Ancestry of Adolf Hitler

Hitler's Last Name Was Almost Schicklgruber

Adolf Hitler's father, Alois Hitler
Alois Hitler, father of Adolf Hitler. The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images

Adolf Hitler is a name that will forever be remembered in world history. He not only started World War II but was responsible for the deaths of 11 million people.

At the time, Hitler's name sounded fierce and strong, but what would have happened if Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's name had actually been Adolf Schicklgruber? Sound farfetched? You may not believe how close Adolf HItler was to carrying this somewhat comical sounding last name.

"Heil Schicklgruber!"???

The name of Adolf Hitler has inspired both admiration and mortal dread. When Hitler became the Führer (the leader) of Germany, the short, powerful word "Hitler" not only identified the man who carried it, but the word turned into a symbol of strength and loyalty.

During Hitler's dictatorship, "Heil Hitler" became more than the pagan-like chant at rallies and parades, it became the common form of address. During these years, it was common to answer the telephone with "Heil Hitler" rather than the customary "Hello." Also, instead of closing letters with "Sincerely" or "Yours truly" one would write "H.H." - short for "Heil Hitler."

Would a last name of "Schicklgruber" have had the same, powerful effect?

Adolf's Father, Alois

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in the town of Braunau am Inn, Austria to Alois and Klara Hitler. Adolf was the fourth of six children born to Alois and Klara, but only one of two to survive childhood.

Adolf's father, Alois, was nearing his 52nd birthday when Adolf was born but was only celebrating his 13th year as a Hitler. Alois (Adolf's father) was actually born as Alois Schicklgruber on June 7, 1837 to Maria Anna Schicklgruber.

At the time of Alois' birth, Maria was not yet married. Five years later (May 10, 1842), Maria Anna Schicklgruber married Johann Georg Hiedler.

So Who Was Alois' Real Father?

The mystery concerning Adolf Hitler's grandfather (Alois' father) has spawned a multitude of theories that range from possible to preposterous. (Whenever beginning this discussion, one should realize that we can only speculate about this man's identity because the truth rested with Maria Schicklgruber, and as far as we know, she took this information to the grave with her in 1847.)

Some people have speculated that Adolf's grandfather was Jewish. If Adolf Hitler ever thought that there was Jewish blood in his own ancestry, some believe that this could explain Hitler's anger and treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. However, there is no factual basis for this speculation.

The simplest and legal answer to Alois' paternity points to Johann Georg Hiedler — the man Maria married five years after Alois' birth. The sole basis for this information dates to Alois' baptismal registry that shows Johann Georg claiming paternity over Alois on June 6, 1876 in front of three witnesses.

At first glance, this seems like reliable information until you realize that Johann Georg would have been 84 years old and had actually died 19 years earlier.

Who Changed the Baptismal Registry?

There are many possibilities to explain the change of registry, but most of the stories point the finger at Johann Georg Hiedler's brother, Johann von Nepomuk Huetler.

(The spelling of the last name was always changing - the baptismal registry spells it "Hitler.")

Some rumors say that because Johann von Nepomuk had no sons to carry on the name of Hitler, he decided to change Alois' name by claiming that his brother had told him that this was true. Since Alois had lived with Johann von Nepomuk for most of his childhood, it is believable that Alois seemed like his son.

Other rumors claim that Johann von Nepomuk was himself Alois' real father and that in this way he could give his son his last name.

No matter who changed it, Alois Schicklgruber officially became Alois Hitler at 39 years of age. Since Adolf was born after this name change, Adolf was born Adolf Hitler.

But isn't it interesting how close Adolf Hitler's name was to being Adolf Schicklgruber?