Sexuality and Gender in the Third Reich

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Sexuality and Gender in the Third Reich

It is often thought that National Socialist ideology was primarily focused on removing the influence of Jews from all aspects of German society, however, Völkisch ideas and attitudes towards race were far more complex.

For the National Socialists, establishing a pure and thriving volksgemeinschaft was crucial to the survival of Germany and subsequently, the German people, therefore, the National Socialists saw themselves responsible for ensuring that the Germanic Aryan race flourished.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Volksgemeinschaft is a German-language expression meaning “people’s community”. Originally appearing during World War I as Germans rallied behind the war, it derived its popularity as a means to break down elitism and class divides. Upon rising to power in 1933, the National Socialists sought to gain support of various elements of society. Their concept of Volksgemeinschaft was racially unified and organized hierarchically. This involved a mystical unity, a form of racial soul uniting all Germans. This soul was regarded as related to the land, in the doctrine of “blood and soil”. Indeed, one reason for “blood and soil” was the belief that landowner and peasant lived in an organic harmony.
In order to achieve their racial ambitions, the National Socialists introduced a number of reforms that redefined Germany’s existing social structures.
These reforms also drastically limited personal freedoms of both Jewish and non-Jewish German citizens.
Moreover, due to the authoritarian nature of Nazism, the regime sought to control the behaviour of people both in and out of the public sphere.
During the Third Reich a person’s body was no longer considered their own.
Instead, the body was recognized as a public site.
As a result, established social conceptions on gender and sexuality became susceptible to Völkisch influence.
To achieve their ideological objectives, the Third Reich instituted a number of policies regarding gender and sexuality.
Ultimately, these policies had a significant impact on German society.
Gender Roles in Nazi Germany
For the National Socialists, existing social and behavioural norms that delineated gender roles in Germany were not conducive to their ideological ambitions.
During their time in power, the National Socialists worked to establish their own conceptions regarding gender in German society.

Nationalsozialistische Soldat
Richard Scheibe – ‘Kneeling Warrior’ 1937
Nationalsozialistischen ‘Neue Mensch’
‘Aryan Man’ – Arno Breker

Like other traditional right-wing movements the National Socialists subscribed to the idea of creating a ‘new man’ that would function as a symbol of the state.

In promoting the concept of creating a ‘new man’, the National Socialists redefined existing notions on manliness and masculinity.
According to Völkisch ideology, manliness could not be ascertained through “virtues that could be expressed in ordinary life.”
Instead, a man could only achieve true manliness by engaging in heroic activities.
Moreover, the National Socialists believed that manliness was determined by a man’s willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the state.
For the National Socialists the soldier embodied all the ideal characteristics associated with the ‘new man’.
Men were expected to embrace the soldier mentality and join male dominated organizations, such as  the SS (Schutzstaffel).
Furthermore, in order to fulfil their racial duties, men were also encouraged to marry ‘hereditarily fit’ German women, and establish kinderreich (rich in children) families.

Reichsbund Kinderreich
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter

The Ehrenkreuz der Deutschen Mutter (Cross of Honour of the German Mother), referred to colloquially as the Mutterehrenkreuz (Mother’s Cross of Honour) was a state decoration and civil order of merit conferred by the government of the German Reich to honour a Reichsdeutsche (Imperial German) mother for exceptional merit to the German nation. Eligibility later extended to include Volksdeutsche (ethnic German) mothers from, for example, Austria and Sudetenland, that had earlier been incorporated into the German Reich.
The decoration was conferred from 1939 until 1945 in three classes of order, bronze, silver, and gold, to mothers who exhibited probity, exemplary motherhood, and who conceived and raised at least four or more children in the role of a parent.
It is estimated that up until September 1941 there were a total of 4.7 million recipient mothers honoured with the Mother’s Cross decoration.

In the family unit, men were expected to act as patriarchs, charged with instilling proper Völkisch values into their children.
Thus it is apparent that Völkisch attitudes towards masculinity and the role of the man subscribed to a Germanic ideal.
Völkisch views on the role of women also revolved around traditionalist ideals.

Deutsch Mutter und drei Kinder

According to National Socialist doctrine, “…to be a wife and mother is the German woman’s highest essence and purpose of life.” 

Essentially, it was the responsibility of the ‘hereditarily fit’ woman to birth and raise racially pure children.
As a result, femininity became synonymous with motherhood and fertility in the Third Reich. Furthermore, a high level of intelligence in a woman was no longer considered desirable trait.
For the National Socialists, “fertility, not intellectual abilities, was the key.”
It was also thought that women should remain inside the home or private sphere because the public realm strictly belonged men.
In penetrating the public sphere, it was understood that a woman would not be able to accomplish her stately duties of birthing and raising pure Aryan children.
In the home, women’s activities were regulated to “Kinder,” “Küche,” and “Kirche” (children, kitchen, and church).
By focusing primarily on the family and the home, the National Socialists believed a woman could simultaneously fulfill her own natural maternal instincts and serve the state to the best of her abilities. In National Socialist society, mothers were also to be accorded with the same honourable status as the soldier in the German Volk community.
For the National Socialists, in becoming a mother, a woman sacrificed her body and life for the good of the Fatherland, much like the soldier.
Motherhood was also compared to soldiering in that by brining a child into the world, a mother was thought to be fighting her own battle for the nation, therefore, in embracing motherhood, women were afforded due prestige in the Third Reich.
Origins of National Socialist Ideology on Gender
National Socialist attitudes towards gender and gender roles primarily stemmed from existing right-wing ideology and nineteenth century philosophy.
 Friedrich Nietzsche
One such philosopher that was fundamental in influencing the Völkisch view on gender, and the overall National Socialist rhetoric on the establishment of a ‘new man’ was Friedrich Nietzsche.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet, and composer. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony, and aphorism.
Nietzsche’s key ideas include the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy, perspectivism, the ‘Will to Power’, the “death of God”, the ‘Übermensch’, and eternal recurrence. Central to his philosophy is the idea of “life-affirmation”, which involves questioning of any doctrine that drains one’s expansive energies, however socially prevalent those ideas might be. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary and his influence remains substantial, particularly in the continental philosophical tradition comprising existentialism, postmodernism, and post-structuralism.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s views on women have attracted controversy, beginning during his life, and continuing to the present.
After his father died when he was only five, Nietzsche was left to be raised in a household solely occupied by women (his mother, his sister, and two maiden aunts).
How much of an affect this had on developing the young man’s lifelong attitudes towards women is impossible to tell, but it would be disingenuous to dismiss it as a triviality.
Throughout his life, Nietzsche had few companions (of either gender), and virtually no real romantic relationships 
He frequently made remarks in his writing that may be viewed as misogynistic.
Nietzsche’s quote on women include:

‘The sexes deceive themselves about each other – because at bottom they honor and love only themselves (or their own ideals, to put it more pleasantly). 
Thus man likes woman peaceful – but woman is essentially un-peaceful, like a cat, however well she may have trained herself to seem peaceable.’

‘Woman’s love involves injustice and blindness against everything that she does not love… Woman is not yet capable of friendship: women are still cats and birds. Or at best cows…’
‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ – On the Friend

Everything in woman is a riddle, and everything about woman has one solution – it is called pregnancy.’

Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Old and Young Women, Friedrich Nietzsche 


Nietzsche says much the same of love in general in ‘The Joyful Science’
Finally: 
Woman! One-half of mankind is weak, typically sick, changeable, inconstant… she needs a religion of weakness that glorifies being weak, loving, and being humble as divine: or better, she makes the strong weak–she rules when she succeeds in overcoming the strong… Woman has always conspired with the types of decadence, the priests, against the “powerful”, the “strong”, the men.’
‘The Will to Power’ – 864
However, Nietzsche’s apparent misogyny is part of his overall strategy to demonstrate that our attitudes toward sex-gender are thoroughly cultural, are often destructive of our own potential as individuals and as a species, and may be changed.
What looks like misogyny may be understood as part of a larger strategy whereby “woman-as-such” (the universal essence of woman with timeless character traits) is shown to be a product of male desire, a construct
Lou Andreas-Salomé

Луиза Густавовна Саломе – (Lou Andreas-Salomé), who knew Nietzsche very well, and claimed that he had proposed to her (according to her, she refused him) claimed there was something feminine in Nietzsche’s “spiritual nature“, and that he had considered genius to be a feminine genius.
Elizabeth Förster-Nietzsche was two years younger than her brother.
Both were children of a Lutheran pastor in the German village of Röcken bei Lützen.
The two children were close during their childhood and early adult years.
There has been speculation that the relationship between Elizabeth and Fritz was so close that it was almost ‘incestuous’.
Nietzsche himself only ever had one romantic relationship with a woman – Lou Andreas Salomé (see above), and it is significant that Elizabeth did everything in her power to bring the relationship to an end.
Nietzsche’s only other intense relationship (apart from that with Richard Wagner) – even to the extent of being described as ‘homoerotic’, was with ‘Peter Gast’ – Johann Heinrich Köselitz (10 January 1854–15 August 1918) was a German author and composer. He is known for his long-time friendship with Friedrich Nietzsche, who gave him the pseudonym ‘Peter Gast’.

Peter Gast

In Basel, a friendship developed between Gast and Nietzsche.
Gast read for Nietzsche during the latter’s intermittent spells of near blindness, and also took dictation. Gast was instrumental in the preparation of all of Nietzsche’s works after 1876, reviewing the printer’s manuscript and sometimes intervening to finalize the text formatting.
Nietzsche’s break with Wagner and his search for a ‘southern’ aesthetic with which he could immunize himself from the gloomy German north led him to over-appreciate Gast as a musician.

Nietzsche states that a woman’s true source of power lies in her ability to bear children (essentially the power to grant life – which resonates with  Völkisch and National Socialist theories), and that this trait serves as her underlying motivation for dealing with men (who are dependent on women for the propagation of their bloodline – their physical immortality, so to speak).
Because of man’s dependence on woman in this regard, the masculine gender will readily deify womanhood (i.e. motherhood), to a higher realm of existence, a sentiment women will shrewdly use to “raise themselves higher,” to a plane of virtue that is beyond reproach.  

In the more general sphere, according to Nietzsche, willpower and healthy emotions should dominate over repression – even sexual repression.

In mastering his emotions, a man could then become ‘Übermensch’ or the “overman,” which is a type of superior human being that has achieved self-mastery and has balanced thoughts and feelings.

Italian Futurism
The idea of the ‘new man’ was first introduced in Italy by nationalists who wanted to establish a new Italy.
The ‘Futurists’, who had a significant role in the institution of fascism in Italy, also embraced the notion of creating a ‘new man’.
To the Futurists, the new Italian man was not weighed down by history “but could take off into uncharted spaces proclaiming Italy’s glory through his personal drive.
Furthermore, the Futurists believed that the ‘new man’ was to be disciplined, combative, and perceive the world in a way that accepted the new speed of time.
Therefore, in taking power, Mussolini adapted many of the existing theories on the ‘new man’ into fascist ideology.

Giovanni Papini
Benito Mussolini 

In creating a ‘Uomo Nuovo Fascista’ (fascist ‘new man’), Mussolini was also influenced by the work of Italian publicist Giovanni Papini who stated that men were to rid themselves of bourgeois icons such as family and love.

Giovanni Papini (January 9, 1881 – July 8, 1956) was an Italian journalist, essayist, literary critic, poet, and novelist.

Papini also emphasised that men must be forceful and energetic and approach life in a sober, unromantic manner.
Thus, when Mussolini came to power in Italy, establishing a fascist ‘new man’ was fundamental to his political agenda.

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945) was an Italian politician, journalist and leader of the National Fascist Party, ruling the country from 1922 to his ousting in 1943. In 1926 Mussolini seized total power as dictator and ruled Italy as Il Duce (“the leader”) from 1930 to 1943. Mussolini was one of the key figures in the creation of fascism.

Uomo Nuovo Fascista

Consequently, the concept of the ‘new man’ became a significant aspect of fascist ideology as a whole.

The glorification of the war also had a considerable impact on Völkisch gender ideals.
After the Great War, there was an extensive effort to redefine masculinity in Germany, and other various countries.
Ultimately, the National Socialists saw themselves as the “inheritors of the war experience.”
As a result, war became a significant factor in determining masculinity in the Third Reich.
According to the National Socialist, the soldier represented true manhood because he was not afraid to face death and was willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the nation.
It was also thought that a man who survived the war knew how to truly live because he defied death, resulting in the idolization of veterans in the Third Reich.

Männerbund

The wartime camaraderie felt between men also appealed to the National Socialists.

To the regime, male bonding was considered to be the foundation of the state.
As a result, the idea of the ‘Männerbund’ (Männerbund – bond of men; it was a distinctly masculine mystique which became an essential part of SA ideology) was heavily promoted in the Third Reich.
Many of the  National Socialists’ concepts on war and masculinity were also garnered from the writings of Ernst Jünger.
For Jünger, war represented the end of the bourgeois era.
Correspondingly, much of Jüngers writings glorified that act of war and emphasised its masculine qualities.

Kameradschaft – Arno Breker

In In ‘Stahlgewittern’ (Storm of Steel), Jünger describes man as being “a compulsive sexual being who proves himself in war.”

Jünger also states that “for war, viewed from its centre…there is only one standpoint.
It is the most masculine one.”
Ernst Jünger
Therefore, combined with the glorification of the war experience, Jünger’s writing had a significant influence on Völkisch ideals regarding manhood and masculinity.
Ernst Jünger (29 March 1895 – 17 February 1998) was a German writer and philosopher. In addition to his political essays, novels and diaries, he is well known for ‘Storm of Steel’, an account of his experience during World War I.
The ontology of war depicted in Storm of Steel could be interpreted as a model for a new, hierarchically ordered society beyond democracy, beyond the security of bourgeois society and ennui.
Wappen Deutsches Reich
Weimarer Republik

National Socialist attitudes toward gender and gender roles were also affected by the Weimar Republic.

For the National Socialists, the Weimar Republic represented the cultural decay of German society.
In order to prevent further cultural decomposition, the regime rejected all things associated with the Weimar period, including the new freedoms experienced by women.

Women Munitions Workers
During the Great War, women were allowed leave the confines of the private sphere and seek employment in war-related industries.
Following the war, women achieved a number of political gains including the establishment of female suffrage during the national election in November 1918, which led to the popularization of the women’s emancipation movement.
The new political empowerment of women at the beginning of the Weimar years led to dynamic changes in their conduct and behaviour throughout the 1920s.

The Threepenny Opera
Goldene Zwanziger

During the Weimar period, women were allowed to smoke, drink, and dance provocatively in public. Women also started to use cosmetics more regularly, cut their hair into styles such as the pageboy and the bob, and adopted male clothing into their wardrobes.

Since the National Socialists believed that racial purity would solve all of Germany’s problems, they saw the ‘masculinisation’ of women as a significant threat.

