The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Psychological Analysis & Reconstruction

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[Page 187]

From a consideration of all the evidence it would seem that Hitler's perversion is as Geli has described it. The great danger in gratifying it, however, is that the individual might get faeces or urine into his mouth. It is this danger that must be guarded against.

Return to the womb.

Another possibility in infantile thinking presents itself in this connection. When the home environment is harsh and brutal, as it was in Hitler's case, the small child very frequently envies the position of passivity and security the unborn child enjoys within the mother. This, in turn, gives rise to fantasies of finding a way in to the longed for claustrum and ousting his rival in order that he may take his place. These fantasies are usually of very brief duration because, as the child believes, he would have nothing to eat or drink except faeces and urine. The thoughht of such a diet arouses feelings of disgust and consequently he abandons his fantasies in order to avoid these unpleasant feelings. In many psychotics, however, these fantasies continue and strive to express themselves overtly. The outstanding bit of evidence in Hitler's case that such fantasies were present is to be found in the Kehlstein or Eagle's Nest which he has built for himself near Berchtesgaden. Interestingly enough, many people have, commented that only a madman would conceive of such a place, let alone try to build it.

From a symbolic point [Page 188] of view one can easily imagine that this is a materialization of a child's conception of the return to the womb. First there is a long hard road, then a heavily guarded entrance, a trip through a long tunnel to an extremely inaccessible place. Then one can be alone, safe and undisturbed, and revel in the joys that Mother Nature bestows. It is also interesting to note that very few people have ever been invited there and many of Hitier's closest associates are either unaware of its existence or have only seen it from a distance. Extraordinarily enough, Francois-Poncet is one of the few people who was ever invited to visit there. In the French Yellow Book, he gives us an extremely vivid description of the place, a part of which may be worthwhile quoting:

"The approach is by a winding road about nine miles long, boldly cut out of the rock...the road comes to an end in front of a long underground passage leading into the mountain, enclosed by a heavy double door of bronze. At the far end of the underground passage a wide lift, panelled with sheets of copper, awaits the visitor. Through a vertical shaft of 330 feet cut right through the rock, it rises up to the level of the Chancellor's dwelling place. Here is reached the astonishing climax. The visitor finds himself in a strong and massive building containing a gallery with Roman pillars, an immense circular hall with windows all around,... It gives the impression of being suspended in space, an almost overhanging wall of bare rock rises up abruptly. The whole, bathed in the twilight of the autumn evening, is grandiose, wild, almost hallucinating. The visitor wonders whether he is awake or dreaming." (943)

[Page 189]

If one were asked to plan something which represented a return to the womb, one could not possibly surpass the Kehlstein. It is also significant that Hitler often retires to this strange place to await instructions concerning the course he is to pursue.


We can surmise from the psychological defenses Hitler has set up, that there was a period during which he struggled against these tendencies. In terms of unconscious symbolism meat is almost synonomous with faeces and beer with urine. The fact that there is a strict taboo on both would indicate that these desires are still present and that it is only by refraining from everything symbolizing them that he can avoid arousing anxieties. Rauschning reports that Hitler, following Wagner, attributed much of the decay of cur civilization to meat eating. That the decadence "had its origin in the abdomen -- chronic constipation, poisoning of the juices, and the results of drinking to excess." This assertion suggests decay (contamination, corruption, pollution, and death) as the resultant of constipation, that is, feaces in the gastro-intestinal tract, and if this is so, decay might be avoided both by not eating anything resembling feaces and by taking purges or ejecting as frequently as possible. It has been reported that Hitler once said that he was confident that all nations would arrive at the point where they would not feed any more on dead animals. It is [Page 190] interesting to note that according to one of our most reliable informants Hitler only became a real vegetarian after the death of his niece, Geli. In clinical practice, one almost invariably finds compulsive vegetarianism setting in after the death of a loved object.

We may, therefore, regard Hitler's perversion as a compromise between psychotic tendencies to eat faeces and drink urine on the one hand, and to live a normal socially adjusted life on the other. The compromise is not, however, satisfactory to either side of his nature and the struggle between these two diverse tendencies continues to rage unconsciously. We must not suppose that Hitler gratifies his strange perversion frequently. Patients of this type rarely do and in Hitler's case it is highly probable that he has permitted himself to go this far only with his niece, Geli. The practice of this perversion represents the lowest depths of degradation.

Masochistic gratifications.

