Klara Polzl, the mother of Adolf Hitler, was born in Spital, Austria, in 1860. She married Alois Hitler, a senior customs official, in 1885. The couple had five children but only Adolf and a younger sister, Paula, survived to become adults.
Alois Hitler, who was fifty-one when Adolf was born, was extremely keen for his son to do well in life. Alois did have another son by an earlier marriage but he had been a big disappointment to him and eventually ended up in prison for theft. Alois was a strict father and savagely beat his son if he did not do as he was told.
His father was incensed when Hitler told him that instead of joining the civil service he was going to become an artist. The relationship between Hitler and his father deteriorated and the conflict only ended with the death of Alois Hitler in 1903.
His death did not cause the family financial hardships. The Hitler family owned their own home and they also received a lump sum and a generous civil service pension.
Klara, a kind and gentle woman, tended to spoil her son. Like her husband she was keen for her son to do well at school. Her attempts at persuasion achieved no more success than her husband's threats and he continued to obtain poor grades.
At the age of eighteen Adolf Hitler received an inheritance from his father's will. With the money he moved to Vienna where he planned to become an art student. Hitler had a high opinion of his artistic abilities and was shattered when the Vienna Academy of Art rejected his application. He also applied to the Vienna School of Architecture but was not admitted because he did not have a school leaving certificate.
Klara Hitler died of cancer in 1907. Her death affected him far more deeply than the death of his father. He had fond memories of his mother, carried her photograph wherever he went and, it is claimed, had it in his hand when he died in 1945.