1920s Fashion

Consequently, the National Socialists promoted the idea that feminism would destroy the German race and lead to the introduction of Bolshevism.

The National Socialists also denounced the women’s emancipation movement as being a construct of the Jewish intellect, furthermore, with the onset of the depression, the National Socialists endorsed the notion that in order for the nation to recover economically, the family must be stabilized, which meant that women must return to the private sphere, therefore, National Socialist ideals on the role of women in society were developed in reaction to the freedoms experienced by women during the Weimar period.

Ideology and Sexuality
Sexuality was also a significant aspect of Völkisch racial ideology.

1920s Mercedes benz
German Birth Rate

During the Weimar era, there was a considerable drop in birthrates, from 36 births per thousand inhabitants to 14.7 births per thousand.

The National Socialists attributed this decline to the extravagant lifestyles of Germans during the Weimar period, which encouraged the promotion of the individual over the collective.
For the National Socialists, the low birthrate among the German population endangered the continued survival of the Germanic Aryan race.
In order to promote a higher birthrate, the National Socialists worked to control people’s sexual behaviours.

‘Du und Ich’ – Arno Breker

Under National Socialist rule, the politicization of the body was incorporated in German societal discourses.

According the National Socialists, an individual’s body is a public site “whose purpose was to further the larger social organism.”
As a result, private human activities were given public significance.
To ensure the perseverance of the Germanic Aryan race, the National Socialists embraced conservative sexual values, which emphasised heterosexuality and chastity.
When it came to the actual act of sex, the National Socialists believed that people should approach sex with the purpose of fulfilling national goals rather than pursuing their own pleasure.
Ultimately, ‘supposedly’ immoral sexual practices, such as passive homosexuality, were blamed on the Jews.
To the National Socialists, the Jews sought “to strike the Nordic race at its most vulnerable point: sexual life.”
The National Socialists also argued that the Jews disregarded spirituality in exchange for sensuality and physical contact.
Thus, the National Socialists advocated the idea that proper sexual behaviours were devoid of Jewish influences.
Sexuality for the National Socialists also represented an area in which the regime could further consolidate its power.
For the National Socialists, regulating public discourse on acceptable sexual practices allowed the regime to be associated with sexual gratification.
By enforcing the idea that sex was a public service, the individual would then recognize their sexual satisfaction as being a part of their patriotic duty in supporting the State and its endeavours.
As a result, sex was considered to be a reward for the regime to grant to its supporters.
The National Socialists also worked to eliminate the existing taboos associated with sexuality.
They claimed that sexual taboos associated with the body were introduced into German society by the Jews, in an effort to disturb the natural order and undermine institutions such as marriage and the family.

Karl Truppe
Karl Truppe

The goal of the National Socialists was to restore notions of beauty and nobility back to the body.

In order to accomplish this task, the regime instituted specific standards about how the body, particularly the female body, should be portrayed in paintings and other artistic creations.
To the National Socialists artists were to strive to represent the purity of the body in its natural form in their work.

Karl Truppe (* February 9 1887 in Ebenthal
† February 22 1959 in Viktring ) was an Austrian painter and university professor. He portrayed among others , Emperor Charles I of Austria and Adolf Hitler.

‘Dianas Ruhe’ – Ivo Saliger

Thus many state-commissioned paintings feature psychically attractive women lying naked in the sun or in the sea, such as in ‘Dianas Ruhe’ – Ivo Saliger

Ivo Saliger was known both for his original etchings and paintings. He moved to Vienna in 1908 at the same time as Adolf Hitler but unlike Hitler he was admiited and studied painting and etching techniques at the Academy of Vienna, under some of Austria’s finest artists such as Ferdinand Schmutzer. Saliger completed his studies at the Academie Moderne, in Paris. He returned to Vienna in 1920 to assume the post of professor of art at the Academy. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, Ivo Saliger developed strong Art Deco elements within his art.

Entartete Kunst 
All forms of artwork that did not fulfill the standards set in place by the Nazis were classified as ‘Entartete Kunst’ (degenerate art) because of its supposed advocacy of sexual deviance, pornography, and nakedness, therefore, by imposing their own ideals on sexuality onto society, the National Socialists presented themselves as the protectors of sexual morality and good taste.

Degenerate art is the English translation of the German entartete Kunst, a term adopted by the National Socialist regime in Germany to describe virtually all modern art. Such art was banned on the grounds that it was un-German or Jewish Bolshevist in nature, and those identified as degenerate artists were subjected to sanctions. These included being dismissed from teaching positions, being forbidden to exhibit or to sell their art, and in some cases being forbidden to produce art entirely.
While modern styles of art were prohibited, the Nazis promoted paintings and sculptures that were traditional in manner and that exalted the “blood and soil” values of racial purity, militarism, and obedience.

Although the National Socialist stance on sexuality appeared to be regressive and rigid, there were a number of contradictions between what the Nazis outwardly promoted and what was actually practiced.
In order to achieve their racial ambitions, the regime encouraged premarital sex and extra-marital affairs.
Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM)
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

While the National Socialists heavily advocated the idea of chastity, by 1934, members of the Bund Deutscher Mädel (Federation of German Girls) were instructed to engage in premarital relations

The Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM) or the League of German Maidens was the girl’s wing of the overall Nazi party youth movement, the Hitler Youth. It was the only female youth organization in Nazi Germany.
The League consisted of:
– Jungmädelbund ages 10 to 14
– Jungmädelbund ages 14 to 18
– Werk Glaube und Schönheit (added in 1938) ages 17 to 21

Although this directive was originally classified as “top secret,” by 1935 the population was well aware of what went on during meetings between the BDM and the Hitlerjugend (HJ) or Hitler Youth.

As a result of these illicit affairs, hospitals became overcrowded with adolescent girls, some as young as fifteen, who were pregnant.
Due to the influx of un-wed mothers during the mid to late 1930s, the National Socialists also worked to eliminate the stigma associated with single mothers and illegitimate children.
According to National Socialist Family Policy, “the National Socialist state no longer sees in the single mother the „degenerate’…It places the single mother who has given a child a life higher than the „lady,’ who has avoided having children in her marriage on egotistical grounds.”

Heinrich Himmler Reich führer SS

Moreover, during the war years, SS leader Heinrich Himmler even went as far as to endorse polygamy.

For Himmler, traditional marriages would not produce the amount of children needed to cement the future of the Germanic Aryan race.
Himmler believed that with having multiple wives, a man would be less tempted to stray because each wife would vie for his affections.
Therefore, it is evident that there was a specific duality between what the National Socialists preached and what they practiced in terms of sexuality.
This duality also existed when it came to Nazi attitudes regarding prostitution.
During the Nazi period, there was a wide-spread campaign to eliminate venereal disease (VD), which was deemed hazardous to the foundation of the state.
Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM)

In May 1933, revisions were made to the VD law, which was included in the Decree for the Protection of the Volk and State, and Clause 361 of the criminal code that allowed the Nazis to punish those “who publicly and conspicuously or in a manner likely to annoy the public incites immoral acts or offers immoral services.”

Those who were considered promiscuous or engaged in sexually deviant activities, such as prostitutes, were categorized as ‘asocial’ or people unwilling to integrate themselves into society.
The National Socialist ideology outwardly idealized chastity and moral sexual practices, but did not ban prostitution entirely.
While the National Socialist imposed heavy penalties on prostitutes who did not comply with health regulations, the regime was much more lax in enforcing laws against the establishment of brothels and red light districts.
Although health care experts argued that brothels and red light districts raised the risk of spreading VD among the population, the National Socialists condemned these reports.
Instead, the regime insisted that brothels and controlled prostitution protected public health because it ensured that soldiers were strengthened through their encounters with prostitutes because it enabled them to fight with more vigor.
Consequently, in 1936 the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht declared military brothels to be a necessity and a state run brothel system was introduced.
Enforcement
In order to indoctrinate their ideals on gender and sexuality into society, the National Socialists used a number of different methods.
One such method was the institution of laws and policies aimed towards achieving National Socialist racial ambitions.

Between the period of September to October 1935, the regime introduced several laws that effectively eliminated the freedoms associated with marriage in Germany.

Under the “Marriage Health Law,” couples who wished to be wed were forced to provide evidence that proved their hereditary fitness in order to demonstrate that their marriage would produce racially pure children.
Furthermore, during the war, military marriage regulations were instituted and brides were subjected to additional physical examinations, however, men who were qualified to serve in the military were declared fit for marriage and were not required to submit to further testing.
In 1941, the National Socialists also introduced the “Marriage Clearance Certificate,” which was specifically aimed towards women.
Since men in the military were considered ‘hereditarily fit’, this directive was enacted to prevent marriage fraud by women whose offspring would be regarded as undesirable.
Laws and policies were also set in place in an effort to rmove women from the workplace.
Under National Socialist rule, the policy against Doppelverdiener or ‘double earners’, which was first established during the Weimar period, continued to be enforced.
According to the National Socialists, married women who were employed in heavy industry limited available job opportunities for men and as a result, those unemployed men would not be able to provide for their own families.
Although women were not entirely banned from working in the industrial sector, they were encouraged to work in areas more suited to their ‘biology’, or to participate in tasks that would not distract them from their family duties, such as working in assembly lines.
The National Socialists also heavily employed propaganda in the form of images, films, and other media-based sources in an effort to instill their ideals in the German population.
Like other authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, the National Socialists understood the potential of propaganda to have a significant influence on the private lives of citizens.
In their propaganda campaign, the National Socialists idealized their ideology regarding gender and sexuality.
Mutter und Kind

In order to induce women to embrace motherhood and domestic life, propaganda materials, such as posters, often depicted women as mothers, basking in the joys of raising a family.

Women were frequently pictured breast-feeding a baby or surrounded by children in a traditional rural setting, which was meant to represent the National Socialist idea of ideal family life.
Men, on the other hand, were primarily depicted as soldiers prepared to go to war for the Fatherland, which emphasized the values of heroism and self sacrifice that the National Socialists associated with masculinity.
To symbolize the importance of family and racial purity, men with obvious Aryan characteristics were also included in pictures of the kinderreich family looking happy and healthy.
The National Socialists also published various kinds of propaganda literature in order to further indoctrinate the population.
Specialized women’s magazines that informed the reader about the joys of motherhood, gave marriage advice, and offered tips on how to manage the household were widely circulated.

Bauernfamilie
Adolf Wissel

These magazines also included articles geared towards men, such as “The Happy SS Father.”

The National Socialists also distributed pamphlets, created traveling art exhibits, and made radio broadcasts and public speeches to further promote their ideology on gender and sexuality, therefore, one can see that the National Socialists employed a number of different mediums as tools in their propaganda efforts.

Adolf Wissel (19 April 1894 – 17 November 1973) was a German painter.
Wissel, who was born in Velber, was a painter in the genre of  Völkisch Folk Art, the idea being that these paintings should show the simple, natural life of a farming family. The phrase ‘union with the soil’ best describes the subject of his art. Wissel idealised farming life for predominantly urban viewers. Exhibitions of paintings of this genre were meant to show the peasants and working class that they were just as good as the wealthy, and that they too deserved a pleasant life. These paintings were part of the Third Reich ‘Blut und Boden’ (Blood and Soil) campaign, designed to associate the ideas of health, family and motherhood with the country.
‘Blut und Boden’ refers to an ideology that focuses on ethnicity based on two factors, descent (blood) from the volk, and homeland/Heimat (Boeden). It celebrates the relationship of a people to the land they occupy and cultivate, and it places a high value on the virtues of rural living.
Wissel painted many pictures such as these, but his work contains subtle distortions and accentuations influenced by expressionism. He died in Velber in 1973.

The National Socialists also worked to indoctrinate German citizens through the use of educational programs.
According to Adolf Hitler, the goal of education was to teach girls and boys about becoming mothers and leaders.
As a result, the National Socialists established the HJ and BDM as institutions in which young Germans could be instructed on Völkisch ideology and molded into proper citizens of the Volksgemeinschaft.
In both organizations, girls and boys were instructed on their obligations to the Volk, and taught about health and racial purity, moreover, in the HJ and BDM, physical activity was emphasized with boys and girls being trained to endure a certain amount of physical activity.
Thus, members of the HJ and BDM were strictly disciplined into complying with organizational principles and National Socialist standards.
Educational programs were also directed towards adults, especially women.
Through the establishment of the NS-Frauenschaft, a Völkisch women’s organization, a “Mother Schooling Program” was introduced.

Nationalsozialistische Frauenschaft
Emblem
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Gertrud Scholtz-Klink
Reichsfrauenführerin
Nationalsozialistische Frauenschaft

The Nationalsozialistische Frauenschaft, abbreviated “NS-Frauenschaft” (National Socialist Women’s League) was the women’s wing of the NSDAP. It was founded in October 1931 as a fusion of several nationalist and National Socialist women’s associations.
The Frauenschaft was subordinated to the national party leadership (Reichsleitung); girls and young women were the purview of the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM). From February 1934 to the end of World War II in 1945, the NS-Frauenschaft was led by Reich’s Women’s Leader (Reichsfrauenführerin) Gertrud Scholtz-Klink (1902–1999). It put out a biweekly magazine, the NS-Frauen-Warte.
Its activities included instruction in the use of German-manufactured products, such as butter and rayon, in place of imported ones, as part of the self-sufficiency program, and classes for brides and schoolgirls. During wartime, it also provided refreshments at train stations, collected scrap metal and other materials, ran cookery and other classes, and allocated the domestics conscripted in the east to large families. Propaganda organizations depended on it as the primary spreader of propaganda to women.
The NS-Frauenschaft reached a total membership of 2 million by 1938, the equivalent of 40% of total party membership.
The German National Socialist Women’s League Children’s Group was known as “Kinderschar”.

NS-Frauen-Warte

In enrolling in this program, women over the age eighteen were taught about their duties as a wife and mother, as well as instructed on how to properly care for their home and family.

By the end of 1936, over 150 schools were instituted, which eventually rose to 270, with 673 000 women attending.
The Reichsfrauenführung (National Women’s Leadership) also developed a new a branch within the Deutsche Frauenwerk (German Women’s Work) that worked to educate women about the regime’s autarky program.
Autarky is the quality of being self-sufficient. Usually the term is applied to political states or their economic systems. The latter are called closed economies. Autarky exists whenever an entity can survive or continue its activities without external assistance or international trade. Autarky is not necessarily economic. Autarky can be said to be the policy of a state or other entity when it seeks to be self-sufficient as a whole.
In lectures hosted by this new department, National Economics/Home Economics (Vw/Hw), women were instructed on purchasing products that would contribute to the national good, such as refraining from buying goods from Jewish shops.
Women were also told to purchase only locally grown produce, such as apples, instead of imported fruits, as well as encouraged to recycle old clothes and household products.
Thus, it is evident that educational programs were an important source for imposing
Völkisch ideals onto the German population.
Impact
Adolf Hitler and Child

Völkisch ideology regarding gender and sexuality had a number of effects on the German population. Although the National Socialists considered the family the foundation of the nation, Völkisch attitudes towards gender and sexuality worked in some ways to undermine the family unit.

