Arnold Schwarzenegger


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Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947 in Thal, Styria, the second son of Aurelia (née Jadrny; 1922–1998) and Gustav Schwarzenegger (1907–1972). His father was the local chief of police and had served in World War II as a Hauptfeldwebel after voluntarily joining the Nazi Party in 1938. He was wounded in the Battle of Stalingrad, but was discharged in 1943 following a bout of malaria. He married Aurelia on October 20, 1945; he was 38 and she was 23. According to Schwarzenegger, his parents were very strict: "Back then in Austria it was a very different world . . . if we did something bad or we disobeyed our parents, the rod was not spared. " He grew up in a Catholic family who attended Mass every Sunday. Gustav had a preference for his elder son, Meinhard, over Schwarzenegger. His favoritism was "strong and blatant", which stemmed from unfounded suspicion that Schwarzenegger was not his biological child. Schwarzenegger has said that his father had "no patience for listening or understanding your problems". He had a good relationship with his mother, with whom he kept in touch until her death. In later life, he commissioned the Simon Wiesenthal Center to research his father's wartime record, which came up with no evidence of Gustav being involved in atrocities despite his membership in the Nazi Party and Sturmabteilung (SA). Gustav's background received wide press attention during the 2003 California recall campaign.