The Gemlich letter refers to a letter written by Adolf Hitler at the behest of Karl Mayr to Adolf Gemlich, a German army soldier. The letter, written in 1919 in response to a request for clarification on the Jewish question, is thought to be the first known piece of antisemitic writing by Hitler. The first political piece by Hitler, it is thought to have established his credentials as a radical rightist and, amongst conservative groups, as the man who could overthrow the Weimar republic. Because the letter is the first record of Hitler's antisemitic views, and because it brought Hitler into politics, it is considered an important document in Holocaust studies.
Hitler, who had been wounded during the First World War, returned to Munich in September 1919 to an army Intelligence and propaganda unit of the Reichswehr which was run by Captain Karl Mayr who assigned him to write a response to Adolf Gemlich's question on the army's position on the Jewish Question. Hitler's response, dated 16 September 1919, was either written by him or dictated by him and subsequently typed by another. Two copies of the letter are thought to exist. One in the Bavarian state archives in Munich which is typewritten but unsigned, and the second at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, also typewritten but signed by Hitler. The second version, now believed to be the original, was discovered in a Nuremberg archive by a GI, Arthur Ziegler, who brought it to the United States where it ended up in a private collection. In 1990, Charles Hamilton, the handwriting expert, authenticated the signature on the letter and, in 2011 it was purchased by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
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