By Samuel Leighton-Dore

Despite some ongoing resistance from historians, there exists a growing amount of evidence to suggest Adolf Hitler was a not only a repressed homosexual, but a behind-closed-doors fetish fiend.

When I was eighteen, I theorised (somewhat recklessly) in my HSC Modern History exam that Hitler had enjoyed a secret romantic partnership with his handsome lead architect, Albert Speer, whose timely betrayal had contributed to Hitler’s eventual suicide. My theory/fan-fiction, however light in historic detail or scholarly reference, was not entirely ungrounded, but rather drew from an observed uncharacteristic trend of closeness shared between Hitler and the several men who formed his inner-circle.

“Homosexuality is actually as infectious and dangerous as the plague,” Hitler declared in August of 1941, perhaps while dabbing the final touches on a water-colour landscape or petting a persian cat. There’s no denying the man held some twisted vendettas, but is there a chance it all stemmed from a deep sense of self-loathing – kind of like that closeted bully at school, but times infinity? Or was he quite simply bat-shit crazy? Perhaps both. After all, as well as making a concerted effort to remove all gay men from both the military and SS, his regime readily persecuted homosexuals, sending an estimated 5,000 – 15,000 to concentration camps, where some 2,500 – 7,500 died.

All the while Hitler carved himself an iron-clad image of strict celibacy; free of the perceived weaknesses that came with domestic duties and family life, dedicated wholly to serving the people of Germany. While it was observed by Ernst Hanfstaeng, a trusted member of Hitler’s inner-circle, that he was “the repressed, masturbating type”, there have been countless claims of bizarre promiscuity – including that he was a coprophile (sexually aroused by faeces) and once defecated on his niece, nineteen years his junior, for whom he harboured a deep fondness. As appears to be the case with numerous women in Hitler’s life, she later killed herself with his pistol.

In the last few years new documents have surfaced to support continued claims of Hitler’s homosexuality. In 2013 it was revealed through notes by army interrogator Herman Merl –  the medical technician who conducted interviews with Hitler’s doctors and primary physicians – that “Homosex” had been written in the space provided for Hitler’s sexuality. It was also noted that Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun, did not share a bedroom, and that Hitler had received some 50,000 units of female hormone.

Sure, it might sound a tad cray – but we mustn’t forget that gay fascists aren’t a new thing. In fact, somewhat confusingly, gay men have been at the centre of countless fascist movements throughout history. Austrian fascist leader Jorg Haider spent his final hours mingling with blonde twinks in a gay bar. Dutch fascist Pim Fortuyn was openly gay – and yet went on abusive tirades describing Islam as “a cancer” and “the biggest threat to Western civilisation today.” When accused by a political opponent of hating Arabs, he replied, “How could I hate Arabs? I sucked one off last night.” Then there was Germany’s crowning neo-Nazi of the 1980’s, Michael Kuhnen, who died of AIDS in 1991 shortly after coming out. Kuhnen was quoted as telling a journalist at the time that homosexuals were “especially well-suited for our task, because they do not want ties to wife, children and family.”

Perhaps most striking, though, was Hitler’s intimate connection to the gay founding father of Nazism, Ernst Rohm – a man gripped by the homoerotic imagery of beautiful feather-haired boys prepared to die for their country in the trenches. It was Rohm who first discovered a young Adolf Hitler (who was for a time referred to as “Rohm’s boy”) and introduced him to political leaders with the intention of integrating Hitler into his underground mission to overthrow the Weimar Republic.

According to historian Louis Snyder, Rohm was always open about his sexuality. He “projected a social order in which homosexuality would be regarded as a human behaviour pattern of high repute. He flaunted his homosexuality in public and insisted his cronies do the same. He believed straight people weren’t as adept at bullying and aggression as homosexuals, so homosexuality was given a high premium in the SA.”

In a somewhat predictably evil twist, it was Hitler who years later woke Rohm with the news of his arrest. Suspecting disloyalty and betrayal from his once-mentor, Rohm was shot and killed in custody that evening – sparking a renewed crackdown on gay people. Amidst theories of sexual blackmail, German historian Lothar Machtan suggests that killing might’ve been Hitler’s way of silencing speculation on his own homosexual experiences – and yes, there was plenty of speculation. 

August Kubizek – a close childhood friend of Hitler’s – claimed they had shared a “romantic” affair in their teenage years, while Hans Mend – who served alongside Hitler in the First World War – repeatedly alleged to have seen Hitler having sex with a man. Mend would later write in his memoir that, “At night, Hitler lay with Schmidl, his male whore.” Sure, none of this is concrete evidence, but it’s certainly enough to warrant a morbid curiosity in what exactly drove the dick behind the dictator.

But wait a minute – why should we care? Well, the copyright for Hitler’s Mein Kampf – originally published in 1925 and 1926 – expires at the end of this year, meaning it’ll be republished on January 8th for the first time since World War II – which is a pretty big/scary deal. The relevance? It was only this year that Peruvian congressman Rubén Condori Cusi cited the anti-Semitic book (“My Struggle”) as reason for voting against marriage equality. “I read Mein Kampf by Hitler – I don’t share his ideology – but he said that, [if you track] a prostitute, an ambitious man, a communist, you noticed that they were all Jews. It is an extreme case but, in part, it is right because there are “misconducts” [acts of misconduct] that are generated by certain lifestyles.”

Cusi went on to weakly relate homosexuality to Judaism as a lifestyle choice conducive with “misconduct” –  which is obviously a truckload of bullshit, but nonetheless a clear indication of the influence Hitler’s hate speech continues to hold over neo-Nazis, anti-Semitics and homophobes alike.

Which again raises the prickly question – is there a chance that the hateful ground on which Adolf Hitler built his empire was nothing more than a terminal case of insecurity and self-loathing? And if so, what could his sexuality teach us about the inner-workings behind one of history’s most evil minds?

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