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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Liverpool

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Alois, who was now a much respected customs official, was to marry three times. Firstly, to Anna Glassl, a woman much older than himself, then to two young women, Franziska Matzelberger and Klara PÖlzl who were young enough to be his daughters. Anna Glassl, whom he married in 1873, was by then aged fifty and it seemed to be a marriage of convenience, she being fourteen years his senior, well off, and with useful connections in the civil service. It wasn't long before Alois took himself a mistress and by 1880 Anna, who had clearly had enough, was granted a legal separation. The focus of his affections were then focused on his live in lover, although she did set the condition that the potential rival for Alois affections, his cousin Klara PÖlzl - who was keeping house, should be dismissed.

In 1882, Alois jnr was born, although he was not legitimised until the following year, when Alois snr and Franziska were married after the death of Anna earlier that year. A daughter Angela followed a few weeks after the wedding. In August 1884 Franziska contracted TB and died at the age of only twenty-four. While she had been sent to the country for convalesence, Alois immediately brought Klara back to look after the children. She became pregnant very quickly after the death of Franziska. As they were second cousins they needed special dispensation from the church to marry, which took four months. Once cleared, they were married on 7th January 1885. Five children followed soon afterwards, of which Adolf was the fourth, born in 20th April 1889. Her first three children all died at various stages of infancy, while her fifth, Edmund, born in 1894, died from measles in 1900 aged six. Paula, her sixth child, born in 1896, although living until 1960, is generally thought to have been retarded.

Alois snr has been described as a pompous, strict authoritarian, who demanded respect, while giving little time or devotion to his family. He frequently resorted to beating his sons to ensure unquestioned discipline. At thirteen Alois jnr left the family home, having been found the position of a waiter. However, by 1900 he had been found guilty of theft and jailed for 5 months, followed by a similar offence two years later for which he received 8 months. Under this cloud he left for Paris, then London, trying to make a fresh start by securing work in the catering industry.

Words: M W Royden

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