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Plastic Surgery in 1940s Germany.

Updated on October 25, 2016

Erich Von Stroheim

Young Erich: note the very large cranium, bulbous nose, the very large ears and the prematurely receding hairline.
Young Erich: note the very large cranium, bulbous nose, the very large ears and the prematurely receding hairline. | Source
Old Erich: note the smaller well proportioned cranium, chiselled smaller nose, the smaller ears and the healthy hair. Can plastic surgery change the size of the cranium?
Old Erich: note the smaller well proportioned cranium, chiselled smaller nose, the smaller ears and the healthy hair. Can plastic surgery change the size of the cranium? | Source

A Theoretical Possibility

If we examine early photos of Eric von Stroheim we can easily see that his nose was incredibly prominent and rubbery. Why then in much later photos is his nose smaller and more proportionate? Age increases the size of the nose quite dramatically but in the case of von Stroheim the nose size not only decreases but is more proportionate!

Other signs include the smaller ear size of the "older" Stroheim. It is a known fact that ears also become much larger with age.

The young Stroheim also had early signs of balding, but the older Stroheim had stronger healthy hair

Wife and Mistress of Von Stroheim.

Denise Vernac secretary and mistress of Von Stroheim
Denise Vernac secretary and mistress of Von Stroheim | Source
Eva Braun
Eva Braun | Source
Valerie Germonprez, one of only two extant other blurry photos.
Valerie Germonprez, one of only two extant other blurry photos. | Source

What Really Happened to Hitler?

There has been a long debate regarding the exact fate of Hitler at the end of World War Two.

His alleged physical remains amount to a few charred bones. We are left with the nagging suspicion there may indeed be more to the ending of his horrific story. The perennial question surrounding the ability of his twisted but undoubted evil genius to come up with a way out of his downfall may perhaps never go away.

Arranging the elimination of two persons so that Hitler (and Eva) could step into the vacuum of their doppelgangers deceased lives would be the next logical step. To do so in the most unexpected environment would also be desirable. With many prominent Nazis fleeing to South America, and stories of huge stolen gold reserves, many historians have theorized about the exact fate or whereabouts of Hitler. Perhaps South America would have been the too obvious choice as there was already a knowledge of this desperate migration precedent. To become anonymous in an unexpected environment may have been a far more ingenious scheme.

Do the Russians really have his few remains? Many doubt it. His alleged successful escape becomes all the more feasible when we realize that plastic surgery was already a fine art in Germany by World War Two. The possibility of changing the shape of the nose, adding on a few pounds, getting rid of the odd idiosyncratic moustache, and adopting a very different haircut, is quite feasible.

Added to this is the fact that Hitler used many body doubles during his reign in order to dodge assassinations. Driving past in motorcades with the constant threat of a stray bullet would certainly have been a worry. What better way to be safe than to get a doppelganger to take his place? In that way even if there was a successful "hit" on Hitler he could stage manage a miraculous recovery to prove his "god like" status. There was in fact a mythology built up around Hitler stating he was incapable of being killed, and that he had a lucky star when it came to escapes from death. Having body doubles would have certainly added to this successful myth. Perhaps a body double was in fact killed at the Wolf's Lair (attempt by Claus von Stauffenberg).

Many body doubles may have undergone plastic surgery to enhance the resemblance.

According to conventional research there were 14 known attempts on Hitler's life:

  • Before 1933: Before the seizure of power; four attempts, including one with poison in the Hotel Kaiserhof (1930).
  • After 1933: Ten attempts, including one by an unknown SA man in Obersalzberg and another by the Luttner group in K√∂nigsberg.

Hitler was known to have at least six body doubles, that we know of.


Hence the idea of body doubles enhanced with plastic surgery was well known to Hitler.

This practice of misdirection is only a small step away from the other alternative: altering Hitler's own appearance to escape anonymously.

By publicly presenting only body doubles during the last year or two of his life it would be entirely possible to privately change his own appearance.

