At half past six on the evening of April 20th, 1889 a child was born in the small town of Braunau Am Inn, Austria. The name of the child was Adolf Hitler.

He was the son a Customs official Alois Hitler, and his third wife Klara. Initially Alois had taken his mother's name, Schicklgruber, but changed it in 1876 and became Hiedler, or Hitler. 

Quite important - it is hard to imagine tens of thousands of Germans shouting Heil Schicklgruber! instead of Heil Hitler!

Adolf's mother, born Klara Pölzl, was 23 years younger than Alois. She was so closely related to her husband that a special dispensation was sought from Rome before they could marry in 1884. Of the six children born of this marriage, only two survived, Adolf and a younger sister called Paula.

Young Adolf attended church regularly, sang in the local choir and spent hours playing 'cowboys and Indians' and reveled in the westerns penned by Karl May. He grew up with a poor record at school and left, before completing his tuition, with an ambition to become an artist or architect. Alois Hitler had died when Adolf was thirteen and Klara brought up Adolf and his sister, Paula, on her own.

Louis Bülow   ©2006-08
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