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Theodor Morell was Hitler’s personal physician who was treating him with unorthodox medication

Tijana Radeska
Doctor Morell
Doctor Morell

In the last days of Hitler’s life, a half-Jewish doctor was holding his hand. Theodor Morell was a German doctor coming from a partly Jewish family and was a specialist in skin and venereal diseases. He studied medicine in Grenoble and Paris and established his medical practice in Berlin. Morell also claimed that he studied under the Russian biologist and Nobel Prize winner Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov.

Dr Theodor Gilbert Morell, personal physician of Adolf Hitler, photo by Heinrich Hoffmann

Dr Theodor Gilbert Morell, personal physician of Adolf Hitler, photo by Heinrich Hoffmann

Before serving at the front during the First World War, Morell worked as a ship’s doctor. After the war, he moved to Berlin where he became famous for his unconventional treatments and apparently was the personal physician of the Shah of Persia and the King of Romania. In 1933 he joined the Nazi Party.

In 1935 he was treating the official photographer of Hitler – Heinrich Hoffman for gonorrhoea and then Franziska Braun, the mother of Eva Braun. At the time Hitler was suffering from stomach cramps and no medicine could heal him, so his photographer recommended Morell to him. It was 1936 when Morell examined Hitler and concluded that he suffered from “complete exhaustion of the intestinal system”.

Theodor Morell with Hitler, behind Martin Bormann and Nicolaus von Below in Wolfsschanze in 1940. Photo credit

Theodor Morell with Hitler, behind Martin Bormann and Nicolaus von Below in Wolfsschanze in 1940. Photo credit

Morell’s treatment for Hitler’s cramps contained a mixture of vitamins and a hydrolyzed E. coli bacteria called Mutaflor. With the treatment, Hitler got better and besides his healed stomach; during the treatment, a leg rash that he had for a while also disappeared. Hitler was convinced that Morell was a medical genius and appointed him as his personal physician.

Even though Morell was a recognized doctor across Germany and was personally recommended by Hitler, some people from the leadership such as Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler, and Albert Speer believed that he was a sham. In his autobiography Inside the Third Reich, Speer has written about his experience with doctor Morell saying that in 1936 he had circulation and stomach problems so he called Hitler’s doctor.

Albert Speer in 1933

Albert Speer in 1933

Without a detailed examination, Morell prescribed Speer with his intestinal bacteria, dextrose, vitamins and hormone tablets. Suspicious of his diagnosis and treatment, Speer went for another examination by Professor von Bergmann who concluded that his symptoms were nervous caused by overwork. Being afraid of offending Hitler, Speer claimed that he is taking the therapy prescribed by Morell and that it made him feel better.

There was a time when Hitler suffered from grogginess in the morning and was given one of Morell’s injections “Vitamultin” that Morell himself invented and claimed to consist of water mixed with a substance from several small, gold-foiled packets. However, Himmler’s physician Ernst-Günther Schenck took a sample of the “Vitamultin” and after testing it in a laboratory concluded that it has methamphetamine.

Theodor Gilbert Morell

Theodor Gilbert Morell

Morell kept a medical diary of the drugs, tonics, vitamins and other substances he administered to Hitler, usually by injection (up to 20 times per day) or in pill form. Some of them were Morell’s own mixes. His experiments sometimes contained toxic and addictive compounds such as heroin.

Later, historians speculated that Morell played a big role in Hitler’s deteriorating health. Some of the compounds given to Hitler and written in Morell’s diary were: atropine, caffeine, cocaine, adrenaline, morphine, testosterone, lipids derived from animal tissues and fats and many others.

We have another Hitler story: The spy who tricked Hitler: the story of an ex-chicken farmer who became the greatest double agent of all time

When Morell was captured by the Americans, on of his interrogators described him as fat, disgusting, and as lacking hygiene. He was never charged with a crime but his health deteriorated and he died in a Tegernsee hospital in 1948.

Goring referred to Morell as “The Master of the Imperial Needle” and he was also known as “Doctor Feelgood”.