Youth

brith certificate
Leopold Engleitner's birth certificate

Leopold Engleitner was born on July 23, 1905 in Aigen-Voglhub, in the rural district community of Strobl am Wolfgangsee in Salzburg. Engleitner’s home town is in the Austrian Salzkammergut, known and loved for its beautiful lakes and mountains. Engleitner spent his childhood in Bad Ischl, where Austro-Hungarian Monarch Franz Joseph visited each year to go hunting.

Leopold Senior, Engleitner's father, worked in a sawmill and his mother, Juliana, was the daughter of a big estate owner and a strict Catholic. His parents were always telling their little son to “Stand up straight!” However, despite all effort to obey, he couldn't since he was born with curvature of the spine. His teacher would say, “Stand up straight or you won’t be allowed to do games with the others!” At school Leopold was excluded from all sports, and was scoffed at and mocked by his classmates. He grew up with his younger brother Heinrich in extreme poverty. He began to ponder about the times he lived in, which were hard and often cruel. His difficult situation shaped how he viewed the world and made him more sensitive to injustice. For example, as a child he could not understand why the church bells were taken down during the First World War in order to make bullets that would kill other people.

place of birth
The house where Engleitner was born.

At the age of 13, the financial situation his family faced forced Engleitner to look for work. His father was not able to sustain the entire family any longer. Many times he had to hear such scornful remarks as: “Hey, you good-for-nothing cripple!” or “What’s the matter with you, softy?” Finally, a farmer took pity on him and offered him a job on his farm.

 

 
 

last update: April 15, 2013
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