Hitler was not a vegetarian

Before we look at the evidence that Hitler was not a vegetarian, it’s important to know where the idea that he was was coming from, because this debate is rarely fair. People who claim that Hitler was a vegetarian usually “heard” about it somewhere and immediately decided that it was true. At the same time, if you tell them that Hitler was not actually a vegetarian, they, having accepted the fact of his vegetarianism without question, will suddenly demand proof.

Why don’t they need proof that Hitler was not a vegetarian, but they don’t need proof that he was? Obviously, many people want to believe that Hitler was a vegetarian. Perhaps they are afraid of vegetarianism, thinking it is wrong.

And then the idea that the infamous Hitler was a vegetarian gives them a reason to refute the whole concept of vegetarianism in one fell swoop. “Hitler was a vegetarian, so vegetarianism in itself is defective!” Of course, this is a very stupid argument. But the bottom line is that many people want to believe it, so they don’t demand any proof that Hitler was a vegetarian, but suddenly they want it from people who think otherwise.

If you think I’m exaggerating the role of anti-vegetarians in creating the Vegetarian Hitler myth, read this letter someone sent to award-winning writer John Robbins, who has written several books on the benefits of a meat-free diet.

You people who say that we would all be more comfortable on a vegetarian diet seem to have forgotten that Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian. It undermines your faith, doesn’t it? ()

God, just look at this: It undermines your faith, doesn’t it?! That’s how important it is for non-vegetarians whether Hitler was a vegetarian. They believe that since Hitler was a vegetarian, vegetarianism in itself is completely untenable. How can you be so funny?

Thinking people will understand that even if Hitler was a vegetarian, it doesn’t matter. It would not “undermine our faith.” Sometimes bad people make good choices. It’s not that hard to understand. If Hitler had chosen vegetarianism, it was simply one of the best choices of his life. If he was fond of chess, it would not discredit chess. In fact, one of the best chess players in the history of the game, Bobby Fischer, was a rabid anti-Semite, but no one stopped playing chess because of that.

So what if Hitler was into chess? Would those who don’t play chess then scoff at chess players? No, because people who don’t play chess don’t care if others play it or not. They don’t feel threatened by chess players. But when it comes to vegetarianism, things take a different turn. Here is such a strange motivation for those who prove that Hitler did not eat meat.

And of course, even if Hitler were a vegetarian, every other mass murderer in history wasn’t. If we kept the score, it would be: Vegetarian mass murderers: 1, Non-vegetarian mass murderers: hundreds.

Now we move on to a curious debate: Hitler vs. Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was a vegetarian for about a year, from the age of 16 to 17 (), but, of course, few people know about it. If a meat eater is told (by mistake) that Franklin was a vegetarian, they will immediately want to know if he ever ate meat, and if he admits that he did, they will say incriminatingly: “Aha!” They’ll exclaim in triumph, “So Franklin wasn’t actually a vegetarian, was he?!” It makes me very sad to see many, many disputes developing in this scenario.

This is important, because the same people have much softer criteria for Hitler. Franklin could eat meat once every four years, and his vegetarianism would be refuted, but if Hitler ever ate potatoes – bam! – He is a vegetarian. This is also important because there are numerous facts that Hitler ate meat throughout his life, but they are easily dismissed by those who consider Hitler a vegetarian.

For Franklin, the standard is different: Franklin had to avoid meat 100% of his time, all his life, from birth to death, unwaveringly, otherwise he cannot be considered a vegetarian. It’s like thinking that Hitler, who once did not eat meat, is a vegetarian, and Franklin, who ate fish once in six years without meat, is not. (To clarify: as we said earlier, Franklin was a vegetarian for about a year, but many don’t know about it. I’m talking about how different standards people have for Hitler and everyone else.)

So what does it mean to be a vegetarian? Most people would agree that this is a conscious decision, whatever the reason behind it. But according to this criterion, Franklin was a vegetarian for about a year, and the rest of the time he was not. As for Hitler, there is no convincing evidence that he adhered to a vegetarian diet for any more or less long time.

Many sources say he ate meat throughout the 1930s (see below). Shortly before his death (in 1941 and 1942) he claimed to be a vegetarian, and supporters of the idea “Hitler was a vegetarian!” cling to it. After all, Hitler would not lie or exaggerate, would he? Well, I mean, we’re talking about Hitler, who would even think to dispute Hitler’s veracity? If you don’t trust Hitler, who can you trust? If we had to choose one person on Earth whose word we would believe unconditionally, it would be Hitler, right? Of course, we believe that every word spoken by Hitler can be trusted unconditionally, without the slightest doubt!

Rynne Berry adds: “To clarify: Hitler claimed to be a vegetarian… but the sources cited in my book say that while ranting about vegetarianism, he did not follow this diet all the time.”

