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Franz Jetzinger (3 December 1882 in Ranshofen in Upper Austria – 19th March 1965 in Ottensheim in Upper Austria) was an Austrian officer, politician and author. He gained fame especially as the author of the book “Hitler’s youth”.


Life and Work

After graduating from school, Jetzinger studied at the theological faculty of the university of Salzburg. Afterwards he became Jesuit priest and professor at the philosophic-theological academy in Linz. In this context he visited amongst others Palestine in 1908.

From 1914 on, Jetzinger participated at the First World War. After 1918 he started an intensive political career: first in the German People’s Party (electoral district Ried) and from 1919 on in the social democratic party. From 1919 until 1934, Jetzinger served as social democratic assemblyman in the Diet (electoral district Innviertel). From 1920 until 1930 he was editor at the “Tagesblatt”. On 14th February 1921 the catholic church excommunicated Jetzinger. After he had worked as deputy for two years, Jetzinger became District Administrator in 1932 and therefore member of the Upper Austrian federal state government in Linz.

After the ban to take mandates on 12 February 1934, Jetzinger, being a social democrat, was arrested by Dollfuß for five weeks. Afterwards he worked as insurance appointee at the Viennese local government. In 1935 he re-entered the catholic church and worked as librarian in the student’s library in Linz. Being a member of the federal state government, Jetzinger secured himself the Austrian military file of Adolf Hitler, which included amongst others details on Hitler’s arrest in 1914, which took place because he fled from his emplacement. Until 1945, Jetzinger hid the file on his attic. After Hitler had marched into Austria in 1938 he repeatedly tried to find the compromising file through the Gestapo and get hold of it, however his attempts failed. On 22 April 1944 Jetzinger was arrested by the Gestapo. In 1957, Jetzinger, who hated Hitler and the NS regime, wrote the book “Hitler’s youth”, in which he also published the documents of Hitler’s military file.

Hitler’s Youth

Jetzinger gained fame in 1958 through his book Hitler’s Youth, in which he could refute many of Hitler’s statements about his early years. Moreover, Jetzinger attracted attention by heavily criticising the earlier published book The Young Hitler I Knew by August Kubizek, whom Jetzinger accused of spreading false pretences. While earlier Hitler biographers like Joachim Fest or Werner Maser adopted Jetzinger’s criticism as their own, Jetzinger’s crushing judgement of Kubizek’s credibility could be corrected by later biographers (e.g., by the book Hitlers Wien by Brigitte Hamann). Hamann especially managed to convincingly relate personal motives to Jetzinger’s tendency to illustrate nearly every statement in Kubizek’s book as an ex post modification of facts. Hamann gives competition of the two authors and a financial damage for Jetzinger, who sold fewer books than expected after Kubizek’s book had been released shortly before his own, as the main motives for Jetzinger’s destructive depiction.


  • Hitler’s Youth (1977): Westport: Greenwood Press Reprint.

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