- CRITTER TALK
- MOVIE-TV-BOOK REVIEWS
Hitler’s health has long been the subject of debate. He has variously been said to have had irritable bowel syndrome, skin lesions, irregular heartbeat, Parkinson’s disease, syphilis, tinnitus, and Asperger syndrome. He had problems with his teeth and his personal dentist Hugo Blaschke stated that he fitted a large dental bridge to his upper jaw in 1933 and that on 10 November 1944 he carried out surgery to cut off part of the left rear section of the bridge that was causing an infection of his gums. He was also suffering from a sinus infection at that time.
After the early 1930s, Hitler generally followed a vegetarian diet, although he ate meat on occasion. There are reports of him disgusting his guests by giving them graphic accounts of the slaughter of animals in an effort to make them shun meat. A fear of cancer (from which his mother died) is the most widely cited reason, though it is also asserted that Hitler, an antivivisectionist, had a profound concern for animals. Martin Bormann had a greenhouse constructed for him near the Berghof (near Berchtesgaden) to ensure a steady supply of fresh fruit and vegetables for Hitler throughout the war.
Hitler was a non-smoker and promoted aggressive anti-smoking campaigns throughout Germany. (See Anti-tobacco movement in Nazi Germany.) Hitler “despised” alcohol. However he later was prescribed and became addicted to amphetamine, as stated below.
Hitler undoubtedly ranks as one of the most evil men to have lived. And perhaps this is the reason that this unusual myth has become so widespread – people love irony and it is very ironic that the man who slaughtered untold numbers of people would be an animal lover, a vegetarian, and a non-drinker. This truly is a myth – read on for the debunking.
All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.
There is a little merit to this myth in that Hitler did eat a lot of vegetable dishes and was advised by his doctor to eat a strictly vegetarian diet, but he was not particularly good at sticking to it. Salvatore Paolini, Hitler’s waiter said: “On the whole he never ate meat… but he did like sausages and ham” and this was also confirmed by his cook Dione Lucas who said that his favorite dish was “stuffed squab” (stuffed baby pigeon).
Pulitzer prize winning journalist Otto said in a 1937 New York Times article: “It is well known that Hitler is a vegetarian and does not drink or smoke. His lunch and dinner consist, therefore, for the most part of soup, eggs, vegetables and mineral water, although he occasionally relishes a slice of ham and relieves the tediousness of his diet with such delicacies as caviar, luscious fruits, and similar titbits. He is outspoken about having a sweet tooth and loves confectionery, especially chocolates.” Obviously the term “vegetarian” was less restrictive in days gone by.
As for alcohol consumption, Paolini also confirmed that while Hitler almost never touched the stuff, he did occasionally drink watered down wine with dinner and beer. Fine vintage wines were served at every important dinner Hitler hosted. While he may have generally preferred to abstain, he was certainly not one to force his dinner guests to do the same.
Interesting Fact: Hitler never allowed anyone to see him while he was naked or bathing. He refused to use cologne or scents of any sort on his body and, unlike his eating habits, this is a rule that he did enforce with others also.
Thumb picture of Hitler and Mussolini in June 1940