Paul von Hindenburg didn't like Adolf Hitler because he was a low-ranked individual from the poor/low class. He called him mockingly "Bohemian corporal".

However in reality Adolf Hitler was not Bohemian, but Upper-Austrian, also if I'm not mistaken he was not corporal, but just a soldier which never promoted.

Why didn't he call him correctly "Upper-Austrian soldier" ?

  • Silly question -- given Hitler's attempt to be an artist could "Bohemian" have been meant in that sense, rather than ethnic/locality of origin? Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 17:24
  • @RobCrawford probably not, the German word for the location is pronounced very differently than the French Boheme. The similarity exists only in English.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


Paul von Hindenburg called Hitler a "böhmischer Gefreiter".

He (and others) wrongly assumed that Hitler was born in Broumov (called Braunau in German) that is indeed in Bohemia (today Czech Republic). However, that was a mistake, as Hitler was born in the actual town of Braunau in Austria.

At the time of Hitler's birth, both towns belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and were called Braunau by Germans, so it was easy to get wrong.

"Gefreiter" is an enlisted rank in the military. Which was true, Hitler was Lance corporal in World War 1.


During the German War in 1866 Paul von Hindenburg served as a 19-year old officier in the Prussian Army. During that war against the Austrian Empire he came across a Bohemian village also named "Braunau". Thats why he mistook Bohemia as Hitler´s birthplace.

  • 1
    Reference(s) for this fact? Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 21:01

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