Erik Jan Hanussen (1889-1933), whose real name Hermann Steinschneider, was an Austrian Jewish performer and entertainer who reached some fame with his many acts as a mentalist, hypnotist and occultist. In the 1920s, he became sympathetic with the SA (a paramilitary wing of the Nazi party) despite his own Jewish background.
While Hitler was still a relatively unknown man, Hanussen taught him how to manipulate large crowds and use gestures for dramatic effect. With Janussens help Hitler’s talent for public speaking reached new heights and his speeches became his most important weapon in his rise to power. In the early 1930s, Hanussen was getting so close to Hitler, that some historians believe he might have played a very important part in Nazi Germany had he not been shot by the SA in 1933.
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