Arnold Schwarzenegger Discusses His Father's Guilt as a Nazi Soldier in a New PSA

Who is Arnold Schwarzenegger's father? The former action star speaks out against antisemitism and the war in Ukraine in a new video.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Mar. 8 2023, Updated 1:58 p.m. ET

It might be difficult for a celebrity like Arnold Schwarzenegger to outgrow his past as an actor. The Austrian former bodybuilder is best known for his role as the Terminator, the eponymous deadly cyborg of the long-running film franchise that he's played on and off across several decades. Since first appearing as the Terminator in 1984, he would go on to become the quintessential action star of several films throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. He was even the governor of California from 2003 to 2011.

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But even for someone who's best known for saying "Hasta la vista, baby," he isn't shy to divulge his political views, especially when it comes to his family's dark history.

The actor recently posted a 12-minute-long PSA in which he spoke out against "the rising hate and antisemitism we've seen all over the world."

In the video, he also discusses his father and how his service in World War II negatively impacted his life. Who was Arnold Schwarzenegger's father?

Arnold Schwarzenegger in his new PSA
Source: YouTube/Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger in his new PSA

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Who was Arnold Schwarzenegger's father?

Arnold was born in Austria on July 30, 1947, to Gustav Schwarzenegger and his wife, Aurelia. For a time, Arnold knew little about his father's past, so he enlisted the help of the Wiesenthal Center in 1990 to dig up anything they could about his father. Their research, combined with a supplementary investigation by the Los Angeles Times in 2003, confirmed that Arnold's father was a member of the Sturmabteilungen ("stormtroopers") during World War II.

As such, Gustav was directly aligned with the Nazi Party as a soldier. According to Arnold, Gustav was even a part of the 900-day siege in Leningrad.

In his recent video, Arnold calls his father one of the "broken men" who bought into Nazism and xenophobia at the time only to be met with guilt and torment down the road.

"They felt like losers, not only because they lost the war, but also because they fell for horrible, loser ideology," Arnold stated in his video.

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Arnold has often decried his father's actions and Nazi ideals as a whole. Now, with an ongoing war in Ukraine and rising rates of hate crimes and antisemitism in the last few years, Arnold seeks to take a stand against folks who continue to support and spread Nazi sentiments in today's society.

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Arnold Schwarzeneggar speaks out against antisemitism in his latest video.

Much like the action-star characters he's played in the past, Arnold pulls no punches in addressing the neo-Nazis and bigots of the world in his new video. He was apparently galvanized by his recent tour of Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp where over 1.1 million people were killed, more than 90 percent of them Jewish. Horrified by the atrocities that took place there, Arnold takes a stand against people who spread hate.

He also directly addresses Russian soldiers in Ukraine who he believes are being manipulated into hurting innocent people in the same way that Adolf Hitler manipulated German soldiers against Jewish people during World War II.

"Hate burns fast and bright," Arnold warns. "It might make you feel empowered for a while, but it eventually consumes whatever vessel it fuels. It breaks you."

He ends his video by expressing the fervent hope that people with hate in their hearts can learn to live without it.

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