Ultimately, the emphasis placed on fulfilling a triumphant form of masculinity created tension between men and their families.
More specifically, there was, in some cases, a distinct rivalry between all-male party organizations and family life.
In joining such organizations as the S.A. or Sturmabteilung, men often faced the dilemma of living up to Völkisch ideals, associated with masculinity, and also honoring their obligation to establish a family and father racially pure children.
For members of the S.A., a man’s loyalty belonged to the state and as a result, there was little concern for the family.
It was also commonly understood that a man’s purpose in life was to serve the state.
Thus, a man could not be contained within the confines of the home.
This rivalry between the state and the family was represented in the film ‘Kolberg’ (1945), in which a German officer forsakes the love of an idealistic woman because he prefers the masculine world of fighting for the Fatherland over settling down and starting a family.
Youth organizations also worked to undermine the institution of the family in the Third Reich.
While the HJ and the BDM were established with the intention of supporting the family unit, many youths saw these groups as a means to gain a degree of independence outside of their families and contribute to the adult world.
Children were subjected to strong parental discipline and scrutiny, with boys and girls often feeling intimidated by their fathers.
As a result, some children joined these organizations as an act of rebellion against their parent’s authority.
The youth leagues in the Third Reich also worked against the institution of the family in that members were used as informants.
In joining the HJ and the BDM, inductees were made to swear an oath of allegiance to the Führer.
Also, in these organizations, members were expected to accept Völkisch ideology and their obligations to the Volksgemeinschaft (national community) unquestionably.
When conflicts arose between family demands and Völkisch ideals, children involved in the HJ and the BDM were instructed to take actions against their parents and notify officials.
By indoctrinating the youth, the National Socialists stripped parents of qualities that garnered respect from their children.
National Socialist laws and policies regarding gender and sexuality also had a considerable impact on the German population.
As an incentive to promote more marriages between ‘hereditarily fit’ partners, the National Socialists established the Law for the Reduction of Unemployment in June 1933 which allowed couples to apply for interest-free loans of up to RM 1000.
In order to acquire a marriage loan, however, the women would have to give up paid employment. 
Therefore, this law was instituted with the hopes that it would remove women from the public sphere and increase available job opportunities for men.
The National Socialists believed that the establishment of marriage loans would reduce the male marriage age and decrease a man’s need to engage in illicit sexual activities, such as prostitution.
Also, the National Socialists introduced a number of changes to the existing divorce laws in Germany. 
One such change was dissolving marriages based on infertility or the refusal of a spouse to procreate. 
According to the National Socialists  marriages that did not produce racially pure children were useless to the national community.
If no children could be produced either by circumstance or by choice, a wife or husband had legitimate grounds to divorce their partner.
While the new divorce laws were not meant to be biased towards a particular sex, men were more successful in incorporating National Socialist ideals into their complaints.
As a result, men were frequently granted divorces against their reluctant spouses.
Furthermore, Germans who failed to marry or remained childless faced various penalties.
Un-wed or childless women were pitied in public and in private, as well as subjected to public stigmatization for working against the nation.
Unmarried men and childless couples who ‘refused to multiply’ (Fortpflanzungsverweigerung), however, were required to pay additional taxes that amounted to ten percent of their income as punishment, therefore, laws and policies concerning gender and sexuality further enforced Völkisch ideals on acceptable gender roles, sexual practices, and racial purity.
Since gender and sexuality was a significant aspect of the National Socialist population policy, it is also pertinent to discuss the different ways in which the German population was affected by Völkisch attitudes concerning racial hygiene.
According to the National Socialists controlling people’s reproductive capacities would allow for the growth of a healthier and productive nation due to the purity of population.
Consequently, the National Socialists introduced the Law of for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring in July 1933.
Under the jurisdiction of this law, those who were suffering from a ‘hereditary disease’, such as ‘congenital feeble-mindedness’, ‘chronic schizophrenia’, and ‘chronic manic depression’, were subject to compulsory sterilization.
Between the period of January 1934, when the law was officially implemented, and September 1939, approximately 320 000 Germans (0.5 percent of the population) were sterilized.
While compulsory sterilization applied to both of the sexes, more than two-thirds of people who were sterilized were women.
Völkisch  ideals concerning gender and sexuality also had a considerable effect on women in the Third Reich.
Although the National Socialist state was in many ways anti-feminist, they did provide welfare programs for mothers and their children.
Mothers, especially those who were unmarried, could apply for state welfare, although the assistance that was given to them was not in the form of financial aid.
Instead, the National Socialists supplied mothers with materials such as beds, linens, and children’s clothes.
Furthermore, women who were pregnant were visited by health care officials, such as nurses, and examined regularly in order to ensure that they did not miscarry. 
Despite the support provided by the state for mothers, a number of women still succumbed to the pressures of living up to the Nazi ideal.
Under the Nazi regime, recuperation centers were established for mothers who wished to leave their families for an extended period of time.
While women who attended these facilities were said to be on vacation, it is clear that many women were sent to recuperation centers because of their inability to fulfill all of their motherly duties.
As a result, these centers had a strong educational foundation in which women were instructed about their obligations to their families and the Volk community.
When these women returned to their families, it was thought they would have a renewed strength of spirit and a better understanding about their roles as wives and mothers.
Homosexuality
National Socialists ideology on gender and sexuality also resulted in considerable consequences for homosexual individuals.
‘Homosexuell Kultur’ was a relatively new phenomena in Germany and Austria in the 1930s.
It was only with the growth of industrialized cities in the 1800 that large numbers of men, some of who would now be described as homosexual, began to gather in the large conurbations.
It is these facts that explain the first known appearance of the term homosexual in print, found in a 1869 German pamphlet ‘143 des Preussischen Strafgesetzbuchs und seine Aufrechterhaltung als 152 des Entwurfs eines Strafgesetzbuchs für den Norddeutschen Bund’ (“Paragraph 143 of the Prussian Penal Code and Its Maintenance as Paragraph 152 of the Draft of a Penal Code for the North German Confederation”).
The pamphlet was written by Karl-Maria Kertbeny, but published anonymously.

Karl-Maria Kertbeny

Karl-Maria Kertbeny or Károly Mária Kertbeny (born Karl-Maria Benkert) (Vienna, February 28, 1824 – Budapest, January 23, 1882) was an Austrian-born Hungarian journalist, memoirist, and human rights campaigner. He is best known for coining the words heterosexual and homosexual.
The Benkert family moved to Budapest when he was a child — he was equally at home in Austria, Germany and Hungary. He translated Hungarian poets’ and writers’ works into German, e.g., those of Sándor Petőfi, János Arany and Mór Jókai. Among his acquaintances were Heinrich Heine, George Sand, Alfred de Musset, Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm.

The pamphlet advocated the repeal of Prussia’s sodomy laws.
Kertbeny had previously used the word in a private letter written in 1868 to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs.
Kertbeny used Homosexualität (in English, “homosexuality”) in place of Ulrichs’ ‘Urningtum’; Homosexualisten (“male homosexualists”) instead of ‘Urninge’, and Homosexualistinnen (“female homosexualists”) instead of ‘Urninden’.
Uranian is a 19th-century term that referred to a person of a supposedly third sex – originally, someone with “a passive female psyche in a male body” who is sexually attracted to men. (This definition is important to subsequent developments in Völkisch attitudes towards homosexuality). The German word Urning, which was first published by activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825–95) in a series of five booklets (1864–65) which were collected under the title ‘Forschungen über das Räthsel der mannmännlichen Liebe’ (“Research into the Riddle of Man-Male Love”). Ulrich developed his terminology before the first public use of the term “homosexual”, which appeared in 1869 in a pamphlet published anonymously by Karl-Maria Kertbeny (1824–82 – see above).
The word Uranian (Urning) was derived by Ulrichs from the greek godness Aphrodite Urania, who was created by Uranus out of his own body parts.

Even among the most revered German cultural idols support for ‘Hellenistic’ attitude towards male sexuality could be found.

Richard Wagner
An example is a section in Richard Wagner’s ‘Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft’ (The Art-work of the Future), where he comments on the love of comrades in Sparta:
This beauteous naked man is the kernel of all Spartanhood; from genuine delight in the beauty of the most perfect human body – that of the male – arose that spirit of comradeship which pervades and shapes the whole economy of the Spartan State. This love of man to man, in its primitive purity, proclaims itself as the noblest and least selfish utterance of man’s sense of beauty, for it teaches man to sink and merge his entire self in the object of his affection. . . . The higher element of that love of man to man . . . not only included a purely spiritual bond of friendship, but this spiritual friendship was the blossom and the crown of the physical friendship. The latter sprang directly from delight in the beauty, aye in the material bodily beauty of the beloved comrade.
And it should be remembered, of course, that Wagner was Hitler’s favourite composer, and the source of much of his Weltanschauung.
Wandervogel
Hans Blüher (1888-1955)

One of the most significant influences on the development of homoeroticism in Völkisch thinking was Hans Blüher (1888-1955).

Bluher was born in Freiburg in Schlesien in 17 February 1888. 
He was the first person to write a history of the ‘Wandervogel’ – the contemporary German youth movement.

Nackt Wandervogel Jungs

His history was published as a series of three pamphlets, the third of which was called ‘Die Deutsche Wandervogelbewegung Als Erotisches Phanomen’ (‘The German Wandervogel as an Erotic Phenomena’ – 1912).

In 1913 he set up the ‘Jung Wandervogel’ with Wilhelm Jansen, which, unlike most of the rest of the Wandervogel, was male-only.
In 1917 he wrote the first volume of his most important book, outlining his ‘masculinist’ theory in ‘Die Rolle Der Erotik In Der Mannlichen Gesellschaft: Eine Theorie der Menschlichen Staatsbildung’ The Role of the Erotic in Men’s Society: A Theory of Human State Education), followed two years later with the second volume.
As Bluher said at the time, “Before this book the idea of basing man’s existence in the State on Eros has never been coherently pursued”.
Bluher is generally thought of as within the ‘masculinist’, or ‘men’s movement’ tradition of thought.

Though largely neglected by historians, Blueher was enormously important to national Socialist Kulture. Blueher was adopted by the NSDAP as an apostle of social reform, and one of his disciples, Professor Alfred Bauemler became Director of the Political Institute at the University of Berlin.

‘Ordensburgen’
Emblem
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Blueher’s teaching was systematically inculcated by the National Socialist Press, especially Himmler’s official organ, ‘Das Schwarze Korps’, and was adopted in practice as the basis of German social organization.
The National Socialist élite were brought up in segregated male communities called ‘Ordensburgen’. These are to replaced the family as the groundwork on which the state was to rest
The all-male societies of these ‘Ordensburgen’ (Order Castles) were fashioned after the Wandervoegel.

In Germany at the turn of the last century, there were three main groupings within the men’s movement: 
Firstly, the intellectual tradition derived from Otto Weininger and the teaching tradition from Dr. Gustav Wyneken, which Bluher was to revolutionize.

Der Eigene

Second, the ‘Gemeinschaft der Eigenen’, founded officially by Adolf Brand in 1902 and which published its own magazine, ‘Der Eigene’, from 1899-1931.

Brand and ‘Der Eigene’ championed the anarchism of Max Stirner, as well as Bluher’s theories about the decisive role of the ‘Mannerbund’ – ancient warrior-band – in the creation of the State.
Of course, no-one ever argued that these ‘Mannerbund’ were exclusively homosexual, but rather that homosexuality was not the moral issue it had become with the arrival of Judeo-Christianity.
Wilhelm Jansen, who co-founded the Gemeinschaft with Brand, was introduced to the Wandervogel by Bluher, where he later became an important leader.
The Wandervogel and the Völkisch movement were intimately associated with a movement called Lebensreform.

Fruehlingssturm
 Ludwig von Hofmann  – 1894

Lebensreform (“life reform”) was a social movement in late 19th-century and early 20th-century Germany and Austria that propagated a back-to-nature lifestyle, emphasizing among others health food/raw food/organic food, nudismsexual liberation, alternative medicine, and at the same time abstention from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and vaccines

Gusto Graeser

A significant member of the movement was Gusto Graeser, thinker and poet, who greatly influenced the German Youth Movement and such writers as Hermann Hesse and Gerhart Hauptmann.
Other groups which were inspired by völkisch Romanticism gradually became part of National Socialist ‘Blut und Boden’  ideology by the 1930s.

Freikörperkultur

One of the most influential aspects of Lebensreform was Freikörperkultur or Nacktkultur (Nudism), and as early as 1907, Richard Ungewitter published a pamphlet called ‘Nacktheit und Kultur’ (Nudity and Culture) (which sold 100,000 copies), arguing that the practices he recommended would be “the means by which the German race would regenerate itself and ultimately prevail over its neighbours and the Jews, who were intent on injecting putrefying agents into the nation’s blood and soil“.
The Nationalist physician Artur Fedor Fuchs began the ‘League for Free Body Culture’ (FKK), giving public lectures on the healing powers of the sun in the “Nordic sky”, which “alone strengthened and healed the warrior nation“.

Han Sùren

Ancient forest living, and habits presumed to have been followed by the ancient tribes of Germany, were beneficial to regenerating the Aryan people, according to Fuchs’ philosophy.
Han Sùren, a prominent former military officer, published ‘Der Mensch und Die Sonne’ (Man and the Sun) (1924), which sold 240,000 copies; by 1941 it was reissued in 68 editions.
Sùren promoted the Aryan ‘master race’ concept of physically strong, militarized men who would be the “salvation” of the German people.

Hermann Göring

Nudism was often associated with homosexuality, and this may have been the reason while it was initially banned by Hermann Göring in 1933.
Subsequently this ban was lifted, and Freikörperkultur and Nacktkultur was supported by Heinrich Himmler and the SS (who also controlled many aspects of Hitler-Jugend and the Napolas – Heinrich Himmler, second in power only to Hitler, was publicly opposed to homosexuality, but was probably a closet homosexual himself, and served Roehm – a known homosexual – faithfully and loyally until Roehm fell out of Hitler’s favor).
Hitler himself, while never, as far as is known, espousing nudism, had an ambivalent attitude towards homosexuality and homo-eroticism.
There is some evidence that the Vienna Police Authorities had records that indicated that Hitler may have been known as an active homosexual in his youth – and there are many aspect of his relationship with August Kubizek which indicate that the relationship between the two youths homoerotic and possibility homosexual.
Hitler was a dandy in his teens and had a dandified best friend (Kubizek).
Hitler wrote a petulant, jealous letter to Kubizek, in which Hitler wrote to his friend about how much it upset him to see Kubizek  talking to others.

