Common Misconception


Our Daily Correspondent


Peter Paul Rubens, Pythagoras Advocating Vegetarianism, 1618-20

I’m sorry to Godwin out on you, gang, but I have learned something that I need to share with you immediately: despite years of slanderous rumors to the contrary …

Hitler was not a vegetarian.

At any rate, so argues the “vegetarian historian” Rynn Berry in his highly persuasive book Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover.

To hear Berry tell it, the myth of Hitler’s herbivore proclivities are not mere exaggeration, but flat out blood libel! (Sorry.) Because in actual fact, says the book, the Führer chowed down, at least every now and again, on roast squab and liver dumplings. His vegetarianism? “One of the great myths of history.” In an article for “VegSource,” Rynn quotes Dione Lucas, a chef “who was an eyewitness to Hitler’s meat-eating.” “I do not mean to spoil your appetite for stuffed squab,” she wrote in 1964, “but you might be interested to know that it was a great favorite with Mr. Hitler, who dined at the hotel often. Let us not hold that against a fine recipe, though.”

Clearly, Berry is invested in this cause, but he’s something of an authority on celebrity vegetarianism; he is, after all, also the author of Famous Vegetarians and Food of the Gods: Vegetarianism and the World’s Religions.

(On the other hand, Hitler’s late life is said to have derived from Wagner’s philosophy, and no one is questioning his commitment as a Wagnerite.)