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18 Strange and Startling Facts About Hitler

Updated October 1, 2019 1.4m views18 items

Adolf Hitler is one of the most studied and written-about figures in history. But that doesn't mean new facts aren't constantly being found out about him. In February 2016, a book was released that all but confirmed the long-standing rumors that he suffered from a condition that gave him an abnormally small penis (aka micropenis), along with only having one testicle.

The Hitler biography is full of strange anecdotes and historical oddities, especially about his childhood. Far from making the monstrous dictator sympathetic, they somehow make his evil even more apparent. He was from a huge mess of a family, with an elderly father who had uncertain parentage. He was impossibly vain and paranoid about his image and the sound of his voice. He was both a teetotaler and a drug addict. He had a taste for young women, yet was totally uninterested in sex. And he was a tax cheat, skimming money from the Nazi party to buy luxury goods unavailable to most Germans.

Here are some truly bizarre Adolf Hitler facts - not the fascist dictator as much as the person, in all of his paranoia and loathing.
  • Taxes Were of No Concern to Hitler

    Between his substantial royalties for Mein Kampf, his salary as Führer, and the donations he skimmed from the Party, Hitler had a large personal income. But being Führer had perks, and one of them was that nobody bothered collecting taxes from him.

    He spent much of the '20s and early '30s battling tax authorities over Mein Kampf residual income, and the dictator owed as much as $8 million in 2016 money. Shortly after being voted Fuhrer, he received a letter from the tax office in Munich fining him a large amount of money for undeclared income. Hitler ignored it, had his taxes written off, and gave the Munich tax collector a fat raise for playing along with the scam.
  • The Iconic "Hitler Mustache" Began as a War Accomidation

    Photo: flickr / CC0
    Photos of Hitler in the German army during World War I often show him with a handlebar mustache, which was the the style at the time. Such extravagant mustaches couldn't fit under gas masks, so Corporal Hitler was ordered to trim it down. Hence the iconic "toothbrush mustache" that would become his signature was born - though the toothbrush had been fashionable in Europe long before the war.
  • He Was a Big Disney Fan - Especially of Snow White

    Photo: Walt Disney Studio

    Adolf Hitler loved the cartoons of Walt Disney, and was a huge fan of the animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He was reportedly entranced by its sophisticated animation, was jealous that German animators could produce nothing like it, and admired the film for its origin as a German folk tale - as he hated anything that smacked of modernity.

    The Nazi propaganda ministry bought dozens of prints of Disney films, and Hitler wasn't above getting out his watercolors and sketching some Disney characters to blow off steam while he was setting the world on fire. One Disney character Hitler didn't care for was Mickey Mouse; Hitler considered him a degenerate.
  • Hitler Might Have Been a Jew

    Since the 1920s through today's Internet rumors, people have speculated that Hitler was actually Jewish, with his father actually fathered by a wealthy Jew, or even a member of the famous Rothschild banking family. These rumors are as old as Hitler's rise to power, as historian Ian Kershaw writes in his book, Hubris:

    Rumours [that Hitler’s grandfather was Jewish] circulated in Munich cafes in the early 1920s, and were fostered by sensationalist journalism of the foreign press during the 1930s. It was suggested that the name `Huttler’ was Jewish, `revealed’ that he could be traced to a Jewish family called Hitler in Bucharest, and even claimed that his father had been sired by Baron Rothschild, in whose house in Vienna his grandmother had allegedly spent some time as a servant.

    To spread misinformation, Nazi stooge Hans Frank allegedly concocted a theory that Hitler's grandmother Maria (mother of Hitler's father Alois) had been employed as a housekeeper for the Jewish Frankenberger family in Graz, Austria. While there, she was impregnated by the family’s 19-year-old son, Leopold – making Hitler one-eighth Jewish.

    However, there’s no subsequent evidence that Leopold Frankenberger actually existed, that there was a family of that name living in Graz at the time of Alois’s birth, or that Maria had ever been to Graz. Beyond that, Jewish descent is passed down by the mother.