4 JANUARY 1992, Page 22

Carnivorous Adolf

Sir: I must take issue with Mark Almond's characterisation of Adolf Hitler as a vege-

tarian (`Animal crackers', 16 November). As I am the author of a recently published book (in America) called Famous Vegetari- ans (which is a collection of biographies of

famous vegetarians from antiquity to the present), I consider myself something of an authority on the subject. My book includes

biographies of such bona fide vegetarians as Pythagoras, Plutarch, Leonardo da Vinci, Henry Salt, Percy Shelley, George Bernard Shaw, Malcolm Muggeridge and Paul McCartney inter alios — but not Adolf Hitler. Having just returned from a publici- ty tour for my book, I can attest that at every bookstore signing, at every lecture, at every phone-in talk show at least one per- son has had the temerity to ask me: 'Is Hitler in your book?' Why isn't Hitler in your book?'

My rejoinder to these people as well as to Mr Almond is that Hitler is not in my book because he was not a vegetarian. Robert Payne, Albert Speer and other well-known Hitler biographers mention Hitier's predilection for such non-veg. foods as Bavarian sausages, ham, liver, and game. If Hitler had been a thorough-going vegetari- an, he would not have banned vegetarian organisations in Germany and the occupied countries; nor would he have failed to urge a meatless diet on the German people as a way of coping with Germany's second world war food shortages.

Moreover, even more damning is the eyewitness account furnished by the redoubtable European chef, Dione Lucas, who used to prepare meals for Hitler. On page 89 of The Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook (1964), Dione Lucas, drawing on her pre-second world war stint as a hotel chef in Hamburg, remembered being called upon quite often to prepare for Hitler his favourite dish, which was not a vegetarian one: 'I do not mean to spoil your appetite for stuffed squab, but you might be inter- ested to know that it was a great favourite with Mr Hitler, who dined at the hotel often. Let us not hold that against a fine recipe though.'

It is high time that this myth of Hitler's vegetarianism be exploded; for while Pythagoras, da Vinci, Tolstoy, and Gandhi were vegetarians, Mr Hitler — who liked his pigeons stuffed and roasted — was not.

Rynn Berry

159 Eastern Parkway (2H), Brooklyn, New York 11238