Childhood & Early Life
Alois Hitler was born on 7 June 1837 in Strones, a hamlet in Waldviertel (Forest Quarter)- a region in Austria.
His mother was Maria Schicklgruber, an unmarried peasant whose family had lived in Strones for generations. As for his biological father, historians are still unsure of the person’s identity, although Johann Georg Hiedler was the step-father to Alois Hitler during his lifetime. Posthumously, he was also declared the birth father of Alois.
At the time of Alois’ baptism, the space for the father’s name in the baptismal certificate was left blank. The priest filled the space simply as ‘illegitimate.’
During his young years, Maria Schicklgruber brought Alois up in the house that she shared with her father, Johannes Schicklgruber.
Later, Johann Georg Hiedler moved into the house and he married Maria Schicklgruber. Alois was five years old around this time.
When Alois Hitler was 10 years old, he was sent to live with Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, who was Johann Georg Hilder’s brother. Johann Nepomuk had a farm in the neighboring village of Spital.
While staying with his uncle, Alois went to the local elementary school and also took lessons in shoemaking from a cobbler in the village. When he was 13, Alois went to Vienna to work as an apprentice cobbler, leaving his uncle’s farm. There, he worked for around five years.
During this time, the Austrian government initiated a recruitment drive that offered employment opportunity in the civil service. The drive was aimed at people in rural regions. Following this, Alois was employed with the frontier guards or the customs service of the Austrian Finance Ministry. It was in the year 1855 and Alois was 18 years old.
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In the semi-military profession as a customs official, Alois made steady progress in his career.
As part of his job, he was frequently reassigned, so he served in different places in Austria.
After five years of service with the frontier guards, Alois earned the esteemed rank of Finanzwach-Oberaufseher or the Revenue Guard Superintendent.
But Alois advanced even further in his career after taking special training and exams in 1984, and then serving in Linz, Austria. Later, in 1875, he became an inspector of customs. In his new role, Alois was posted at Braunau am Inn.
Alois rose even higher in his career as he later became a full inspector of customs. However, he was unable to proceed any further in rank since he didn’t have the school degrees required for further promotion.
He had affairs with several women which resulted into birth of several illegitimate children. In 1869, he had an affair with Thekla Penz, a resident of the Zwettel district in Lower Austria. From their relationship was born Theresia Penz. The child was born on October 31, 1869. However, Thekla later married a man named Horner.
Alois Hitler married for the first time when he was 36. Anna Glasl-Horer, the 50 year old daughter of a wealthy customs official was his wife. At the time of their marriage, Anna was unwell and during the time of marriage, she was an invalid or became one shortly after the wedding.
Marriage didn’t prevent Alois from having another affair though. Not long after his wedding, he started an affair with Franziska “Fanni” Matzelsberger, a young female servant who was employed at the house where Alois was lived as a lodger.
During the 1870s, Alois had numerous affairs following which his wife initiated legal action. On 7 November 1880, the couple separated by mutual agreement. At this point, Matzelsberger, who was 19 years old, was Alois’ girlfriend. Alois was 43 at the time.
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Matzelsberger gave birth to Alois’ illegitimate son on 13 January 1882. Since they were not married, Alois gave the child, his first name (Alois), and the name of Matzelberger became his second name. On 6 April 1883, Anna, Alois’ lawful wife, died. The very next month, on 22 May, Alois married Matzelsberger. The couple later had another child- a girl named Angela, who was born on 28 June 1883.
However, the marriage didn’t last long since Matzelsberger became ill with a lung disorder and died on August 10 1884. While she was in her sick-bed, Klara Polzi, the granddaughter of Alois’ step-uncle, took care of the children. After Matzelberger died, Polzi remained in the Hitler household as the housekeeper.
While living in the household, Polzi became pregnant with Hitler’s child. They married on 7 January 1885.
Klara Hitler gave birth to the couple’s first child, Gustav, on 17 May 1885. In 1886, a daughter, Ida, was born to them, but she died in 1888. In 1887, another child, Otto, was born but he too died mere days after birth.
On 20 April 1889, Klara gave birth to Adolf Hitler, who would grow up to become the leader of the National Socialist Party.
On 21 January 1896, a girl child named Paula was born. She was the last child of Alois Hitler and Klara Hitler.
As for Adolf Hitler, Alois wanted his son to have a career in the civil service. But growing up, Adolf became alienated from his father and didn’t honor his wish.
Retirement & Death
After 40 years of career in the customs service, on 25 June 1895, Alois Hitler retired at the age of 58. He then lived in a house on a nine acre land he had purchased near Lambach- some 48 km southwest of Linz.
On 3 January 1903, he went to a nearby inn for his usual morning drink of a glass of wine. He collapsed at the inn, and a doctor was summoned. But Alois Hitler died at that inn. The probable cause of death was pleural hemorrhage.