We know Adolf Hitler was one bad dude and many articles have been published outlining interesting facts about him and his dark regime. But there remain a few more facts about Hitler that are worth highlighting, for they are remarkable but little known. Here we discover the real Hitler — not only the despot, but the weirdo, the hypocrite, the bizarrely acknowledged individual, and the common scofflaw.
10. The Germans could have deported him
Hitler’s Nazi Party had ragtag and shady beginnings, with matters coming to a head in a shooting and subsequent arrest of Hitler in what is known as the Beer Hall Putsch. As Hitler had failed the now infamous coup, he was brought up on charges of high treason in 1923 for attempting to overthrow the Weimar government of Germany by force. A significant issue in the trial was the fact that Hitler was not a German citizen. It must be remembered that this famous “German Nationalist” Xenophobe extraordinaire wasn’t even German by birth, but entered the world in what was at the time Austria-Hungary. Born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and having the status of Austrian Citizen, Hitler faced deportation to Austria under German law.
Legally, Hitler should not have been allowed to stay in Germany and instigate World War II. His status as a foreign criminal were deemed significant in his trial. Yet feeble were any attempts made to deport Hitler from Germany back to his native Austria. The judge called Hitler an “Austrian-German” on account of the future Fuhrer’s World War I service with the German Army. Though Hitler was sent to Landsberg Jail after being given a light sentence, he was allowed to remain in Germany. Hitler renounced his Austrian Citizenship in 1925 and was stateless for seven years until the Nazi interior minister of Brunswick State appointed him as administrator for the state in 1932, making him a citizen of Brunswick and Germany.
9. He was a tax evader to the extreme
Hitler didn’t want to pay tax, so he effectively bribed and law-made his way after the German government came after him to the point where he paid zero tax. So much for claims of socialism. Retired Bavarian notary Klaus-Dieter Dubon discovered some interesting tax rulings regarding Hitler. For example, he owed half a million Reichsmarks at one point. The expensive Mercedes car he purchased prior to starting World War II hostilities in Europe while in jail in 1923 was probed by the tax office, yet Hitler claimed the car was funded by a loan and was to be used as a “means to an end.” After his 1924 release, Hitler claimed only a desk and two bookshelves as his belongings.
His hate literature text of infamy Mein Kampf was soon a bestseller across Germany, given Hitler’s mandates regarding its mass use and sale. This made Hitler a rich man, but he didn’t wish to pay any tax. Sure enough, this didn’t fly and the tax office pressed charges of income falsification with demanded that Hitler pay up within eight days. All this happened one year after he became Chancellor of Germany. Hitler responded by getting the head of the ministry of finance to step in and make him exempt from taxation, and the debt was canceled. There was also a reward most would call a bribe in the form of 2000 Reichsmarks monthly income for the state secretary to the ministry of finance who worked it all out.
8. There is a bug named after him
Not the Volkswagen Beetle, but a real beetle endemic to Slovenia is named after the disgraced Fuhrer. The beetle was named in Hitler’s honor by its discoverer Oscar Scheibel, an Austrian man who was into insects, to say the least, and received a thank you letter from Hitler regarding the matter. Scheibel was a railway engineer as well as being an accomplished amateur entomologist with a particular obsession with cave beetles.
Native to just five caves in Slovenia, Anophthalmus hitleri is now an endangered species thanks to Nazi memorabilia collectors who have pillaged limited natural supplies of this cave beetle. It is not possible by taxonomic policy for the name to be changed despite its distasteful Nazi association. The beetle is golden colored and lacks eyes, being a blind cave beetle species. The generic name Anophthalmus means “eyeless,” making the species name translate approximately to “eyeless one of Hitler.”
7. He didn’t drive
Hitler did not know how to drive a car and thus made use of chauffeur services to get around, as when he was on the way to deliver his infamous hate speech sessions at Nazi rallies. He was quite afraid of cars and the possibility of getting into a car accident, and frequently reprimanded Nazi officials and his own chauffeurs’ for speeding, requiring a limit of 50 kilometers per hour, which equates to 31.07 miles per hour.
Hitler’s lack of driving skills were an embarrassment to his public image, especially compared to Italian dictator Mussolini, who could drive and fly. So, Hitler made up a number of excuses, ranging from describing driving as a threat to his safety and likening the risk to that of a skiing accident, all the way to terming driving a waste of energy that could be focused on preparing for his loud and lengthy political digressions. Among his Chauffeurs were Julius Schreck (who knew how to get into trouble), SS officer Erich Kempa, and the hypocritical Emile Maurice, who drove Hitler to the scene of his speeches against Jews but was himself of partial Jewish ancestry.
6. He was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize
Considering he was directly responsible for starting and carrying on history’s deadliest war, whose events included the Holocaust and the Blitz, Adolf Hitler being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize seems humorous, perhaps a dark comic twist in the face of tragedy. That is exactly what the nomination was meant to represent. Erik Gottfried Christian Brandt, a Swedish Member of Parliament hailing from the Social Democratic Party, actually nominated Adolf Hitler to be the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize.
