Klara Hitler Biography

Klara Hitler, the mother of Adolf Hitler, has often been overshadowed by her son’s notorious legacy. However, accounts from witnesses paint a different picture of Klara, describing her as a gentle and loving woman. Born into a peasant family in Austria, Klara entered the household of Alois Hitler as a servant at a young age. Their relationship eventually evolved into a marriage, and they had six children together, with only two surviving into adulthood, including Adolf Hitler. While Alois showed little interest in raising their children, Klara dedicated herself to their upbringing, providing them with a devout Catholic upbringing and regularly taking them to church.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Klara Pölzl
  • Died At Age: 47
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Alois Hitler (m. 1885–1903)
    • Mother: Johann Baptist Pölzl
    • Siblings: Johanna Hiedler
    • Children: Adolf Hitler, Edmund Hitler, Gustav Hitler, Ida Hitler, Otto Hitler, Paula Hitler
  • Died on: December 21, 1907
  • Place of Death: Linz, Austria
  • Cause of Death: Breast Cancer

Childhood & Early Life

Klara Hitler was born on August 12, 1860, in Spital, an Austrian village. Her father was Johann Baptist Polzl and her mother was Johanna Hiedler. Klara grew up in a peasant family and was described as a quiet and affectionate woman by the family physician, Dr. Eduard Bloch.

At the age of 16, Klara was hired as a servant in the household of her relative, Alois Hitler. Alois was already married to Anna Glasl-Horer at the time. Alois’ biological father is unknown, but when his mother married Johann Georg Hiedler, Hiedler became his official father. Klara’s mother, Johanna Hiedler, was Hiedler’s niece, making Klara and Alois first cousins.

In 1884, Alois’ second wife, Franziska Matzelsberger, passed away. He married Klara in 1885 in a brief ceremony held at the Pommer Inn in Braunau. They had their first child, Gustav, just four months after the wedding. However, Gustav and their second child, Ida, both died due to diphtheria during the harsh winter of 1886-87. They had another child in 1887 who also died that same year. Their fourth child, Adolf Hitler, was born on April 20, 1889.

The family moved to Passau in 1892 and lived there for two years. They had two more children, Edmund in 1894 and Paula in 1896. Unfortunately, Edmund died of measles at the age of five. Klara and Alois had a total of six children, but only Adolf and Paula survived into adulthood.

Klara dedicated her life to taking care of the household and raising her children. She was a devout Roman Catholic and regularly attended church with her kids. She also had stepchildren from Alois’ previous marriages, but according to Adolf Hitler’s nephew, Klara was just a typical stepmother to them.

After Alois’ death in 1903, Klara and her two surviving children, Adolf and Paula, moved to a house in Linz. They lived a frugal life there.

The Fight with Cancer & Death

In 1906, Klara discovered a lump in her breast but chose to ignore it at first. However, when she started experiencing frequent chest pains in January 1907, she consulted Dr. Eduard Bloch, the family doctor. She had been putting off seeking medical attention due to her busy household chores.

Dr. Bloch diagnosed Klara with breast cancer but instead of informing her directly, he told Adolf. He informed Adolf that Klara had very little chance of surviving the disease and recommended a radical mastectomy. This news devastated the Hitler family.

Klara had a mastectomy at the Sisters of St. Mercy in Linz, but the cancer had already spread to the pleural tissue in her chest. Dr. Bloch informed Adolf and Paula that their mother’s condition was terminal.

Adolf, who was studying art in Vienna at the time, returned home to take care of his mother. Her condition worsened, and Adolf begged Dr. Bloch to try a new treatment. For 46 days, Klara underwent daily treatments with iodoform, an experimental form of chemotherapy. However, the treatments were incredibly painful and left Klara unable to swallow due to her paralyzed throat.

Despite the efforts, the treatments were not successful. Klara Hitler passed away on December 21, 1907, at her home in Linz. She died from the toxic side effects of the iodoform that was administered to her.

The Effect of Klara’s Death on Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler had a close relationship with his mother and was devastated by her death. He carried the grief with him for the rest of his life. According to Dr. Bloch, Adolf was prostrate with grief like no one he had ever seen before.

In his autobiography, “Mein Kampf,” Hitler mentioned that he honored his father but loved his mother. He described Klara Hitler’s death as a dreadful blow.


In 1940, Hitler expressed his gratitude to Dr. Bloch, who was Jewish. He allowed the doctor and his wife to emigrate from Austria to the United States.

The tombstone marking Klara and Alois Hitler’s grave in Town Cemetery, Leonding, was removed in 2012 by a descendant. The remains in the grave were not mentioned.

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