Sunday, 10 July 2016

Hitler Ghost Town

In 1876, that is to say 3 years after his wedding to Anna Glassl, Alois Schicklgruber (29) changed his surname to Hitler. The couple had no children and in 1880 they were divorced.

Three years later Alois married Franziska Matzelsberger. They had two children: Alois and Angela. Franziska died in 1884, the year after Angela was born.

Alois Hitler married for the third and final time in 1885. His new wife was a second-cousin called Klara Pölzl. They married after obtaining special dispensation from the Roman Catholic Church.

The couple had 6 children: Gustav (died in his 2nd year), Ida (died in her 2nd year), Otto (died in his first year), Adolf (1889-1945), Edmund (died in his 6th year), and Paula (1896-1960).

The Schicklgrubers who variously used the surnames Hitler, Hiedler, and Hüttler are of the parish of Döllersheim in the north of Austria not far from the Czech border.

In 1942 the people of Döllersheim were ordered to leave the area and disperse. This was in order that the parish could become part of a large military encampment.

It was from this conveniently situated military base that the German invasion of Czechoslovakia was launched.

Other parishes in the area were in like fashion abandoned in the years between 1938 and 1942. Most buildings including the cottages, businesses, schools and farms, and also the public records were destroyed.

Recently I visited the ghost town of Döllersheim - the ancestral home of the parents of Adolf Hitler, German Workers Party member nr. 555.

The burgers of Döllersheim, including the Schicklgrubers, Hietlers, Hüttlers and Hitlers prayed in St. Peter's Parish Church in Döllersheim over the centuries and there performed their rituals and confessions.

A lot of good it did them.

Post Scriptum -
Adolf Hitler renounced his Austrian citizenship so he could fight for Germany in WWl in preference to Austria. Born at Braunau on the border of the two countries he saw Germany as his destiny - but only after he failed his entrance examinations in the subject of art at Vienna University.  His childhood ambition was to become a famous artist. The best he could achieve was painting picture postcards of buildings in Vienna city centre, such as theaters and opera houses.
He never renounced his Religion and his best selling book written in prison following the failed Munich putsch was never placed on the Vatican's banned books list. Hitler himself was never excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church who owed a great debt to Hitler's ally Mussolini for giving them their own sovereign territory.

Döllersheim Parish Church prior to 1942

Döllersheim Parish Church today 

Sign dating the original building to the 12th century

Döllersheim Parish School 

Graves in Döllersheim

Döllersheim Graveyard and the Church of St. Peter.

The road to Döllersheim 

This post is linked to Inspired Sunday


  1. These pictures are just great.

    1. Thank you Monica. I'm glad you enjoyed them.

  2. The old graves are wonderful.

    1. Some of the graves have had their crosses removed and been leveled. I presume this to prevent the village becoming a magnet for extremists

  3. I would like to go there.

    1. You can only explore one small corner. What you see in the photos plus the remnants of an old bakery and probably a pub. The rest belongs to the military and you can only pass through when the red flag is not flying and you must stick to the road. The place is full of unexplored ordnance. It is still used for military exercises. It is marked on the map with red hatching and the truppenubungsplatz.

  4. I am startled by my response to these photos. As lovely and evocative as they are, I find I have little empathy for the villagers who lost their homes when the Germans arrived. It's hypocritical, I know, to focus only on the consequences of Austria's anti-semitism throughout the ages, but my reaction is visceral. When I force myself to be rational, of course I see things differently.

    My parents and their friends, even as late as the 70s, refused to visit Germany or Austria or, for that matter, to buy German cars.

    1. I understand your parents and their friends and respect their point of view. For myself I try and find reasons and possible answers. I fear the situation in the US is precarious and can't understand why your president is over here dining at the royal palace in Spain.

    2. That woman passenger in that car with her cell phone who filmed her driver being shot was so cool, so courageous, I can only say give her a medal. Great respect. No screaming. No shouting. Pure reason and calmness. Wonderful to see in such horrible times.

  5. Never knew any of that though I thought he was catholic. The place is very much like a similar one in the UK though I think the church is still used now and then

    1. A notice states 'visits only by arrangement'. Peering into the darkness behind the locked gate I could see some rubble but nothing else.


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