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In 1912 Vienna, the struggling young artist Adolf Hitler attracts the attention of Leo Walheimer, a rich Jewish art collector and connoisseur. Walheimer believes that Hitler's paintings show promise. He takes the young artist under his wing, arranges for him an exhibition in a prestigious art gallery and sends him to spend a year in Paris to study and perfect his artistic style. While Hitler has some prejudice against Jews, he does not turn down this one and only chance to make his name in the world of art. Hitler returns to Vienna in early 1914 and an exhibtion of his new paintings made in Paris gets the high praise of important art critics. With the outbreak of the First World War Walheimer convinces Hitler that such talent as his should not be risked and arranges for him an exemption from military service. Walheimer continues to pay Hitler an annual stipend to free him for full-time piainting. Hitler becomes an established artist and is well content with his life, and though having some sympathy for German Nationalism never feels an inclination to engage in political activity; many years of contact with Walheimer make him mellow his dislike of Jews. In later life, Hitler develops an enduring friendship with fellow artist Winston Churchill, a British aristorcrat who had taken up full-time painting after his attempt to enter poltics ended in dismal failure.
In 1933, Germany in taken over by Bruno Stoltenberg, a rabble-rousing Fascist demagogue modeling himself on the Italian Mussolini. While Stoltenberg finds it convenient to use antisemitic rhetoric in his speeches and make Jews the scapegoats for Germany's woes, he does not take it too serisouly, and once in power never enacts anti-Jewish laws or implements systematic anti-Jewish policies. At the end of the Second World War - otherwise unfolding mucs as in OTL - most German and other European Jews are still alive, having endured no more than some random violence from Stoltenberg's followers. Auschwitz remains no more than an obscure Polish town of no particular significance,