The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Office of Strategic Services
Hitler Source Book
Interview With Dr. Eduard Bloch
March 5, 1943
(Part 1 of 2)

[Page 21]

Resumee of interview with:
Dr. Eduard Bloch March 5th, 1943

It was definitely established that Dr. Bloch treated the Hitler family in 1906 and 1907. (possibly also previous to this date??)

Documentary proof: photostat of record and bill.

At that time Hitler's father was dead already. Dr. Bloch's impressions of the family life, "quiet, the only bone of contention being Adolf, who refused to become an official and wanted to become an artist; his mother backing him against his father..." seem to be based on his reading of Heiden's biography rather than on actual knowledge.

The mother was a big, stoutish woman, very pious and kind.

"Sie wuerde sich im Grab umdrehen, wenn sic wuesste, was aus ihm geworden ist .... "

Adolf was a source of worry to her, yet she seems to have complied with all his deficiencies.

"Wissen Sie, Herr Doktor, der Adolf ist halt noch zu jung ..."

The sisters were married already at that time and did not live at home any more.

Mother and son lived in s rented apartment, small place, rather poor; the pension afforded a modest income on which they could just manage to live.

"Eines ist sicher: er (Ado]f) hat seine Mutter abgoettisch geliebt...!"

Dr. Bloch stresses that the relationship between mother and son, their reciprocal adoration, was unusual.

Klara Hitler was her husband's second cousin; daughter of a cousin (?); she had been brought up in his house and seems to have taken care of the household during, at least, his second marriage, possibly also during his first; after his second wife's death he married her and changed his name. Allegedly for an inheritance. (Heiden??) She had been her husband's foster daughter since she had been an orphan.

She died from a cancer in her breast; she was operated on, but it was too late since there were already metastases in the pleura.

[Page 22]

Her illness was very painful; during the last months, Dr. Bloch gave her an injection every day.

No physical deformity; definitely no tuberculosis; though tuberculosis was hereditary in the family from the father's side.

Not afraid of the doctor.

Very good behavior towards the doctor. But difficulties at school, always quarrels with schoolmates. Allegedly got a hiding from a classmate, name of Hatschek (Eternit-Hatschek), who, according to Dr. B., was very much afraid of retaliation when Hitler annexed Austria. Made a gift to the Gestapo of his villa. (??)

Difficulties at school obviously a fact. Here Dr. B. speaks of something he knows and he was familiar with at the time. Adolf did not learn anything; except drawing and history.

"Das hat mir sein Professor selbst erzaehlt..."

.During his mother's illness, he had been in Vienna for the first time. Postcards to Dr. B. "Ihr ewig dankbarer A.H." One of them a drawing, obviously copied from a well known picture, monk with wineglass. The other (sent from his second and decisive sojourn in Vienna?), ordinary postcard.

Reason for going to Vienna: wanted to attend Academy. Was refused. (Here Dr. B's memories obviously get very much mixed up with his reading.)

Queer enough, Dr. B. mentions a third sister, but no second brother. He had a vague memory that there had been other children who had died in their infancy.

[Page 23]

My Patient, Hitler- Dr. E. Bloch as told to J, D.Ratcliff Collier's March 15, 1941.

...I knew Adolf Hitler as a boy and as a young man. I treated him many times and was intimately familiar with the modest surroundings in which he grew to manhood. I attended, in her final illness, the person nearer and dearer to him than all others - his mother .....

.... First, I might introduce myself. I was born in Frauenburg, a tiny village in southern Bohemia which, in the course of my lifetime, has been under three flags: Austrian, Czechoslovakian and German. I am sixty-nine years old. I studied medicine in Prague, then joined the Austrian army as a military doctor. In 1899 I was ordered to Linz, capital of Upper Austria, and the third largest city in the country. When I completed my army service in 1901 I decided to remain in Linz and practice medicine ....

...As a city, Linz has always been as quiet and reserved as Vienna was gay and noisy. In the period of which we are about to speak - when Adolf Hitler was a boy of 13 - Linz was a city of 80,000 people ....

The Hitler family moved to Linz in 1903, because, I believe, of the good schools there. The family background is well known. Alois Schicklgruber Hitler was the son of a poor peasant girl. When he was old enough to work he got a job as a cobbler's apprentice, worked his way into the government service and became a customs inspector at Braunau, a tiny frontier town between Bavaria and Austria. Braunau is fifty miles from Linz. At fifty-six Alois Hitler became eligible for a pension and retired. Proud of his own success, he was anxious for his son to enter government service. Young Adolf violently opposed the idea. He would be an artist. Father and son fought over this while the mother, Klara Hitler, tried to maintain peace.

