a Jewish doctor Bloch. He gives him a few of his own paintings with a great sense of gratitude. Later, young Adolf will send his drawings to Doctor Bloch and one was from his period in Vienna.
After the Anschluss of Austria in March 1938, Adolf Hitler, as a chancellor and fuhrer visited Leonding on March 12. History preserved a rare photo of Hitler, who lays flowers on the graves of his parents. These gravestones of Alois and Clara Hitler survived the War and the next 60 years. In 2012 local authorities moved the gravestones in an attempt to reduce the interest in this place among the modern admirers of the Nazis and extremists. In fact, the cemetery is of small size, so it was not difficult to find the actual site of the graves that are still under the ground. The spot is located near the stone wall, facing Michaelsbegstrasse and former Hitler’s home. The only clear spot on the ground attracts even more attention.
REALSCHULE: HISTLER’S STUDY IN LINZ
After five years of elementary school, within changing addresses of Hitler’s family, in 1900 Alois Hitler entrusts his only son to the Realschule in Linz. A young boy spends an hour every day covering a 5 km distance to his new education. After failing to adapt to a provincial school, Adolf Hitler pays less and less attention to his study and he is kept for another year with two low grades and with multiple-order marks. Within a period of 1902-1903, Adolf was the only child in his class, who was excepted from paying annual fees, due to a dire financial condition. Most teachers in Realschule in Linz supported the nationalist sentiments and the absolute amount of pupils are German-speaking. Despite his underachievement, Adolf Hitler finally gets access to a big school library. In 1904 due to his sustained bad study performances, young Adolf lefts the Realschule in Linz.
The building of a former Realschule is now painted in peach color and is located within a district with compact planning. Building on Steingasse 6 has nothing in common with education and contains a Hotel with a pretty lobby, seen through the glass entrance.
CUSTOM OFFICE IN LINZ (HAUPTZOLLAMT)
One of the passages of ‘Mein Kampf’ tells the story of a visit to the Main Customs Office in Linz, initiated by Alois Hitler for his only son in order to make a basis for a bureaucratic future. In this building on Zollamstrasse, a thirteen-year-old Adolf just intensified a point of view that it was not for him a be a provincial bureaucrat at the table, a kind of bookworm. During the post-Anschluss visit to Austria, the German fuhrer visited the building one more time, more than thirty years after his first audience with his father.
DOCTOR BLOCH’S OFFICE IN LINZ
Doctor Eduard Bloch was a Jew and was born in 1872. After military service and an assignment to Linz, in 1899 doctor Bloch settled down here. Two years later in 1901, he managed to initiate his own doctor’s practice on Landstrasse 12 on the first floor of a marvelous building in Baroque style (the second building from the left). He had lived here with his family, a wife, and since 1903 with a daughter. Doctor Bloch got respect and could visit his patient even in the middle of the night in case of necessity.
In March 1938, when Germany performed an Anschluss of Austria, Eduard Bloch was 66 years old. On the 1st of October, he was prohibited to continue a doctor’s practice and the office had to be closed. While his daughter and her husband immigrated to the USA soon after, an old doctor had a hope to get in contact with his former patient. Doctor Bloch had written a few letters and for the goodwill of faith for him, they reached Adolf Hitler. As an act of exceptional attitude of Hitler, he directed Gestapo a command to protect Doctor Bloch, his family, and even his belongings in Linz, which were lately salt with good value. Bloch’s family managed to get things done until the very emigration to the USA in 1940. His Austrian diploma was useless in the United States and an old man died “unnecessarily” in emigration in 1945. In his later memoir, doctor Bloch characterized Adolf Hitler as an extremely polite and educated young man, who had loved his mother with all his heart, as she had idolized her only son.
THE OLD CATHEDRAL IN LINZ AND ADOLF HITLER
In the early years of the XX century, this Cathedral known as Alter Dom or Ignatiuskirche, was the main Christian church in Linz. At the age of 15, Adolf Hitler experienced a ceremony of Confirmation here and was “anointed with Christ” as a Catholic. He had also made a drawing of the Alter Dom, which remained until now.
LANDESTHEATER THEATER AND AUGUST KUBIZEK
Adolf Hitler had become an admirer of theatre, while constantly living in Linz, on Gumboldstrasse 31 with his mother and sister. The local Landestheater at that time had a diverse list of productions, including Mozart, Schiller, Strauss, and Wagner. Standing room tickets were at a low fee and young Adolf Hitler was able to perform periodic visits. Landestheter’s performances paid significant attention to the oeuvre of Richard Wagner and the Lohengrin opera gained popularity. Hitler was a passionate admirer of Wagner and this very performance in particular. After some of the performances in Landestheater, a sixteen-year-old young man marched within his room, singing, full of emotions and ideas. Hitler even made some sketches of his view of the design for the building of the Landestheater. In 1938 the special commission, which accumulated the biography of Hitler for the NSDAP archives, ascertained the fact that most of the actors at that period in Landestheter were Jews.
Landestheater is a remarkable place in history, as in 1905 a young Adolf Hitler met his future friend August Kubizek here, within a standing box during some of the performances. They found themselves to be of one age and had much in common with each other. Even Kubizek’s father “approved” a new friend of his son, who was mannerly and gentlemanlike. Between October 1906 and January 1907, Hitler attended the music lessons of a local teacher Josef Prevatski.
Landestheater is still here and still holds opera performances as it was more than a century ago when it witnessed Adolf Hitler and August Kubizek within its crush room. This lobby gives you an atmosphere of an old theatre.
New friends Adolf Hitler and August Kubizek were frequent admirers of opera in Landestheater and usually spent their time after the performances, walking alongside the streets of Linz for hours or even all night until sunrise. Young men were passionately discussing stage productions and representations. In this respect, the topography of the sites Hitler and Kubizek visited includes the whole center of the city. Therewith, biographers of Hitler and Kubizek himself generally emphasize the Schmidtoreck district. It was and is a crossroad of streets in the heart of Linz. The site was a usual place for Hitler and Kubizek to get acquainted before the theatrical performances in Landestheater. Sometimes they were silently keeping an eye on Stephanie, a one-way love of young Adolf. Today the Schmidtoreck is still a busy intersection of Landestrasse and Schmidtorstrasse, only a brick throw from Doctor Bloch’s office.