In the book Heretic’s Feast, Colin Spencer gives credence to the myth that Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian. He makes reference to Hitler’s supposed vegetarianism no fewer than four times, devoting a lengthy five-page section to it in chapter 12.

While it is true that Hitler’s doctors put him on a vegetarian diet to cure him of flatulence and a chronic stomach disorder, his biographers such as Albert Speer, Robert Payne, John Toland, and others, have attested to his liking for ham sausages and other cured meats.

Even Spencer says that Hitler was a vegetarian from only 1931 on: “It would be true to say that up to 1931, he preferred a vegetarian diet, but on some occasions would deviate from it.” He committed suicide in the bunker when he was 56 in 1945; that would have given him 14 years as a vegetarian, but we have the testimony to the contrary of the woman chef who was his personal cook in Hamburg during the late 1930s – Dione Lucas. In her “Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook,” she records that his favorite dish – the one that he customarily requested – was stuffed squab (pigeon).

“I do not mean to spoil your appetite for stuffed squab, but you might be interested to know that it was a great favorite with Mr. Hitler, who dined in the hotel often.”

– From a review by Rynn Berry that appeared in the Summer 1995 issue of Vegetarian Voice.

New York Times posts a correction – Hitler “did eat at least some meat.”

The March 15, 2005 New York Times “Corrections” box included the following important item on page two:

“A film review about ‘Downfall,’ which looks at Hitler’s final days, referred incorrectly to his diet. Although the movie portrays him as vegetarian, he did eat at least some meat.”

– From a Jewish Vegetarians of North America news release. The link includes more information about Hitler’s meat eating and the fact that the Nazis banned vegetarian organizations in Germany and the lands they invaded and occupied.

Hitler – Vegetarianism’s skeleton in the closet

[Adolph Hitler] is said to have given up meat out of a fear of developing cancer*. Meat eaters love to cite Hitler’s fondness for vegetables as proof that one may eschew meat and still be aggressive, cruel, megalomaniacal, psychopathic, and everything else unlovely. What these critics choose to ignore is that no one has shown that those who tortured and murdered in his name, the S.S. storm troopers and Gestapo, ever shunned meat. The point is that a vegetarianism concerning itself only with [human] health and not the animals’ – their pain and suffering – can easily end up as a cultic “ism,” an attachment to a particular diet for its own sake.

*In his book Adolph Hitler, author John Toland says that Hitler had a great fear of contracting cancer, because his mother had died of the disease, and that he followed an essentially vegetarian diet in the belief that meat eating and pollution in general caused cancer.

– From the book: To Cherish All Life: A Buddhist Case for Becoming Vegetarian by Philip Kapleau.

The full text of this excellent book is available as a pdf file: