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The Old Vienna Opera House
- watercolor signed A. Hitler 

 

His only boyhood friend, August Kubizek, recalled Hitler as a shy, reticent young man, yet he was able to burst into hysterical fits of anger towards those who disagreed with him. The two became inseparable during these early years and Kubizek turned out to be a patient listener.

He was a good audience for Hitler, who often rambled for hours about his hopes and dreams. Sometimes Hitler even gave speeches complete with wild hand gestures to his audience of one. Hitler would only tolerate approval from his friend and could not stand to be corrected, a personality trait he had shown in high school and as a younger boy as well.

Kubizek later recalled his friend this way:

"There he stood, 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."

Then one day in 1905 the pair went to see a performance of Wagner's Rienzi at the Linz Memorial Theater. This became a decisive event for the teenaged Hitler, as he was to refer to it after he came to power. In Kubizek's biography of Hitler The Young Hitler I Knew, 1953, he recalls how it had a terrifying impact upon Hitler, who left the theater in a state of trance:

"Adolf stood in front of me; and now he gripped both my hands and held them tight. He had never made such a gesture before. I felt from the grasp of his hands how deeply moved he was. His eyes were feverish with excitement .. Never before and never again have I heard Adolf Hitler speak as he did in that hour, as we stood there alone under the stars, as though we were the only creatures in the world. He now spoke of a mission that he was one day to receive from our people, in order to guide them out of slavery, to the heights of freedom .."

Thirty years later, the boyhood friends would meet again in Bayreuth, and Kubizek told Adolf Hitler what he remembered of that night, assuming that the enormous multitude of impressions and events which had filled these past decades would have pushed into the background the experience of a seventeen year old youth.

But after a few words Kubizek sensed that Hitler vividly recalled that hour and had retained all its details in his memory. Hitler's words were unforgettable for August Kubizek:

"It began at that hour ..."

 

 



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