Hitler's Vienna Years

Was Young Hitler An Anti-Semite?* is the 5th chapter in a great book, Hitler’s Vienna: A Dictator’s Apprenticeship, by Brigette Harmon. Hitler arrived in Vienna at age 17 in 1906. He became homeless and lived in men’s shelters, trying to sell his paintings.
This fascinating chapter reveals that despite the virulently anti-Semitic character of much of Viennese society at the time, Hitler seems to have successfully resisted the prevalent anti-Semitism of the era. In fact, he had many Jewish friends, and Jewish art merchants sold most of his work. His worst enemy was a virulent anti-Semite, and one of Hitler’s Jewish friends had the man arrested for cheating Hitler. Hitler’s only statements on the Jews were ones of admiration. However, he already hated the Social Democrats.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler rewrites his Vienna years as a time of his anti-Semitic awakening. But many autobiographies are dishonest. No one who knew Hitler at the time noticed the slightest anti-Semitism in him. Those who knew him at the time and then recognized him later as an anti-Semitic politician in the 1930’s were flabbergasted – they could not believe their eyes.
There have been many silly theories of the genesis Hitler’s anti-Semitism – the Vienna years, an encounter with a syphilitic Jewish prostitute, run-ins with Jewish professors at the Arts Academy, a Jewish grandfather, a Jewish junk dealer who cheated him in Munich, but none of it makes much sense. People are just grasping at straws.
Harmon logically decides that Hitler’s anti-Semitism developed during the war and then afterward. Lying in the hospital for three months, nearly blinded from a gas attack, he read about the November Revolution that brought the hated Social Democrats to power. In Russia, the Bolsheviks had seized power in their October revolution. At Versailles, the Allies were were setting about to destroy Germany once and for all – in league with the Jews, the anti-Semitic press charged.
Hitler had an epiphany – it was all the Jews’ fault! And he resolved to get into politics. One sure-fire road to political success in those days was to promote anti-Semitism as a politician, because it was very popular with voters. So Hitler’s anti-Semitism was based both on his experiences during and after the war and on the cynicism of a political animal.
Later, his anti-Semitism became more and more crazed and rabid to where even his fellow Nazi authors worried that it was his sole, driving and gnawing passion. Towards the end of the war, he sacrificed the war effort to kill more Jews. His suicide note warns of the Jewish peril to mankind.
*From the website of the Porges family, a Viennese Jewish family who lost many members in the Holocaust.

References

Harmon, Brigette. 1999. Hitler’s Vienna: A Dictator’s Apprenticeship. New York: Oxford University Press.
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13 thoughts on “Hitler's Vienna Years”

  1. virulently anti-Semitic character of much of Viennese society at the time
    The Viennese hated Palestinians too? What did the Palestinians ever do to them? 😉
    The real reason why Jews are so strongly disliked throughout history is due to the behavior of their group. Charging exhorbitant levels of interest (around 40%) on loans (aka usury) would ensure that the debtor forever remain in bondage. Moreover, the blasphemous and immoral nature of Judaism would not be too popular in a Christain Europe.
    And all this explains why they been consistently booted out of country after country over the centuries, and it is not (as is often said) due to being the poor, helpless victims of “anti semitism”.

  2. There were not insignificant populations of Jews in India, and a small but wealthy and powerful community in China. Can you give me the dates they were expelled from those countries?

  3. If the Christians could have charged interest, they might have been usurers too. They were forbidden to, so the Jews took it up.
    It’s not true that Jews have been tossed out of every country they lived in. This was more or less true in much of Europe, but let us look at the Muslim World.
    There were large Jewish communities in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Georgia, the Caucasus, Kurdistan, Turkey, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Morocco. There were few to no instances of the Jews being tossed out of those places. It was strictly a Christian thing. OTOH, Jews are Jews, right? Surely the Jews in the East didn’t behave any differently than those in the West?

  4. There were not insignificant populations of Jews in India, and a small but wealthy and powerful community in China. Can you give me the dates they were expelled from those countries?
    I don’t think those are/were Christian nations.
    By the way, Mort, could you help me make sense of this picture:
    http://www.conspiracyplanet.com/images/ACF33F.jpg
    The picture is a bit grainy, but it seems to be a rabbi performing fellatio on what is likely a freshly circumcised (and hence mutilated) baby Jewish boy, with fellow rabbinc onlookers (who also likely lent some assistance).

