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Written by Alexander Kimel - Holocaust Survivor.

Mein Kampf- Hitler's biographical book and the bible of the Nazi movement is the best guide to Hitler's psyche, and it is important for what is says as well for what it leaves out. One of the mysteries not covered in the Mein Kampf is why did Hitler not serve in the Austrian Army. Hitler was born in 1889, and in 1910 , at the age of 21, he was subject to the conscription to the Imperial Austrian Army. In 1913 Hitler suddenly left Vienna for Bavarian, without being drafted into the Army. Hitler either dodged the draft or was found unfit to serve for health reasons. Knowing Hitler's militaristic outlook it is doubtful that he was a draft dodger, so health must have been the problem. Ernest Hanfstaengl- a member of Hitler's entourage writes in his memoirs about Hitler's syphilis and congenital problems:

From watching Hitler and talking to those closer to him, I had formed the firm conviction that he was impotent, the repressed type. Hitler's repressed homosexuality probably dated from the time in Vienna when he caught syphilis in Vienna about 1908. . . . One thing that became borne in on me very early was the absence of a vital factor in Hitler's existence. He had no normal sex life. . . It was part of hidden complexes and a constitutional insufficiency which may have been congenital and may have resulted from a syphilitic infection during his youth in Vienna.

In 1914, after the outbreak of the World War I, Hitler volunteered to the Bavarian Army and was accepted. It is probable that in 1914 the sickness was partially healed, the outward symptoms disappeared and in the general upheaval caused by the outbreak of the war the physical examination was not to thorough. Syphilis is a very unusual disease, with very unusual patterns. The basic primary stage begins after an approximate 3 week incubation period. During this stage all symptoms appear; rash, breaks in the skin, sores, and a person feels generally unwell. After a period of about 9 months, all the symptoms disappear, even without any treatment, and the latent stage starts. In the latent stage a person is not infectious and syphilis can only be detected through the blood test. The latent stage lasts from 1 to 50 years.

In the last and final stage - the tertiary stage the disease causes permanent damage of parts of the body; ulcers of the skin, lesions on ligaments bones or joints. Tertiary syphilis is most serious when it attacks heart, the brain or the nervous system. When syphilis attacks the brain it causes the inflammation of the brain, called "encephalitis". Today syphilis is a curable affliction and it is almost extinct, but in the thirties it was quite frequent. In a 1930 published textbook "The Human Mind", Karl Menninger gives the following description od syphilis:

Many people who have syphilis don't know they have it. Those who do know it rarely suspect the possibility of its affecting the nervous system. Brain syphilis follows original infection by many years. It is difficult for the public to realize that syphilis far more frequently betrays itself by queer conduct than by starting skin eruptions. Brain syphilis may exist for years without being suspected by anyone, least by the victim.

When the sickness attack the nervous system it is called neurosyphilis, and it can kill, paralyze or render insane. The psychosis caused by encephalitis or neurosyphilis is accompanied by progressive paralysis, and it is called general paresis. It is almost certain that Hitler caught syphilis in Vienna. In summer of 1942 Himmler was seriously considering the removal of Hitler from power, and showed Felix Kersten his confidante, a thick folder containing a report relating to Hitler's syphilis:

The report was twenty-six pages long and was a compendium of all Hitler's medical reports since the time he had been treated for serious eye trouble at the hospital in Pasewalk. The following facts were established: In his youth, Hitler contracted syphilis, he had left Pasewalk apparently cured, but in 1937 symptoms appeared the showed beyond all possible doubts that the disease was still active. Finally at the beginning of 1942, the current year, there had been manifestation which made it evident that the Fuhrer was suffering from progressive syphilitic paralysis.

Because of the disease Hitler was exempt from the service in the Austrian Army. In about 1914 the symptoms of the syphilis disappeared and the latent stage started. The disease was not treated and the infection remained latent, until it resurfaced in 1935, with start of the final tertiary stage.

It is also possible to pinpoint the approximate of the acquisition of this affliction. In 1908 Hitler shared a room in Vienna at Stumpergasse with his childhood friend Kubizek. In August of 1908 Kubizek went visit his parents in Linz, and Hitler remained alone in the room, rented from Frau Zakreys. On November 20, 1908 Kubizek returned to Vienna and to his amazement discovered that his friend Hitler moved out suddenly taking all his possessions, leaving no message and no forwarding address. Hitler vanished.

"Unknown to Kubizek, Adolf was living only a few blocks away from his old lodgings. In Austria every change of address has to be reported to the police and accordingly on November 18 he signed a police registration giving his address as Room 16/22 Felbergasse....The new room had more light than Frau Zakreys's room and cost more money. He liked the place well enough to stay there for eight months, living alone, rarely leaving his room, speaking to scarcely anyone, and having no visible occupation."

It is save to assume that Hitler's strange behavior was due to the affliction that Hitler acquired, and syphilis was the cause the break with his friend and the strange solitary life. In my Kampf Hitler shows a tremendous preoccupation with syphilis. Two whole sections were devoted to syphilis. Hitler wrote:

Particularly with regard to syphilis, the attitude of the leadership of the nation and the state can only be designated as total capitulation. ..This Jewification of our spiritual life and mammonization of our mating instincts will sooner or later destroy our entire offspring... To fight it seriously, they would have to take somewhat broader measures ..For, seriously to attack this plaque, tremendous sacrifices and equally great labors are necessary.
The fight syphilis demands a fight against prostitution, against prejudices, old habits, against previous conceptions, general views among them not least the false prudery of certain circles.

