Man named ‘Hittler’ who grew up in Jewish neighbourhood had nose broken 4 times

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    A man with one of the most unfortunate names possible grew up in a neighbourhood where it was likely to cause maximum offence, but he still won’t change it.

    John Hittler, the descendant of three Irish grandparents and one German one, grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood in Detroit, Michigan, in the US.

    A city with a tough reputation, his name earned him a number of beatings and even saw his nose get broken four times.

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    Even to this day, his nose remains crooked from the beatings, but he explained to The Mirror that the neighbourhood bullying made him tough.

    "I knew how to break a kid's nose at 12. Because, well, because if there's four of them, and they're bigger than you are, you had to figure out very quickly who the leader was,” he told the outlet. “And then take that guy out."

    One of eight siblings, John’s family have been in the US for generations and have had time to change their name, but this was never on the cards.

    "My grandparents were tough,” he told the outlet. “They came here, they lived through the Depression and World War Two. They had no interest in changing their name.

    “It was just a nonstarter for them to change it. Their theory was people will treat us based on our character, not based on our name, which is true to a point.

    "But there's enough people that will punch you in the mouth too. There was a fair bit of that when I was growing up too."

    The beatings were brutal, made more likely by his young parents buying a house in a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood.

    "As it turns out, like 75% Jewish. Oh, thanks Mum and Dad. So we are the Hittlers in the Jewish neighbourhood for the rest of our life. Yeah, this is great.”

    Now he lives in California with his wife, but back then he would often fall victim to groups of older kids giving him what for.

    "It was never fair, it was always kids two years or two grades older, and twice as many, so there'd be four of them and two of us,” he explained.

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    “My best friend and myself were riding home from school, and four teenage knuckleheads in a car would pull us over, run us off the road and beat the shit out of us."

    As you’d expect from a kid repeatedly battered, he would ask his mum to change his name.

    John recalled: "And I said, why can't we just change our name. And she looked at me right in the eye and she said adversity builds character. We're not changing our name. I was like, got it. And you know, when your mom says something like, Don't question this, that's the end of this conversation."

    • Adolf Hitler
    • United States

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