Emile Maurice
Ernst Schmidt (Schmidl)

In addition most of Hitler’s longer-term relationships – with Reinhold Hanisch, Rudolf Hausler, Ernst Schmidt (Schmidl), Emil Maurice and Rudolf Heß – were homosexual ‘love affairs’, and that as a youth Hitler was known as “Der Schoen Adolf” (“the handsome Adolf”).
Germany, of course, was the birthplace of homosexual movements, well prior to the rise of the National Socialism, and there were a number of homosexual activists and movements in Germany at the beginning of the new century, most notably “Hellenic revival” movements that regarded super-masculinity combined with pederasty to be an  ideal.

Ancient Greek Pederasty
Thomas Mann and the Staufenberg Boys 

Pederasty is a homosexual or homoerotic relationship between an adult male and a pubescent or adolescent male outside his immediate family. The word pederasty derives from Greek (paiderastia) “love of boys”, a compound derived from παῖς (pais) “child, boy” and ἐραστής (erastēs) “lover”.
Historically, pederasty has existed as a variety of customs and practices within different cultures. The status of pederasty has changed over the course of history, at times considered an ideal and at other times a crime. In the history of Europe, its most structured cultural manifestation was Athenian pederasty, and became most prominent in the 6th century BC. Greek pederasty’s various forms were the subject of philosophic debates in which the carnal type was unfavorably compared with erotic yet spiritual and moderate forms.

Probably the most significant poet of the Weimar period was Stefan George.


Stefan George
George was born in Bingen in Prussia in 1868.
He spent time in Paris and began to publish poetry in the 1890s, while in his twenties. George founded and edited an important literary magazine called ‘Blätter für die Kunst’ (Magazine for the Arts).

Stefan George was also at the centre of an influential literary and academic circle known as the ‘George-Kreis’ (George Circle), which included many of the leading young writers of the day, (for example Friedrich Gundolf and Ludwig Klages).
In addition to sharing cultural interests, the circle reflected mystical and political themes.
Stefan George was a homosexual, yet exhorted his young friends to lead a celibate life, like his own.
In 1914 at the start of the war he foretold a sad end for Germany, and between then and 1916 wrote the pessimistic poem ‘Der Krieg’ (The War).
He died near Locarno in 1933.
George believed in the renewal of culture through the power of youth and beauty.
The strength of George’s belief in this cult of beauty is reflected not only in many of his later, quite monumental works, such as ‘Der Stern des Bündes’, and the prophetically titled ‘Das neue Reich’, but in the decisive `Maximin-Erlebnis,’ which provided the poet with inspiration and material for much of his later poetry.

Maximilian Kronberger

Some of his most significant work includes ‘Algabal’, and the love poetry he devoted to a gifted adolescent of his acquaintance named Maximilian Kronberger, whom he called “Maximin”, and whom he identified as a manifestation of the divine.-


Maximilian Kronberger, known familiarly as Maximin (April 15, 1888 — April 16, 1904), was a German poet and a significant figure in the literary circle of Stefan George (the so‑called George‑Kreis).

In 1903 George, during one of his frequent stays in Munich, became acquainted with the 15-year old Maximilian Kronberger: after encountering him on the street several times, George simply approached the young boy and introduced himself. Maximilian became George’s close friend and companion over the next year, and was admired by many members of the George-Kreis not only for his youth and beauty, but for his poetic talent as well. Indeed, George saw in Maximilian such perfection that he considered the boy to be an incarnation of the godhead, and worthy of absolute devotion. In 1904, Maximilian died of meningitis, an event which shattered George’s stability and drove him to the brink of suicide. Soon afterwards, however, a new focus for George’s work emerged: the series of Maximin-Gedichte center on George’s belief in the transcendence of Maximin’s earthy life – his idealized figure becomes for George the Stern des Bündes, “one of the new awakened spirits who would one day form the new kingdom on earth.”

He was idealized by George to the point of proclaiming him a god, following his death… the cult of ‘Maximin’ became an integral part of the George circle’s practice.

Albert Speer

George thought of himself as a messiah of a new kingdom that would be led by intellectual or artistic elites, bonded by their faithfulness to a strong leader.
In his memoirs, Albert Speer claims to have seen George in the early 1920s and that his elder brother, Hermann, was a member of his inner circle: George “radiated dignity and pride and a kind of priestliness… there was something magnetic about him.”
George’s late works include ‘Geheimes Deutschland’ (“Secret Germany”) written in 1922, and ‘Das neue Reich’ (The New Empire), which was published in 1928, which outlines a new form of society ruled by hierarchical spiritual aristocracy.


Claus von Stauffenberg

‘Das neue Reich’ (1928) is the title of the last published collection of poems by Stefan George .
Compared to previous works his these poems are less coherent in form and content, and its architecture looser. In addition to the role as time judge, George becomes the prophetic herald new values.
 Increasingly, Plato , and especially Friedrich Hölderlin become important influences..
The appreciation of irrational forces, and the ambiguous reference to the historical situation, led to George,   to be seen as an ideological precursor of the Third Reich.
These poems have always been associated with the brothers Berthold and Claus von Stauffenberg, Members of  George’s ‘circle’, and it was Claus von Stauffenberg’s disillusionment with the development of the Third Reich that led him to make an attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler.

Stefan George
and the Stauffenberg brothers

His poetry emphasized ‘self-sacrifice’, ‘heroism’ and ‘power’, and he thus gained popularity in National Socialist circles.
Along with the National Socialists, Stefan George had the ambition to revive a ‘Secret Germany’ that would sweep away the materialism of the Weimar Republic, and restore German life to its true spirituality.
Although many National Socialists claimed George as an important influence, George himself was aloof from such associations and did not get involved in politics. Although George was never a member of the NSDAP, his later works paved the way for the acceptance of National Socialist philosophy in upper class, intellectual circles, and his works were approved of by the hierarchy of the Third Reich, despite their obvious homoeroticism.

Not surprisingly, the core principles of the Völkisch movement were capable of arousing homoerotic tendencies, and many homosexual men were attracted to National Socialism because it emphasized virility, strength, and comradeship to forge a strong national polity.

The NSDAP actually began in what would now be termed a gay bar in Munich, and Ernst Roehm, Hitler’s right hand in the early days, was well-known for his taste in young boys.
William Shirer says in his definitive “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” not only that Roehm was “important in the rise of Hitler,” but also “like so many of the early National Socialists, he was a homosexual.”
Mannerbünd

The extreme masculinity of the Third Reich was based on the philosophical concept of the ‘Mannerbünd‘ (see above), a male-dominated elite united by devotion to a shared goal.

It is important to note, however, that for the National Socialists it was only men who engaged in passive homosexual activities who were considered to be ‘degenerate’, and ‘unhealthy‘.
As a result, such homosexuals were excluded from the Volksgemeinschaft because they could not fulfill their obligation to the nation by reproducing.
The National Socialists also believed that effeminate homosexual men were the antithesis of the masculine ideal because they lacked character and mental strength.
Passive homosexual men were also thought to be soft, effeminate, and unable to express the heroic and self-sacrificing qualities valued by the National Socialists.
People who were denounced as passive homosexuals often lost their jobs, homes and friends.
It was, however, not the goal of the National Socialists to eliminate homosexuals all together.
Primarily, the National Socialists promoted the idea that masculinity was determined by a man’s ability to express heroic and self-sacrificing qualities rather than his sexuality.
On the other hand, a woman’s femininity was defined by her embracing her maternal instincts and becoming a mother.
Völkisch attitudes towards sexuality were also conservative in nature, although there were numerous contradictions between Völkisch sexual ideals and what the regime actually practiced.
In order to enforce their gender and sexual values in the population, the National Socialists engaged a number of methods, including the institution of various laws and policies and the employment of propaganda.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013


Die Erste Liebe von Hitler – Hitler’s First Love


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Die Erste Liebe von Hitler



Hitler’s first love was undoubtedly his mother – Klara.
Edmund Hitler would have been Adolf’s second love.
Edmund Hitler (March 24, 1894 – February 2, 1900) was the fourth child of Klara and Alois Hitler, and the youngest brother of Adolf Hitler.
Edmund died of Measles on February 2, 1900 at the age of 5, leaving Adolf and Paula as the only surviving children of the Hitler family.
After the death of Edmund, Adolf’s personality underwent a dramatic change – from being a happy compliant boy to being one who was mood, poorly behaved and ‘difficult’.

Questions have been raised concerning Adolf Hitler’s sexuality ever since he first came to political prominence in the 1920s.
An individual’s sexuality, of course, does not effect the validity of his beliefs or work – and we can look to many historical examples of individuals who exhibited sexual preferences outside the so-called ‘norm’, who have had a major impact in various historical, cultural, political and academic spheres.
However, an understanding of an individual’s sexuality will often give a greater insight into the general behavior, activities and beliefs of that individual.
Examples would be the relationship between Alexander and Hephaestion, Hadrian and Antinuous – or more recently Ludwig II and Wagner etc.

There is much evidence to support the theory that Hitler had distinct homosexual, or homoerotic tendencies.
Many of his friendships and associations suggest this, and in particular, his decidedly ‘homoerotic’ relationship with August Kubizek.

Wappen von Kaiser Franz Josef
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Our story begins in Linz, a provincial city in Österreich.
Große Wappen der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Österreich was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in Central Europe.
The union was a result of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, under which the House of Habsburg agreed to share power with the separate Hungarian government, dividing the territory of the former Austrian Empire between them.
The Austrian and the Hungarian lands became independent entities enjoying equal status. Austria-Hungary was a multinational realm and one of the world’s great powers at the time.

Kleines Wappen des Kaisertums Österreich
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Kleines Wappen des Königreiches Ungarn
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

The dual monarchy had existed for 51 years until it dissolved on 31 October 1918 before a military defeat on the Italian front of the First World War.
The realm comprised modern-day Austria (see right – small arms of Austria), Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and parts of Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine.
The Habsburg monarch ruled as Emperor of Austria over the western and northern half of the country that was the Austrian Empire (Cisleithania or Lands represented in the Imperial Council), and as King of Hungary over the Kingdom of Hungary (see small arms left) (Transleithania or Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen) which enjoyed a great deal of sovereignty with only a few joint affairs (principally foreign relations and defence).
The division was so marked in fact that there was no common citizenship: a person was either an Austrian or a Hungarian citizen (legally it wasn’t allowed to hold both citizenships at the same time).
The two capitals of the Monarchy were Vienna for Austria and Buda for Hungary, the latter united with neighbouring Pest as Budapest from 1870.
Vienna, however, would serve as the nation’s primary capital.

Austria-Hungary was geographically the second largest country in Europe after the Russian Empire (621,538 square kilometres (239,977 sq mi) in 1905), and the third most populous (after Russia and the German Empire).
As a multinational empire and great power in an era of national awakening, it found its political life dominated by disputes among the eleven principal national groups.
The Monarchy bore the name internationally of “Österreichisch-Ungarische Monarchie” (on decision by Franz Joseph I in 1868).

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Austria–Hungary


Empire of Austria (Cisleithania): 1. Bohemia, 2. Bukovina, 3. Carinthia, 4. Carniola, 5. Dalmatia, 6. Galicia, 7. Küstenland, 8. Lower Austria, 9. Moravia, 10. Salzburg, 11. Silesia, 12. Styria, 13. Tyrol, 14. Upper Austria, 15. Vorarlberg;
Kingdom of Hungary (Transleithania): 16. Hungary proper 17. Croatia-Slavonia;
Austrian-Hungarian Condominium: 18. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Österreich-Ungarn 1910: Cisleithanien: 1. Böhmen, 2. Bukowina, 3. Kärnten, 4. Krain, 5. Dalmatien, 6. Galizien, 7. Küstenland, 8. Österreich unter der Enns, 9. Mähren, 10. Salzburg, 11. Schlesien, 12. Steiermark, 13. Tirol, 14. Österreich ob der Enns, 15. Vorarlberg; Transleithanien: 16. Ungarn, 17. Kroatien und Slawonien; 18. Bosnien und Herzegowina

Linz and Vienna – the two cities that feature prominently in Kubizek’s account – are indicated in gold – other provincial capitals of the empire are indicated in red.



Kaiser Franz Josef

During the period covered by Kubizek’s account, the ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was Franz Joseph I (see right).
Franz Joseph I (Hungarian: I. Ferenc József, 18 August 1830 – 21 November 1916) was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Galicia and Lodomeria and Grand Duke of Cracow from 1848 until his death in 1916.
In the December of 1848, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated the throne as part of Ministerpräsident Felix zu Schwarzenberg’s plan to end the Revolutions of 1848 in Austria, which allowed Ferdinand’s nephew Franz Joseph to ascend to the throne.
Largely considered to be a reactionary, Franz Joseph spent his early reign resisting constitutionalism in his domains.
The Austrian Empire was forced to cede most of its claim to Lombardy–Venetia to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia following the conclusion of the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859, and the Third Italian War of Independence in 1866.

Austro-Prussian War
Crown Prince Rudolf

Although Franz Joseph ceded no territory to the Kingdom of Prussia after the Austrian defeat in the Austro-Prussian War (see left), the Peace of Prague (23 August 1866) settled the German question in favor of Prussia, which prevented the unification of Germany under the House of Habsburg (Großdeutsche Lösung).
Franz Joseph was troubled by nationalism during his entire reign.
He concluded the Ausgleich of 1867, which granted greater autonomy to Hungary, hence transforming the Austrian Empire into the Austro-Hungarian Empire under his Dual Monarchy.
His domains were then ruled peacefully for the next 45 years, although Franz Joseph’s personal life became increasingly tragic after the suicide of his son, the Crown Prince Rudolf in 1889 (see right), and the assassination of his wife, the Empress Elisabeth in 1898.
Franz Joseph died on 21 November 1916, after ruling his domains for almost 68 years.

He was succeeded by his grandnephew Karl.

This was the political situation in which Adolf hitler and August Kubizek grew up.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Stadtwappen Linz


Linz Opera House

Kubizek, then sixteen, first met Adolf Hitler, fifteen, late in 1904.
While at the Linz Opera one evening Adolf Hitler met August Kubizek who was to become, many would say, his best, and probably only friend.

Practicing frugality, Kubizek and Hitler often used to arrive early at the Landestheater to get a good standing place.
They began competing with one another for one of the two columns which supported the Royal box.
The wooden columns offered the luxury of something to lean against during the sometimes lengthy performances.
In time they recognized one another and became acquainted.

August Kubizek

August Kubizek (Gustav or Gustl) was nine months older than Adolf Hitler (Adi) and was a mild-mannered and sensitive youth, with a look of intelligence.

He was the son of a small businessman, and lived above his father’s upholstery shop in the family quarters on Klamm Strasse, not far from where Adolf Hitler lived.
He was determined to be a renowned musician.
At the time he could already play the piano, violin, trumpet and trombone and was studying music theory.
He also played the viola for the local Music Society and the Symphony Orchestra.

