Geoff Walden

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Adolf Hitler Visits His Homeland

   Hitler visited Austria immediately following the Anschluß, or union of Germany with Austria, on 12 March 1938. Although the Anschluß has gone down in history (through hindsight) as being largely unpopular with the Austrian people, this is somewhat of a misconception. It is true that the Austrian government of 1938 opposed the union, but the people of Austria had been in favor of union with Germany since 1919, when the Austria-Hungarian Empire was dissolved by the victorious Allies following World War I. Even the Austrian government supported a customs union, and eventual complete Anschluß, between the two countries in 1931. This government support cooled after Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933, but the popular support for Anschluß never waned. Certainly, Hitler and the Germans were greeted by huge crowds in places such as Braunau, Linz, Salzburg, and Vienna, all apparently happy to celebrate the Anschluß.

 

Adolf Hitler's Birthplace  --   Braunau, Austria

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Adolf Hitler was born in this house in Braunau am Inn, Austria, on 20 April 1889. In 1889 the building was the Gasthof Dafner, and the address was Vorstadt 219 (at some point, when this photo was taken, it was apparently a gas station). (from Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler, wie ihn keiner kennt (Hitler, As No-one Knows Him), Berlin, 1932)  (MapQuest Map Link)

The house itself is unmarked today, but a rock memorial stands on the sidewalk in front. For the curious, the address now is Salzburger Vorstadt 15. According to a 1939-dated postcard in the author's collection, Hitler was born in the room third from the left on the upper floor (with the open window in the modern photo).

The U.S. Army CIC (Counterintelligence Corps) had a field office in Hitler's birth house from 1945-1952 (thanks to Martin Nelson for this info).

 

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This view shows the house as it appeared during much of the Third Reich period, decorated with garlands and swastikas.  (from "Adolf Hitler,"  Cigaretten-Bilderdienst, 1936)

This colorized period photo shows an SA parade past the house, which is labeled "Adolf Hitlers Geburtshaus."  (TimePics collection)

 

(from Ich kämpfe, Munich, 1943)

 

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Hitler's birthplace inspired several Third Reich artists, whose works were often displayed at the Haus der Deutschen Kunst in Munich. "Das Geburtshaus des Führers in Braunau am Inn - Hofseite" by Paul Geißler, 1943 (from Kunst der Volk, Vienna, Hoffmann, 1943).

 

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These photos show the front and back of the house as it appeared during the period following the Anschluß, 1938-1945. (from "Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung erlebte - Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Großdeutschland," Heinrich Hoffmann, 1938)

 

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View looking down Adolf Hitler Straße toward the main square in Braunau.
Hitler's birth house is on the right.  (period postcard in author's collection)

 

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Another period painting -- "Braunau am Inn" by F. X. Weidinger, 1943 (from Kunst der Volk, Vienna, Hoffmann, 1943), with a similar view today, taken from the Inn River bridge.

 

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On 12 March 1938, following the Austrian Anschluß, Hitler returned to Braunau, to a thunderous welcome from the people of his hometown. His car is seen here just at the Braunau end of the Inn River bridge.

Same view today. The original iron bridge between Simbach (Germany) and Braunau (Austria) has been replaced by a modern concrete span, but the buildings in the background retain their original appearance.

 

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Hitler on his native soil once more. A swastika flag has been draped over the
Austrian Doppeladler (Double Eagle) at the bridgehead.  (This and the photo
directly above are from "Hitler in seiner Heimat," by Heinrich Hoffmann,
Munich, 1938)

 

   From Braunau, Hitler went on to visit scenes of his youth, such as the school he had attended in Fischlham near Lambach, and the house where his family lived in Leonding, near Linz.

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Adolf Hitler attended his first two years of school in Fischlham, near Lambach, a town southwest of Linz. The period scene (on the left) is a sketch by artist Paul Geißler, part of a special showing of artwork on Hitler's youth at the Haus der Deutschen Kunst 1943 exhibition (from Heinrich Hoffmann, Kunst dem Volk, Vienna, 1943 (author's collection). The school was the low building at left, with three windows.

 

Front of the Fischlham school, from a period postcard.

The school building today (it is no longer a school).

