Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Adolf Hitler's table manners shocking: British intelligence report

After the Kujau fraud, one does rather wonder at the authenticity of this document. Its provenance would have to be thoroughly investigated before it is taken seriously. There are a number of points which are rather surprising

ADOLF Hitler's uncouth behaviour and shocking table manners appalled his wartime dining companions, according to a secret intelligence report discovered during a house clearance.

The papers, marked “Must be destroyed within 48 hours of reading”, include a psychological profile of the Nazi dictator based on the interrogation of one of his closest aides.

The aide, an officer who kept the appointments diary at Wolf's Lair, Hitler's military headquarters at Rastenburg in East Prussia, described how the Führer bit his nails during meals, gorged on cakes and was often lost in his own thoughts, paying little attention to the conversation around him. He also spoke about the rages that kept Hitler's senior officers in a state of constant terror.

The papers are part of an intelligence summary prepared as the war neared its end and are believed to have been saved by a British officer. They were found at a house in Britain and are to be sold at auction next month.

The unnamed German officer, a lieutenant colonel referred to as PW — prisoner of war — was based at Wolf's Lair for several months in 1943. He dined with Hitler at least 30 times and observed his daily routine. He told the Allies that Hitler would eat only vegetables and stewed fruit and banned smoking in his presence. His meals would be accompanied by one or two glasses of beer.

“Hitler eats rapidly, mechanically, for him food is merely an indispensable means of subsistence,” PW said. Conversation at the dinner table relaxed Hitler and stimulated his thoughts. When he spoke it was “in mellow baritone, without that raucous, unpleasant stridency of his public speeches”.

But the informant added: “At the table and in his speech he shows many facets of rather uncouth behaviour. He abstractedly bites his fingernails, he runs his index finger back and forth under his nose, and his table manners are little short of shocking.”

Although Hitler forswore meat and drank herbal tea in preference to coffee, the report said that he ate “prodigious amounts of cake”, which contributed to his “digestive disorder”.

The officer also gave an insight into Hitler's private life, saying that the dictator told companions that he had never married because he could not allow care for a family to interfere with his duty to the German nation.

He had female companions, including “a Miss Braun”, but it was generally believed that the relationships were platonic. The officer also dismissed as “rumours” speculation that Hitler had homosexual tendencies.

He told how Hitler threw “carpet-biting” tantrums. A major on night duty who failed to pass on a message confirming that the retreat from El Alamein had begun felt the full force of his wrath.

“When Hitler heard about this he threw one of his typical fits and greeted the major with the words, ‘If you say a word in your defence, I'll have you shot'. Then he raved on and finally demoted the major to private.

Hitler also had a profound belief in divine providence and his own destiny, encouraged when an assassin's bomb left him uninjured. The officer left Wolf's Lair convinced that the Führer was a madman.

Terry Charman, a senior historian at the Imperial War Museum, said: “It is a surprise to hear of Hitler drinking beer as it is generally believed he had given up alcohol in 1931. The description of the tantrum is typical.”

The auction will be on on March 5 and the papers are expected to fetch up to 1000 pounds.,25197,25072203-2703,00.html

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