When discussing Adolf Hitler, one of the most notorious figures in history, it is difficult not to consider the possibility of cousins. Hitler’s family, though small, had many branches and was linked to numerous families. To understand why certain aspects of Hitler’s family life, such as his cousins, are so important, it is important to look back at his life and his stated motivations for power.
Adolf Hitler was born in Austria in 1889 and became the leader of Germany and the Nazi party during World War II. He is widely remembered as a ruthless dictator who caused immeasurable suffering and death during his rise to power. He was also the source of numerous policies that affected his own family and the families of his countrymen.
Hitler’s family tree includes numerous branches and names. Some of these branches include: Schier, Schicklgruber, Frank,Wagner, Röhl, Harrer, Weitzer, and Wagner. However, the most well-known are the Schicklgruber, Frank and Wagners.
The Schicklgruber branch is of particular interest due to its connection to Hitler’s cousin, August Schicklgruber. Hitler’s father, Alois Schicklgruber, married August’s sister, Therese Schicklgruber, and the two cousins ultimately shared the same grandfather, Johann Schicklgruber. As a result, Hitler and his cousin were distant relatives.
August Schicklgruber was a prominent figure in Vienna at the time. He studied music and was a professional conductor and composer. He was also involved in politics, as a member of the Nazi party for some time and later a target of their persecution once Hitler gained power.
August was not the only one in the family to be persecuted for their relationship to Hitler. Adolf’s brother, Alois Schicklgruber, was arrested and incarcerated in the Dachau concentration camp in 1938. Alois’ wife and children were not spared either. Ultimately, numerous family members, including several cousins, were victims of the Nazi regime.
It is difficult to know what, if any, influence August Schicklgruber had on Hitler’s life or ambitions. However, looking back on their relationship and their family histories, one can’t help but ponder the possibility. August was highly educated and had been exposed to certain ideas and lifestyles that weren’t available to Hitler, so it is possible that he influenced the future dictator in some way.
One group of people who were known to have had an influence on Hitler were the Wagners, his maternal family. Hitler’s grandfather, Johann Wagner, was an influential physician who worked for the Zumkeller family, and his uncle, Andreas Wagner, was a teacher, a socialist and a member of the Austrian parliament. His widow, Anna Wagner, was a close relative of Hitler and was known to have been a great source of support for him.
In addition to the Wagners, Hitler had a distant cousin from his father’s side of the family, Julie Frank. Julie was the daughter of Hans Frank, who was a lawyer and a key advisor to Hitler during the war. Julie and her father remained close to Hitler until his death and she visited him in prison after the war. She is quoted as saying he “treated me very kindly, even like a daughter.”
Though the connection between Hitler and his relatives is largely speculative, it is impossible to deny the influence of his family on his life, both before and during the war. His brother, Alois, was a target of his regime, as were many of his cousins, and his mother and uncle (from the Wagner family) provided valuable insight, advice and support to him over the years. It is likely that the same went for his distant relatives, such as August Schicklgruber, Julie Frank and others.
Impact on other Cousin Relationships
Though it is unclear how exactly Hitler’s relationship with his cousins affected his life and his political career, one thing is certain: it had a lasting impact on the way the world views family and relatives. Nazi Germany’s policies and propaganda surrounding family relationships and marriages had long-lasting consequences, and many of Hitler’s relatives—particularly those in his father’s side of the family—were targeted and persecuted. This has had a clear and lasting impact on the way we think of family, relatives and relationships.
It is impossible to know what kind of person Hitler would have been, and how his life would have been affected, had he and his relatives not been so closely linked. But given the lasting impact his policies had on the world, and the significant influence of his family on his personal and political life, it is hard to imagine he would have been the same person without the presence of his cousins.
The impacts of Hitler’s relationship to his family have also had an impact on the legal landscape, particularly regarding marriage and other intimate relationships. Following the Nazi regime, laws in many countries have changed to make it more difficult for people to marry or have intimate relationships with close family members.
In Germany, for example, it is now illegal in most cases to marry or have an intimate relationship with someone within the third degree of relation, which includes first and second cousins. This law is based largely on the Nazi idea of racial purity, and the fear that people too closely linked would produce genetic defects.
Though it is unlikely that Hitler’s relationship with his cousins had much, if any, effect on the development of such laws, the incidents of the Nazi regime and the family relationships of Hitler and his relatives have clearly had an impact on the way we think about and legislate these kinds of relationships.
Though it can never be known exactly what role Hitler’s cousins had in his life and career, it is clear that his relationship with them was significant. Though his cousins were not the only influence on him, it is certain that they played a part in his life, and their existence has had an impact on our views of family and relatability even today.
It is also certain that such relationships can have both positive and negative impacts on our lives, as Adolf Hitler’s did. We must be cautious of the power family connections can have, as they have been known to have both positive and negative effects. What matters most is how we handle them and the implications they have.
Religious beliefs also had a significant impact on the Nazi regime, and thus on Adolf Hitler’s relationships with his cousins. Though it is impossible to know exactly how much religion played in his decision-making and his life in general, it is likely that it had some effect.
Hitler was heavily influenced by his religious upbringing, and it is likely that he saw his cousins as either a way to further his own ambitions or as a possible obstacle in his path. Though the religious implications of his relationship with his cousins are largely speculation, it is clear that religion was an important part of his life, and thus it is likely it had some effect on his opinion of his relatives.
Though we may never know exactly how Hitler’s relationship with his cousins impacted his life, or, in turn, the world, it is certain that it left an indelible mark on both personal and public opinion. His family members, both those closely related and those more distant, played an important role in his life, giving him support and advice and influencing his decisions for better or for worse.
Consequences of Ignoring Own Relations
Furthermore, it is important to consider the consequences of disregarding familial ties and what those consequences can bring to a family. In Hitler’s case, his disregard for his own distant relatives led to the detriment of these individuals and in some cases, even their deaths. Similarly, if people were to look beyond immediate family and seek out their more distant relatives, a resurgence of family connection would be ensured.
Having relationships with cousins is beneficial both to a person’s social circle and can even help individuals reconnect with their own heritage and traditions. Furthermore, culture, rituals, and ideas can be shared between cousins, potentially providing insight on ways that practices and customs can be improved.
For example, by reaching out and forming a relationship with one’s distant relatives, sharing of traditional recipes, stories, and even music could enrich the lives of many, engendering a sense of appreciation for one’s own roots. In this manner, as well, connections can be established between cousins and their extended family abroad.
The example of Adolf Hitler and his relatives can be used as a source of contemplation, reflection of his own impact to the world, and as a warning for the consequences of ignoring relationships with our own relatives. By forging a bond with extended family an individual could enrich their life by connecting with culture and family not experienced in one’s immediate family setting.