August (“Gustl”) Kubizek (3 August 1888 – 23 October 1956) was a close friend from youth and contemporary of Adolf Hitler. He collected the memories of this sincere and long friendship in his book The Young Hitler I Knew, published in 1955.
Kubizek was of Czech origins but was born in Linz, Austria, then fellow citizen and Austrian as Adolf Hitler. But it’s not the only similarity between the two. Kubizek had three sisters: Maria, Teresa and Karoline but they died in their early childhood. Kubizek himself wrote that it was a surprising parallel between his life and that of Adolf Hitler, whose mother had lost four children prematurely. As surviving children, August and Adolf could not help but feel that they had been spared as “chosen” by fate.
Kubizek and Hitler met for the first time at the Landestheater in Linz, Austria. Their common passion for the works of Richard Wagner made them become close friends and roommates later in Vienna when they tried to be admitted to the University. They shared a small room in Stumpergasse 29/2 door 17 in the sixth district of Vienna for several months in 1908.
Kubizek’s dream was to become a conductor rather than take over his father’s upholstery. Adolf as a good friend encouraged him on this dream path he had chosen, so much so that he successfully persuaded August’s father to let his son go to Vienna to complete his musical education at the Conservatory. As Kubizek wrote, this was something that changed the course of his life forever. In fact, besides being accepted at the Conservatory, August Kubizek’s qualities were soon noticed by many in that environment.
A different fate from his friend Adolph Hitler, who was denied entry to the Vienna Academy of Arts, a regrettable incident which he kept hidden from his friend and which led Hitler himself to interrupt his attendance with Kubizek with pride and go wandering for the suburbs of Vienna.
Kubizek completed his studies in 1912 and was hired as conductor of the orchestra in Marburg on the Drava, in Austria (called Maribor in Slovenia after 1918). He was later offered a position at the Stadttheater in Klagenfurt, however his career was interrupted at the beginning of the First World War by having to enlist for the war. Before leaving for the front he married Anna Funke (7 October 1887 – 4 October 1976), a violinist from Vienna with whom he had three children: Augustin, Karl Maria and Rudolf.
He was sent to the Carpathians, where in 1915 he was wounded in Eperjes in Hungary (now Prešov in Slovakia). After convalescing for a few months, he returned to the front lines. After the war, Kubizek accepted a position as bureaucrat in the Municipality of Eferding, and music became for him only a hobby.
In 1920 he recognized his friend Hitler on the front page of the Münchner Illustrierte, and from that moment he followed with great interest the political career of the old friend, nevertheless he never tried to contact him at least until 1933, when he finally wrote to congratulate the Chancellor of the Germany. After a few months Kubizek received a response from Hitler: “Gustl: I should be very happy to relive with you those memories of the best years of my life“.
Thirty years after Hitler had broken off contacts with his friend Kubizek, the two met on 9 April 1938 on the occasion of one of Hitler’s visits to Linz. The two spoke for over an hour at the Hotel Weinzinger and Hitler offered Kubizek the direction of an Orchestra, but Kubizek graciously refused stubbornly being by now a father of three, and far away from the youthful dreams immersed among the triumphant music of Wagner. Hitler then offered to fund his children’s education at the Anton Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, and invited Kubizek to participate in the Bayreuth festival as his special guest in 1939 and again in 1940, experiences described by Kubizek as “the happiest hours of my earthly existence“.
There is more. In 1938, Kubizek was hired by the National Socialist Party to write two propaganda essays, called Reminiscences, about his youth and friendship with Hitler. In an episode described in the essays, Kubizek wrote that Hitler had a great and secret love for a girl named “Stephanie” to whom he had dedicated many love poems, although he never had the courage to let her have them.
Kubizek saw Hitler for the last time on July 23, 1940, but Hitler never forgot his friend by giving peremptory orders to provide for the sustenance of his family during the war years.
Hitler told Kubizek at the outbreak of the war: “This war will take us back of many years in our construction program: it is a tragedy, I did not become the Chancellor of the Great German Reich to fight Wars“.
Kubizek, who had avoided politics for life, became a member of the NSDAP in 1942 as a gesture of loyalty to his friend.
In December 1945, Kubizek picked up the collection of memories that Hitler had given him during their youth and carefully hid them in the basement of his house in Eferding. Shortly after the end of the war he was arrested and detained in Glasenbach, where he was imprisoned and interrogated by the US Criminal Command for a full 16 months. His house was searched, but Hitler’s correspondence and drawings were not found. He was released on 8 April 1947, after more than twelve months of imprisonment by the American authorities without ever having been accused of any violation of the law.
In 1951, Kubizek, who had rejected several post-war offerings for the rights of his memoirs, agreed to publish “Adolf Hitler, mein Jugendfreund” (“Adolf Hitler, My Childhood Friend”) through Leopold Stocker Verlag. The original manuscript, written in 1943 by Martin Boorman, consisted in 150 pages but was extended to 352 pages later, adding several images: postcards and sketches given to Kubizek by Hitler as a young man, between 1906 and 1908. The book is divided into three parts and consists of a prologue, 24 chapters and an epilogue.