When he wasn’t pursuing his dream he worked in his father’s shop refinishing furniture.

Young Adolf Hitler

Kubizek noted that “Adolf,” because of his recent sickness, was a pale and skinny youth.

But what captured his main attention was Adolf’s glistening eyes and curious hairdo which was combed straight down over his forehead.
Kubizek found that Adolf, like rebellious teenagers in every generation, wore his curious hairdo because no one else did. Kubizek, an only child, was one of those protected teenagers who have an adoration of the rebellious and “admiration” was his strongest point in cultivating a friendship.
As Kubizek would write: “It was this very fact, that he was out of the ordinary, that attracted me even more.”
As their friendship matured, Hitler never addressed Kubizek by August but called him ‘Gustl‘ or ‘Gustav’, which, interestingly, had been the name of Hitler’s oldest deceased brother.
Kubizek, however, in reality played the part of an idolizing younger brother, and also a romantic partner.
Hitler was extremely independent, however, and it often happened that they did not meet for days, even when they were on the best of terms.
Although “Gustl” found Adolf high-strung, he also found him reserved.
Hitler was formal and aloof in his dealings with others and was insistent on “good manners and correct behavior.”
Unusual for a teenager, Hitler seldom became overly friendly and there were few teenagers his age that he liked.
He had nothing but disdain for ‘young people‘ who wasted their time in shallow talk and mundane pursuits.
He considered most teenagers superficial for he was, as Kubizek said, much more mature than most people of his age.

Linz Countryside

Walking was the only exercise that appealed to Hitler and he and Kubizek often took long walks around the town or hiked into the nearby woods.

They had their favorite trails and their favorite swimming hole – and at that time swimming – always in the nude – was an all male activity.
On these excursions, a walking stick was the only requirement and Adolf would wear a colored shirt and (in place of the normal necktie) “a silk cord with two tassels hanging down.”
Kubizek was particularly amazed by Adolf’s refined speech which made him very persuasive, even with grown-ups.
Kubizek was always astonished at how, when they were alone, Hitler could rant on about a particular subject and get himself worked up; yet, when dealing with others he kept calm and had an air of reasonableness.
Hitler was normally polite to people, was not vain, and could be very sensitive if he felt someone was unhappy or sick.
Kubizek also wrote that Adolf helped him through difficult times and always have time for people he liked.
Hitler was well-liked and respected by almost everyone he met.
Kubizek was also awed by the seriousness and wide range of knowledge Hitler showed for one as young as he was.
While most teenage boys interests are mainly confined to sports, comradeship and embellished stories or beliefs concerning the opposite sex, Hitler’s interests were boundless. 

Wright Bothers

He was interested in agriculture, city planning, mythology, history, politics, and world events, including air travel.

The Wright bothers had flown their heavier-than-air plane at Kitty Hawk a few years before and Hitler was very impressed.
He was interested in everything, Kubizek noted, and wasn’t indifferent about anything.
Kubizek would come to write a book about his experiences with the young Hitler.
If the portents in retrospect and the occasional melodramatic moments are overlooked, he describes Hitler as a fairly normal teenager with an inquiring mind.
Since many historians like to portray the young Hitler as unbalanced, ignorant, lazy, and stupid, a few have attempted to discredit Kubizek anytime he portrays the young Hitler in a decent light.

Paula Hitler

Paula Hitler, however (who was about the only acquaintance who never tried to capitalize on her brother’s name), stated that as a teenager Adolf had opinions about everything and constantly read.

She also stated that he often used to give persuasive lectures on themes concerning history and politics to her and her mother.
Paula, equal to her mother, was a quiet, docile and honest woman.
She took a back seat to her brother when still a child and remained there all her life.
She kept house for him during the “good” years and later learned applied art and led an obscure life in Vienna.
She never married and spent the last years of her life living in the area of Berchtesgaden – her brother’s last home. She died on June 1, 1960 almost unnoticed or un-mourned.

Paula Hitler (Paula Wolf)[1] (21 January 1896 in Hafeld, Austria[2] – 1 June 1960 in Berchtesgaden) was the younger sister of Adolf Hitle,r and the last child of Alois Hitler and his third wife, Klara Pölzl. Paula was the only full sibling of Adolf Hitler to survive into adulthood.
Paula was six years old when her father Alois, a retired customs official, died, and eleven when she lost her mother Klara, after which the Austrian government provided a small pension to Paula and Adolf, however, the amount was relatively meager and Adolf, who was by then old enough to support himself, agreed to sign his share over to her. Paula later moved to Vienna where she worked as a secretary. She had no contact with her brother during the period comprising his difficult years as a painter in Vienna and later Munich, military service during World War I and early political activities back in Munich. She was delighted to meet him again in Vienna during the early 1930s. By her own account, after losing a job with a Viennese insurance company in 1930 when her employers found out who she was, Paula received financial support from her brother (which continued until 1945), lived under the assumed family name ‘Wolf’ at Hitler’s request (this was a childhood nickname of his which he had also used during the 1920s for security purposes) and worked sporadically. She later claimed to have seen her brother about once a year during the 1930s and early 1940s. She worked as a secretary in a military hospital for much of World War II.

As Kubizek further described Hitler:
There was an incredible earnestness in him, a thoroughness, a. true passionate interest in everything that happened and, most important, an unfailing devotion to the beauty, majesty and grandeur of art.”
Because of their common knowledge in theater, painting, architecture, writing, poetry, and especially music and opera, they became close friends, and Hitler confided in Kubizek.
Hitler told Kubizek his dream of becoming a painter; “my beautiful dream of the future,” as he referred to it.
When Kubizek saw Hitler’s room for the first time, it reminded him of an “architect’s office.” Although Hitler painted landscapes and many other subjects, most of his works tended to be architectural structures.

Linz Landesmuseum

One of his hobbies was drawing or painting the finer buildings of Linz and making changes in their design.

His favorite buildings were of the Italian Renaissance style and his favorite building was the Landesmuseum which he considered “one of the peak achievements in German architecture.”
The richly ornamented gate and the hundred meter long sculptured panel above the main floor never ceased to impress him.
Kubizek and Hitler would take long walks around the city and Hitler would often stop to look over one building or another.
There he stood,” Kubizek would later write, “this pallid, skinny youth, with the first dark brown showing on his upper lip, in his shabby pepper-and-salt suit, threadbare at the elbows and collar, with his eyes glued to some architectural detail, analyzing the style, criticizing or praising the work, disapproving of the material–all this with such thoughtfulness and such expert knowledge as though he were the builder and would have to pay for every shortcoming out of his own pocket.”
According to Kubizek, some art lovers in Linz founded a society to promote the construction of a new theater.
Hitler joined the society and “took part in a competition for ideas.”
Hitler also made detailed drawings of the city’s layout, showing how it could be improved and beautified.
Adolf, Kubizek wrote, “could never walk the streets without being provoked by what he saw.
On more than one occasion Hitler noted that this or that building “shouldn’t be here“, because it distracted from a view or did not “fit into its surroundings.”
Kubizek would later write that Adolf’s ideas were not “sheer fantasy, but a well-disciplined, almost systematic process.”
Hitler always had a secluded spot outside of town where he could be alone.

Schloß Wildberg – Linz

One spot was a bench along a winding trail (Turmleitenweg), and another, when he really wanted to be alone, was a large, overhanging rock perched high above the Danube near by.   Here he could think and cultivate his plans and ideas, including one, way ahead of its time, to turn Wildberg Castle (north of Linz) into an “open-air museum.”

This “island where the centuries had stood still,” (Adolf’s very words according to Kubizek) was to have a permanent population of men, women and children in medieval costumes demonstrating their crafts and trades.
Hitler thought the castle would serve as a place of study for all those who wanted to learn about life as it was lived in the Middle Ages.
And, it could pay for itself by charging admission to tourists.
Hitler also nurtured ideas of becoming a poet, writer or playwright.
Kubizek was enormously impressed by some of Hitler’s poems.
There was one, a sonnet, that Hitler attempted to extend into a play.
That Hitler “devoted himself to writing, poetry, drawing, painting and to going to the theater,” had Kubizek’s complete admiration.
Another thing that impressed Kubizek was Hitler’s complete self-assurance that one day he would become famous.
In time they came to dream about their success and how they would either build their own villa or renovate a large flat where struggling “lofty minded” artists with talent could come and find shelter.
Hitler made numerous sketches of the proposed villa.
On the other hand, if they opted for the flat, they proposed to rent the entire second floor of a huge building adjoining the Nibelungen Bridge which crossed the Danube between Linz and the suburb of Urfahr.
They bought a lottery ticket and dreamed about how they would spend it furnishing their new abode if they won.
Their plan was to find a refined and distinguished older woman to serve as host, and two other “females” to serve as cook and housemaid.
The women were to be of impeccable character since, at this point of their lives, they had high ideals concerning women.
As was usual for most sixteen and seventeen year olds of their day, both Hitler and Kubizek kept their distance from young women.
Flirtations” were out of the question and even a conversation with a young girl, outside the necessary everyday dealings, was rare.

‘Sacred Virgin’ – Ludwig Fahrenkrog

To further complicate their situation, Kubizek noted that Hitler, like himself, was very shy around young women and found it difficult to communicate with them.

They were caught between that unrelenting biological urge to reproduce, and the fear of the unknown.
Rather then admit their fears they consoled themselves, as Kubizek noted, in waiting for that “sacred” virgin that would lead to marriage and children.
Kubizek also noted that Hitler was a night person.
If he wanted to think or something was bothering him, he would take lengthy night walks to the outskirts of the city and now and then climb the nearby hills on the west side of town.
If he wasn’t thinking he would paint or read late into the night.
He seldom rose early except when absolutely necessary.
Hitler was aware that early risers see themselves as superior to late risers, but he never tried to hide his sleeping habits.
Mark Twain

(Since he was known to be aware of Mark Twain’s writings, it’s possible that he knew about Twain’s comment that he never went to bed as long as he had someone to talk to, and he never got up early unless it was “damn important.”)

Kubizek noted that anytime Adolf was up early in the morning, something had to be “very special.”
If Adolf slept too late, however, Klara would send the younger Paula to wake him with the words, “go and give him a kiss.”
Adolf, who hated to be kissed or hugged, would jump out of bed the moment his sister got near him.
As their friendship continued, Kubizek would find that Hitler would sometimes become impatient or angry when someone disagreed with him.
Kubizek took great care not to clash with Adolf and always yielded except on musical matters. 
Kubizek would acknowledge that there were times he thought his friendship with Adolf was over, but they would meet by chance, usually at a concert, and patch up their differences.
Eduard Bloch

Around this time the Hitler family began seeing a new doctor named Eduard Bloch.

He described “Adolf” as a “well mannered,” “neat,” “obedient boy” who would “bow…courteously” whenever they met.
He found Adolf to be “neither robust nor sickly” but “‘frail looking'” with “large, melancholy and thoughtful….gray-blue eyes….inherited from his mother.” 
Dr. Bloch, like Kubizek, also described Adolf as a “quiet,” and a “well-bred boy of fourteen or fifteen” who was “old for his age.”*
Two-and-a-half months before Hitler turned seventeen his grandmother died on Feb, 8, 1906. Klara’s mother had been loved by the whole family which went into deep mourning.
For the fourth time in six winters Hitler saw another close family member laid to rest.
With a school year lost and spring approaching, Hitler began making plans for his future.
Klara still had hopes that her son would take his final test to obtain his diploma and enter a local technical school and become a civil servant like his father.
Adolf, on the other hand, pleaded that sitting in an office wasn’t for him.
Hans Makart

He saw artists as a better class of society and his dream was to become a great artist, possibly like one of his three favorites, Rubens, or the moderns: Hans Makart or Anselm Feuerback.

Hans Makart (May 28, 1840 – October 3, 1884) was a 19th-century Austrian academic history painter, designer, and decorator; most well known for his influence on Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists, but in his own era considered an important artist himself and was a celebrity figure in the high culture of Vienna, attended with almost cult-like adulation. The “Makartstil”, which determined the culture of an entire era in Vienna, was an aestheticism the likes of which hadn’t been seen before him and has not been replicated to this day. Called the “magician of colors”, he painted in brilliant colors and fluid forms, which placed the design and the aesthetic of the work before all else. His paintings were usually large-scale and theatrical productions of historical motifs.

Anselm Feuerbach

Anselm Feuerbach (12 September 1829 – 4 January 1880) was a German painter. He was the leading classicist painter of the German 19th-century school. He was steeped in classic knowledge, and his figure compositions have the statuesque dignity and simplicity of Greek art. He was the first to realize the danger arising from contempt of technique, that mastery of craftsmanship was needed to express even the loftiest ideas, and that an ill-drawn coloured cartoon can never be the supreme achievement in art.

Interestingly, these two artists had very dissimilar styles.

Makart’s style was flamboyant and ‘mannerist’, whereas Feuerbach style was cool and classical, and much closers to the style favoured by Hitler in his later years.
Hitler also developed a great liking for Franz von Stuck and Arnold Böcklin – but that would come later.
Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

Hitler decided that he wanted to attend the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (known then as the Vienna School of Fine Arts) that autumn.

A diploma was not necessary for admittance to the academy and he undoubtedly pointed out the good marks he had received in art during his last year of school.
Although not opposed to his studying art, Klara was strongly opposed to his relocating in Vienna.
She had been terribly shaken by his recent sickness and his frail appearance worried her.
He was her only surviving son and she wanted him by her side.
Vienna was a hundred miles away.
For Hitler’s seventeenth birthday, Klara gave in to her son’s insistence.
She gave him enough money for a vacation in Vienna where he could gather information on the Academy.
She did so, however, with the hope that he would get the idea out of his system and give up his idea of leaving home.
Shortly after his birthday, he arrived in Vienna where, after the blandness of Linz, he was immediately enchanted by the large metropolis.
Klara had misjudged her son.

The Vienna Trip

Ringstrasse und Opernhaus – Wien
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Stadtwappen Wien

Hitler spent his days sight-seeing and sketching many of Vienna’s wonders.
He spent most of his evenings visiting the music halls, theaters, and especially the opera which overwhelmed him when compared to the caliber of Linz’s.
Just walking the stairs of the Burg Theater or the State Opera House was enough to make any youth feel he was part of a world of power and grandeur. As he would later recall: “Never shall I forget the gracious spectacle of the Vienna Opera, the women sparkling with diadems and fine clothes.”

Vienna Postcard

Hitler sent postcards to his family and friends including Hagmuller, Kubizek and Dr. Bloch, voicing his enthusiasm.

He returned home more convinced than ever that he wanted to return to Vienna by late September when admission tests to the academy began.
Although the family finances were adequate, Klara did everything to dissuade him.
The love that mother and son had for each other was obvious to everyone, but the thought of being separated from her son was unbearable to Klara.
She was intent that he should choose a profession which would keep him at home.
During the family’s summer vacation on the farm that Summer, Adolf was hammered with alternative proposals for pursuing a more sensible career.
He became alienated and kept to himself.
Adolf Hitler – Zeichnung Hund

He whiled away the hours by drawing  in his sketch book, painting, reading or taking long solitary walks.

