Hitler suffered from a number of illnesses during the war, mainly related to nervous exhaustion and abdominal complaints. These were undoubtedly exacerbated when the war was going badly and he himself was under stress. Many people regarded him as something of a hypochondriac. His readiness to try alternative therapies probably led him to put his trust in Dr Theodor Morell as his personal doctor. Morell indulged him with a wide variety of patent medicines that may actually have done Hitler more harm than good.
Theodor Morell may have been implicitly trusted by Hitler but he was regarded as a fraud by many others. A Wehrmacht doctor, Dr Giesing, tried the little black ‘anti-gas pills’ that Morell was issuing, in an attempt to discover what effect they had. He experienced ‘irritability, photophobia and stomach cramps’ – they contained strychnine. Nevertheless Hitler continued with Morell who was always ready with an injection when he felt tired, or a herbal tea enema for his gastric problems. He saw him on an almost daily basis.
On the 18th July Hitler was under a lot of stress. The problems on the Eastern front could now only get worse, and he was now faced with the Allies in Sicily, threatening invasions elsewhere. His Italian ally could be seen to be readily buckling, so he flew off to confront Mussolini. Before he went he called for Morell who recorded:
Fuhrer had me sent for at ten-thirty A.M., said he has had the most violent stomach pains since three A.M. and hasn’t slept a wink. His abdomen is as taut as a board, full of gas, with no palpation pains anywhere. Looking very pale and exceptionally jumpy: facing a vital conference with the Duce in Italy tomorrow.
Diagnosis: Spastic constipation caused by overwork over the last few days — three days with virtually no sleep, one conference after another and working far into the night. Last night he ate white cheese and roll-ups (Rolladen) with spinach and peas.
As he can’t duck out of some important conferences and decisions before his departure at three-thirty P.M., no narcotics can be given him; I can only give him an intravenous injection of one ampoule of Eupaverin, some gentle stomach massage, two Euflat pills and three spoons of olive oil. Last night he took five Leo pills.
Before leaving for the aireld I gave him an intramuscular injection of an ampoule of Eukodal. He was looking very bad and rather faint.
In the Condor airplane Reichsmarschall Goring wanted to give me a few final tips (Ondarza was standing just behind him): ‘You must give him Euflat. That once helped me a lot.’ ‘Yes, two tablets three times a day. I’m doing it already.’ ‘But you’ve got to keep doing it over a long period. I took them for eighteen months. And then you must give him Luizym too!’
We’re already doing that too!’ (He got the name wrong at first but Ondarza corrected him.)
During the actual flight Hitler let off wind, which resulted in some improvement. Upon reaching the Berghof I gave him another body massage, with more Euflat followed by the Luizym I have been giving him now repeatedly for some time.
In the evening he had some quite easily digestible nutrition and went to bed around twelve-thirty, after taking a Phanodorm-Calc and half a Quadronox tablet.
See D. Irving (ed.) Theodor Morell: The Secret Diaries of Hitlers Doctor, London Grafton, 1990
For a medical commentary on the treatments offered by Morrell see Royal College of Physicians.