Hitler’s Real Last Name: Schicklgruber

The origins of Adolf Hitler’s last name are shrouded in mystery today due to doubts about the legitimacy of his father’s last name, Alois Schicklgruber.

Adolf Hitler did not have a middle name. But what was Hitler’s real last name? According to the documents, Adolf Hitler’s real last name was not supposed to be “Hitler,” but actually “Schicklgruber.” Adolf Hitler’s original family last name was Schicklgruber, which was the surname of his biological father, Alois. However, Alois later adopted the surname of his stepfather, Hiedler, which was eventually changed to “Hitler” due to a clerk’s error. These types of errors were a common occurrence at the time. Thus, Adolf, being his offspring, had to assume the surname “Hitler.”

The origins of Adolf Hitler’s surname are shrouded in mystery today due to doubts about the legitimacy of his father’s surname, Alois Schicklgruber. Alois was born to an unmarried Maria Anna Schicklgruber in the village of Strones, located 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Vienna. As a result, Alois went by his mother’s maiden name for the first 40 years of his life.

A Long Line of Inbreeding Set Hitler’s Real Last Name

Adolf Hitler never spoke about his background publicly, instead keeping his family’s identity a party and then a state secret. Some questioned whether or not the man who conceptualized the racial inquisition could have lived up to the rigorous standards of his own position.

These people must not know who I am,” Adolf Hitler once lectured his nephew William Patrick Hitler: “They must not know where I come from and what family I come from.” Hitler was not Jewish but he was the product of a long lineage of inbreeding. It was only once, in 1919, that Adolf Hitler accidentally let out that he valued inbreeding, which Nazi ideology eventually condemned. He went on to say that “the Jew in general preserves his race and its peculiarity more sharply than many of the peoples among whom he lives” — “through thousands of years of inbreeding, often carried out in the closest circles.

Alois Hitler (born Schicklgruber). 1897-1899
Alois Hitler (born Schicklgruber) c. 1897-1899. (Image: The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler by Robert Payne.

Hitler’s father, Alois, was born to Marie Anna Schicklgruber and later raised by Johann Georg Hiedler, his stepfather. Alois Schicklgruber (1837–1903) married three times, and his third marriage to Klara Pölzl resulted in six children, Adolf Hitler being the fourth. Werner Maser (1922–2007), a historian and Hitler expert, spent 12 years poring through papers, witness testimony, and circumstantial evidence before concluding that Adolf Hitler’s father, Alois, was likely a second cousin of Hitler’s mother.

The British, in an attempt to mock Hitler, publicly associated him with his original surname, Schicklgruber, which was considered a comical name to many Germans. Because Schickl can signify either money or fate in Austrian German, the resulting compound term, Schicklgruber, can be rendered in English as either “Moneygrubber” or, more awkwardly, “Fate-digger.”

As stated by Hans Frank, Hitler’s legal advisor, it is believed that Hitler’s father, Alois, was the illegitimate child of a cook named Schicklgruber who worked for a household in Graz. However, the peculiar aspect of the story is that this cook, who was Hitler’s grandmother, was a servant in a Jewish household by the name of Frankenberger when she gave birth to her child. Furthermore, Frankenberger’s 19-year-old son paid child support for the first 14 years of Alois’ life. Alois went on to become the father of Adolf Hitler.

However, it’s true that Hitler’s Jewish grandfather idea is seldom accepted uncritically as historical truth nowadays.

Schicklgruber as Hitler’s Real Last Name

Adolf Hitler's mother Klara Hitler.
Adolf Hitler’s mother Klara Hitler.

When Alois was 5 years old, his mother, Maria Anna (1795–1847), gave her son to the farmer Johann Nepomuk Hiedler (also known as Johann Nepomuk Hüttler, 1807–1888), the wealthier brother of her new husband, Johann Georg Hiedler, a journeyman miller. According to records, Nepomuk was 12 years older than Maria, and he had a decent estate in Spital by 1829, which was worth 1500 gulden (in comparison, a cow was ten gulden at the time).

In “Mein Kampf,”  Adolf Hitler stated that his father came from humble beginnings, describing him as the “son of a poor, small cottager.” However, it is known that his father, Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, was a cottager, but he was not considered to be poor.

Since the name variations were common in the villages, it is impossible to confirm the identity of Alois’ biological father, as Hiedler agreed to adopt Alois following his brother’s death but refused to accept paternity. He maintained that the father was his brother, and this claim was reportedly confirmed by individuals who were familiar with both of them.

The family of Hüttlers (also Hiedlers and Hitlers) lived in the Waldviertel in Lower Austria. The spelling of the last name may have changed several times over the course of history.

The term “out of wedlock” was altered to “married,” and an annotation was made on Alois Schicklgruber’s birth record stating that his mother, Anna Schicklgruber, had identified Georg Hiedler as his father and requested for his name to be added to the official record, as confirmed by the person who wrote the notation. Alois Schicklgruber legally changed his name to Alois Hiedler (or Hüttler) in January 1877, with three crosses in place of the signatures of the witnesses. The name “Hiedler” (or Hüttler) was most likely altered to “Hitler” mistakenly by a clerk, which was a frequent occurrence during that period.

Another Version Regarding Hitler’s Real Last Name

According to Maser’s account, Hüttler’s husband met Maria Anna Schickigruber, the unmarried daughter of a small farmer in Strones, when she was 41 in 1836. A few weeks later, he learned that she was pregnant with his child and he set out to fool his wife and the villagers about who the father was. In an effort to get his nomadic miller brother Johann Georg Hiedler to settle down, he suggested that he marry Anna Schicklgruber, Hitler’s grandmother. The couple finally tied the knot six years later. Now, instead of raising his own kid, Hüttler took in his brother’s boy (Alois, Hitler’s father) and sent him to apprentice with master shoemaker Ledermüller in Spital.