When the family returned home he was further barraged with suggestions by Angela’s husband, Leo.
Klara even had her baker friend and his wife attempt to secure Adolf a position as a baker’s apprentice which he refused.
When a neighbor, no doubt at Klara’s urging, suggested a position with the postal service, Adolf answered that he intended to become an artist.
Undaunted, Klara continued searching for an excuse to keep her son at home.
Kubizek had been taking piano lessons from an expensive Polish teacher named Josef Prewatzki.
Around the end of September when Adolf wanted to leave for Vienna, Klara suggested that he join Kubizek.
Klara knew her son occasionally thought about becoming a poet or writer.

Heitzmann und Sohn – Piano

With his love for music and the opera she attempted to convince him to study music so he could go on to become a composer, or possibly write operas.

Klara’s persistence finally paid off. Adolf relented.
The relieved Klara brought him a piano made by Heitzmann-Flugel, whose pianos were among the best in the world.
Hitler began piano lessons on October 2, 1906.
As with any subject he enjoyed, or found interest in, he threw himself into it.
He never missed a class and paid by the month.
According to the teacher, he was a little timid and was bored easily by finger exercises but he had a good ear for music, practiced his scales conscientiously and progressed steadily.
His sister Paula remembered that he would sit at the large piano at home for hours practicing. With the examinations to the art academy over for another year, life in the Hitler household settled down.
Hitler and ‘Rienzi’

Richard Wagner

In the Winter of 1906, Hitler and Kubizek attended an opera of Richard Wagner’s ‘Rienzi – der Letzte der Tribunen ‘.

The story is set in fourteenth century Rome and tells the story of a man of the people, trying to free them from the oppression of the upper classes.
The privileged make an attempt to kill Rienzi but are overpowered and after violating their oath of submission are exterminated.
Rienzi rises to the position of dictator and in one scene the trumpets blare and the people shout: “Heil, Rienzi. Heil the tribune of the people.

Rienzi der Letzte der Tribunen – Richard Wagner

Hitler was completely enthralled by the music and by the character of the rebel Rienzi who had been goaded to political action after witnessing the death of his younger brother.

Rienzi in the end, however, is stoned and burned to death by those who never really wanted the freedom he offered.
The long opera was not over until after midnight and Hitler, quite out of context, showed a side of his personality that Kubizek had never seen.
After the performance Hitler talked for over an hour about politics.
Like many young thinkers of the lower middle class he was beginning to develop a hard attitude against the upper echelon -“the social order which made everything dependent on whether or not you had money,” as he put it.

Stephanie Rabatsch

Because of those persons of quality he was first exposed to in high school, he appears to “have acquired a tenacious ‘class consciousness.'”

His turn of mind was no doubt compounded by the fact that Stefanie (his supposed, fantasy ‘girl-friend‘) and “her society,” as he put it, were out of his reach.
Undoubtedly influenced by the writers of the time, the seventeen year old Hitler also began to believe strongly in destiny.
The fact that two of his brothers died before he was born, and another was born and died after him, caused him to wonder why he was spared.
He confided to Kubizek that he believed in fate and that even he could be called upon someday by the people “to lead them out of servitude to heights of freedom.”
(This at first appears to be one of Kubizek’s exaggerations or recollections borrowed from others (including Mein Kampf), however, Adolf Hitler would tell more than one person that the “beginning” of his success began the first time he saw the opera Rienzi. It would be hard to deny that the first time he saw the opera was with Kubizek.)
Years later Hitler would comment to another friend on the story of Rienzi: “Listening to this blessed music as a young man in the theater at Linz, I had the vision that I too must someday succeed in uniting the German Reich and making it great once more.”
He believed that he was destined for a “special mission.”

Klara Hitler

In January of 1907 Klara fell ill and doctor Bloch summoned Adolf and Angela for a conference on the situation.

They learned that Klara had breast cancer and her only chance for survival was a serious operation.
Dr. Bloch was touched by Adolf’s tears and concern and recognized the strong “attachment that existed between mother and son.”*
Klara entered the hospital in mid January and on Jan 18, 1907, during an operation performed by a surgeon named Karl Urban, one of her breasts was removed.
She had little concern about herself but was most concerned about her children if she should die.
She did not hide from Dr. Bloch that her gravest concern was for her son.
Adolf is still so young,” she said repeatedly to him.

Dr Eduard Bloch

While she lavished her son with almost everything he wanted, she herself spent the next two and a half weeks recuperating in a third class ward of the hospital even though she could have afforded better.

Adolf visited her every day.
When Adolf’s recuperating mother returned home he, possibly afraid of disturbing her or unable to concentrate, discontinued his piano practice and lessons.
He resumed his painting and drawing.
Both Kubizek and Dr. Bloch (who called and at times administered Klara morphine to relieve her pain) speak of Adolf’s attentiveness to his mother and the fear in his eyes on bad days.
Dr. Bloch stated that this was not a pathological relationship, only deep affection between a mother who adored her son and a son who adored his mother.
As the months passed Klara appeared to have recovered.

 Home at Urfahr

Wappen Ufar
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Urfahr

In May the family moved to a new, two storied apartment building on Bluten Strasse in the Urfahr district.

Here Klara could venture out for walks or do her shopping without climbing as many stairs.
She now apparently had a change of heart about Adolf’s desire to become an artist.
When Klara’s sisters and especially Angela’s husband suggested to her that Adolf should give up his artistic desires and get a job, she now replied: “He is different from us.”
Late that summer she withdrew Adolf’s patrimony, now over 700 kronen, and gave it to him along with her blessings to pursue his dream of becoming a painter.
If Adolf was frugal, the money he received was enough for tuition and living expenses in Vienna for over a year.

Stumper Gasse – Wien
Gustl Kubizek

In Sept. of 1907 his plans were made to leave for the academy’s admission test.

Shortly before his departure Klara’s health took a turn for the worse, but examinations for entrance to the academy were scheduled for Oct. lst and 2nd and he would have to wait another year if he didn’t go then.
When Kubizek came to see Adolf off, there were tears all around as Klara, Paula and Adolf bid farewell.
They were aware that once accepted, he would begin classes in a week and he might not return till the holidays.
When he arrived in Vienna, he rented a single room on Stumper Gasse (Stumper Lane) which was only a few blocks southwest from the railroad station (Westbahnhof) that served all trains going west.
If word arrived that his mother’s health had taken a turn for the worse, he could catch a train and, for a little over seven Kronen, be back in less than three and a half hours.

Artist Admissions Test

Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

Along with 51 other candidates, Adolf Hitler was refused admittance to the art Academy.

He was crushed.
All his dreams were dashed.
The fact that out of 113 original candidates only 28 were admitted did not console him. 
For over a week he roamed the streets of Vienna not knowing what to do.
He then received word that his mother had taken another turn for the worse.
Hitler returned home immediately to be by his mother’s side. 

Dr. Eduard Bloch

On October 22nd. he consulted with Dr. Bloch and found that Klara was in very serious condition.

The operation had occurred too late and the disease was spreading rapidly.
An experimental treatment was attempted which only added to her suffering.
Within a short time she needed constant attention.
Her bed was moved to the kitchen/living room area which was the warmest room in the house.
Although Adolf admitted to others that he had failed to gain admittance to the academy, he didn’t burden his mother with his rejection and assured her that he was accepted and would become an artist someday.
Klara spent the next two months in constant pain which she bore well believing “that her fate was God’s will.”
However, the ever present Adolf according to neighbors, Kubizek, and Dr. Bloch, anguished over her suffering.
Although Klara’s sister Johanna also helped care for Klara, Adolf took over as man of the house.
He was in constant attendance to his mother and did whatever possible to make her comfortable.
Dressed in his old clothes, he scrubbed floors, helped with the washing, and cooked her favorite meals which she greatly appreciated.
He took charge of his eleven year old sister, Paula, and even tutored her.
In late November, Klara had a serious relapse.
Adolf slept on the couch near her bed and did what he could to comfort her.
He read aloud to her the sentimental novels she loved even though he hated them.
He drew her picture and on some days held her hand for hours on end.
As Paula would state years later: “…my brother Adolf spoiled my mother during this last time of her life with overflowing tenderness.
He was indefatigable in his care for her, wanted to comply with any desire she could possibly have and did all to demonstrate his great love for her.”
When Kubizek or Dr. Bloch visited they found the normally high strung and proud Adolf quiet, gentle and apprehensive.

Weihnachtsbaum

If Klara showed any signs of improvement, Dr. Bloch noted, Adolf’s eyes would light up and he would take an optimistic view.

With the holidays approaching a Christmas tree was placed in the living room in hopes of lifting her spirits.
On Dec 20th. Dr. Bloch made two house calls and saw that the end was near.
Kubizek also visited and saw her lying, weak and barely able to speak.
Her thoughts, however, were of her son.
When the distraught Adolf left the room momentarily she managed to whisper to Kubizek: “Go on being a good friend to my son when I’m no longer here.”*
At 2a.m. the following morning, with Adolf at her bedside, Klara, age 47, died in the glow of the lighted Christmas tree.
Adolf was crushed. Dr. Bloch stated: “In all my career I have never seen anyone so prostrate with grief as Adolf Hitler.”
Two days later, on Christmas Eve, Adolf followed the hearse which drove to Leonding three miles away.

Leonding Kirche und der Familie Hitler Grab

The funeral Mass was held in the small church across the road from where they used to live and Klara was laid to rest beside her husband.

After everyone else had left, Adolf remained behind at her grave site as though unable to tear himself away.
Hitler would remember the lighted Christmas tree in the house and the memory was so bitter for him that he could never again enjoy Christmas.
He hated when it snowed, and was always in an emotional state around the holidays.
For the rest of his life he would usually spend Christmas Eve alone.
Almost twenty years later he would write in Mein Kampf: “My father I respected, my mother I loved.
He himself wrote the announcement of the passing away of his “deeply, loved, never-to-be-forgotten mother.”
For the rest of his life he would always have a picture of his mother on his person or nearby, and whenever the occasion arose would proudly and lovingly show it.

Dr Eduard Bloch

Dr. Bloch, who was Jewish, would later emigrate to the safety of the United States but still refused to repudiate his statements, including the one that described the young Hitler as “a fine and exemplary son who bore such a deep love and concern for his dear mother which one finds on this globe only in extremely exceptional cases.”

Kubizek, also, in an unsuccessful attempt to quell the psychologists, newsmen, historians in residence and other persons of quality, who never ceased to degrade the young Hitler as an uncaring son, would later write: “Adolf really loved his mother. I swear to it before God and man.
As Klara’s oldest child, Adolf, under the guidance of his legal guardian, the Mayor of Leonding, Josef Mayrhofer, took care of all of his mother’s personal unfinished business and paid all her debts with the estate left behind.
Surviving documents show that the doctor bill outstanding was 300 kronen while the funeral and coffin, cost 370 kronen -an extremely large sum for a lower middle class family to pay.
Adolf also gave a part of his inheritance to his stepsister since she and her husband agreed to take on the responsibility of raising the eleven year old Paula.
He thanked neighbors for their help and even gave one of his best paintings to a couple who had showed particular loyalty during his mothers sickness.

Josef  Mayrhofer

His legal guardian, Josef  Mayrhofer found the young Hitler’s actions “laudable.”

Since their father had been a State official, the “orphans” Paula and Adolf were now eligible for 600 Kronen annually between them.
Their guardian split the pension down the center.
The eighteen year old Adolf Hitler was to receive 300 kronen a year in monthly payments until he was twenty-four years old or until he became self-supporting.
Hitler, now armed with a letter of recommendation from his influential landlord (which described Hitler as a “nice, steadygoing …. serious and ambitious young man … mature and sensible beyond his years,”) decided to return to Vienna.
If fortune did not smile on him, he could retake the examination test to the Art Academy later that year.
As “my father had accomplished fifty years before,” he would later write, “I too, wanted to become ‘something.'”
Kubizek also wanted to leave Linz and enter the Academy of Music in Vienna but his father was against him leaving at the time.
Hitler made a trip to Kubizek’s house and persuaded the old man to let him go.
Kubizek would follow him shortly.
With what was left from his inheritance, Hitler left for Vienna in mid February 1908, in search of a “special mission.”

Hitler and Kubizek in Vienna

Westbahnhof – Wien

On a cold foggy evening in late February 1908, August Kubizek arrived in Vienna.
As he stood amidst the confusion of the railroad station (Westbahnhof), he saw his friend approaching through the crowd.
Hitler was wearing his dark, good quality overcoat and broad-brimmed hat.
Already at ease in his new environment, he wore kid gloves and carried a walking stick with an ivory handle.
The slim Adolf, Kubizek thought, “appeared almost elegant.”
After a warm greeting, they kissed on the cheek in the Austrian manner, they made their way to Hitler’s apartment.
After a short walk Hitler stopped in front of an imposing and distinguished building on Stumper Gasse.
With Kubizek on his heels, Hitler entered the arched entrance off to one side, passed through the more elaborate section of the building, crossed a small courtyard and entered the humbler rear section of the building.

Stumpergasse 29 – Wien

They went up the polished stone staircase to the “second floor” (3rd in America) and entered a small room.
This was the same building Hitler had stayed during his attempt to enter the Art Academy a few months before.
The monthly rent was ten kronen and although respectable, it was a no frills establishment in a lower middle class neighborhood.
Hitler’s monthly pension of 25 kronen only covered the cost of a meager diet, so he had to be frugal with what was left of his inheritance.
Like most tenement houses it was infested with bugs and the whole floor, six small apartments, had only one lavatory.
After Hitler cleared away the numerous sketches that lay around his room, he and Kubizek had something to eat.
Although Hitler was still suffering and bitter over his mother’s death, he insisted on taking Kubizek on a tour of the city.

Ringstrasse

They made their way to the Ringstrasse, the great boulevard (where once stood the city battlements) which circles the inner city.
Hitler’s blue eyes blazed excitedly as he pointed out many of the cities historical landmarks. Just off the Ring was the Art Academy which he still hoped to enter, and not far away was the Music Conservatory which Kubizek hoped to attend.
Like any young man who grows and matures in a small town, Kubizek, like Hitler was overwhelmed by the vast and thriving city.

