Day 989: The Medicinal Repast Of History’s Maddest Mad-Man

originally published September 15, 2014

There’s a tiny voice inside my head, that interminable squawk of the ever-shrinking crimson-lensed optimist, who wants to believe that Dr. Theodor Morell was doing his best to assassinate Adolph Hitler from the inside out. Morell was the Fuhrer’s personal physician, and as the world began to warp around the consequences of his patient’s actions, his freewheeling approach to the prescription pen increased. Was he doing his ill-informed best to keep Germany’s leader in good health? Or was he subversively hoping to kill him?

Okay, that’s an easy one; Dr. Morell was an incompetent putz who appeared to have forged his medical path through a garbled jungle of whim and outlandish guess-work. Had he truly been looking to snuff out Hitler’s flame he would have been just a bit more thorough in his boobery. Also, he would have likely been facing a swift execution by the other Third Reich brass.

The truth behind Hitler’s health is a curious stew of horrors and weirdness. The man deserves none of our pity of course, but in looking over what we have learned about his bizarre journey through Germany’s medical industry, I have to wonder if some of his unmitigated evil might have been a result of the strange goings-on within his innards.

In November 2008 a curious story wormed its way into the news cycle. The story can be traced through Polish priest and amateur historian Franciszek Pawlar, who claims to have once spoken with a man named Johan Jambor (pictured above). Jambor had been a medic for Germany during the first World War, and it was he who treated a wounded Adolf Hitler at the Battle of the Somme in France in 1916. Hitler had received a wound to the “groin” – a more specific account I’m afraid I can’t offer.

According to Blassius Hanczuch, an old friend of Johan Jambor who confirmed the story when it leaked in 2008, the medics referred to the future Fuhrer as Schreihals, or “Screamer”. As they were hauling him to safety, the group fell under French fire, and the wounded had to be abandoned as the others leapt for cover. Hitler shrieked threats of court martials if the medics didn’t return to pick him up at once.

I know – they should have just let the prick die. But how could they know? One thing was most certainly evident from this story however, and it was the savory morsel that sold the item to the press: Hitler did, in actual fact, only have one testicle.

The rumor of Hitler’s monoballism first appeared in the hit song, “Hitler Has Only Got One Ball,” which Brits used to chant with a gleeful fervor throughout the grisly days of WWII. A 1970 Soviet Autopsy report appeared to back the rumor with evidence, though the veracity of such claims has been called into question; most of Hitler’s remains were ashes by the time the Allies got hold of his body, as per his final wishes. Whether this half-scrotectomy psychologically affected the man is certainly a ripe plum for juicy debate, but something or other eventually led Adolph into contact with Dr. Theodor Morell in 1936.

Morell had been a card-carrying Nazi since 1933, and had sufficient connections to land him at a party at the Berghof – Hitler’s mountain party pad – so he could meet the man. He assured Hitler he could “cure” him within a year, though what he promised to cure remains somewhat vague. It has been said by historians that Hitler suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, skin lesions, coronary sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and syphilis. So take your pick.

Dr. Morell began treating Hitler with his own special brew of vitamins and hydrolyzed E. coli bacteria, a little cocktail he called Mutaflor. I should point out that most E. coli bacteria is harmless; Hitler wasn’t receiving doses of the stuff that caused people to become seriously ill from eating at Jack-In-The-Box; this was a more benign type of critter. The Mutaflor successfully cured whatever had been ailing Hitler, which ensured Dr. Morell a permanent seat at the table of Reich insiders. He had made it inside.

Naturally when your country’s all-powerful dictator insists you’ve just got to see his guy for your medical needs, people are going to go. And Hitler recommended Morell to all his evil buddies. But most of them – in particular Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler – found Morell to be a quack. Albert Speer (Hitler’s chief architect) was recommended to Morell for a stomach ailment, which another doctor had told him was nothing more than work-related stress. Speer eased up on work and found it went away on its own. Still, he told Hitler that he’d gotten better because of Morell’s advice. You don’t want to piss off the big guy.

When Hitler would feel groggy, Morell would shoot him up with a mixture of water and something called Vitamulin, which he carried around in unmarked gold packets. A member of the SS tested the stuff and found that it contained a noteworthy amount of methamphetamine. Before long, the Fuhrer was addicted.

So here we have a one-balled meth-head, fuelled by fears of syphilis (which was, of course, a disease of the Jews, according to Hitler) and willing to listen to a quack physician who cared more about scooping up the deutschmarks than dispensing quality care. This man is leading a nation of economically depressed yet fully obedient, loyal, and nationalist fighters into a world war. It’s really no wonder the world was in such bat-shit condition; as much as Hitler may have been a strategist, an orator and a motivator of the desperate, he was also tweaked to the nuts on crank.

Sorry… to the nut.

As the clock was ticking toward Hitler’s eventual demise, his health began to worsen. Newsreel footage exists of tremors in his hand and a strained, shuffling walk that might suggest that Parkinson’s disease was throttling his system. But we should also note the generous diet of medications that Morell was feeding into Hitler, which included at least 28 pills per day, a stream of amphetamines for his energy, numerous injections (including several of glucose) and intravenous injections of methamphetamine. Hitler was likely getting as worn-down from the inside as his army was by the Allies’ continued advances in 1945.

Hitler dismissed Morell about a week before his suicide by gunshot on April 30, 1945. Morell left behind a supply of medications, but because Hitler’s final wishes involved the immolation of his and Eva Braun’s bodies after their deaths, a true and accurate autopsy was probably never done – in spite of the 1970 claims by the Soviet press. British historian Ian Kershaw insists that only Hitler’s lower jaw (which provided dental remains for identification) could be recovered.

So we’ll never know the truth about Hitler’s one testicle (apart from Johan Jambor’s account), and we’ll never know the extent to which the medications prescribed by Morell were ravaging his body and mind. Morell himself died of a stroke in 1948 before his side of the story could be fully explored.

Perhaps we should simply accept the moral of this story being that world leaders with large armies at their disposal should stay the hell away from meth. Or maybe we should simply find solace in the hope that Hitler spent most of his adult life in some level of suffering.

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