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Historian Reports On Hitler’s Friendship With Jews, Speculates On His View Of Zionism

Allan Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
May-June 1997

Austrian historian Brigitte Hamann, in her new book, Hitler’s Vienna; The Learning Years of a Dictator, presents evidence of Hitler’s friendship with a number of Jews during his time in Vienna before World War I.  

She reports that at this time, when Hitler was between the ages of 17 and 24, most of his friends and business partners were Jews and he openly stated his sympathy "for this wise nation which unlike the Germans knows how to stick together."  

In his antisemitic book, Mein Kampf, written in 1924, Hitler rewrote his past in Vienna and eliminated any mention of his "Jewish connection."  

That connection, Hamann found, went back to the Austrian city of Linz where Hitler, who was born in 1889, lived between 1898 and 1907. The Jewish family doctor, Eduard Bloch, was respected in Linz, especially by the poor whom he would treat at any hour. One of Bloch’s patients was Hitler’s mother, Klara. In Oct. 1907 Hitler returned to Linz to attend his dying mother. Bloch visited her daily and treated her kindly. After Klara’s death in Dec., Hitler expressed his gratitude to Bloch, gave him one of his paintings as a present, and sent him postcards he drew himself, signed "Your eternally thankful patient, Adolf Hitler."  

When the Germans occupied Austria in 1938, 66-year-old Bloch had to close his clinic. The doctor wrote to Hitler asking for help and Hitler ordered the Gestapo to Linz to protect Bloch. The doctor was exempted from wearing the yellow Star of David and carrying the "j" (for Jew) in his passport, thus allowing him regular food and clothes coupons. Bloch sold his property in 1940 at full price and emigrated with his wife to the U.S.  

Between 1910 and 1913, Hitler lived in an asylum for homeless men, an institution sponsored in Vienna by wealthy Jews. His closest friends were the Jewish co-residents Josef Neumann, who helped him sell his paintings; Siegfried Loeffner, who supported young Adolf in a row with an antisemitic rival; and Simon Robinson, a war invalid who backed the poor Hitler financially. Hitler’s business partner was the art dealer Samuel Morgenstern.  

Prof. Hamann reports that with Neumann, Hitler would carry out nightly discussions about Moses, the Ten Commandments, and the philosophy of Zionism. "There is no clear evidence of Hitler’s views of Zionism," says Hamann, "but he was influenced by the radical All-German party, who took Zionism for a wonderful thing because if the Jews would emigrate they wouldn’t ‘contaminate the Aryan race.’"  

In a review of the book In Memory’s Kitchen: A Legacy From the Women of Terezin, Lore Dickstein, writing in The New York Times Book Review notes: "Anny Stern was one of the lucky ones. In 1939, after months of hassle with the Nazi bureaucracy, the occupying German army at her heels, she fled Czechoslovakia with her young son and emigrated to Palestine. At the time of Anny’s departure, Nazi policy encouraged emigration. ‘Are you a Zionist?’ Adolph Eichmann, Hitler’s specialist on Jewish affairs asked her. ‘Jawohl,’ she replied. ‘Good,’ he said. ‘I am a Zionist too. I want every Jew to leave for Palestine.’"  

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