Stephansdom Wien

Kubizek particularly wanted to see the immense soaring spire of St. Stephen’s Cathedral but it was shrouded in the fog.
In one of his letters, Hitler had offered Kubizek the advantage of staying with him for awhile. Hitler, however, was still the independent type and knowing that he and Kubizek had their differences, he had added: “Later we shall see.”
Hitler’s small room was not large enough to hold a piano that Kubizek would need to practice on so they spent the next morning looking for a room for Kubizek.
It proved difficult.
Vienna was the most overcrowded capital city in Europe.
Almost half the population lived in one or two rooms, and in the working districts 4 to 5 persons shared these “flats.”
The few rooms they found available were either sleazy, did not allow piano playing, or were too small to hold a grand piano.
After a fruitless search in the immediate vicinity, they finally came to a house with a sign: “Room to Let.”
They were admitted into the house by a maid and introduced to an elegant looking middle aged woman wearing a silk dressing gown, fur-lined slippers and little else.
As she showed them around the house, including the available bedroom, she appeared to take a shine to Hitler.
She suggested that Hitler rent the available room and turn his room on Stumper Gasse over to Kubizek.
At that moment the belt of her dressing gown became loose and her gown opened momentarily.
“Oh, excuse me, gentlemen,” she calmly said as she redid the belt.
Too fainthearted and too unworldly to take advantage of such an opportune moment, Hitler and Kubizek beat a hasty retreat.
They returned to their apartment and Hitler persuaded the landlady to give up her larger room next door for theirs.
By the end of the day they had settled into the larger room, #17, for an additional 10 kronen a month.
Because of the housing shortage, the normal rent for a one or two room flat ran from twenty-two to twenty-eight kronen per month in the laboring districts.
Their room was a real bargain.
Kubizek was again amazed by Hitler’s gift of persuasion.

Wiener Musikhochschule

Within a few days of his arrival, Kubizek took his test and was admitted to the Wiener Musikhochschule, (Music Conservatory).
Kubizek’s easy accomplishment magnified Hitler’s failure to enter the Art Academy, and he appeared envious for a time.
While Kubizek began attending morning classes, Hitler spent his time in one pursuit after another.
Some days Hitler relentlessly worked on his drawings, on another day, he would sit for hours reading on architecture, another, working tirelessly on an idea he had for a short story, the next, practicing on the piano Kubizek had rented.
Kubizek would state that Hitler was never idle, but always “filled with a tireless urge to be active.”

Alfred Roller

Interestingly, Hitler never made use of the letter of recommendation he had received which introduced him to one of Vienna’s best known stage designers, Alfred Roller.
Years later he would comment: “One got absolutely nothing in Austria without letters of introduction.
When I arrived in Vienna, I had one to Roller, but I didn’t use it.
If I’d presented myself to him with this introduction, he’d have engaged me at once.
No doubt it’s better that things went otherwise.
It’s not a bad thing for me that I had to have a rough time of it.”*
Having to live on a minimum budget, they spent their leisure time visiting the Vienna Woods, taking boat trips on the Danube and even once took a train trip to the Alps and climbed a mountain.
They also visited the numerous coffee houses in the area.
The Viennese cuisine was delightful;” Hitler would later recall, “at breakfast nothing was eaten, at mid day … [people] lunched off a cup of coffee and two croissants, and the coffee in the little coffee-shops was as good as that in the famous restaurants.
For lunch, even in the fashionable places, only soup, a main dish and dessert were served–there was never an entree.
One of Hitler’s favorite coffee-shops (which served a particular nut-cake he enjoyed) was a favorite of Jewish college students.
To an inquiring mind, Vienna offered much for no cost.
Hitler and Kubizek spent much of their free time touring the city.
They strolled the avenues and visited the countless museums, churches, historical sites, parks and plazas.

Schwarzenberg Platz – Wien

Hitler was particularly fond of the Schwarzenberg Platz, especially at night when the fanciful illuminated fountains produced incredible lighting effects.
Most of Hitler’s praises, however, were bestowed upon Vienna’s huge and ornate buildings.
He was very impressed by Schonbrunn Castle, the elegant 1200 room, royal summer residence of the Hapsburgs which had once been home to Napoleon himself.
After viewing such luxury, Hitler often grumbled about the sparse room they had to return to.

Wiener Sängerknaben

On Sundays, Hitler enjoyed listening to musical groups or soloists performing at the city chapel. He was particularly found of the Vienna Boys Choir.
There were also the countless parades, pageantry and social events which accompanied the Hapsburg dynasty.
These events were normally stern, formal and dignified affairs that showed off the ruling dynasty as lofty and untouchable.
In an age and in an empire that also believed in armed might, military holidays were celebrated with all the trappings of a society prepared for war.
Two or three evenings each week they went to a theater, opera, or concert because as a student, Kubizek could often get free tickets.
At concerts, Hitler was very fond of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Anton Brukner

He enjoyed some of the music of the masters, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and also the Romanticists, Weber, Schubert, Mendelssohn and especially Bruckner who had been an organist at the old Linz Cathedral for twelve years.
Like most Viennese, Hitler also enjoyed the music of Johann Strauss and the Hungarian Liszt.
When attending the theater Hitler preferred the more serious works, and Vienna’s theaters offered masterpieces by some of Europe’s best playwrights.
Vienna was also a famed joyful and carefree city, and its less dignified theaters offered worldly, lighthearted and often risqué performances.

Franz Lehar

Although Hitler never admitted to attending anything too risqué, he enjoyed Franz Lehar’s ‘The Merry Widow’ and often whistled Lehar’s happy tunes.
At the theater one evening a group of young men were causing a disturbance. Hitler and Kubizek attempted to silence them.
The leader of the group refused to keep his mouth shut and Hitler punched him in the side.
When Hitler and Kubizek left the theater they found that the noisemaker had summoned a policeman who attempted to arrest Hitler.
Hitler explained the situation and persuaded the policeman to let him go.
Hitler then caught up with the troublemaker and gave him, to quote Kubizek, “a sound box on the ears.”
Just as in Linz, the opera was still Hitler’s first choice in entertainment, but opera seats in Vienna were extremely expensive.
Although Hitler preferred a seat in the upper balcony, to save money, he and Kubizek usually took the cheapest standing room.
Like most people who go to movies today, Hitler did not care for foreign works.
He was only interested in German customs, German feeling, and German thought.

Verdi – Aida

Except for Verdi’s opera, Aida – the love story of an Ethiopian slave girl and an Egyptian warrior – he didn’t care for most Italian operas because of the many plots involving “daggers.”
He also wasn’t particularly fond of French operas and considered Gounod’s Faust (there are two rapes within the opera) vulgar.
Not even the Russian Tchaikovsky met with his approval.
On the other hand he appreciated many of the works of the Germans Beethoven and Weber and was especially delighted with Mozart’s anti-establishment comedy of infidelity, Figaro.

Richard Wagner

His favorite works were by the highly acclaimed Richard Wagner who wrote about figures of medieval history, saga, and myth.
Most of Wagner’s heroes were purely human and were torn between desire and morality -Wagner believed in the first.
During Hitler’s years in Vienna, 15 different productions of Wagner’s operas were performed in over 420 performances at the State Opera House alone.
Hitler attended every new offering and saw some of the performances over and over again. “I was so poor, during the Viennese period of my life,” Hitler would later recall, “that I had to restrict myself to seeing only the finest spectacles.

Tristan und Isolde

Thus I heard [Wagner’s] ‘Tristan’ thirty or forty times, and always from the best companies.”
Every young man has his idol and Wagner was Hitler’s.
For me, Wagner is something Godly and his music is my religion,” Hitler would later tell an American reporter.
Kubizek also noted Hitler’s devotion to Wagner.
When Hitler attended a Wagner opera the music had a profound, exhilarating influence on him.
When talking to friends or other opera buffs, Hitler always praised Wagner with passionate devotion.
Wagner not only wrote the music but the librettos (words) for his operas.
He refused allegiance to any set forms.

Siegfried – from ‘Die Nibelungen’ – Fritz Lang – 1924


Besides composing, writing and producing his operas he occasionally took on the role of stage manager, director, and conductor.
He referred to his mission as the ‘Kunstwerk der Zukunft‘ (art work of the future) and to his ‘music dramas’ as ‘Gesamtkunstwerk (total art work). Wagner saw the orchestra as just adding to the action on the stage (much like background music in movies today), but he ruffled the egos of many persons of quality by concealing the conductor and orchestra so they would not distract from the performance.

Siegfried – from ‘Die Nibelungen’ – Fritz Lang – 1924

Many of the themes of Wagner’s music dramas were grounded on lofty German myths and legends which revealed human emotions that influence nearly all issues and relations.
Like Wagner, Hitler was enthralled by the past, and believed that great significance lay in German mythology.

‘Lohengrin’







One of Hitler’s favorites was ‘Lohengrin’.
He could amaze opera buffs by reciting the entire libretto by heart.
While living with Kubizek, he saw ‘Lohengrin’ ten times.
Lohengrin’s pomp, pageantry, and dramatic interest is compelling.
It is considered by many to be the finest of all romantic grand operas.
The plot is set in the tenth century and involves a beautiful blonde maiden who is falsely accused of murder. To her rescue comes the gallant Lohengrin, the “Knight of the Swan,” who will champion the accused and later marry her.
The love duet is exquisite (“one of the sweetest and tenderest passages of which the Lyric stage can boast”) and there is also the haunting Bridal Chorus.
Besides the compelling music and German nationalism, Hitler no doubt associated with the silver-armored hero with his pure soul and wondrous flashing eyes.
In the end, ‘Lohengrin’, called Fuhrer (leader) by his followers, is forced to reveal that he is a “Knight of the Holy Grail” and must give up love for a higher calling.

Lohengrin is a romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner, first performed in 1850. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, notably the Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach and its sequel, Lohengrin, written by a different author, itself inspired by the epic of Garin le Loherain. It is part of the Knight of the Swan tradition.

The opera has proved inspirational towards other works of art. Among those deeply moved by the fairy-tale opera was the young King Ludwig II of Bavaria. ‘Der Märchenkönig’ (‘The Fairy-tale King’) as he was dubbed later built his ideal fairy-tale castle and dubbed it “New Swan Stone,” or “Neuschwanstein”, after the Swan Knight. It was King Ludwig’s patronage that later gave Wagner the means and opportunity to compose, build a theatre for, and stage his epic cycle, the Ring of the Nibelung.

‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’

Another of Hitler’s favorites was ‘Die Meistersingers’ which is told in terms of a simple love story.
The plot involves a young songwriter who comes up against traditional rules and methods.
In the end he overcomes the rank prejudices of The Master Singers and while preserving what is best in art tradition, succeeds and wins the heroin for his bride.

As with ‘Lohengrin’, Hitler knew the ‘Meistersingers’ by heart.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg) is an opera by Richard Wagner. It is among the longest operas still commonly performed today, usually taking around four and a half hours. It was first performed at the Königliches Hof- und National-Theater in Munich, on June 21, 1868. The conductor at the premiere was Hans von Bülow.

The story takes place in Nuremberg during the middle of the 16th century. At the time, Nuremberg was an Imperial Free City, and one of the centers of the Renaissance in Northern Europe. The story revolves around the real-life guild of Meistersinger (Master Singers), an association of amateur poets and musicians, mostly from the middle class and often master craftsmen in their main professions. The Mastersingers developed a craftsmanlike approach to music-making, with an intricate system of rules for composing and performing songs. The work draws much of its charm from its faithful depiction of the Nuremberg of the era and the traditions of the Mastersinger guild. One of the main characters, the cobbler-poet Hans Sachs, is based on an actual historical figure: Hans Sachs (1494–1576), the most famous of the historical Mastersingers.

If an indication of the ideals and beliefs of a young man can be judged on the entertainment he enjoys, the young Hitler appears very normal for his time.
‘Aida’, and ‘Figaro’, are two of the most popular operas ever performed in their time.
‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’ and ‘Lohengrin’ have, almost since their conceptions been German favorites.
Hitler’s enjoying ‘Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’ is comparable to young people in every generation enjoying stories whose plots rebel against tradition and the old folks.

‘Tristan und Isolde’ 

The story was written by Wagner to scorn the establishment that once rejected him.
The love story, however, is the backbone of the action and everything else is centered around it. The same thing can be said for ‘Lohengrin’ and especially ‘Tristan und Isolde’ which is about love and (did they love the night) little else.
That Hitler repeatedly enjoyed these operas places him in the majority of young men of his day who had high ideals concerning love.
During their trips to the opera, concert or theater, Kubizek noticed that women would flirt with Hitler despite his usually modest clothing and reserved manner.
On one occasion, a young lady handed Hitler a note informing him where she would be stopping after the performance.
Kubizek believed that women were attracted to Hitler because of his aloof but distinguished manners, or brilliant eyes, or some mysterious quality that can’t be described.
Hitler never responded to these opportunities.

Lucie Weidt

Like many eighteen year olds, Hitler had his favorite actress, Lucie Weidt (a gifted soprano ten years older than Hitler), “roused his enthusiasm in the part of Elsa in Lohengrin.”*
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, noted during this period that people seldom, if ever discussed their sex drive.
Hitler never talked about his desires or his sex life.
When discussing the subject in an impersonal way, Hitler, according to Kubizek, found the loose morals in Vienna shocking.
His belief was influenced by the terribly high rate of syphilis that existed in Europe at that time, and the incurable and horrible consequences of contracting it.
A cure would not be readily available for a few years and complications of the heart, blood vessels, bones, skin, and finally paralysis and insanity were common.
Hitler, like many others of his time had a fear of catching the disease and would later condemn the government for its “complete capitulation” when an all out “fight” was needed to bring the “plague” under control to insure the “health” of the nation.
Vienna, nonetheless, thrived with centers of prostitution and cafes where the sexes mixed liberally.
A survey of doctors, carried out while Hitler lived in Vienna, revealed that only 4% of the doctors had their first sexual experience with middle class young women who might qualify as potential wives, 17% had their first experience with lower class waitresses or the like, while 75% had their first romp with prostitutes.
Legalized prostitution in Austria dated from the Liberal ascendancy three decades before. When Hitler arrived in Vienna, any girl sixteen or older could register or apply for a license.
She was then free to practice the profession as long as she could prove mental competence and meet simple health rules.
Even with such liberal regulations, there was still a thriving free lance business throughout Vienna, and it was estimated that over 10,000 girls went unregistered.
On their evening excursions on the town, there were occasions when Kubizek and Hitler were approached by lone streetwalkers.
According to Kubizek, in every instance the “ladies” ignored him, and asked Hitler if he wanted to go with them.
Kubizek thought that these girls of the “unholy city” were attracted to Hitler because they may have seen him as a man of moral restraint from the religious countryside.
Hitler always refused.
Kubizek had to get up early in the morning for classes and usually retired early while Hitler was often awake and out till late at night.
There were times Hitler would go out and not return till the following day.
Hitler, as earlier in Linz, also had suggestions for Vienna’s planning and layout.
He believed in wider streets, pollution control, and less crowding.
He advocated the destruction of old tenement housing and the building of lower income housing where workers could live cheaply.
He believed that there should be more areas set aside for parks and green areas.
He thought it unthinkable that railroads should run through a city, tying up people and traffic. Railroads, he believed, should be rerouted to the outskirts and what trains that had to enter the city should be placed underground.
These revolutionary ideas were already starting to have their effects in some of the larger cities throughout the world and Hitler no doubt read about them.
That an eighteen year old could grasped their long range significance and advocated such a policy is noteworthy.
As he had in Linz, he spent quite a bit of time working on drawings and the details of such planning.
Kubizek, in the meantime, continued with his classes and it was becoming apparent that he was one of the star pupils in the music school.
He was constantly sought after to tutor other classmates and to perform in small musical groups in the homes of some of the wealthy and cultivated of Vienna.
Occasionally Hitler went along and “enjoyed himself very much” though he normally chose to play the part of the silent listener.
As he was in no financial position to buy new clothes, it was only his inadequate dress, Kubizek observed, that made him feel uneasy.
Hitler was proud of his friend’s achievements but witnessing what appeared to be Kubizek’s easy accomplishment, he began searching for a road to instant success.
Although he continued drawing, he did little painting that summer.

