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In 1906 Klara Hitler would notice a lump on her breast. She chose to ignore it. This would prove to be a fatal mistake. It wasn’t until January of 1907 that she chose to seek medical attention from the family doctor, Dr Bloch, after developing severe pain in her chest. His prognosis was grim with only a sliver of hope if she were to get a mastectomy. The Hitler’s, Adolf included, agreed.

[Adolf Hitler’s] long, sallow face was contorted. Tears flowed from his eyes. Did his mother, he asked, have no chance?

- Doctor Bloch




Tragically, the surgery only revealed more devastating news. Her cancer had metastasized. Hitler, who had been living in Vienna at the time, returned home. For the next few months, Hitler became her caretaker. He would cook, clean, and sleep in a chair beside her bed just in case she required anything.

The face of the boy was streaked with tears, and his eyes were tired and red. He listened until I had finished speaking. He has but one question. In a choked voice he asked: "Does my mother suffer?"

- Dr Bloch,

Despite her terminal condition Dr Bloch suggested a final treatment option. There was an experimental form of chemotherapy known as iodoform. Adolf agreed. Every day iodoform soaked gauze would be applied to her incisions in an attempt to burn away cancer cells. The treatment left her in excruciating pain and unable to swallow.

An anguished grimace would come over him when he saw pain contract her face. There was little that could be done. An injection of morphine from time to time would give temporary relief; but nothing lasting. Yet Adolf seemed enormously grateful even for these short periods of release.

- Dr Bloch

Klara Hitler would quietly pass away the night of December 20th, 1907. Hitler was griefstricken. It would be hours before he allowed the neighbours to remove her body as he sat by her bedside sketching her.

In all my career I have never seen anyone so prostrate with grief as Adolf Hitler.

- Dr Bloch




Adolf was 18 at the time of her death.

"I shall be grateful to you forever."

- Adolf Hitler’s parting words to Dr Bloch

As is often pointed out, Dr Bloch was Jewish. Hitler would go on to refer to him as the “noble Jew” and personally exempted him from a majority of the discrimination that others in Germany faced. This included keeping his license and money when he moved to America.

As a personal consequence, Hitler would go on to develop a fear of cancer. Believing that eating meat, alcohol, and smoking were all major contributors. As chancellor of Germany, he led one of the largest anti-smoking campaigns of that time and often encouraged those around him to quit.

Hitler would carry a photo of his mother until his own death on April 30th, 1945.
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