While it is true that on May 10, 1842, Johann Georg Hiedler married Hitler’s grandmother, Anna Schicklgruher, the claim that Hiedler legitimized Hitler’s father, Alois, is not actually supported by the available evidence other than the annotation mentioned two paragraphs above, which was discovered by Maser in the village of Rastenfeld (Lower Austria) with 700 inhabitants.

Not only did Hiedler fail to show up for the legitimization, but none of the three witnesses were literate or had any prior knowledge of him. They were people Hiedler knew, and in one case, they were even married to his relatives. It is important to note that when Alois was given the last name Hiedler (or Hitler), Johann Georg Hiedler had already been deceased for 19 years.

According to Maser’s analysis, Alois Schicklgruber’s real father was not Johann Georg Hiedler but rather Johann Nepomuk Hüttler. The fact that Hiedler did not acknowledge Alois Schicklgruber as his son and that his wife did not seek legitimization further supports this theory. And Hüttler delayed legitimizing Alois Schicklgruber until after the deaths of the Hiedlers and his own wife, both of whom occurred in 1873.

Shouting Heil Schicklgruber Instead of Heil Hitler

Thus, Adolf, being his offspring, assumed the surname Hitler instead of his original name, Schicklgruber. So, with an irony of fate, today we have Adolf Hitler instead of Adolf Schicklgruber, his real last name. Visualize the fervent German public saluting “Heil Schicklgruber” instead of “Heil Hitler.”

So, as the author of “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” William L. Shirer, put it, it was only due to the unexpected return of a wandering 84-year-old miller, who recognized his 39-year-old son nearly 30 years after the mother’s death, that Adolf Hitler was not given his real last name, Schicklgruber, at birth. Though the name itself may not hold much significance, it’s been speculated by Germans that if Hitler had been known to the world as Schicklgruber, it’s uncertain if he would have risen to the position of “Führer” in Germany.

Did Hitler Try to Erase His Real Last Name and Family History?

A village church and cemetery in Döllersheim, where Hitler's father was born and his grandmother was buried.
A village church and cemetery in Döllersheim. (GuentherZ, CC BY 3.0)

Franz Jetzinger, a former priest and biographer of Hitler, suggests that it is possible that Hitler had an entire community in the Waldviertel area destroyed in order to erase any traces of his genealogy. The fact that the community of Döllersheim, where Hitler’s father was born and his grandmother was buried, was converted into a military training area in 1941, led Jetzinger to speculate that it may have been done on Hitler’s orders, driven by his alleged intense hatred towards his father, who may have had Jewish ancestry.

Official records that would have confirmed information about Hitler’s background, such as church birth, baptismal, and death records, as well as court documents, were considered to be lost. During Hitler’s reign and even more so after his fall, there were rumors that he himself had destroyed or tampered with these records.

Adolf Hitler’s Jewish Background

In 1942, Heinrich Himmler’s scouts searched for specific documents in Braunau, but were not able to find them. The only record they could access was the baptismal registry of “Gasthaus zum Pommer,” the birthplace of Hitler, which was from June 30, 1881 to 1891. According to page 152 of the registry, Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 at 18:30, and baptized on April 22, 1889 at 15:15 by a man named Ignaz Probst.

He lived in a place called Der Vorst. 219. His father, Alois Hitler, was a Catholic, and his mother was Klara, who was the daughter of Johann Baptist Pölzl, a farmer in Spital, Lower Austria, and Johanna Hiedler, who was a married daughter. Hiedler was her maiden name. Johann and Johanna Prinz were the godparents, and Johanna Pölzl, the child’s mother’s sister, and midwife Franziska Pointecker were present at the birth.

Relatively insignificant facts were reported to the Reichsführer SS by the trackers on October 14, 1942, and placed in file B/23/h22. They brought up the fact that Adolf Hitler’s father had been married three times, and that the third time he married Adolf Hitler’s mother, a special dispensation had to be granted because they were related to each other.

Himmler wanted to distance himself from Hitler during WWII so that he and the SS might be allies in the event of a German defeat. He reasoned that if he exposed Hitler’s family background, it would make him more popular with Hitler’s diehard supporters in the Nazi party.

According to Nazi beliefs, as a “Judenabkömmling” or Jewish descendant, Hitler would not have been considered a German citizen and would have been treated as a guest living under alien legislation. He would not have been able to hold any public office in the Reich, state or municipality. Additionally, the idea of inbreeding leading to a Jewish descendant would have been considered grotesque. Despite efforts by Heinrich Himmler and later by Hitler’s legal advisor and governor-general, Hans Frank, after the war, to prove Hitler’s non-Aryan descent, they were never able to do so.

As stated by Hans Frank, Hitler’s father, Alois, was the illegitimate child of a cook named Schicklgruber who worked for a household in Graz. And this cook, who was Hitler’s grandmother, was a servant in a Jewish household by the name of Frankenberger when she gave birth to Alois. Furthermore, Frankenberger’s young son paid child support for the first 14 years of Alois’ life. Alois went on to become the father of Adolf Hitler. However, with no actual proof, it is not possible to accept Hans Frank’s theory of Hitler’s Jewish background today.


  1. Ancestry of Adolf Hitler,
  2. Robert Payne, 1973. The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler. New York: Praeger.
  3. (The Early History of the NSDAP) Die Frühgeschichte der NSDAP: Hitlers Weg bis 1924 – Werner Maser – Google Books
  4. Ron Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler, 1998.
  5. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William L. Shirer,

By Hrothsige Frithowulf

Hrothsige works at Malevus as a history writer. His areas of historical interest include the ancient world and early Europe, as well as the history of modern culture.