Category:
Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers

Hitler Species

There are two species of insects named after Hitler. The mystery, however, might be why more creatures weren't named after Hitler by German scientists during the 1930s, as a way to curry favor with him. The answer, surprisingly, seems to be that requests were made, but Hitler would always ask for his name not to be used. (The insect researchers never asked for his permission). Text from The Art of Naming by Michael Ohl (2018 translation):

In 1933, German coleopterist and civil engineer Oscar Scheibel, residing in Ljubjana, Slovenia, then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, purchased from a Slovenian biologist several specimens of an unknown beetle that had been found in the caves near the city of Celje. In 1937, Scheibel published in Entomologische Blätter a description of a light-brown ground beetle a mere five millimeters long under the name Anophthalmus hitleri. After the war, Scheibel is supposed to have claimed that naming the beetle in honor of Hitler had been a subversive act: after all, this was an unlovely species of brown, blind cave beetle that lived hidden from view. This defense must be squared with the original description, the final sentence of which reads, "Dedicated to Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler, as an expression of my reverence." No official response from the Reich Chancellery was documented in this case.

To date, Anophthalmus hitleri has been found in but a handful of caves in Slovenia. Particularly after the media discovered and circulated the Hitler beetle story in 2000, interest in this species has been rekindled. A well-preserved specimen of Anophthalmus hitleri can fetch upward of 2,000 euros on the collectors' market; among the bidders, certainly some wish to add the Hitler beetle to their collection of Nazi memorabilia. . .

At least one other species has been named after Adolf Hitler: the fossil Roechlingia hitleri, which belongs to the Palaeodictyoptera, a group of primitive fossil insects. Roechlingia hitleri was described in 1934 by German geologist and paleontologist Paul Guthörl. . .

Extensive research has failed to turn up any other species named in honor of Hitler. This seems surprising, as this form of salute could have proven quite expedient to aspiring German scientists from about 1933 until 1945, at the latest...

The likeliest explanation is that when Hitler patronyms were planned, approval was sought in advance from the Führer (by way of the Reich Chancellery), whether out of respect or perhaps fear of potential consequences. In 1933, for instance, a rose breeder submitted a written request to the Reich Chancellery for permission to introduce to the international market one of his best rose varieties, bearing Hitler's name. Similarly, a nursery owner from Schleswig-Holstein hoped to name a "prized strawberry variety" the "Hitler strawberry," in honor of the Reich Chancellor. They already had a "Hindenburg" strawberry variety in their catalog, he added. In reply to both cases, Hans Heinrich Lammers, Chief of the Reich Chancellery, sent almost identical letters, in which the inquiring parties were informed that, "upon careful consideration, [the reich Chancellor] requests that a name in his honor most kindly not be used." . . .

Perhaps this fundamental rejection of honorary names is the reason that so few hitleris exist.

Anophthalmus hitleri
source: Wikipedia

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 01, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Insects and Spiders, Odd Names, Science

Hitler’s Peace Pudding

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jun 23, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Food, War, Cartoons, 1930s

Power Athletic Shoes Commercial

Our shoes will crush all opposition and restore the Fatherland!

Posted By: Paul - Sun Mar 26, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Advertising, Shoes, 1990s

Rafael Trujillo, Partying Dictator

Not that Rafael Trujillo's murderous reign is redeemed by his party animal ways, but it's always nice to see someone who doesn't let his work stand in the way of having fun.

First he arrives at LA and smashes another boat, then avoids fees by declaring himself a ship of war.

Source: The Los Angeles Times 21 Jun 1958, Sat Page 2

Then he insults our national holiday and causes an uproar on Catalina Island.

Source: The Los Angeles Times 05 Jul 1958, Sat Page 1


Of course, none of this jovial playboy behavior prevented him from getting assassinated three years later.












Posted By: Paul - Mon Mar 22, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Dinners, Banquets, Parties, Tributes, Roasts and Other Celebrations, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1950s, Outrageous Excess, North America

The Stasi Scent Library

The East German Stasi did a number of strange things, but perhaps the strangest was its attempt to create a scent library of its population. It was analogous to a fingerprint library, and was based on the premise that everyone had a unique scent which could be used to track them, if need be. From Dog Law Reporter:

The most interesting use of police dogs concerned scent identification, a method analyzed by Dutch and other researchers, but adapted by the unique paranoia of the Stasi. As early as 1973, the Stasi began collecting smell samples of a large number of citizens. Sometimes this was done with a special chair that the subject was asked to sit on during a visit to the police station. The chair had a dust cloth on top of the seat that was clamped into place by a removable frame. The subject had to sit in the chair for ten minutes, but after the interrogation was over, the dust cloth was removed and stored in a glass jar.

Sometimes Stasi officials did not bother with being subtle and merely told subjects to put a cloth under their armpits or even under their pants in the groin area. The cloth was carefully handled by tweezers in an effort not to allow contamination by other human scents.

Stasi Smelling Jars

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 23, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Police and Other Law Enforcement, Smells and Odors

Toy Hitler

A popular toy in Nazi Germany was a miniature model of Hitler. It came in six action poses, including Hitler in an army jeep and in an open car doing the Nazi salute.

Not many of these toy Hitlers survive, so if you have one, for some reason, it's probably worth some money. One of them was featured on Antiques Roadshow in 2012.

Newsweek - Dec 26, 1938



Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 16, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Toys, 1930s

Sing along with Khrushchov coloring book, an update

Eight months ago I posted about a coloring book published in 1962 titled The Sing Along with Khrushchov Coloring Book. I noted that, although I had come across references to the book in newspapers, I hadn't been able to find any images of it online. Nor were there any used copies for sale. And only two libraries in the U.S. had copies of it. It was really obscure!

But I was just contacted by Elaine Woodward who revealed that her grandfather, who was on the American Hungarian Federation in DC, had once given her a copy, which she still had. She was kind enough to scan it and send it to me. So here it is, rescued from obscurity!

I've posted two sample images below. Or click here to read the whole thing (pdf file).

Note that the book spells Khrushchev with an 'o' rather than an 'e'... so the title was misspelled in my original post.



Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 12, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Art, Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers, Politics, Books, 1960s

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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