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Thread: Man Obsessed With Hitler's Vegetarian Ways

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    Senior Member Mac Seafraidh's Avatar
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    Man Obsessed With Hitler's Vegetarian Ways

    Carni-Fuhrer
    Why one vegetarian activist is obsessed with Hitler's diet.
    By Alex Frangos
    Posted Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004, at 3:52 PM PT



    Rynn Berry wants to set the record straight about Adolf Hitler. "There's absolutely no evidence he was a vegetarian. It simply isn't true." Berry, a 54-year-old raw-foodist and "vegetarian historian" who is the author of Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism and the World's Religions, is on a mission to dispel the commonly held view that the 20th century's most notorious mass murderer was also an adamant herbivore.

    I first learned of Berry this winter while listening to the radio. An adviser to the North American Vegetarian Society, Berry was on lefty WBAI's weekly animal-rights show, "Walden's Pond," to explain what Hitler really ate for dinner. According to his research, while Hitler for the most part followed a vegetarian diet, some of his favorite treats were liver dumplings, ham, and caviar. "Mainstream historians have an elastic definition of vegetarianism," he says. "They don't hold Hitler to the same standards as a practicing ethical vegetarian. You can't be a vegetarian and eat liver dumplings." But Berry's quest raises some obvious questions: Why investigate what Hitler ate? Does it matter, considering his ghastly crimes?

    It matters to Berry. He, like other devout vegetarians, whose diets are inextricably linked to their self-avowed, pacifistic lifestyles, can't stand being associated with Hitler. Berry neither eats nor wears animal products and avoids all cooked foods. He first became interested in Hitler's diet after he wrote a book in 1990 called Famous Vegetarians and Their Favorite Recipes. It includes Leonardo di Vinci's love for fried figs and beans; George Bernard Shaw's favorite, brussels sprouts casserole; and Plutarch's classic, asparagus with tahini. It doesn't, however, include any mention of Hitler. At talks and seminars, Berry says, it's rare that someone doesn't point out the omission: "I've been the target of a lot of abuse and taunts from hostile non-vegetarians who bring out the alleged fact of Hitler's vegetarianism and tax me for not having put him the book."

    Berry's new book, Hitler: Neither Vegetarian nor Animal Lover, is an attempt to clear the table on what we know about Hitler's diet. The book, published by Pythagorean—a small house that specializes in vegetarian and animal-rights topics (and named after the Greek genius, Pythagoras, who was apparently history's first famous vegetarian)—is a slim paperback whose cover features a black-and-white photo of Hitler dining with Neville Chamberlain. There's a plate of appetizers on the table, but it's hard to tell if there's meat in them. In any case, Hitler looks like he has other things on his mind.

    While the book doesn't quote any primary sources, the secondary sources Berry uses—newspaper articles, memoirs, other historical texts—seem reputable. The generally accepted idea about Hitler's nutritional regime seems to be that he at least tried to be a vegetarian. Sometime in the early 1930s, after the mysterious death of his niece and confidant, Geli, Hitler swore off meat. Some say seeing her corpse turned his stomach away from flesh. Others say his doctors put the despot on a vegetable-only diet to relieve excessive flatulence and sweating.

    Berry asserts that propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels furthered the notion of Hitler as a strict vegetarian to make the ruthless dictator seem like an ascetic without vices who neither drank, nor smoked, nor ate meat, and was devoted above all to his people. Most lies told by the Third Reich were exposed in the postwar years, but not this one, according to Berry. "It's too good a story for [historians] to spoil it with the truth," he says. "They relish the paradox that a genocidal tyrant might have observed a Gandhian diet."

    In his book, Berry cites written accounts—mostly articles and history texts—that show the instigator of World War II on occasion indulged in carnivorous delights. A 1937 New York Times profile called "At Home with the Furher," for example, describes Hitler as a vegetarian, though notes that he "occasionally relishes a slice of ham." (Hitler apparently celebrated Germany's 1938 annexation of Czechoslovakia with a slice of ham, a Prague specialty.) And in her 1964 book, The Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook, Dione Lucas, who worked at a Hamburg hotel that Hitler frequented, writes, "I do not mean to spoil your appetite for stuffed squab, but you might be interested to know that it was a great favorite with Hitler. ... Let us not hold that against a fine recipe though."

