Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks about violence and abuse by Nazi father

He is one of the most famous stars in the world: Arnold Schwarzenegger. But there was nothing to be seen of all the Hollywood glamor in his childhood. The 75-year-old grew up in the small Austrian town of Thal in Styria on. With just over 2000 inhabitants, the village is the complete opposite of its current home, the metropolis of Los Angeles, USA.

He knew early on that he wanted to leave. Not only because of the manageable community, but also because of his father. Schwarzenegger’s childhood was marked by violence and abuse in the family. Reflecting on his time in the three-part Netflix documentary Arnold, the actor said: “Our upbringing was very tough. There was a lot of brutality at home. We got hit by our parents.”

Schwarzenegger’s father was traumatized by the war

His father: A former functionary of the NSDAP. Gustav Schwarzenegger was injured in Leningrad (Russia) at the time and then often had to deal with malaria attacks. Like many soldiers, his father returned to Austria severely traumatized by the war. “He may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression,” the former bodybuilder said.

At home he often hit Arnold and his older brother Meinhard († 24), sometimes even with the belt. He was very unpredictable, almost “schizophrenic”. In addition, he was addicted to alcohol and it often happened that he came home as a “drunk father”.

The action star describes scenes from his childhood in the documentary: “At three in the morning he was screaming and we woke up with our hearts pounding because we knew what that meant. There was always this strange violence.” Although he worked as chief of the district police after the war, his behavior in the family worsened. He was a real “tyrant”. Schwarzenegger: “He thought he should discipline the house. You had to earn breakfast!” And his mother? She was obsessed with cleaning. Everything had to be “perfect”.

First successes in Hollywood

He always dreamed of becoming famous, but domestic terror only fueled Arnold Schwarzenegger’s urge to leave the small community in Austria and go to Hollywood. With success. At the tender age of 21 he went to the USA and quickly became a bodybuilding legend, celebrated actor and even successful governor of California. Papa Schwarzenegger, on the other hand, died of a stroke at the age of 65 in 1972, so he was hardly aware of his great success.

Hank Peter

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