Famous Double

Russian photo of exhumed corpse of Hitler's double - May 2, 1945   (note bullet hole in forehead)
Russian photo of exhumed corpse of Hitler's double - May 2, 1945 (note bullet hole in forehead) | Source

Altered Images

More images of possible disguises.
More images of possible disguises. | Source
Source

Dramatic Changes to Nose

1939, slender sharp nose.
1939, slender sharp nose. | Source
1945. wide fleshy nose. Perhaps a body double.
1945. wide fleshy nose. Perhaps a body double. | Source

Nose Shape Changes in 1940's.

Does Hitler's nose shape change dramatically in the 1940's?

See results

1940s Hollywood Zeitgeist

If we examine the popular stars of Hollywood in the immediate aftermath of World War Two we can easily discern the use of textbook "Aryan" stereotypes in the star list. Blondes in particular began to dominate the movie scape. In spite of all the horrors of World War Two and Nazi racial stereotyping there was not a single attempt to combat racial stereotype's in the media. If anything, Hollywood exacerbated racial stereotypes. All the heroes and heroines were stock standard Aryan Anglo Saxon personages.

Semitic peoples or "types" were often depicted as evil magicians (in such films as the Sindbad series). If not shown as evil then of course the standard paternalism was omnipresent. Other stereotypes of foreigners included untrustworthiness, shady characters, perverted personalities, ugliness etc.

Foreigners were invariably cast as the villain and rarely allowed to shine in leading roles. There were many cases of Western actors portraying "other races" when a starring role was called for to eliminate the possibility of using real people with actual ethnic origins. This trend lasted well into the 1960s and beyond.

It was as if there was a smooth transition from the blatant stereotypes promoted on film in Nazi Germany, to a more subtle racial stereotyping in major Hollywood films.

It is quite possible that large sums of illegal Nazi money was poured and laundered into Hollywood to accomplish the same racial stereotyping goals, but on a more subtle level.

There are already many proven close links to the Nazis via Hollywood in pre-War USA. This is set out in several books and movies. Most recently The New Yorker (September 16, 2013 Issue) published an updated commentary on this subject.

In the 1930s Nazi sympathizers built a refuge for Hitler in the Pacific Palisades, the so called "Murphy Ranch". It was here that Nazi sympathizers waited for Hitler to visit.

Sonnet


Hitler went to Hollywood!

I really think he did,

Cuz all the early movie stars

Were really blond or pinheads!

Long before the war did end

Adolf and Eva had fled

Donning plastic surgery

Before they were even wed.

"Let's do it now with movies", Eva to Adolf said

"Instead of bullets, gas and lead!"

They mixed with all the moguls

Pretending to be Jewish and well read

And made a hundred films or more

About gorgeous blondes Unt pin heads!

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    • Hannah David Cini profile image

      Hannah David Cini 2 years ago from Nottingham

      I love the poem at the end, interesting and fun read. Thanks for writing.

    • Oztinato profile image
      Author

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Hannah

      I tried to be interesting and funny in that poem!

      Although highly theoretical, the possibility that Hitler had plastic surgery is real.

      Might make a good screenplay!!

    • Hannah David Cini profile image

      Hannah David Cini 2 years ago from Nottingham

      I hadn't realised till reading this how shady the circumstances were around his death. Hmmm...all eyes on Putin, I am not sure that the age is right otherwise it could well be.

    • Oztinato profile image
      Author

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Hannah

      There has been a LOT written about Hitlers death over the decades. I like to take a fresh look at the evidence. For example, no observer has ever remarked that the last photo of Hitler could easily have been a double, yet it is known he had many of them.

      It is much harder to pull such stunts today but back in the 1940s it would have been easier to "disappear". Putin has no need to disappear as he is successful.

    • Jonas Rodrigo profile image

      Jonas Rodrigo 24 months ago

      Wow! This is an interesting take on Hitler, and in 1940's Germany in general. I've never thought of this, much less write about it. I really appreciate the research this hub might have required you to do. From what I can read, it was worth it. This hub is great.

    • Oztinato profile image
      Author

      Oztinato 24 months ago from Australia

      Thanks Jonas

      its a concept worth pursuing. Might make a good movie !

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