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Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger Gets Past His Family's Dark History

Gettyimages | Matt Winkelmeyer
By Nicholas Vrchoticky

As far as famous goes in the US, Arnold Schwarzenegger is known to every generation in just about every household in the country. He's been an actor, a California state governor, a murderous time-traveling robot, and a witty, yet stand-up, voice on Twitter. But, not everything we know about Arnold is positive, and I'm not talking about the time he made headlines for having a kid with his housekeeper.

Arnold came from a dark past, but the bodybuilder turned action-hero made his way through it in true Conan the Barbarian style.

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Surviving a violent upbringing

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Gettyimages | Sunset Boulevard

Schwarzenegger grew up in Austria within a pretty unhappy household. His father, Gustav, was a police chief, a devout Catholic, and an enforces of extremely strict rules at home. Strict rules are one thing, but Gustav was a cruel and abusive alcoholic, and not even a T-800 should have to grow up with that sort of upbringing.

Gustav also wasn't a very accepting man. He'd chase Arnold around with a belt and beat him because he believed Arnold was gay. Whatever the opposite of a "father of the year" is, this guy is getting it.

The family past gets darker

Terminator t-800
Gettyimages | Carl Court

According to news reports in 1990, Arnold's father had been a member of the Nazi party. Schwarzenegger never denied the allegations but instead went to find the truth, speaking the founder of Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier.

Heir investigated the claims. As it turned out, Gustav was indeed a voluntary member of the Nazi party, applying for membership in 1938. He was even part of a paramilitary wing of the party (go figure).

As difficult as it was for Arnold to face, he's never tried to hide who his father was. He also doesn't try to hide that he blatantly disagrees with him.

Arnold and his father don't get along

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Gettyimages | VCG

Most of you will be happy to know that Arnold broke his ties with Gustov a while ago. Sure, Gustov died nearly 40 years ago, but they had broken ties before that.

Schwarzenegger didn't return home for Gustav's funeral in 1972. He didn't even head back to Austria in 1971 to go to his brother's funeral out of determination to avoid the man.

Even though she couldn't adequately protect her son from his crappy father, Arnold stayed close with his mother, Aurelia, until her death in 1998.

The legend makes it to America


If it wasn't for coming to the US, Arnold may have never become the star he is today. He always wanted to come to America, and he commented on this desire with LA Weekly, saying:

"My big dream always was to get to America. That was from the time I was 10 years old, from when I saw the first newsreels about America. And I saw the skyscrapers, and the bridges, and the highways, and the cars with the fins sticking out, and all this stuff. Hollywood. I said, ’What am I doing here on the farm? Oh, God, I‘ve got to move on."

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