Hofburg – Wien

The Hofburg, containing among other things, one of the most extensive (and beautiful) libraries in the world, was only a mile away from their room and Hitler visited there regularly.
He continued to read on architecture and art, but also mythology, religion, history and biography.
In his reading on architecture he acquired an extensive amount of history on many of Linz’s buildings and appears to have attempted to write a handbook or manual on the subject.
He then worked tirelessly on a short story he titled ‘The Next Morning‘.
He talked about becoming a playwright and after weeks of research at the library began a script centered on the time Christianity was introduced in Germany.

‘Die Melonenesser’
Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo

He then switched to a play about the Spanish painter, Bartolome Murillo, who’s art work Hitler knew well.
Murillo had also been a “poor orphan” and became famous for his charming paintings of religious subjects and sweet street urchins.
After a vigorous start, Hitler put the idea aside.
When Hitler felt dejected he would walk to Schonbrunn Castle and spend his time in the huge adjoining park where miles of shaded walks wended their ways among clumps of trees, arbors, vast formal flower beds and elaborate fountains.
Along with other attractions the park also contained a zoo and the Gloriette, an elaborate stone pavilion surmounted by a huge imperial eagle.
Hitler’s favorite spot was a stone bench not far from the Gloriette where he enjoyed feeding the birds and squirrels.
(The stone bench, along with the descendants of those birds and squirrels, are still there at this writing.)
He never went to the park on Sundays since he did not like crowds, and the noisy and carefree spirit of most of the young people annoyed him.
Sooner or later however, he would conceive another idea and wholeheartedly throw himself into it.

Hof-Library – Wien

After numerous day trips to the Hof-Library and night after night of continuous writing, he abandoned one idea after another.
After countless false starts as a playwright or writer, he suddenly decided to become a composer.
Hitler spent months working on a Wagnerian type opera which would have been understood by ancient Germans.
The work was to be performed with rattles, drums, reeds, crude brass wind instruments, primitive harps, and bone and wood flutes.
He searched excitedly through volumes of the Hof-Library studying ancient music and looking for the types of musical instruments used by ancient Germans.
That he had no formal musical training, other than four months of piano lessons, daunted him not.
To make up for his lack of knowledge he read the scores and librettos of a large number of operas and acquired an amazing knowledge of stagecraft.
He worked on his opera night after night plotting the story, producing drawings for the sets, sketching the main characters in charcoal and composing the music with Kubizek’s help. Kubizek acknowledged that the prelude turned out very presentable (after he had convinced Hitler to add a few modern instruments) but Hitler was not satisfied.
It reduced him to utter despair,” Kubizek wrote, “that he had an ideal in his head, a musical idea which he considered bold and important, without being able to pin it down.”
Hitler finally realized that success as a composer was as hard to come by as that of a painter or writer and finally gave up.

Schönbrunn Park – Wien

Dejected, he would return to the park and feed the pigeons and squirrels until another idea dawned.
Hitler came up with an idea for a traveling symphony.
He felt it was unfair that only the lucky few in the major cities were privileged to hear first rate performances.
His mobile orchestra was to travel to small towns where less fortunate people could hear other than second rate performances.
He spent quite a deal of time working out the intricate little details, including the composition of the group, their feeding, dress, direction, and rehearsal time.
He decided that only German composers would be played and he even timed the length of each piece while at concerts.
The orchestra was not only to perform classic and romantic works (the oldies so to speak), but also the works of modern, young and unknown composers.
As with traveling “concerts” today the ideal was plausible, but the lack of adequate public halls in small towns made him abandon the idea.
He then returned to the park.
Like all idealistic young men on a minimum budget, Hitler became disillusioned and he soon developed a strong social conscious.

Franzenring – Reichsratsgebäude – Wien

He would visit the Parliament when it was in session, and on a few occasions even dragged Kubizek along.

The Austrian Parliament Building in Vienna is where the two houses of the Parliament of Austria conduct their sessions. The building is located on the Ringstraße boulevard in the first district Innere Stadt, near the Hofburg Palace and the Palace of Justice.

The foundation stone was laid in 1874; the building was completed in 1883. The architect responsible for its Greek revival style was Theophil Edvard Hansen. He designed the building holistically, each element harmonizing with the others and was therefore also responsible for the interior decoration, such as statues, paintings, furniture, chandeliers, and numerous other elements. Hansen was honored by Emperor Franz Joseph with the title of Freiherr (Baron) after its completion. One of the building’s most famous features is the Pallas Athena fountain in front of the main entrance, built by Hansen from 1898 to 1902.

Hitler was amazed at the lack of action.
He had expected to see stately men in control, debating and pondering over the problems of their day.
What he saw was dissension, filibustering, confusion, rants, threats, procedure, formality and wordy nonsense.
He came away disillusioned and was appalled by politicians and their, as he called it, “ridiculous institution.”*
The Viennese are noted for their criticism (“a grumble a day keeps bad temper away,” is one of their mottoes) and Hitler fit in well.
“Isn’t this a dog’s life,” became one of his favorite sayings and he began to blame government for his situation.
He became impatient and developed a deep contempt for most politicians.
He began raging openly against, as he called them: “the well-born and all powerful people.”
He felt that the government should provide grants to students with ability and that poor working young women should receive trousseaus to encourage marriage so as to cut down on fatherless children and sex-related diseases.
He believed the government should do something to decrease the amount of alcoholic beverages consumed by promoting non-alcoholic drinks.
And, he still felt that more should be done to house the working class.
Hitler actually worked out a plan for housing those with low incomes.
Using his interior plan as a starting point, the standard building was to be a two storied, four family residence.
Under no condition was any building to contain more than 16 families and all should be surrounded by gardens, trees, and play grounds.
He thought professional landlords unfair and believed that housing should be owned and built by the government and the rent set to cover the cost and maintenance of the building.
He devoted much of his thinking to moving people out of  “distress and poverty.”*
The longer Hitler lived in the giant city, the more he saw of the inequalities.
While the upper classes practiced an almost complete indifference, those of the younger and poorer generation began to openly criticize their leaders.
Hitler became one of them for he could not understand the apathy and resignation of politicians and leading intellectuals.
Their stance that “nothing can be done about it,” earned them his undying hatred. “He who resigned,” Hitler stated, “lost his right to live.”

Alios Hitler

He saw these men of education with their professional training as a group of “idiots.
No doubt remembering that his more-than-qualified father had been held in the same position for seventeen years because of his background, Hitler felt that men who actually showed ability should be chosen to manage affairs as opposed to those with formal qualifications, class and connections.
With what was left of his inheritance running low and knowing that his pension would only support a meager living, disillusionment soon vented itself in anger.
For no apparent reason, there were days when he would go into a rage about the unfairness of life.
Any disagreement or rebuke on Kubizek’s part only heightened his anger.
A while later he would be calm, cooperative and charming.
But, Kubizek noted, it was contrary to his nature to ignore important issues, and there were days he would read or see something that would set him off all over again.
Hitler was often abrupt, moody, and brash, but Kubizek stated that he could never be angry with Hitler because he regarded him as a “visionary.”
For a long time, I had it rough in Vienna,” Hitler would later recall.
For months I never even had a hot meal. I lived on milk and dry bread but spent thirteen kreuzers day after day on cigarettes.
I smoked twenty-five to forty a day.
One day the thought came to me: ’Instead of spending thirteen kreuzers on cigarettes, buy butter for your bread.
That would be five kreuzers a day and I’d have money left over.’
Soon after that thought, I threw my cigarettes in the Danube and have never touched another“.
There is nothing worse than a reformed – whatever – and Hitler soon began ranting about the government’s involvement in the tobacco industry.
He argued that the State was ruining the health of its own people for monetary gains.
He felt all tobacco factories should be closed and the importation of tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes be forbidden.
(Later, when Hitler became Fuhrer and his European conquests seemed unstoppable, he made the statement: “Before going into retirement, I shall order that all the cigarette packets on sale in my Europe should have on the label, in letters of fire, the slogan: ‘Danger, tobacco smoke kills; danger: Cancer.'”)
Reflecting on Hitler’s meager fare, Kubizek concluded that much of Hitler’s anger stemmed from his financial situation.
Kubizek suggested that Hitler go to the “soup kitchen” and get a decent free meal.
Hitler angrily retorted that going to a soup kitchen was demeaning and that such “contemptible institutions…only symbolized the segregation of the social classes.”
Many of Vienna’s population lived in similar circumstances and Hitler “unhesitatingly” associated with the “simple, decent but underprivileged people.
He thought something should be done for the “‘little man,‘ the ‘poor betrayed masses.‘”
He ranted about the “tight fisted” ways of the upper classes.

‘Down and Outs’ in Vienna

As Kubizek would later state: “Everywhere we noticed a deep chasm between the social classes….We saw the splendid mansions of the nobility with garishly attired servants in front, and the sumptuous hotels in which Vienna’s rich society – the old nobility, the captains of industry, landowners and magnates – held their lavish parties. Poverty, need, hunger on the one side, and reckless enjoyment of life, sensuality and prodigal luxury on the other.”
The obvious social injustice embittered Hitler and the presumptuous and arrogant demeanor of the upper classes “roused in him a demoniacal hatred.”
He continuously railed “against the privileged position of certain classes.”
Although Kubizek always portrayed Hitler as a serious and stern young man, there was another side of him.
Kubizek took a short trip home for the Easter holiday and wrote Hitler that he had contracted an eye infection, and that when he returned he might be wearing glasses.
Kubizek knew his constant practicing on the piano distracted or annoyed Hitler at times so he also mentioned that he was also going to bring a viola, testing what Hitler’s reaction would be. On April 20, 1908, the day of his 19th birthday, Hitler wrote back (after making a joke about the bad weather in Vienna):
I am deeply sorry to hear that you are going blind.
It means you will play more wrong notes and keys.
The blinder you become, the deafer I will become. Oh dear.”
He also added that he was going out to buy “cotton” for his ears.
He then signed the letter: “Your friend, Adolf Hitler.
Kubizek returned shortly after and, in June, completed his first period at the Conservatory with excellent grades.
He was privileged to conduct the end-of-term concert where three of his songs were sung and part of his sextet for strings was performed.
At a gathering in the “artists’ room,” Kubizek was showered with praises by his teachers and classmates as Hitler sat quietly by himself watching.
It appeared that for Kubizek, success was just around the corner.
Kubizek went home in July to work in the family business for the summer.
Since he was nearly a year older than Hitler he was now of military age and was required to report for a physical.
Found to be fit, he was to undergo eight weeks of training for the Army Reserve and would not return till November.
Hitler’s landlady also took a trip to visit her brother and Hitler looked after the building for her until she returned.
Hitler kept in touch with Kubizek and on one occasion, referring to one of his ideas for a book, wrote: “Since your departure I have been working very hard often again until 2 or 3 in the morning.”
Knowing Hitler was running short of money Kubizek and his mother sent him some food packages.
A few days later the proud Hitler would write on a postcard dated July 19, 1908:

        Dear friend!

        My best thanks for your kindness. You don’t need to send me butter and cheese 

        now. But I thank you most gratefully for the kind thought. Tonight I am going
        to see Lohengrin. Kindest regards to you and your esteemed parents.

                                                                                            Adolf Hitler.


A few days later Hitler would write again mentioning that he was not feeling well.
It was not until August 17 that Kubizek heard from him again.
This time he mentioned that he had got over a “sharp attack of bronchial catarrh,” but was “writing quite a lot lately.”
Late that August, Hitler took a trip to the Wooded Quarter for a family gathering on the Spital farm.
Besides his two aunts and their families, his step-sister Angela and her family were also present.
Hitler still disliked Angela’s husband and had considered putting off the trip, but was no doubt shown the new addition to Angela’s family – a two month old daughter called “Geli.”
He also saw his twelve year old sister, Paula, who was now a pretty, quiet and reserved girl. Hitler had previously given Paula the book ‘Don Quixote’ (possibly after reading it) as a birthday gift and got into an argument with her because she disapproved of a list of books he obviously had read and suggested for her education.
Since they were never very close, her rejection of his advice separated them further.
Although “fond” of one another, as Paula would later state, they remained fairly distant all their lives.
Before returning to Vienna, Hitler sent Gustl a postcard wishing him the “best” on his Name-day.
It would be the last contact Kubizek would have with Hitler for thirty years. (After a promising beginning Kubizek’s artistic dreams would be shattered by der Große Krieg.
He became a “clerk.“)
In Sept 1908 the nineteen year old Hitler applied for entrance to Vienna’s Art Academy again. The drawings he submitted on this occasion were not considered adequate.
He was notified, that this time he would not even be permitted to take the test.
The 1908 entry in the Academy’s list read:

The following gentlemen …. #24 Adolf Hitler … April 20, 1889, German, Catholic …. Not admitted to test.

Again he was crushed.
This time he asked for a reason and was told that his abilities lay in architecture and it was recommended that he study that field.
This judgment is borne out by his surviving drawings and paintings which show a flare for architectural renderings.
To enter the Architectural branch of the Academy, however, a diploma was necessary.
What I had defiantly neglected in the high school ” Hitler stated, “now took its bitter revenge.”
Since he lacked a diploma he would have to show that he was “exceptionally gifted” to enter the architecture field.
Hitler was realistic enough to know that he did not possess such abilities and never attempted to register.
As Hitler would show many times in his life, he could not face people when things were going bad.
Although Kubizek had previously offered Hitler financial help, Hitler, as with the food packages, was too proud to accept, and decided to end their relationship.
Because of his failure to gain admittance to the Academy for the second time, he no doubt felt ashamed to face Kubizek, or anyone else.
Around the same time, Hitler also quit writing Hagmuller, the boy who used to have his lunch at the Hitler house in Linz, and they also “lost touch.”
On Nov. 18, 1908, with Kubizek expected back in a few days, the dejected Hitler gave notice to his landlady.
Without leaving a forwarding address he moved to a building across from the railway yards.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013