In fact, many people use the word “vegetarianism” to describe diets that are not vegetarian at all, and the case of Hitler is no exception. An article dated May 30, 1937, “At Home with the Fuhrer,” states: “It is known that Hitler is a vegetarian and that he does not drink or smoke. His lunch and dinner consist for the most part of soup, eggs, vegetables and mineral water, although sometimes he regales himself with a piece of ham and dilutes his monotonous diet with such delicacies as caviar … “That is, when Hitler says that he is a vegetarian, he is almost certainly has this context in mind: he is a “vegetarian” who eats meat. It’s like someone saying, “I’m not a robber! I only rob a bank once a month.”

For those who insist that Hitler’s words about his vegetarianism in the 1940s must be taken literally, here is a real gem from the “Hitler Book” about his daily affairs in 1944: “After midnight (Eva) ordered a light snack from turtle soup, sandwiches and sausage.” If Hitler really was a vegetarian, he was a sausage-eating vegetarian.

Below are a few articles about Hitler’s real diet.  

From Evolution in Nutrition by John Robbins:

Robert Payne is considered an authoritative biographer of Hitler. In his book Hitler: The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, Payne writes that Hitler’s “vegetarianism” was a “legend” and “fiction” created by Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister.

Payne writes: “Hitler’s asceticism played an important role in the image he projected on Germany. According to a widely believed legend, he did not smoke, drink, eat meat, or have any kind of relationship with women. Only the first was correct. He often drank beer and diluted wine, was very fond of Bavarian sausages and had a mistress, Eva Braun … His asceticism was a fiction invented by Goebbels to emphasize his passion, self-control and distance between him and other people. With this ostentatious asceticism, he declared that he devoted himself completely to the service of his people. In fact, he always indulged his desires, there was nothing of an ascetic in him.

From the Toronto Vegetarian Association:

Although doctors did prescribe a vegetarian diet for Hitler to cure flatulence and chronic indigestion, his biographers, such as Albert Speer, Robert Payne, John Toland, and others, acknowledged his love of ham, sausages and other meat dishes. Even Spencer said that Hitler had only been a vegetarian since 1931: “It is fair to say that until 1931 he preferred a vegetarian diet, but sometimes deviated from it.” He committed suicide in a bunker in 1945 when he was 56. That is, he could have been a vegetarian for 14 years, but we have evidence from his chef, Dion Lucas, who wrote in her book Gourmet Cooking School that her favorite dish , which he often demanded – stuffed pigeons. “I don’t want to spoil your love for stuffed pigeons, but you might be interested to know that Mr. Hitler, who often dined at the hotel, was very fond of this dish.”

From The Animal Program 1996 edition attributed to Roberta Kalechofsky

In an effort to discredit animal rights activists, proponents of animal research claim in the media that Hitler was a vegetarian and the Nazis did not test on animals.

These “revelations” are purported to reveal a sinister connection between the Nazis and animal rights activists and warn that animal rights activists are inhumane. But the truth about Hitler and the Nazis is very far from the myths. One fair response to such claims is that it doesn’t really matter if Hitler was a vegetarian; as Peter Singer said, “The fact that Hitler had a nose doesn’t mean we’re going to cut our own noses off.”

Biographical material on Hitler shows that there were contradictions in the accounts of his diet. He is often described as a vegetarian, but at the same time he was very fond of sausages and caviar, and sometimes ham. One of his biographers, Robert Payne (The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler), did not subscribe to the myth of Hitler’s asceticism, writing that this image was deliberately promoted by the Nazis in order to add purity and conviction to the image of Hitler.

Biographer John Toland (“Adolf Hitler”) describes Hitler’s student meals as consisting of “milk, sausage and bread”.

Furthermore, Hitler never promoted vegetarianism as a public policy for health or moral reasons. The lack of support for vegetarianism speaks volumes about a leader who rigorously promoted health policy, anti-tobacco and environmental legislation, and measures for pregnant and childbirth women.

Rumors that the Nazis passed a law banning vivisection are also very controversial. There was no such law, although the Nazis spoke of its existence. The Vivisection Prohibition Act was supposedly passed in 1933.  

The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, reviewed the law in 1934 and warned opponents of vivisection that it was too early to celebrate, as it was essentially no different from the British law passed in 1876, which restricted some animal research but did not ban it. . Nazi doctors continued to conduct a huge amount of experiments on animals.

There is more than enough evidence of animal experiments. In The Dark Face of Science, John Vivien summarizes:

“Experiments on prisoners, for all their diversity, had one thing in common – they were all continuations of experiments on animals. The scientific literature confirming this is mentioned in all sources, and in the Buchenwald and Auschwitz camps, animal and human experiments were part of the same program and were carried out simultaneously. It is important that people know the facts so that the myths about Hitler and the Nazis are not used against vegetarians and animal rights activists.

Animal rights activists should not allow these erroneous claims to appear in the media without rebuttal. We need to bring the truth to the people. Roberta Kalechofsky is a writer, publisher, and president of Jews for Animal Rights.

Michael Bluejay 2007-2009



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