As long as he lived Alois Hitler persevered in trying to shape his son s destiny to his own desires. His son would have the education which had been denied him; an education which would secure him a good government job. So Father Alois prepared to leave the hamlet of Braunau for the city of Linz. Because of his government service, he would not be required to pay the full tuition for his son at the Realschule. With all this in mind he bought a small farm in Leonding, a Linz suburb.

[Page 24]

... The family was rather large. In later life Adolf has so overshadowed the others that they are, for the better part, forgotten. There was a half-brother Alois, whom I never met. He left home at an early age, got a job as a waiter in London and later opened his own restaurant in Berlin. He was never friendly with his younger brother.

Then there was Paula, the oldest of the girls. She later married Herr Rubal, an official in the tax bureau in Linz. Later still, after her husband's death and her brother's rise to power, she went to Berchtesgaden to become housekeeper at Hitler's villa. Sister Klara for a while managed a restaurant for Jewish students at the University of Vienna; and sister Angela, youngest of the girls, married a Professor Hamitsch at Dresden, where she still lives...

... The family had barely settled in their new home outside of Linz when Alois, the father, died suddenly from an apoplectic stroke.

At the time Frau Hitler was in her early forties. She was a simple modest, kindly woman. She was tall, had brownish hair which she kept neatly plaited, and a long, oval face with beautifully expressive gray-blue eyes. She was desperately worried about the responsibilities thrust upon her by her husband's death. Alois, twenty-three years her senior, had always managed the family. Now the job was hers.

It was readily apparent that son Adolf was too young and altogether too frail to become a farmer. So her best move seemed to be to sell the place and rent a small apartment. This she did, soon after her husband's death. With the proceeds of this sale and the small pension which came to her because of her husband's government position, she managed to hold her family together.

In a small town in Austria poverty doesn't force upon one the indignities that it does in a large city. There are no slums and no serious overcrowding. I do not know the exact income of the Hitler family, but being familiar with the scale of government pensions I should estimate it at $25 a month. This small sum allowed them to live quietly and decently unnoticed little people in an out-of-the-way-town.

Their apartment consisted of three small rooms in the two-story house at No. 9 Bluetenstrasse, which is across the Danube from the main portion of Linz. Its windows gave an excellent view of the mountains.

My predominant impression of the simple furnished apartment was its cleanliness. It glistened; not a speck of dust on the chairs or tables, not a stray fleck of mud on the scrubbed floor, not a smudge on the panes in the windows. Frau Hitler was a superb housekeeper.

The Hitlers had only a few friends. One stood out above the others; the widow of the postmaster who lived in the same house.

The limited budget allowed not even the smallest extravagance. We had the usual provincial opera in Linz; not good, and not bad. Those

[Page 25]

who would hear the best went to Vienna. Seats in the gallery of our theater, the Schauspielhaus, sold for the equivalent of lO to 15 cents in American money. Yet occupying one of those seats to hear an indifferent troupe sing Lohengrin was such a memorable occasion that Hitler records it in Mein Kampf!

For the most part the boy's recreations were limited to those things which were free; walks in the mountains, a swim in the Danube, a free band concert. He read extensively and was particularly fascinated by stories about American Indians. He devoured the books of James Fenimore Cooper, and the German writer Karl May - who never visited America and never saw an Indian.

The family diet was, of necessity, simple and rugged. Food was cheap and plentiful in Linz; and the Hitler family ate much the same diet as other people in their circumstances. Meat would be served perhaps twice a week. Most of the meals they sat down to consisted of cabbage or potato soup, bread, dumplings and a pitcher of pear and apple cider.

For clothing, they wore the rough woolen cloth we call Loden. Adolf, of course, dressed in the uniform of all small boys; leather shorts, embroidered suspenders, a small green hat with a feather in its band ....

...What kind of boy was Adolf Hitler? Many biographers have put him down as harsh-voiced, defiant, untidy; as a young ruffian who personified all that is unattractive. This simply is not true. As a youth he was quiet, well-mannered and neatly dressed ......

...He was tall, sallow, old for his age. He was neither robust nor sickly. Perhaps "frail looking" would best describe him. His eyes - inherited from his mother- were large, melancholy and thoughtful. To a very large extent this boy lived within himself. What dreams he dreamed I do not know.

Outwardly, his love for his mother was his most striking feature. While he was not a "mother's boy" in the usual sense, I have never witnessed a closer attachment. Some insist that this love verged on the pathological. As a former intimate of the family, I do not believe this is true.

Klara Hitler adored her son, the youngest of the family. She allowed him his own way wherever possible. His father had insisted that he become an official. He rebelled and won his mother to his side. He soon tired of school, so his mother allowed him to drop his studies.

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