In 1935 Hitler fell ill, he complained about cardiac pains, excessive gasses and insomnia, but refused to be examined by a doctor. Speer writes in his memoirs:

Hitler was never seriously examined at the time but experimented with treating his symptoms by his own theories.....Later he was persuaded to undergo an examination by Morell (Dr. Theodore Morell, specialist in skin and venereal diseases)...... The other injections and drugs he gave to Hitler were not generally known; they were only hinted at. ... And in fact the injections had to be given more and more frequently. ...One day Goering deeply offended Morell by addressing him as "Herr Reich Injection Master.

At the end of the war Hitler's health deteriorated significantly, and there was a general opinion that Hitler suffered from Parkinson's disease. In 1945, General Guderian, visited Hitler in his bunker under the Reich Chancery and describes Hitler appearance:

It was no longer simply his left hand, but the whole left side of his body that trembled.... He walked awkwardly, stooped more than ever, and his gestures were both jerky and slow. He had to have a chair pushed beneath him when he wished to sit down.

Hitler's armament minister and close collaborator Speer also visited Hitler in his bunker in Berlin, and gave a more vivid description of Hitler, sickness:

"Now, he was shriveling up like an old man. His limbs trembled; he walked stooped, with dragging footsteps. Even his voice became quavering and lost masterfulness.....When he became excited, as he frequently did in a senile way, his voice started breaking. .......His complexion was sallow, his face swollen; his uniform, which in the past he had kept scrupulously neat, was often neglected in this last period of life and stained by the food he had eaten with a shaking hand....I was constantly tempted to pity the hopeless situation, he continued to commit nonexistent divisions, or to order units supplied by planes could no longer fly for lack of fuel. ...He frequently took flight from reality and entered his world of fantasy....he claimed he was in a position to conquer Bolshevism by the strength of his personality and in alliance with the West."

Outwardly the symptoms remind Parkinsonism, a disease due to the degeneration of the nerve cells in one part of the brain, usually as a result of arteriosclerosis. It manifests itself in trembling and muscular rigidity that interferes with all movements, from facial expression to locomotion. It occurs fairly often in old age. Hitler was at that time 56 years old, and besides the trembling and stooping he showed signs of flight from reality. Parkinson's disease does not affect the functioning of the brain just the motor coordination. Hitler's moodiness, flight from reality, fits of temper, sulkiness indicate the disease to be general paresis, and very often paresis is accompanied by the Parkinson's disease.

The psychological symptoms of paresis are megalomania, paranoia, lack of sense of reality, dulling of the moral senses. The only cure against syphilis available at that time were injections of salvarsan, arsenic or bismuth. The treatment can bring a momentarily arrest and a remission in the disease, but each attack damages the person's brain further.

According to the Textbook of Abnormal Psychology the paretic is extremely domineering, irritable, full of grandiose delusions, and likely to feel that he is an object of persecutions:

" A loss of judgement os one of the first abnormalities to appear in the General Paresis and which continues throughout the course of the illness, The paretic will not notice contradictions or uncleareness in their own thinking or in the conversations with others. ...They complacently bring forth some absurd plan, disposing of the obvious objections in an irrational fashion. .. Mentally they seem to be in a sort of dream world in which their own ideas, wishes fears, and everyday occurrences are mixed up with no distinction between fact and fancy....{The paretic} will be changeable, easily angered, sulky, have fits of crying and wailing with self-pity....He will be careless in the face of danger, lack foresight with respect to approaching difficulty, and be quickly reassured after severe misfortune. ...Abrupt alteration of emotions is in common."
" As the disease progresses the motor symptoms become more and more pronounced, The disturbance of speech becomes quite obvious...Movements are slow, clumsy, and awkward...His gait is unsteady and shuffling .. His features become flabby and expressionless while his voice is monotonous or tremulous."

Hitler's affliction and behavior looks like a textbook case, so exactly it fits the textbook description. In 1942, Himmler discussed with his Confidante Felix Kersten Hitler's state and was urged by Kersten the removal of Hitler from power:

A syphilitic ruled Germany and the countries she had conquered. A man whose body and spirit had for years suffered from the ravages of growing paralysis, controlled her terrible power. The fate of the whole world depended upon a brain diseased to its core.....An incurable disease was destroying Hitler: his judgement was affected, his critical faculties were unbalanced. The headaches, the insomnia, the weakness of the muscles, the trembling of the hands, the fumbling with words, the convulsions, the paralysis of the limbs would increase relentlessly. The ecstatic illusions, the megalomania would have no check.

Kersten tried to convince Himmler to depose Hitler.

"The Reichsfuhrer {Himmler} was taking a terrible chance. He was allowing decisions which determined the fates of millions of men to be obeyed as if they were conceived by a normal brain, when in fact they came from a man suffering from a terrible mental illness. ...Only a man in complete possession of his faculties had the right to rule.

Himmler replied:

"I cannot move against the Fuhrer, I am the commander of the S.S. whose motto is, 'Honor is Loyalty'.. The whole world will think I am acting from personal desire to gain Power.

Hitler's disease is accepted then all his behavior is easily understood; his pathological anti-Semitism , his brutality, lack of moral restraints, his megalomania, and extreme paranoia resulting in the Final Solution. Let us see how Hitler's behavior and personality fit the description of a paretic? We will use mostly Hitler's own statement or statement of people close to him.


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