  5. If the Christians could have charged interest, they might have been usurers too.
    Doesn’t sound very Christian.
    They were forbidden to, so the Jews took it up.
    No, the Babylonian Talmud allows Jews to charge at interest to Gentiles. I don’t have the exact verse on me.
    It’s not true that Jews have been tossed out of every country they lived in.
    Mr. Lindsay, I never said that.
    Surely the Jews in the East didn’t behave any differently than those in the West?
    Here, I don’t have time to summarize this for you:
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25037351-7583,00.html

  6. Dear Robert
    Hitler’s mother died of breast cancer when he was a young man. The physician who treated her, Eduard Bloch, was Jewish. Hitler was very grateful to him. When Austria was merged with Germany in 1938, Hitler give specail orders to insure that no harm would come to Bloch. Bloch was allowed to emigrate to Switzerland. Recently his daughter wrote a book, which was reviewed in Der Spiegel. She claims that Bloch was pious and apolitical and liked Hitler. He was torn between pride about Hitler’s success and disgust at Hitlers anti-Semitic policies. Supposedly Hitler once said: “If only all Jews were like my good doctor Bloch.”
    Regards. James

  7. RL: “There were large Jewish communities in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Georgia, the Caucasus, Kurdistan, Turkey, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Morocco. There were few to no instances of the Jews being tossed out of those places.”
    Yes, they were expelled at various times from those countries or from cities within those countries, but most importantly JEWS WERE KEPT IN CHECK IN ISLAMIC/ARAB COUNTRIES unlike in White/Christian countries where they were able to run rampant – in Arab/Islamic countries Jews were NEVER allowed to gain enough influence to virtually control the entire economic or other sectors of those countries, as Arabs/Muslims always remained wary of them and thus kept them in check with their similar ethnocentrism. When and if those Jews did get out of hand they were strictly ghettoized and/or placed under other strict controls which lessened their influence over the society – if they became intolerable they were expelled.
    Jews have a harder time fooling and exploiting other similarly Semitic peoples because Arabs/Muslims and other related groups are similarly ethnocentric, and thus they keep Jews in check easier than Europeans – it is only in relatively non-ethnocentric and more individualistic European-majority nations where Jews can run rampant to become the exploiters and parasites they have evolved to be.

  8. Hitler became an anti-Semite when he realized how much economic, political, and cultural influence and control Jews had over European nations – it started in the Vienna years, but it really became apparent to him post-WWI and especially after the Jewish seizure of power in Russia in 1917.
    Jewish power/influence became more obvious to him and many others during the 1920s when Jewish influence was rampant throughout Weimar Germany and other parts of Europe; the Depression (for which the Jews were disproportionately responsible, just like the Depression II which we are currently experiencing) only inflamed the anti-Semitic rhetoric even more.
    “The German nation does not wish its interests to be determined and controlled by any foreign nation. France to the French, England to the English, America to the Americans, and Germany to the Germans. We are resolved to prevent the settlement in our country of a strange people which was capable of snatching for itself all the leading positions in the land, and to oust it. For it is our will to educate our own nation for these leading positions. We have hundreds of thousands of very intelligent children of peasants and of the working classes. We shall have them educated – in fact we have already begun and we wish that one day they, and not the representatives of an alien race, may hold the leading positions in the State together with our educated classes. Above all, German culture, as its name alone shows, is German and not Jewish, and therefore its management and care will be entrusted to members of our own nation.” – http://www1.yadvashem.org/about_holocaust/documents/part1/doc59.html
    Sounds pretty fair, right?
    Especially considering that Jews ultimately ruin any and all cultures and peoples they manage to hijack…see modern America or the former USSR as prominent examples. Hitler was also aware of this process of ‘Jewish ruination’ – “Hence the result of Jewish domination is always the ruin of all culture and finally the madness of the Jew himself. For he is a parasite of nations and his victory signifies his own end as much as the death of his victim.” – http://www1.yadvashem.org/about_holocaust/documents/part1/doc5.html

  9. Harmon’s book sound very interesting. I’ll add it to my long list of ‘ intend to read sometime’. Thanks for the tip.

  10. When I was 9 I convinced fellow campers that there was a grave yard behind our camp site. I continued this story for days to scare them. After a while I started thinking that there could really be one there. I started to scare myself and did not sleep until it was time to go back home.
    Could Hitlers situation be similar? Could he have started out with the Anti- Semitism just to gain political momentum and eventually convinced himself out of fear that his position was true.

  11. Hi Sarah. First of all, it is an honor to have a talented and famous artist commenting here.
    Now, onto Hitler. I feel that he became anti-Semitic as he got older. He went off to war, got wounded, was in a hospital for three months with a gas attack, came out and joined the Freicorps raging in the streets of Berlin. What were his thoughts at the time. No one seems to know. Everyone says he was an anti-Semite. He went off to war, fought, got wounded, swallowed rightwing propaganda, and turned on the Jews. Was this political expediency? Perhaps, but this underestimates the potential for personality change. Virulent Anti-Semites can be created from philoSemites and noncommital folks quite quickly. History has shown this over and over. Hitler was a good man who did not care about the Jews. He had some weaknesses, but overall, he was a good man, I think. He went to war, was hurt, went nuts, and came out a very bad man and probably crazy man. Men go to war and come back mean and crazy. Any observant person knows this.
    Hitler is the story of a good man gone very, very bad. This may be one of the saddest stories to come out of the whole mess.

  12. Thank you Robert. I don’t know how famous I am but, I will go with it.
    It is not uncommon for soliders to go to war and come back in a different state of mind. After fighting in Desert Storm a friend came home raciest and mean. Over the years he does not have the temper he did but, still maintains some of his raciest views no matter what anyone tells him. I don’t think he would take it to the level that Hiter did but power is also notorious for changing people.

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