    Mainstream historians don't refute Berry's assertion that Hitler didn't meet contemporary vegetarian standards, but they do have trouble finding meaning in it. John Lukacs, author of Hitler of History, says that the German leader was "mostly a vegetarian," especially after 1938, when Hitler began to worry that his health was failing. That fact is useful in understanding Hitler's psychology before WWII and may explain why he went to war so soon after securing peaceful annexations from Chamberlain and others. But whether he was a strict vegetarian or not doesn't register with Lukacs. "What difference does it make? Hitler never cared much for food," he says, "Except he liked sweets. He had a weakness for creamy cakes, not for chocolates, Viennese creamy cakes. He had pastry cooks make him sweets until the end of his life, even in the bunker."

    Berry's crusade might seem curious considering Hitler's unspeakable crimes toward his fellow man. But Berry makes it clear that he isn't trying to diminish what happened to the millions who died by Hitler's hand (at least not on purpose). The book, in fact, is dedicated to "all those who were sacrificed in the Holocaust." But the project does raise the question, what's the point of all this? Is vegetarianism really undermined if it's true that Hitler abstained from meat?

    Daniel Goldhagen, a Harvard political scientist and author of Hitler's Willing Executioners, a look at how a number of ordinary Germans eagerly assisted in Hitler's genocidal terror, has been a vegetarian since he was 10. Yet despite his intimate understanding of both vegetarianism and Hitler, he doesn't see a connection. "Hitler liked his followers to wear black clothes. Just because I like to wear black doesn't lump me in with him." Unsurprisingly, Goldhagen finds the whole topic off base. "The reason we are interested in this time period is not because of Hitler's diet," he says. In addition, other than Berry, none of the vegetarian activists I spoke to could recall a specific example of being taunted with the "Hitler was a vegetarian" line.

    But maybe Berry is saying something else, something that has less to do with Hitler, and more to do with the lax state of the vegetarian movement today. After all, what vegetarian doesn't cheat?

    It's not much of a challenge to prove that even the most devout herbivores fall off the fruit cart every once in a while. One vegetarian friend stopped by a deli a few years ago for a ham and cheese sandwich. She hadn't eaten meat in 10 years and hasn't since. Another vegetarian buddy in Los Angeles eats the chicken broth from wonton soup, but not the meat-filled dumplings. I even got her to eat a hot dog once. Still, she considers herself a vegetarian.

    Like Hitler, many vegetarians cheat on their diet. Does this make them like Hitler? Of course not. It only makes them crappy vegetarians—at least according to Rynn Berry.





    Alex Frangos is a writer living in Brooklyn.

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    Senior Member Mistress Klaus's Avatar
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    Wink Re: Man obsessed with Hitler's vegetarian ways.

    Interesting to read. I have often read about the great debate on Hitler's 'true' eating habits....I don't think he was a 100% vegetarian... and good for him. I have immense respect for animals...but Hel they taste good! :cow I feel guilty... :drool I love fish too :bfish

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    Senior Member Scoob's Avatar
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    Post Re: Man obsessed with Hitler's vegetarian ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by SKADI
    Interesting to read. I have often read about the great debate on Hitler's 'true' eating habits....I don't think he was a 100% vegetarian... and good for him. I have immense respect for animals...but Hel they taste good!
    I think vegetarianism is a recipe for poor mental and body functioning. And yick, who wants to eat like that? Not me!
    "Whatever is done from love always occurs beyond good and evil." - F. Nietzsche

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    Account Inactive Saoirse's Avatar
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    Post Re: Man obsessed with Hitler's vegetarian ways.

    I tried eating like this but couldnt.

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    Senior Member Turificator's Avatar
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    Post Re: Man obsessed with Hitler's vegetarian ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scoob
    I think vegetarianism is a recipe for poor mental and body functioning. And yick, who wants to eat like that? Not me!
    Vegetarianism is for those willing to submit one of their most irrational, animalistic instincs (eating, which often turn sto gluttony) to rational scrutiny and superior principles.

    An average vegan diet is by any standard superior to the average Western diet. The facts are well known and numerous studies have already been published on the subject. You can believe all the myths you like, but following a strict but balanced plant based diet will make you stronger, not weaker.

    Introduce poison (meat, hormon-infested dairy and eggs) into your body and you can guess what the outcome will be...

    It matters to Berry. He, like other devout vegetarians, whose diets are inextricably linked to their self-avowed, pacifistic lifestyles, can't stand being associated with Hitler.
    Bullshit. I don't consider myself a 'pacifist' in any way. I know several comrades in Italy who have embraced veganism. 'Avanguardia', the only National-Socialist pubblication in the country, regularly features an animal rights and pro-vegetarian page.

