How Arnold Schwarzenegger Overcame His Family’s Dark Past in Austria

by Jeremy Spirogis
Arnold Schwarzenegger smiling

Arnold Schwarzenegger is legendary in plenty of methods. His bodybuilding profession is known, and his position because the Terminator is among the causes he’s thought of one of many greatest motion stars ever. He had a stint because the governor of California, and on a much less optimistic word, made headlines when it grew to become identified that he’d fathered a baby along with his housekeeper whereas he was married to Maria Shriver.

Before Schwarzenegger began this journey as an American within the public eye, he was a child in Austria, and his life then is unrecognizable in comparison with his life today. 

Growing up within the shadow of a violent father

Arnold Schwarzenegger smiling
Arnold Schwarzenegger | Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images

The Schwarzenegger residence was a inflexible and sad place. Gustav, his father was a police chief and a strict Catholic who enforced extraordinarily strict guidelines on his household. Gustav wasn’t simply demanding – he was abusive. He was an alcoholic, and he was additionally violent and merciless. He was satisfied Schwarzenegger was homosexual, so he chased him with a belt and beat him. 

Schwarzenegger had an older brother named Reinhard. Gustav felt that Reinhard was the extra athletic of the 2 boys, so he most popular him and even inspired the brothers to struggle one another in an effort to humiliate his youthful son. 

But that wasn’t even the worst factor about Gustav.

A darkish secret is revealed

In 1990, information experiences surfaced claiming that Gustav had been a Nazi. Schwarzenegger may have denied the tales and ignored them, however he determined to seek out out the reality. He spoke to Rabbi Marvin Hier, who was the dean and founding father of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group. Schwarzenegger was a longtime supporter of the middle, and he requested Hier to research the accusations about his father. 

That investigation found that Gustav voluntarily utilized for membership within the Nazi celebration in 1938. It additionally got here out that he was a member of the “brownshirts,” the primary paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party. It was a tough reality for Schwarzenegger to face, however he doesn’t attempt to cover who his father was or that he strongly disagrees with the beliefs Gustav held. 

“It’s not a proud moment for anyone when you learn your father was a member of the Nazi Party,” Hier as soon as stated. “But Arnold is not his father, and Arnold has to be judged for who he is.”

He broke ties along with his father way back

When Schwarzenegger came upon about his father’s darkish previous, Gustav had been useless for nearly 20 years. Even earlier than his loss of life, Gustav and his son had been estranged. Schwarzenegger was so decided to keep away from Gustav that when Reinhard died in a automobile crash in 1971, he didn’t go to his funeral. Schwarzenegger didn’t return to Austria for Gustav’s funeral when he died in 1972 both. 

Schwarzenegger’s mother, Aurelia, wasn’t capable of defend him from his father’s abuse and she or he additionally apprehensive that he is perhaps homosexual due to his bodybuilding posters. Nonetheless, she and Schwarzenegger stayed shut till her loss of life in 1998.

Coming to America

The resolution to go away Austria was not a simple one. “You know that you have to struggle from the beginning; otherwise you wouldn’t be leaving your country. If you had this wonderful, rosy atmosphere, you would not want to leave.”

Despite how arduous it was to go away all the pieces behind, he knew from the time he was 10 that America held the promise of a future he wished. “I said, ‘What am I doing here on the farm? Oh, God, I’ve got to move on. How do I move on?’” His expertise has made him a robust advocate of immigration reform.

Schwarzenegger’s resolution to begin over in a brand new nation was an enormous success. He grew to become a celebrity, however extra importantly, he was capable of go away his painful previous behind and select a distinct life from the one he grew up in. 

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