Chris Bell tuned in to a National Geographic special called Hitler the Junkie, intrigued to find out the dictator’s penchant for unusual recreational remedies.
It wasn’t cocaine, barbiturates or crystal meth that got me hooked. It was Bulgarian peasant faeces. Since it was Adolf Hitler who supposedly ingested them, wouldn’t Aryan faeces have been safer?
I was sure Hitler The Junkie, would enlighten me. The documentary would also reveal what part bulls’ semen and “82 different drugs” played in the creation and demise of the world’s most evil man.
“This is a revelatory tale from the moral vacuum at the heart of the Third Reich,” the narrator claims, as Hitler cavorts at his Berghof retreat with his evil assistant: not Goebbels or Himmler but Dr Theodor Morell, der Reichsspritzenmeister (“The Reich’s Injection Master”), piggy little eyes darting behind bottle-bottom spectacles. Morell, Hitler’s personal physician, is the film’s true antagonist.
Nothing faeces-related yet.. The filmmakers estimate Hitler took seventy medications during the Second World War. A Wikipedia article on Hitler’s health estimates 90. The programme description claims 82, although that number never comes up in the film. But the peasant poop score is still nil, and no Bulgarians.
The Good Shit
I tweet the National Geographic programme description. Twitter friends (well, all right, one friend) tweet back wondering if the next Downfall bunker parody will be an apoplectic Hitler discovering he’s been eating Bulgarian shoe-salesman faeces instead of the good shit. Unless you too have been in a bunker for the past few years, you’ll know the kind of thing: Hitler finds out the Black Caps have been beaten in the cricket; Hitler finds out there’s no Santa. Take your pick.
Historian Sir Richard Evans perpetuates the myth that Hitler was a vegetarian. I’m hardly shocked to learn the Führer suffered from terrible flatulence as a result of a bean-heavy diet. Donnerwetter! The description of Hitler’s stool sample in Hitler’s medical records is the film’s bombshell, as it were: “Dirty grey-brown, very thin and mushy.” Trying to heal Hitler’s “tummy troubles” in an early attempt at faecal replacement therapy, Morell gave Hitler a preparation called Mutaflor. Ah-ha! Had this been harvested from Bulgarian peasants? No. It consisted partly of bacteria extracted from the faeces of a German First World War soldier. Not a whiff of a Bulgarian peasant.
While giving Hitler his many daily injections Morell often bent the hypodermic needles, which surely can’t have been well received by his choleric patient. And it wasn’t easy being an evil dictator, Morell notes: “Seventeenth of December, 1942. The Führer told me that it’s one worry after another, all day long…” Strangely, our heart doesn’t bleed for him – although it may have done had Morell been our doctor.
Testoviron was another of ‘Dr Feelgood’s remedies: an extract of bulls’ semen, a testosterone boost given to Hitler “when he was with Eva Braun at the Berghof” (nudge, nudge; wink, wink). Hitler also used a drug called Pervitin, which contained methamphetamine: “Likely high on crystal meth, Hitler ranted nonstop at Mussolini for two hours.” We’re given no clue as to Benito’s response – did they shoot up together? Did they hold a farting competition?
We see what may have been Hitler’s shredded trousers – torn not by the aftereffects of ingesting Bulgarian peasant faeces, but blown apart in the course of the July 20 1944 assassination plot. Anyone who’s seen the Downfall bunker parodies will find it difficult not to laugh at Morell’s anticlimactic journal entries before fleeing the Führerbunker: “Thirteeth of February 1945. The Führer was behaving oddly with me. He was basically being bad tempered and he was curt.”
Never before have I been disappointed with a film because of its failure to mention Bulgarian peasant faeces. There wasn’t a single mention of Bulgaria or its peasants in the entire film. Sky TV programme descriptions usually fall short because of their brevity rather than because they include information that isn’t in the film, but this may be the source of that dubious Bulgarian peasant business.
Hitler The Junkie is followed by House on Vibe. My nightly fix with the self-destructive, unsentimental diagnostician may appear tame tonight. And something tells me Dr Gregory House MD wouldn’t have had much time for Doktor Theodor Morell.