Hitler's only boyhood friend, August Kubizek, recalled Hitler as a shy,
reticent young man, yet he was able to burst into hysterical fits of anger
towards those who disagreed with him. The two became inseparable during
these early years and Kubizek turned out to be a patient listener.
Kubizek, then sixteen, first met Adolf Hitler, fifteen, late in 1904 when
both were competing for standing room at the opera. He was a good audience
for Hitler, who often rambled for hours about his hopes and dreams.
Sometimes Hitler even gave speeches complete with wild hand gestures to
his audience of one. Hitler would only tolerate approval from his friend
and could not stand to be corrected, a personality trait he had shown in
high school and as a younger boy as well.
Kubizek later recalled his friend this way:
he stood, this pallid, skinny youth, with the first dark brown showing on
his upper lip, in his shabby pepper-and-salt suit, threadbare at the
elbows and collar, with his eyes glued to some architectural detail,
analyzing the style, criticizing or praising the work, disapproving of the
material - all this with such thoughtfulness and such expert knowledge as
though he were the builder and would have to pay for every shortcoming out
of his own pocket."
Adolf Hitler, right
day the pair went to see a performance of Wagner's Rienzi at the
Linz Memorial Theater. This became a decisive event for the teenaged
Hitler, as he was to refer to it after he came to power. In Kubizek's
biography of Hitler The Young Hitler I Knew, 1953, he recalls how
it had a terrifying impact upon Hitler, who left the theater in a state of
stood in front of me; and now he gripped both my hands and held them tight.
He had never made such a gesture before. I felt from the grasp of his
hands how deeply moved he was. His eyes were feverish with excitement ..
Never before and never again have I heard Adolf Hitler speak as he did in
that hour, as we stood there alone under the stars, as though we were the
only creatures in the world. He now spoke of a mission that he was one day
to receive from our people, in order to guide them out of slavery, to the
heights of freedom .."
years later, the boyhood friends would meet again in Bayreuth, and Kubizek
told Adolf Hitler what he remembered of that night, assuming that the
enormous multitude of impressions and events which had filled these past
decades would have pushed into the background the experience of a
seventeen year old youth.
But after a few words Kubizek sensed that Hitler vividly recalled that
hour and had retained all its details in his memory. Hitler's words were
unforgettable for August Kubizek:
"It began at that hour ..."