Hitler’s Hair


Adolf Hitler

I couldn’t help but share a piece from Woody Allen’s book, Getting Even, and make a few select comments of my own.

Allen’s hilarious satire contains excerpts from what he calls the memoirs of Hitler’s barber named “Friedrich Schmeed,” whom he labels “the best-known barber in wartime Germany.” In one passage, Allen quotes the barber as saying:

“After the Allied invasion, Hitler developed dry, unruly hair. This 
was due in part to the Allies’ success and in part to the advice of 
Goebbels, who told him to wash it every day. When General Guderian 
heard this, he immediately returned home from the Russian front and 
told the Fuhrer he must shampoo his hair no more than three times 
weekly. This was the procedure followed with great success by the 
General Staff in two previous wars. Hitler once again overruled his 
generals and continued washing daily. Bormann helped Hitler with 
the rinsing and always seemed to be there with a comb. Eventually, 
Hitler became dependent on Bormann, and before he looked in a 
mirror he would always have Bormann look in it first. As the Allied 
armies pushed east, Hitler’s hair grew worse. Dry and unkempt, he 
often raged for hours about how he would get a nice haircut and a 
shave when Germany won the war, and maybe even a shine.”

Apparently, vanity and demagoguery go together!

Later he quotes Schmeed:

“Late in 1944, Goring grew a mustache, causing talk that he was 
soon to replace Hitler. Hitler was furious and accused Goring of 
disloyalty. ‘There must be only one mustache among the leaders of 
the Reich, and it shall be mine!’ he cried. Goring argued that two 
mustaches might give the German people a greater sense of hope 
about the war, which was going poorly, but Hitler thought not.

“Then, in January of 1945, a plot by several generals to shave Hitler’s 
mustache in his sleep and proclaim Doenitz the new leader failed 
when von Stauffenberg, in the darkness of Hitler’s bedroom, shaved 
off one of the Fuhrer’s eyebrows instead. A state of emergency was 
proclaimed, and suddenly Goebbels appeared at my shop. “An 
attempt was just made on the Fuhrer’s mustache; but it was 
unsuccessful,” he said, trembling. Goebbels arranged for me to go on 
radio and address the German people, which I did, with a minimum 
of notes. ‘The Fuhrer is all right,” I assured them. “He still has his 
mustache. Repeat. The Fuhrer still has his mustache. A plot to shave 
it has failed.’

“Near the end, I came to Hitler’s bunker. The Allied armies were 
closing in on Berlin, and Hitler felt that if the Russians got there first 
he would need a full haircut but if the Americans did he could get by 
with a light trim.”

Last, but not least, Schmeed says:

“I have been asked if I was aware of the moral implications of what I was doing. As I told the tribunal at Nuremberg, I did not know that Hitler was a Nazi. The truth was that for years I thought he worked for the phone company. When I finally did find out what a monster he was, it was too late to do anything, as I had made a down payment on some furniture. Once, toward the end of the war, I did contemplate loosening the Fuhrer’s neck-napkin and allowing some tiny hairs to get down his back, but at the last minute my nerve failed me.”

Can you spell “complicity”?

Reminds me of something that Martin Luther King Jr said without a hint of satire:

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

Just sayin’

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