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The Young Hitler I Knew Hardcover – 15 Jul 2006
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'The Young Hitler I Knew' is an extraordinary memoir by a man who actually met Hitler in 1904 while they were both competing for a space at the opera. Their mutual passion for music created a friendship, and a roommate situation --Midwest Book Review, October 2006
An invaluable tool for every Hitler scholar; a fascinating portrait for every reader who is interested in Hitler. --Simon Sebag Montefiore
Kubizek's memoir of Hitler was largely written from memory after World War II, and published in German in 1953, which was shortly followed by an abridged English edition. This is the first full translation. Kubizek's book has to be used with some care. Certainly his memory could hardly have allowed him to recount incidents or repeat verbatim talks with Hitler that had occurred forty years earlier. But, as Ian Kershaw points out in his thoughtful introduction, Kubizek almost certainly got the things right in broad outline . . . an interesting look at Hitler's early years --NYMAS Review
About the Author
IAN KERSHAW is Professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield and one of the world's leading authorities on Hitler. He is the author of The Hitler Myth: Image and Reality in the Third Reich and Hitler, 1936-1945: Nemesis.
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Well worth a read.
This is why this book is so important to me. It is by far the best ever written about his young adulthood and, in short, who he really was as a person, an individual; for in order to begin to grasp who Hitler was, one must look into his past.
During the years the two spent together in Linz and later in Vienna, young Adolf was already developing into who he would later become. For getting a deeper perspective of the true nature of Adolf Hitler, August Kubizek is, in my humble opinion, the most reliable source for insight into this complicated human being. No one knew Hitler more intimately than he did. He was also reunited with his old friend three decades after their ways parted in Vienna, and thus gives valuable insight regarding "Adolf Hitler, the Führer". And, as Kubizek remarked, "Hitler didn't change."
The words Kubizek uses to describe his young friend convey the image of a deep, passionate, gifted and serious young man who, due to his great obsession with changing the world around him, did not enjoy his youth in any traditional sense. Kubizek did his friend a great service by writing this book. It is required reading for all serious students of Hitler's incredible life, for it is an honest, first-hand account of the young starving artist, open and unbiased--unlike any other book ever to tackle the subject.
Kubizek was, I am convinced, a good man who had nothing to gain and everything to lose by publishing the truth about Adolf Hitler's character and showing the world his "human" side, because the world after the war (and even today) was not interested in the truth. So many were then and still are content to write Hitler off as the embodiment of all evil, to reject his humanity. .
Kubizek’s book, although published over 50 years ago, shines like a beacon among so many lesser works -- written by those who had never so much as spoken to their subject -- countering all the blindness and ignorance that those looking to criticize Hitler can dish out by, in turn, showing us the other side of who Adolf Hitler was: the poet, the dreamer, the visionary, the artist, the son, the brother, and the friend.
"It was only just in time as the very next day I was arrested and held for sixteen months in the notorious detention camp of Glasenbach. Naturally, an intensive search was made during my absence for the Hitler papers, but with no success. In the beginning I was often questioned, first in Eferding, then in Gmunden. These interrogations all ran on the same lines; something like:
"You are a friend of Adolf Hitler's?"
"What do you mean by that? At that time he was nobody."
"Nevertheless, I was his friend."
"How could you be his friend when he was still a nobody?"
An American officer of the Central Intelligence Corps asked: "So you are a friend of Adolf Hitler's. What did you get out of it?"
"But you admit that you were his friend. Did he give you money?"
"A car, a house?"
"Not that either."
"Did he introduce you to beautiful women?"
"Did he receive you again, later on?"
"Did you see him often?"
"How did you manage to see him?"
"I just went to him."
"So you were with him. Really? Quite close?"
"Yes, quite close."
"Without any guard?"
"Without any guard."
"So you could have killed him?"
"Yes, I could have."
"And why didn't you kill him?"
"Because he was my friend."
THE (real) END
Having said this, I do think this book offers some insight into the life of Hitler at this time. Kubizeks observations are of daily life in general and he does not attempt to portray himself as an all knowing, "I saw the future!" kind of person, as he neither expresses great support for nor great fear of Hitler.
It is a boook worth reading, but for a detailed account of Hitlers life 1889 to 1914 i recommend Brigitte Hamanns book Hitler's Vienna, which gives an excellent in depth acccount of Hitlers life, the places he lived and the society in which he found himself between 1889 and 1914
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