Reinhold Hanisch "I Was Hitler's Buddy"

Blast from the past, from the April 5, 1939 New Republic specifically. Amazing piece from a friend of Hitler’s back in the Vienna days. Turns out back then he was the slightest bit of an anti-Semite, and, if anything, he was a bit of a Judeophile. This interesting portrayal of Hitler as a young man shows that he was a good man at the time. It’s clear that later he went very, very bad. It’s a picture of a fellow who is somewhat inadequate, with a few personality quirks, but overall not a bad guy. His worst quality was apparently his laziness. After that weakness, softness and general sickliness, which smacks of psychosomatism. He had a bit of an irritable streak, but so do lots of good folks. He wasn’t much of a painter, but that was mostly because he just didn’t try very hard and was cynical about mass-producing his postcards and whatnot. When he wanted to, he could paint a fine picture. He neither drank nor smoke. He was given to self-righteousness, but that’s hardly a sin, much less a cardinal one. He was already conservative, and he hated the Social Democrats because they allowed freeloaders to leech off taxpayers. Considering Hitler’s laziness and poor work ethic, this looks like projection. His old friend still refuses, in 1939, on the eve of the attack on Poland, to believe that Hitler’s anti-Semitism is real. It was so out of sorts with the man he knew so well. Hanisch says Hitler was always cynical and believed in the end justifies the means, so he figures Hitler is just using anti-Semitism as a vehicle to obtain popularity. Alternatively, he suggests that Hitler is just being brainwashed by the ferocious anti-Semites he’s surrounded himself with. The truth, from those who knew him well, is that by 1939, Hitler was already into all-consuming and near-psychotic anti-Semitism. From here on out to the end of the war, Hitler’s anti-Semitism and its obsessiveness shocked even some of his fellow Nazis. How a good man goes bad and how a philo-Semite becomes the worst anti-Semite that ever lived are two of the tales embedded in this mercury-like enigma of a man.

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5 thoughts on “Reinhold Hanisch "I Was Hitler's Buddy"”

  1. If you look at a lot of his architectural drawing, they were actually excellent and of the first rank; however, is paintings were better than your average shmoe but not great by any means.

  2. There is this theory floating about that Hitler was actually financed by Jews–I cannot believe it, but the theory is out there. Why would Jews do that? Seems odd to me! I think it is baloney.

  3. Can’t believe I’m recommending it but read the Wikipedia entry on Hanisch. Has some interesting clues .
    If Hanisch died in a Vienna prison in 1937 (which predates the Nazi annexation of Austria) how is it that Hanisch “still refuse[d], in 1939, on the eve of the attack on Poland, to believe” anything concerning Hitler?
    Beyond that question, there’s seems to be a frequently repeated story on the web that Hanisch was “murdered by the Nazis” and/or Hitler. We’d have to assume he was in their clutches if that were true, but again, if Hanisch expired in a Viennese prison in 1937 (a year before the Anschluss) how would that have come about? Is it possible that this is just contemporary anti-Nazi propaganda by their opponents and an opportunist looking to cash in on his ex-“friend”? Who was Konrad Heiden who wrote up Hanisch’s story? Consider this:
    So if Heiden was a “staunch early opponent of the Nazis” he could hardly have been an impartial journalist. Likely Hanisch’s story is as genuine as the Buchenwald shrunken heads or “human skin” lampshades.

  4. National_Spirit
    “He wasn’t much of a painter … he could paint a fine picture…”
    That’s a common problem with diatribes and narrow criticisms of Adolf Hitler – he both is and is not, both did it and didn’t do it. In trying to make him the Demon par excellence, his critics commonly condemn him in odd ways.
    For example, when I was a child, he was criticized for homosexual tendencies. Now that homosexuality is increasingly accepted as normal even by people who should know better (e.g., biologists, Protestants, sociologists), Hitler is painted as rabidly anti-homosexual.
    For another example, he and all National Socialists – in fact all Germans – man, woman, child – were condemned for their eugenics and euthanasia programs.
    The criticism has begun to quiet down a bit today, as people are allowed to abort their babies based on certainty of Down’s syndrome, possibility of genetic disease, or even just economic “difficulty” (ha!) or due to the baby being the “wrong gender.” (insulting, sexist, and depraved!).
    Combined with the acceptance of relatives “pulling the plug” (killing) a sick or suffering grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, and with judges ruling that a person NOT be given medical treatment that is required to keep them alive, and with individuals who “choose” to commit suicide.
    This is done rather than provide these people with helpful mental therapy (only the insane want to kill themselves, even if their insanity is caused by pain), with effective pain relief and education in pain management.
    And to provide their relatives with understanding of the inherent worth of each and every individual – each person’s inherent worth, independent of their social status – whether they have a job or income, whether they have a close relative to care for them, whether they live in a mansion on under a bridge.
    This holds true whether they can be helped in their resident nation (such as Britain, which now has a Medical Iron Curtain surrounding its citizens) or the help they need is in some other country (such as the United States, which allows entry to non-citizens for the sake of medical treatment: only a fool would rush to Britain for medical treatment).

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