BOOKS: Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover & The Vegan Guide to New York City
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2004:
Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover by Rynn Berry
Pythagorean Publishers (P.O. Box 8174, JAF Station, New York, NY
10116), 2004. 81 pages, paperback. $10.95.
The Vegan Guide to New York City, 9th edition
by Rynn Berry & Chris Abreu-Suzuki (with Barry Litsky)
Ethical Living (P.O. Box 8174, JAF Station, New York, NY 10116), 2004.
70 pages, paperback. $9.95.
Just from the titles of Rynn Berry’s two most recent books,
one may surmise that he is a vegan and animal lover who loves going
to dinner, especially with Cristina Abreu-Suzuki (who calls herself
Chris) and Barry Litsky, but would never have eaten with Adolph
Hitler even if they had been contemporaries in Vienna, back when
Hitler was still just a struggling artist who had yet to commit or
advocate mass murder.
Neither would Hitler have wanted to eat the multi-ethnic and
highly varied menu of plant food that Berry, Abreu-Suzuki, and
Litsky pursue at more than 100 restaurants of all kinds. Hitler
craved meat, especially pork and squab.
Berry, now designated historical advisor to the North
American Vegetarian Society, established his reputation as a
meticulous historian of vegetarianism and veganism with Famous
Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes (1989). He followed up with
Food For The Gods: Vegetarianism and the World’s Religions (1998).
While researching Famous Vegetarians, Berry discovered a
wealth of evidence that contrary to longstanding malicious rumor,
Hitler was never a vegetarian, and never an animal-lover either.
The evidence was not hard to find, appearing mostly in contemporary
journalism describing what Hitler had for dinner.
In addition, Hitler actively persecuted the several German
vegetarian societies that existed when he took control of the German
government. Though ignored by mass media, this persecution has been
noted by other historians, including Anna Bramwell in Ecology In The
20th Century (1990), a volume not particularly sympathetic toward
Further, as documented in 2003 by Boria Sax in Animals In
The Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust, the 32
alleged Nazi “antivivisection” and “animal rights” laws were mostly
thinly disguised cover for oppressing Jews, gypsies, and other
minorities. The first two banned kosher slaughter; the last one
barred Jews from keeping pets.
Nazi agricultural policies emphasized increasing the meat supply
through the introduction of factory farming (also pushed by the
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin). As Berry and Sax both point out,
Hitler never so much as mentioned vegetarianism in response to the
meat shortages experienced throughout Nazi-occupied Europe during the
Even Hitler’s purported affection for dogs, played up in
propaganda directed at Britain and the U.S., was belied by an SS
training routine which required recruits to teach various drills to
young German shepherds, and then break the dogs’ necks as part of
their final examinations.
After more than 15 years of refuting the Big Lie that Hitler
was a vegetarian through countless letters to mass media that
ignorantly repeat it, Berry has organized the facts concisely in
Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover, with a bibliography,
for the use of anyone who may wish to take up the argument. But
Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover is not likely to end the
“It is true that Hitler was inconsistent at times and that
there was the odd extreme exception, but he ate what is by any
stretch of the imagination a vegetarian diet,” Hitler biographer Ian
Kershaw contended to Stefanie Marsh of The London Times in March
2004, soon after the book appeared.
“Hitler lapsed frequently, if not daily,” responded Barry.
“You cannot be a vegetarian and eat liver dumplings.”
Berry believes the myth of Hitler as vegetarian was concocted
by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, while Goebbels was trying to
portray Hitler to the British public as a Gandhian ascetic and
Berry does not mention another possible explanation. Charlie
Chaplin in 1940 satirized Hitler in The Great Dictator (1940), also
playing The Little Barber, a Jewish lookalihe for the dictator who
inadvertently takes the dictator’s place.
In a famous scene from the film, the suspicious Commander
Shutz comments of The Little Barber’s un-dictator-like beavior,
“Strange, and I thought you were an Aryan.”
Responds The Little Barber, “No. I’m a vegetarian.”
Could the Little Barber’s remark have become crossed in the
public imagination with the reality of Hitler?
Something similar is known to have occurred involving World
War II propaganda films made by the late Ronald Reagan. Decades
later, as U.S. President, Reagan several times described the
invented characters and roles that he played as historical people and
incidents. Though caught by some news media, Reagan’s errors mostly
went unrecognized by his audiences.