Dated 16 September 1919, the ‘Gemlich letter’ is the first known written statement of Hitler’s anti-Semitism.
Following the end of the First World War, Hitler, based in Munich, remained in the army and was being groomed as a political instructor, to ensure that returning soldiers had not been overly influenced by the communists.
In August 1919, encouraged by his mentor, Captain Karl Mayr, the thirty-year-old Adolf Hitler went on a training course and there discovered his talent for speaking. His speeches were so well attended he became a star turn. When Captain Mayr was asked, by letter, by a fellow trainee, Adolf Gemlich, to clarify the position on the ‘Jewish question’, Mayr passed it on to Hitler for a response.
In his letter to Gemlich, Hitler writes that the ‘ultimate objective must … be the irrevocable removal of the Jews in general,’ for which a ‘government of national strength … is necessary.’ He states, as ‘fact’, that ‘Jewry is absolutely a race and not a religious association.’
(Captain Mayr was later to renounce Hitler and died in Buchenwald concentration camp in February 1945).
The original letter is now stored at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
Click for the full text of the Gemlich letter.