In most patients suffering from this perversion the unconscious forces only get out of control to this degree when a fairly strong love relationship is established and sexuality makes decisive demands. In other cases where the love component is less strong the individual contents himself with less degrading activities. This is brought out cleariy in the case of Rene Mueller who confided to her director, Zeissler (921), who had asked her what was troubling her after spending an evening at the Chancelllory, "that the evening before she [Page 191] had been with Hitler and that she had been sure that he was going to have intercourse with her; that they had both undressed and were apparently getting ready for bed when Hitler fell on the floor and begged her to kick him. She demurred but he pleaded with her and condemned himself as unworthy, heaped all kinds of accusations on his own head and just grovelled around in an agonizing manner. The scene became intolerable to her and she finally acceded to his wishes and kicked him. This excited him greatly and he begged for more and more, always saying that it was even better than he deserved and that he was not worthy to be in the same room with her. As she continued to kick him he became more and more excited...." Rene Mueller committed suicide shortly after this experience. At this place it night be well to note that Eva Braun, his present female companion, has twice attempted suicide, Geli was either murdered or committed suicide and Unity Mitford has attempted suicide. Rather an unusual record for a man who has had so few affairs with women.

Hanfstaengl, Strasser, and Rauschning, as well as several other informants, have reported that even in company when Hitler is smitted with a girl, he tends to grovel at her feet in a most disgusting manner. Here, too, he insists on telling the girl that he is unworthy to kiss her hand or to sit near her and that he hopes she will be kind to him, etc. From all this we see the constant struggle against complete [Page 192] degradation whenever any affectionate components enter into the picture. It now becomes clear that the only way in which Hitler can control these copraphagic tendencies or their milder manifestations is to isolate himself from any intimate relationships in which warm feelings of affection or love might assert themselves. As soon as such feelings are aroused, he feels compelled to degrade himself in the eyes of the loved object and eat their dirt figuratively, if not literally. These tendencies disgust him just as much as they disgust us, but under these circumstances they get out of control and he despises himself and condemns himself for his weakness. Before considering futher the effects of this struggle on his manifest behavior, we must pause for a moment to pick up another thread.


We notice that in all of these activities Hitler plays the passive role. His behavior is masochistic in the extreme inasmuch as he derives sexual pleasure from punishment inflicted on his own body. There is every reason to suppose that during his early years, instead of identifying himself with his father as most boys do, he identified himself with his mother. This was perhaps easier for him than for most boys since, as we have seen, there is a large feminine component in his physical makeup. His mother, too, must have been an extremely masochistic individual or she never would have entered into this marriage nor would she have endured the brutal treatment from her [Page 193] husband. An emotional identification with his mother would, therefore, carry him in the direction of a passive, sentimental, abasive and submissive form of adjustment. Many writers and informants have commented on his feminine characteristics - his gait, his hands, his mannerisms and ways of thinking. Hanfstaengl reports that when he showed Dr. Jung a specimen of Hitler's handwriting, the latter immediately exclaimed that it was a typically feminine hand. His choice of art as a profession might also be interpreted as a manifestation of a basic feminine identification.

There are definite indications of such an emotional adjustment later in life. The outstanding of these is perhaps his behavior towards his officers during the last war. His comrades report that during the four years he was in service he was not only over-submissive to all his officers but frequently volunteered to do their washing and take care of their clothes. This would certainly indicate a strong tendency to assume the feminine role in the presence of a masculine figure whenever this was feasible and could be duly rationalized. His extreme sentimentality, his emotionality, his occasional softness and his weeping, even after he became Chancellor, may be regarded as manifestations of a fundamental feminine pattern which undoubtedly had its origins in his relationship to his mother. His persistent fear of cancer, which was the illness from which his mother died, may also be considered as an expression of his early identification with her. [Page 194]

Although we cannot enter into a discussion concerning the frequency of this phenomenon in Germany, it may be well to note that there is sociological evidence which would indicate that it is probably extremely common. If further research on the subject should corroborate this evidence, it might prove of extreme value to our psychological warfare program insofar as it would give us a key to the understanding of the basic nature of the German male character, and the role that the Nazi organization plays in their inner life.


The great difficulty is that this form of identification early in life carries the individual in the direction of passive homosexuality. Hitler has for years been suspected of being a homosexual, although there is no reliable evidence that he has actually engaged in a relationship of this kind. Rauschning reports that he has met two boys who claimed that they were Hitler's homosexual partners, but their testimony can scarcely be taken at its face value. More condemning would be the remarks dropped by Foerster, the Danzig Gauleiter, in conversations with Rauschning. Even here, however, the remarks deal only with Hitler's impotence as far as heterosexual relations go without actually implying that he indulges in homosexuality. It is probably true that Hitler calls Foerster "Bubi", which is a common nickname employed by homosexuals in addressing their partners. This alone, however, is not adequate proof that he has actually indulged in homosexual practices with Foerster, who is known to be a homosexual.

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