 

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Fischlham school building in the 1930s (seen from the other side)
(from "Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung erlebte - Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Großdeutschland,"
Heinrich Hoffmann, 1938 (author's collection)

 

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This marker was placed on the former school building in 2000. It reads, "In Memoriam;
Adolf Hitler learned to read and write here, 1895-1897; Not Heil - Unheil - He brought
destruction and death to millions of people." On the other side is a piece of granite
from the Stairway of Death at Mauthausen concentration camp.

Click here for a MapQuest map link to Fischlham.

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After Hitler's father retired from the Austrian customs service, he moved his family to Leonding, a suburb of Linz. Adolf Hitler always looked back on his early years in Leonding as the happiest of his life, and he always thought of Linz as his home town. The painting on the left was by F. X. Weidinger, another of the special 1943 exhibition (Hoffmann, Kunst dem Volk, 1943). The Hitler house is in the left center of the view, in front of the church. Other houses hide a duplicate view today, but this modern view shows the church from the side yard of the former Hitler house.

 

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The former Hitler house is located today at Michaelsbergstraße 16 in Leonding. The building was in disrepair for several years, but in 2002 it was refurbished and now serves as an office for the cemetery across the street. The period view is from Rudolf Lenk, Oberdonau, die Heimat des Führers ("Upper Danube, the Homeland of the Führer"), Munich, Bruckmann Verlag, 1940.

 

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Hitler visits his parents' house in Leonding, 13 March 1938.  (period photos from Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler in seiner Heimat, Munich, 1938)

 

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While in Leonding, Hitler visited the cemetery across the street from his former house, to decorate the grave of his parents Alois and Klara. The grave was still well maintained and decorated until 2012, but in March 2012 the grave marker was removed at the insistence of Austrian politicians.  (Hoffmann, Hitler in seiner Heimat; period postcard)

 

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These photos show the grave location in relation to the church -- the grave is under a large fir tree against the dividing wall at the left of the photos.  ("Unser Führer," special edition of the "Illustrierter Beobachter" for Hitler's 50th birthday, 20 April 1939, Munich, Franz Eher Verlag)

 

Hitler's father Alois died in 1903 during a morning visit to his favorite pub, the Gasthof Wiesinger, down the street from his house on Michaelsbergstraße. He collapsed and died while seated at the couch shown below, which still exists in the Gasthof.  (postcard dated 1950)

Click here for a Google Maps link to Leonding.

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In an emotional speech from the balcony of the Linz town hall, on the evening of 12 March 1938, Hitler declared Germany and Austria (Ostmark) united as one entity, the beginning of the Großdeutsches Reich (Greater German Empire). The period photo shows a parade in the Linz Hauptplatz in honor of Hitler's birthday on 20 April 1938 (from Lenk, Oberdonau, die Heimat des Führers).

 

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Jubilant crowds in the Linz Hauptplatz greet Hitler's speech. The famous Dreifaltigkeitssäule statue of 1723 commemorates Linz's delivery from three dangers in the early 18th century -- war in 1704, fire in 1712, and plague in 1713.  (period photo from Hoffmann, Hitler in seiner Heimat (author's collection)

 

Sometime during the period following the Anschluß, perhaps for a visit by Hitler, the Burschenschafterturm, part of the 19th century fortifications of the city of Linz, was decorated with a swastika banner and the Nazi slogan "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer" (One People, One Country, One Leader). The tower stands today as a monument to war dead and a museum of the students association.  (courtesy Ralf Hornberger)

 

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On his way to Vienna on 14 March 1938, Hitler passed by the famous Benedictine Abbey at Melk, overlooking the Danube. In the modern photo, trees block the view of the river to the left.  (Heinrich Hoffmann, "Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung erlebte - Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Großdeutschland," 1938 (author's collection)

 

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The Führer's motorcade passed directly through the center of Melk, beneath the Abbey on the hill to the left. The view remains practically unchanged today.  (Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler in seiner Heimat," Munich, 1938 (author's collection)  MapQuest Map Link

 

Rstone.gif (1273 bytes)   Continue to Vienna

 

Third Reich in Ruins, http://www.thirdreichruins.com/

All contents copyright © 2000-2014, Geoffrey R. Walden; all rights reserved.  All photos taken by or 
from the collection of Geoffrey R. Walden, except where specifically noted.  Please respect my property rights,
and the rights of others who have graciously allowed me to use their photos on this page,
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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.


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