The Primal Scene

It has been stated that Adolf Hitler witnessed and suffered great brutality in his youth. Hitler himself was known to make veiled allusions to the suffering of his youth. Perhaps the most shocking was the admission of witnessing his mother’s rape at the hands of his father in a tract from Mein Kampf. The excerpt reads as follows:

Let us imagine the following: In a basement apartment of two stuffy rooms lives a worker’s family…Among the five children there is a boy, let us say, of three. This is the age at which a child becomes conscious of his first impressions. In gifted people, traces of these early memories are found even in old age. The smallness and overcrowding of the rooms do not create favorable conditions. Quarreling and nagging often arise because of this. In such circumstances people do not live with one another, but push down on top of one another. Every argument…leads to a never-ending, disgusting quarrel…But when the parents fight almost daily, their brutality leaves nothing to the imagination; then the results of such visual education must slowly but inevitably become apparent in the little ones…especially when the mutual differences express themselves in the form of brutal attacks on the part of the father towards the mother or to assaults due to drunkenness. The poor little boy at the age of six, senses things which would make even a grown-up shudder. Morally infected…the young “citizen” wanders off to elementary school…

The three year old has now become a youth of fifteen who has been dismissed from school and despises all authority…Now he loiters about and God only knows when he comes home…

Hitler idolized his mother. To see her so debased could only have served to fracture the fragile mind of young Adolf.


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