The nomination took place only three months prior to the Nazi invasion of Poland that sparked World War II hostilities. Brandt was branded a fascist and forbidden to lecture by some associations, seemingly for good reason, for he titled Hitler “a God-given fighter for peace,” described Mein Kampf as “the best and most popular piece of literature in the world” and said Hitler could “pacify Europe, and possibly the whole world.” What became clear later was that Brandt was joking. He really filed the papers, but wanted to protest the Nobel Peace Prize nomination of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and also pick a fight with the Nazis.
5. The Jewish recommender
Hitler was recommended for an Iron Cross for bravery in World War I, which he received. The German soldier who recommended him for the honor was Jewish. During World War I, Hitler was a dispatch runner with the Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 and was in the First Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Arras, the Battle of Passchendaele, and the Battle of the Somme, in which he was injured. He received the Iron Cross Second Class, in 1914. Next, Hitler’s superior, Lieutenant Hugo Gutmann, recommended Hitler for a higher decoration, Iron Cross First Class, which he received on August 4, 1918. This level of award was notable, especially given Hitler’s lowly rank – he was only a Gefreiter member, the second lowest level of ranking in the German army.
How ironic that the notorious persecutor of Jewish people was himself so highly regarded as a brave individual by a Jewish man. Gutmann and his family were negatively affected by Hitler’s rule. After the 1935 Nuremberg Laws, Gutmann was deprived of his German Citizenship. He was later arrested by the Gestapo but released on the demands of SS officers who knew his history as Hitler’s superior. He eventually left Germany for Belgium and then immigrated to the US with his family. Shamelessly, Hitler wore the medal received through Gutmann’s recommendation while persecuting his people.
4. He didn’t start the Nazi Party
Hitler is so intimately associated with the National Socialist German Worker’s Party that it might be natural to imagine Hitler as somehow boasting that Nazism was his brainchild. But nothing could be further from the truth. Hitler in no way founded Nazism, but was a drifter who had been in homeless shelter accommodations from 1909 to 1913 before being given the position of Verbindungsmann (intelligence agent) in a reconnaissance commando of the Reichswehr, the military organization for Germany in 1919.
Hitler’s job was to spy on the German Worker’s Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, DAP), which soon became the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, a responsibility he carried out until he decided he loved fascism and joined. Hitler was supposed to monitor the party but when he became the 55th DAP member, things changed. Anton Drexler, motivated by anti-semitism, anti-capitalism, nationalist and pretty much anti-everything philosophy, went on to establish the Nazi Party out of the DAP the year Hitler joined.
3. The speaking photos
It is a little known fact that Hitler posed for series of rather odd photos while speaking, the photographer being Heinrich Hoffman, Hitler’s trusted photographer who also introduced Hitler to future wife Eva Braun. The pictures were supposed to be destroyed, but survived as Hoffman thought them valuable, only to be arrested by Allied forces after World War II for war profiteering. The nine images show Hitler in seemingly crazed rehearsed poses and expose him for what he largely was: an actor.
Hitler could be described as a demagogue and these photos were taken in Hitler’s attempt to hone his ideal public presentation image. He wanted to see from the audience’s perspective how he looked in different poses that were designed to influence public emotions and control the audience. He had curious terms for different looks, like “gebieterisch” (domineering) and “kämpferisch” (pugnacious). Hitler was very concerned about any errors in his manner or presentation, being rather self-obsessed, to say the least. Hoffman disregarded Hitler’s direct instructions in keeping the photos.
2. Hitler refused chemical weapons
One of the greatest puzzles of military history remains Hitler’s strange attitudes regarding chemical warfare in World War II. Thanks to the fumbling and tinkering of German scientist Gerhard Schrader, who was trying to kill beetles but came up with something far more deadly that was termed sarin gas, a truly terrible nerve agent was available to the Nazi regime. Yet Hitler staunchly refused to use the Sarin gas, despite mass murders of Jewish people, other minorities, and resisters under the Nazi regime. For reasons not fully understood but often guessed at, Hitler refused to use the deadly weapons against the Allies even though he was being earnestly pressed by Nazi agitators to use the gas.
Some historians believe Hitler’s awful experience in World War I of being temporarily blinded by gas dissuaded him from its use, but it is worth noting that victims of his regime were still put to death by gas chamber. Strategic concerns are a possible reason Hitler did not use the gas, fearing his own troops would be harmed, while the threat of Allied retaliation may also have been enough. Despite Hitler’s refusal, Nazi factories stored massive amounts of sarin — just in case — up to the war’s end.
1. The creepy story of Rosa Bernile Nienau
Some disturbing inconstancies exist in the Nazi history, and their narrative — and one of those surprises — comes in the form of Hitler’s friendship with Rosa Bernile Nienau, a German Jewish girl. Hitler met her when he invited her and her mother, Karoline, to his house after finding out that the girl had the same birthday as his own – April 20. Photos were taking with Nienau hugging the Fuhrer and soon after, she was found to be Jewish.
Despite that, Hitler continued his friendship with the girl, who wrote to him 17 times from 1935 to 1938. Then, Nazi secretary Martin Bormann told the girl and her mother to cut off contact, which angered Hitler. World War II began the year after losing contact with Hitler and he began murdering Jews by the millions. The death of Nienau was not by direct persecution, but instead she died in a hospital in Munich from a polio infection.