Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Hitler's bad habits revealed

Adolf Hitler in 1940

Adolf Hitler's "uncouth" personal conduct, including biting his nails during meals, are exposed today in secret intelligence papers.

The documents paint a picture of Hitler based on information from one of his wartime aides, who describes the Nazi leader as a solitary man "of extremely few but intense emotions" and "shocking" table manners.

The account by the unknown German officer, who kept the war diary at the Wolf's Lair military headquarters and dined with Hitler at least 30 times, form part of an end-of-war intelligence report discovered in an unknown house in the South West, which is to be sold at auction next month.

According to the informant, simply referred to as Lieutenant Colonel PW, Hitler "ate prodigious amounts of cake", which contributed to a "digestive disorder", and lost himself in thought during meals.

"Hitler eats rapidly, mechanically - for him food is merely an indispensable means of subsistence" he wrote.

"Quite often Hitler will sit there throughout the entire meal, turned to his own thoughts, seemingly without listening to the talk going on around him.

"However, he does follow the drift of the conversation vaguely, to him the conversation seems to have the effect that music has on others; it stimulates his thoughts and relaxes him."

Dated May 1945 - the year Hitler died - and marked "must be destroyed within 48 hours of reading", the report said the Fuhrer spoke "in a mellow baritone, without that raucous, unpleasant stridency of his public speeches".

But it added: "At the table and in his speech he shows many facets of his 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."

Hitler also preferred stewed vegetables and fruit to meat, herbal tea to coffee and banned smoking in his presence, according to the informant.

The report also explores Hitler's personal life, saying he "at one time discoursed at length with PW on the reasons why he never married. Hitler told him that he could never allow the care for a family to interfere with his duties of statesmanship. Hitler truly believed himself wedded to the German nation".

Rumours about Hitler's homosexuality "are rumours and nothing more", the account said, adding: "If there was any such streak in him, it was a touch of passive masochism in his relationship with women."

Hitler had relationships with women, including "a Miss Braun", but the officer believed these to be platonic.

The dictator was also apparently a nocturnal man, "highly susceptible to exposure to the sun, which seemed to affect his brain in some way", and who threw "carpet-biting" tantrums, one of which featured a major who failed to pass on a message of retreat.

"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'," the report said.

"Then he raved on and finally demoted the major to private."

The documents are due to go under the hammer on March 5 at Ludlow Racecourse in Shropshire, where the auctioneers Mullock's expect them to fetch between £500 and £1,000.

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