Mahler's eldest surviving sibling was his brother Alois (Louis) Mahler (1867-1931). No photograph of him survives, and very little is known about much of his life. While his parents were living, it appears that he assisted his father with the business and may have inherited it, or a portion of it, after their deaths (all of the Mahler siblings had an inheritance). In the fall of 1889, Alois was drafted into the army, and he served in a regiment based in Brno. He seems to have served less than his full three years, however, as he was looking for work in early 1892. Natalie Bauer-Lechner (1858-1921) describes Alois as the "worst" of the siblings: "Moreover, in addition, the worst of them came from a distance - Alois, who had served his 3 years in Brno as a private in the military and continually assaulted her (Justine (Ernestine) Rose-Mahler (1868-1938)) and G. (Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)) with troubles and demands of the most unprecedented sort". Her judgement is amply illustrated by the family letters, which frequently attest to Alois's unreliability and even dishonesty. Mahler made efforts to find Alois a position in the business world, but ultimately decided to let him go his own way (see letter 326). At first, having changed his name to Hans Christian, he lived in Vienna and worked as a chief accountant (OberbuchIwlter); at times, he lived together with Otto Mahler (1873-1895). In December 1894, Justine wrote that she never heard from Alois other than when he needed money; in July 1895, she asked her (?) not to tell him that she was coming to Vienna. After the mid-1890s, he is never mentioned in the letters to Justine. In 1910, Alois emigrated to the United States, and, as Susan Filler has discovered, died in Chicago on 14 April 1931.
Gustav Mahler’s younger brother Alois lived in Chicago for the last 20 years of his life but very little is known about him. No photos exist that we could locate. Sometime after his parents died, Alois changed his name to Hans Christian. This was an interesting choice, given that the Mahlers were of Jewish heritage. In 1910, Hans immigrated to America and settled in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. He worked representing Heller’s Candies of Vienna, makers of the Wiener Zuckerl, a fruit-filled hard candy still available today. Later he became a baker and his occupation was listed as a real estate broker on his death certificate. Through much of his time in Chicago, up until he died, Hans lived in this apartment in Lincoln Park at 2254 North Fremont. Records show he had a wife named Margaret, most likely his second marriage after his first wife, Bohumila, died, although it is not known if he had any children. Hans Christian Mahler died of stomach cancer in Chicago on April 1, 1931 at age 63 in Cook County Hospital. His remains were cremated at Graceland Cemetery, but we don’t know what became of his ashes.
Some writings about Alois have characterized him as something of a black sheep in the Mahler clan. In family letters, he was described as dishonest and unreliable. One researcher called him a “Baron Munchhausen type pathological liar” and a “lifelong embarrassment to his brother.” But Susan Filler, the only scholar who has really researched Alois specifically, could not find any evidence that those tendencies continued during his more than 20 years living in Chicago. Despite his siblings’ condemnation, according to Filler, existing records seem to indicate that the Hans Mahler of Chicago was hardly a ne’er do well, but a pretty ordinary guy who just happened to be the brother of a musical genius.
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