Alfred Hrdlicka was born in Vienna politically troubled times, characterized by violent struggles between socialist and conservatives. The First Republic Austria was increasingly dominated by national socialist groups and parties at that time.
Because of his father, an illegal communist and trade union official, early on he was aware of political matters. Already in 1933, then five years old, he accompanied him while handing out leaflets in working-class district Floridsdorf. At the age of six, he experienced a house search, where he was beaten by the police and his father was arrested. At the age of ten he witnessed the "Anschluss" of Austria into the German Reich.
Politics per se are a recurring theme in his entire work.