The fourth of six children, Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, to Alois Hitler and Klara Polzl. Alois Hitler Sr. (1837–1903) was the illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. For a time he bore his mother’s name, Schicklgruber, but by 1876 he had established his family claim to the surname, Hitler. Adolf never used any other surname.
The young Adolf was a resentful, discontented child. Moody, lazy, of unstable temperament, he was deeply hostile towards his strict, authoritarian father. Louis L. Snyder has pointed out: "Hitler's mother was a quiet, hardworking woman with a solemn, pale face and large, staring eyes. She kept a clean household and labored diligently to please her husband. Hitler loved his indulgent mother, and she in turn considered him her favorite child, even if, as she said, he was moonstruck. Later, he spoke of himself as his mother's darling. She told him how different he was from other children. Despite her love, however, he developed into a discontented and resentful child. Psychologically, she unconsciously made him, and through him the world would pay for her own unhappiness with her husband. Adolf feared his strict father, a hard and difficult man who set the pattern for the youngster's own brutal view of life... This sour, hot-tempered man was master inside his home, where he made the children feel the lash of his cane, switch, and belt. Alois snarled at his son, humiliated him, and corrected him again and again. There was deep tension between two unbending wills. It is probable that Adolf Hitler's later fierce hatreds came in part from this hostility to his father. He learned early in life that right was always on the side of the stronger one."
In early childhood, Adolf Hitler was often ill and his mother became over-protective, wanting nothing less than to lose another child. Dr. Edward Bloch, her doctor, remarked: "Outwardly, his love for his mother was his most striking feature... I have never seen a closer attachment between mother and son." Hitler was deeply fond of his mother. He said that one of his happiest memories was of sleeping alone with her in the big bed when his father was away.