The parents of Adolf Hitler are in the news currently because their tombstone has been removed and hauled off. It has probably been smashed to pieces already. I blogged yesterday about the cemetery in Leonding, Austria where the bodies of Hitler’s parents now lie in an unmarked grave. A reader of my blog commented that Hitler’s birthplace might be next on the list of places to be destroyed.
When I visited Austria a few years ago, I went to the small town of Braunau am Inn where Hitler was born. As soon as I entered the town, I went to a bookstore and asked for directions to the house where Hitler was born. The clerk looked at me as though I were someone from outer space and then said that he could not tell me. I asked for a map that would show the location, and I was told that there is no such map.
I started walking down the main street until I saw a stone monument in front of a building. I recognized the golden granite as a stone from the Mauthausen quarry which I had just visited. This must be the place!
The photo above shows Salzburger Vorstadt in the historic town of Braunau am Inn (Braunau on the Inn river). This is the street where Hitler was born on April 20, 1889. In the background, the building with the tower is the gatehouse into the town. Hitler’s birthplace is the building on the right.
While I was taking these photos, the locals who were passing by, gave me a big smile of approval. As far as I could tell, I was the only American tourist in the town that day.
Braunau am Inn has a population of about 17,500 people. This was formerly a walled town; it is located on the south bank of the Inn river which separates Austria and Germany. The street was renamed Adolf-Hitler-Strasse after the Anschluss of Germany and Austria on March 12, 1938.
The photo above shows the yellow three-story building in Braunau am Inn which was the Gasthof zum Pommer or Gasthof des Josef Pommer at the time when Hitler was born there. The original address of the building was Salzburger Vorstadt 219 when Adolf Hitler was born here at 6:30 p.m. on April 20, 1889, Easter Sunday. A Gasthof is also called a Gasthaus. A Gasthaus is a small hotel that has a restaurant and a bar on the ground floor. The local Gasthaus used to be the hangout for the men in the town — the women were at home, having a Kaffeeklatsch.
The house where Hitler was born is unmarked, except for a large stone of Mauthausen granite which was placed on the corner in 1989, the 100th anniversary of Hitler’s birth.
The English translation of the words on the stone are: “For peace, freedom and democracy, never again Fascism, millions of dead admonish.”
The stone, which is in front of Hitler’s birthplace, is from the quarry at the Mauthausen concentration camp. Mauthausen was chosen as the location for a camp because of the granite there. Hitler wanted to use the Mauthausen granite for new buildings in Linz, where he planned to retire.
Adolf Hitler’s father, Alois, and his mother, Klara Pölzl, were married in this church on 7 January 1885 at 6 o’clock in the morning. It was a quiet ceremony because Klara was already over four months pregnant; she was 24 and her new husband was 48. This was not the first marriage for Alois. A descendant of his previous wife is the person who authorized the removal of the grave stone of Alois and Klara.
Hitler was baptized a Catholic in the St. Stephan church. Throughout his life, he never left the Catholic church, although he did not attend Mass on Sundays.
As was customary in Germany and Austria, Hitler’s baptismal name was Adolfus, the Latin word for Adolf. The name Adolf means noble wolf. His mother called him Adi.
Update 4:32 p.m.
Adolf Hitler is usually thought of as the epitome of evil. But whatever your opinion of him may be, you must admit that Hitler changed the world. Without Hitler, there would be no Israel today and there would be only half as many Jews in America. It was Hitler who ordered (directly or indirectly) the Final (or Total) Solution to the Jewish Question. The Jewish Question was Should the Jews have their own country, or should they assimilate into the country where they live?
It was Hitler who sneaked Jews into Palestine and laid the groudwork for the country of Israel. It was Hitler who got the Jews out of Europe and into the good life in America.
If not for Hitler, the Jews in Chicago would still be living in Bialystock and the Jews who are living in luxury in California and Florida would still be living in some Polish shtetl in a house like the one in the photo below.
I am adding two more photos of the Church where Hitler was baptized. A reader of my blog commented that the church and the baptismal font might be the next places, associated with Hitler, that are destroyed.
These photos were taken with a Nikon F5 camera, back in the days before digital cameras were popular. I had one of the first digital cameras, but this technology was not advanced enough to take good quality photos at that time.