Bloch, Eduard.

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Bloch, Eduard, born 30-01-1872 in Frauenberg Vltavou, Czech Repulic, son of  Moritz Bloch  and his mother Fanni, ,  who died 31-10-1907, studied medicine in Praque and then served as a medical officer in the Austrian army. In 1899 he was stationed in Linz and opened a private doctor’s practice after his discharge in 1901 in the baroque house at 12 Landstrasse, where he also lived with his family: his wife, Emilie “Lilli” (born Kafka)  and their daughter Trude, born in 1903 According to Linz’s future mayor Ernst Koref Koref died old age 97, on 15-11-1988, in Linz, Bloch was much appreciated, especially among the lower and poor sections of the population. It was well known that he could visit patients in the middle of the night. He went to visit his carriage, with a showy hat with a broad band on his head, like most Jews at the time in Linz.

The first member of the Hitler family Bloch was to see was Adolf Hitler. In 1904, Hitler had become seriously ill and was bedridden due to a serious lung ailment. Due to this, he was allowed to abandon his school career and return home. However, after checking Hitler’s files Bloch later maintained that he had treated the youth for only minor ailments, cold or tonsilitis and that Hitler had been neither robust nor sickly. He also stated that Hitler did not have any illness whatsoever, let alone a lung disease.

In 1907, Hitler’s mother, Klara Hitler-Pölz 

   was diagnosed with breast cancer. According to Bloch: “One day Frau Hitler came to visit me during my morning office hours. She complained of a pain in her chest. She spoke in a quiet, hushed voice; almost a whisper. The pain she said, had been great; enough to keep her awake nights on end. She had been busy with her household so had neglected to seek medical aid. Besides, she thought the pain would pass.away… An examination showed that Frau Hitler had an extensive tumor of the breast.” She was operated on for breast cancer in February, 1907. Bloch pointed out: “An illness such as that suffered by Frau Hitler, there is usually a great amount of pain. She bore her burden well; unflinching and uncomplaining. But it seemed to torture her son. 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. I shall never forget Klara Hitler during those days. She was forty eight at the time; tall, slender and rather handsome, yet wasted by disease. She was soft-spoken, patient; more concerned about what would happen to her family than she was about her approaching death.” She died on 21-12-1907 after intense suffering involving daily medication with jodoform, a foul-smelling and painful corrosive treatment typically used at the time and administered by Bloch. Because of the poor economic situation of the Hitler family, Bloch charged reduced prices, sometimes taking no fee at all.  Bloch attended the funeral: “Adolf wore a dark suit and a loosely knotted cravat. Then, as now, a shock of hair tumbled over his forehead. His eyes were on the floor while his sisters were talking. Then came his turn. He stepped forward and took my hand. Looking into my eyes, he said: ‘I shall be grateful to you forever.’ That was all. Then he bowed. I wonder if today he recalls this scene. I am quite sure that he does, for in a sparing sense Adolf Hitler has kept to his promise of gratitude.  This showed in 1908 when Hitler wrote Bloch a postcard assuring him of his gratitude and reverence which he expressed with handmade gifts, as for example, a large wall painting which according to Bloch’s daughter Gertrude (Trude) Kren (born 1903 in Austria, died 1992 in the US) was lost in the course of time. Even in 1937, Hitler inquired about Bloch’s well-being and called him an “Edeljude” (“noble Jew”). Bloch also apparently had a special fondness for the Hitler family which was to serve him well in the future.

 

Bloch also said that Hitler’s most striking feature was his love for his mother:

While Hitler was not a mother’s boy in the usual sense, I never witnessed a closer attachment. Their love had been mutual. Klara Hitler adored her son. She allowed him his own way whenever possible. For example, she admired his watercolor paintings and drawings and supported his artistic ambitions in opposition to his father at what cost to herself one may guess.

However, Bloch expressly denies the claim that Hitler’s love for his mother was pathological.

In his memory, Hitler was the saddest man I had ever seen when he was informed about his mother’s imminent death. He remembered Klara Hitler, Hitler’s mother, as a very “pious and kind” woman. Sie würde sich im Grabe herumdrehen, wenn sie wüsste, was aus ihm geworden ist. (“She would turn in her grave if she knew what became of him.”) According to Bloch, after Alois Hitler’ death the family’s financial resources were scarce. He mentioned that Klara Hitler had lived frugally and had not indulged in even the smallest extravagance.

Bloch was held in high regard, particularly among the lower and indigent social classes. It was generally known that at any time at night he was willing to call on patients. He used to go on visits in his hansom, wearing a conspicuous broad-brimmed hat. Like most Jews in Linz at the time, the Bloch family were assimilated.

After Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938 (Anschluss) life became harder for Austrian Jews. After Bloch’s medical practice was closed on 01-10-1938, his daughter and son-in-law, Bloch’s young colleague Dr. Franz Kren (born 1893 in Austria, died 1976 in the US), emigrated overseas. Dr Kren died in Feb 1976, age 82, in Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey, USA

The 66-year-old Bloch then wrote a letter to Hitler asking for help and was as a consequence put under special protection by the Gestapo.. He was the only Jew in Linz with this status. Bloch stayed in his house with his wife undisturbed until the formalities for his emigration to the United States were completed. Without any interference from the authorities, they were able to sell their family home at market value, highly unusual with the distress sales of emigrating Jews at the time. Moreover, they were allowed to take the equivalent of 16 Reichsmark out of the country; the usual amount allowed to Jews was a mere 10 Reichsmark.

Death and burial ground of Bloch, Eduard.

     

In 1940, Bloch emigrated to the US and settled in the Bronx  2755 Creston Avenue, New York City, with his wife Lily and family but was no longer able to practice medicine as his medical degree from Austria-Hungary was not recognized.  In March, 1941, Bloch wrote an article for Collier’s Weekly about Hitler: “As a youth he (Hitler) was quiet, well mannered and neatly dressed. He had patiently waited in the waiting room until it was his turn, then like every fourteen or fifteen year old boy, made a bow, and always thanked the doctor politely. Like the other boys in Linz, he had worn short lederhosen and a green woolen hat with a feather. He had been tall and pale and looked older than he was. His eyes which were inherited from his mother were large, melancholy and thoughtful. To a very large extent, this boy lived within himself…. While Hitler was not a mother’s boy in the usual sense, I have never witnessed a closer attachment. This love had been mutual. Klara Hitler adored her son. She allowed him his own way whenever possible. For example, she admired his watercolor paintings and drawings and supported his artistic ambitions in opposition to his father at what cost to herself one may guess.”

Eduard Bloch died of stomach cancer on 01-06-1945 at age 73, barely a month after Hitler’s death. He is buried in Beth David Cemetery, Section D, Block 3, Elmont, New York.

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