The book caused a stir after its publication in 1953 and was later translated into several languages. In the epilogue Kubizek wrote: “Although I, a fundamentally non-political individual, had always stayed away from the political events of that period that ended forever in 1945, yet no power on Earth could ever force me to deny my friendship with Adolf Hitler “.
Kubizek’s second wife and widow Pauline (1906-2001) had the merit of having provided additional photographs to Stocker Verlag for a fourth edition of the book released in 1975.
On 8 January 1956, Kubizek was named the first honorary member of the Musikverein of Eferding.
He died on October 23, 1956, at the age of 68, in Linz and was buried in Eferding, Upper Austria
Stefanie Rabatsch (Isak, December 28, 1887 – 1973) was an Austrian woman, absolutely of non-Jewish origin, brought to the forefront of the chronicle by August Kubizek as the alleged secret love of the adolescent Adolf Hitler.
Kubizek claimed that Hitler had fallen in love with her after she had a walk close to him in Linz, and have watched him. In Kubizek’s story, however, Hitler never had the courage to speak to her and explain his feelings. Years later Stefanie married an Austrian army officer. When Stefanie learned that she had been the object of a secret love of Adolf Hitler, I stated in various interviews that she had never been aware of Hitler’s feelings towards her.
Kubizek describes Hitler’s obsession for the first time: “One evening, in the spring of 1905, as we walked along our usual walk, Adolf grabbed my arm and asked me excitedly what I thought of that slender blonde girl walking along the Landstrasse route in arm with her mother. “You must know, I’m in love with her“, he added resolutely.
Stefanie Isak came from a high social class family and was one year older than Adolf. Kubizek describes her as “a girl with a distinct, tall and thin look, with thick and light hair, who almost always had hair up, and her eyes were very beautiful”.
Kubizek wrote that Hitler hated those who flirted with her, especially the military officers, whom he called “presumptuous idiots“; he went on to prove “an uncompromising ostentation towards the class of officers as a whole and everything that was military in general“. It seriously bothered him that Stefanie mingled with those idlers who, he insisted, wore corsets and used perfume”. Stefanie loved to dance and had lessons, while Hitler did not like dancing and I confided to his friend: “Stefanie dances only because she is forced by the society which unfortunately she depends on … Once Stefanie will be my wife, she will not have any slightest desire to dance! “.
In June 1906, Stefanie would give Hitler a smile and a flower from her bouquet while she was passing in a carriage. Kubizek describes the scene as follows:
“Never again I have seen Adolf as happy as at that moment, when the carriage passed by, dragged me to one side and emotionally revealed that flower to me, considering it a visible commitment of his love, I can still hear his voice , trembling with excitement, “She loves me!”
After Hitler’s mother died of breast cancer in 1907, the funeral procession passed from Urfahr to Leonding. Kubizek recalls that Hitler said he saw Stefanie at the funeral procession, which gave him some consolation. Kubizek states that “Stefanie had no idea how deeply Adolf was in love with her: she considered him a somewhat shy but extraordinarily tenacious and faithful admirer, and when she replied with a smile to his inquiring gaze, he was happy and his mood he became different from anything I have ever seen in him, but when Stefanie, as happened so often, coldly ignored his gaze, Hitler froze and was ready to destroy himself and the whole world, Kubizek states that Hitler said he had planned to kidnap Stefanie and kill both her and himself by jumping off a bridge into the Danube.
Stefanie stated afterwards to the media limelight that she was unaware of Hitler’s attention, but that she had received an anonymous love letter asking her to wait for him to graduate and then marry him, a letter she attributed to Hitler only after learning of his secret love: “Once I received a letter from someone who said that he would attend the Academy of Arts and that I should wait for him, he would come back and marry me! But then I had no idea who the author of that letter was. ”
On 24 October 1910 Stefanie married Maximilian Rabatsch in Vienna in St. Gertrud, Mäynollogasse 3, in the parish of Währing. Maximilian was a captain of an Austrian regiment. She remained a widow, and after the end of the Second World War she lived in Vienna.
What I can certainly say about this secret love of Adolf Hitler towards Stefanie Rabatsch is nothing but a tender, youthful love, felt by one of the greatest enlightened and stubborn minds of the 20th century, a sincere love immersed in a thousand adversities of fate: she of superior social class ready to be given in marriage to any military officer, he a poor penniless artist but rich in ideals and a visionary genius, parameters and qualities that only those who dealt with, once teenagers, can very well understand. A boy in a disadvantaged position compared to others, a girl programmed to be inserted according to traditional canons in well-defined schemes of the time and conditioned by the upper middle class. Perhaps it was precisely this situation that Hitler had experienced as a great adolescent pain and injustice that fed him the will to put an end to this gap, to unify the social classes in order to bring all human beings into the condition of being equal and not having to suffer the shame and the humiliation of being overtaken with an overwhelming and arrogant infamy linked to the different positions deriving from different social ranks, an ignominy that always precludes the Society from realizing itself in the sincerity of feelings and honesty of minds.