Urban legend of role Adolf Hitler played in the invention of blow-up sex dolls

One of the strangest legends of the Second World War is the story that Adolf Hitler invented the sex doll.

The Nazi dictator ordered the manufacture of a doll based on the image of glamorous Hungarian movie star Käthe von Nagy, so the rumour has it, in order to prevent his troops from being signed off sick with venereal disease.

Supposedly German troops were so afraid of being captured with the Nazi sex doll in their possession that there was very little uptake when they were offered.

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The near-total destruction of Dresden’s industrial centre by the RAF was the final nail in the coffin for the project, according to author Graeme Donald who included the unlikely tale in his book, Mussolini's Barber.

Sadly the story may be too good to be true. There’s very little hard evidence that the plan – code-named The Borghild Project – actually existed.

After the conquest of France in 1940, Hitler’s henchman Henrich Himmler, leader of the feared SS, reportedly said: “The greatest danger in Paris is the widespread and uncontrolled presence of whores, picking up clients in bars, dance halls, and other places.

“It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health just for the sake of a quick adventure.”

As a result, says Donald, Himmler got the sign-off from The Fuhrer to order 50 sex dolls – designed under the supervision of Adam Zimmerman at the German Hygiene Museum – which were trialled at military camps in occupied Jersey.

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Donald came across the story while researching a book about the history of the Barbie Doll. He says that the iconic children’s toy was based on the original designs for an early 1950s sex doll named “Lili” that was sold in barbers' shops and nightclubs across Germany.

While he was looking into Lili, Donald told the Daily Mail he “came across references to Nazi sex dolls and found out that Hitler had ordered them to be made”.

“As ever,” Donald continued, “more troops were laid low by disease than by bullets. Syphilis was a problem Hitler was aware of and he was rumoured to have suffered from it himself.

“In an attempt to try and stop the troops getting sexually transmitted diseases the Nazis started to develop sex dolls”

He says that there was extensive discussion within the Nazi high command about the precise hairstyle the sex doll should have.

“There was debate about whether the dolls should have the hair-style with side-plaits spiralled into circles, but in the end a boyish bob won the day,” he said.

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If, as Donald believes, the dolls were made out of advanced plastics it’s unlikely that under-pressure Germany would have been able to spare much material from its factories.

The only documentary evidence for the existence of the Nazi sex doll project consisted of two photographs which had been found in a litter bin, supposedly showing prototypes of the dolls.

These pictures are now, sadly, thought to have been hoaxes.

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The true origins of the sex doll are thought to date back to the 17th Century, when Dutch sailors on long sea voyage fashioned a crude effigy of a woman out of sailcloth to relieve their sexual tension.

The basic concept has been revised again and again, with the first inflatable dolls appearing in 1908 and talking, “artificially intelligent” sex robots making their debut in the 2020s.

Where it will all end is hard to say, but sadly there’s very little evidence that it started with Hitler.


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