    The struggle to resist this decayed liberal society starts from with our meals.
    BLUT UND BODEN!

    Some find it in a flag, some in the beat of a drum
    Some with a book, and some with a gun
    Some in a kiss, and some on the march
    But if you're looking for Europe, best look in your heart

    (Sol Invictus)

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    Senior Member Scoob's Avatar
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    Post Re: Man obsessed with Hitler's vegetarian ways.

    :cucumber
    :banana :banana :banana :cucumber :carrot :carrot :banana :carrot

    Ch-ch-cha ch-ch-ch cha-cha Where's Carmen Miranda?

    For me? I'll take steak
    "Whatever is done from love always occurs beyond good and evil." - F. Nietzsche

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    Senior Member Julius's Avatar
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    Post Re: Man obsessed with Hitler's vegetarian ways.

    It's in fact well proven that Hitler was a vegetarian.



    "One may regret living at a period when it's impossible to form an idea of the shape the world of the future will assume. But there's one thing I can predict to eaters of meat: the world of the future will be vegetarian."
    - Adolf Hitler. November 11, 1941. Section 66, HITLER'S TABLE TALK

    http://www.geocities.com/hitlerwasavegetarian/

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    Senior Member Mac Seafraidh's Avatar
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    Post Re: Man obsessed with Hitler's vegetarian ways.

    I am a Pisco-Vegetarian.

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    Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Julius
    "One may regret living at a period when it's impossible to form an idea of the shape the world of the future will assume. But there's one thing I can predict to eaters of meat: the world of the future will be vegetarian."
    - Adolf Hitler. November 11, 1941. Section 66, HITLER'S TABLE TALK
    Yeah, there are several remarks of Hitler on his vegetarianism and about what he eats and why he does so in the table talks. Also in the memoirs of Speer or Hitler's secretaries there may be first hand remarks on that issue.
    The more it is strange that that author of that new book doesn't refer to first hand sources. The author is of course right in refusing to call Hitler a vegetarian when he only wants to call absolutely strict vegetarians vegetarians: Hitler ate indeed, as an exception to his refusing of meat, liver dumplings which contain of meat as minor addition.

    A photo with Chamberlain where there was "a plate of appetizers on the table" is however hardly an evidence for something and rather shows that the author has no proper evidence for his theory and clutchs at every straw he can find beyond the liver dumplings. Hitler didn't terrorize his nearer surrounding with his eating customs (he only made sometimes nasty little remarks about eating meat ), and normally Hitler's table guests got meat meals while he had special vegetarian meals. Even more grotesque is that he wants to see a photo Chamberlain as evidence, as if the German head of the state would force the British Prime Minister who comes as state guest to follow his special eating customs. :anieyes

    As far as I know Hitler became indeed vegetarian in the time around the tragedy with Geli in 1932, but it hasn't got really in that way something to do directly with that Geli thing as such, but rather with the general stress he had in this time of which the Geli tragedy was only one big part: politics and the permanent election campaigns in that time.
    I remember that he mentions in his table talks somewhere that he sweat much less in his election speaches after he chainged his eating customs.
    His vegetarianism was part of his attempts to live as moderately and healthy as possible: that's no wonder when one thinks of the fact that he was first as charismatic leader of an oppositional, radical mass movement and then as powerful leader of a big state always under extreme load and tension with more or less longer stress situations. One can't compare him with every ordinary dude who lives his cosy little life.
    He also mentioned one time in the table talks that he tried to live as healthy as possible because the men in his family always died comparetively early, and he had to be kept as leader of Germany as long as possible until the greatest duties of the future are carried through.
    Man ſei Held oder Heiliger. In der Mitte liegt nicht die Weisheit, ſondern die Alltäglichkeit.

    SPENGLER

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    Post Re: Man obsessed with Hitler's vegetarian ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by SKADI
    Interesting to read. I have often read about the great debate on Hitler's 'true' eating habits....I don't think he was a 100% vegetarian... and good for him. I have immense respect for animals...but Hel they taste good! :cow I feel guilty... :drool I love fish too :bfish
    I don't eat really that much meat and prefer such with less fat, like beef or poultry. And yes... what could be better than a good fried piece of salmon. You're truly an excellent eater, lady.
    Man ſei Held oder Heiliger. In der Mitte liegt nicht die Weisheit, ſondern die Alltäglichkeit.

    SPENGLER

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