Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 at Braunau-am-Inn, a small town near Linz in the province of Upper Austria, not far from the German border, in what was then Austria-Hungary.
His father Alois Hitler (1837-1903) was a minor customs official who had been born to unmarried parents. As a young man he used his mothers surname, Schickelgruber. In 1876, Alois took on his adoptive fathers surname by having the church declare him the son of that man after his death, which was originally spelled Hiedler. Adolf Hitler never used the name Schickelgruber: this was a canard circulated later by his political enemies?as were insinuations that he was of Jewish descent.
Hitlers mother, Klara (nee Polzl), was Aloiss third wife: She was also the young girl who took care of Alois children while his second wife lay dying and whom he later married. Of their six offspring, only Adolf and his sister Paula survived infancy.
Hitler was an intelligent but moody boy, and he twice failed to pass the examinations to gain admission to the high school in Linz. There, he became captivated by the anti-Semitic, Pan-German lectures of Professor Leopold Poetsch, which greatly influenced the young mans views.
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