“Hitler has only got one ball,”
December 19, 2015 5:33 AM   Subscribe

Hitler really did have only one testicle, German researcher claims. [The Guardian]
The song sung in schoolyards by generations of British children mocking Adolf Hitler for only having “one ball” might be accurate after all. A German historian has unearthed the Nazi leader’s long-lost medical records, which seem to confirm the urban legend that he only had one testicle. The records, taken during a medical exam following Hitler’s arrest over the failed Beer hall putsch in 1923, show that he suffered from “right-side cryptorchidism”, or an undescended right testicle. Notes written by Dr Josef Steiner Brin, the medical officer at Landsberg prison, state “Adolf Hitler, artist, recently writer” was otherwise “healthy and strong”.
posted by Fizz (50 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
A page from Hipster Hitler
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:38 AM on December 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


For completeness sake:

Hitler has only got one ball.
Göring has two but they're quite small.
Himmler is very sim'lar,
And Joseph Goebbels has no balls at all.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:40 AM on December 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Great post; but needs a link to the actual song (or at least one of many versions).
posted by TedW at 5:43 AM on December 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


But the other appears not to have been in the Albert Hall, which is disappointing.
posted by cromagnon at 5:44 AM on December 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yes, but do you know who else had just one ball?


Oh, wait.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:44 AM on December 19, 2015 [20 favorites]


Huh. There you go. This means this song could be added to the recent ask about songs that can be used to teach something.
posted by kitten magic at 5:45 AM on December 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Godwin's right out of the box....
posted by HuronBob at 5:53 AM on December 19, 2015


You've got to suspect that the records are fake. Sensational Hitler-related items appearing only in 2010, and then at an auction?

Normally, men’s testicles descend from inside the body into the scrotum during childhood

Bollocks.
posted by Segundus at 5:56 AM on December 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Huronbob: Are you saying it was a cricketing accident?
posted by biffa at 5:58 AM on December 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The only thing on the first google search page for Peter Fleischmann Erlangen-Nuremberg is Hitler's one testicle. When he was composing his application letter as a young man I am thinking this was not one of his goals.
posted by bukvich at 6:00 AM on December 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've wondered about that song for years. For a while I thought I was on to something when I learned that "Hitler absolutely refused to take part in ballroom-dancing" but then I learned that he could cut a pretty mean rug. So this interpretation makes a lot more sense, thanks.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:00 AM on December 19, 2015


See Also: Monorchism [wiki]
Due to testicular cancer.
- Lance Armstrong, American bicyclist.
- Frank Church, late U.S. Senator and a presidential aspirant in 1976. His monorchism was revealed publicly during the 1976 presidential campaign.
- Tom Green, Canadian comedian-actor.
- Mark Latham, former Australian politician.
- Geoff Horsfield, English footballer.
- Nenê, Brazilian basketball player.
- Kevin Curtis, American football player.
- Bobby Moore, English footballer and World Cup winner.

Due to injury.
- Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain.
- Troy Bayliss, world superbike champion in 2001, 2006 and 2008. In 2007 he lost a testicle during a race at Donington Park.
- Brian Foster, American mixed martial artist.
- Mikey D, American rapper and former D1 NCAA Football recruit lost a testicle in a Katana mishap in 2014.

Due to cryptorchidism.
- Bruce Lee, American-Chinese actor and martial arts instructor.
- Mao Zedong, known as Chairman Mao, Chinese revolutionary.
Oops, I left out the wiki for: Adolf Hitler's possible monorchism.
posted by Fizz at 6:01 AM on December 19, 2015


Okay, fine, but the important question is when time travel will be invented so that we can all go back and kick him in it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:01 AM on December 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


Hey, I had cryptorchidism. Got an operation when I was eleven and I'm fine now.

Also, I'm not a genocidal maniac, so there's that.
posted by Pendragon at 6:09 AM on December 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


In a katana mishap??
posted by pearlybob at 6:17 AM on December 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


Katana? Was he attacked by a gOddammed ninja turtle?!?
posted by ian1977 at 6:19 AM on December 19, 2015


The fine actor Pete Postlethwaite also had testicular cancer when he was younger.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:54 AM on December 19, 2015


The testicle that did not descend has one interesting possibility: such an issue tends to leave the male much less fertile, unable to have children, and there is some unresolved dispute as to Hitler's having had a child, though no evidence that this was so. His disability makes it less likely.
posted by Postroad at 6:59 AM on December 19, 2015


Next we will find out that Batman actually smells and Robin really did lay an egg.
posted by vorpal bunny at 7:05 AM on December 19, 2015 [24 favorites]


Was it standard procedure to examine arrestees' genitals at the time, or was this a special treat for a special guest?

This shocking documentary did not answer that question.
posted by Western Infidels at 7:06 AM on December 19, 2015


I love that this song has its own wiki page, and that the Hitler link in the FP links to the wiki page for Hitler - like anyone might be unsure which Hitler you meant. Also being English, I remember singing this at primary school, although we sung one with different lyrics:

Hitler has only got one ball
The other is in the Albert Hall
His mother, the dirty bugger
She chopped it off when he was small.
posted by marienbad at 7:22 AM on December 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


The other is in the Albert Hall

I only came in here to ask if anyone had checked the Albert Hall.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:37 AM on December 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, marienbad, don't forget the second verse.

She threw it into a great big tree
It landed inside the deep blue sea,
All the fishes, said 'they're delicious',
We're having bollocks and fishes for tea!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:42 AM on December 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love that this song has its own wiki page, and that the Hitler link in the FP links to the wiki page for Hitler - like anyone might be unsure which Hitler you meant.

I sometimes feel silly linking to obvious wiki pages like this in posts but often times people want to be able to explore something related and it just makes it easier. Also, we shouldn't assume anything about people and their knowledge of history. It's a big world filled with all manner of people.
posted by Fizz at 7:44 AM on December 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's curious to me is that when these medical records surfaced in an auction in 2010 the Bavarian government (not the German government) promptly seized them. Wouldn't this be like if a celebrity's medical records surfaced in an auction in Las Vegas and the State of Nevada seized them? What? Why?
posted by kozad at 7:49 AM on December 19, 2015


Taylor Swift /= Hitler regardless of what Camille Paglia might say.
posted by biffa at 8:19 AM on December 19, 2015


If true, this is one of those historical facts that doesn't seem to have much utility, but still manages to have a kind of poetic beauty to it. I mean, there's nothing shameful or meaningful for any old Joe to have had this condition, but something about Hitler with his obsessive fixation on virility and certain stereotypical conceptions of masculinity having this condition makes it seem fair game to mock...

Okay, fine, but the important question is when time travel will be invented so that we can all go back and kick him in it.

Here's what I don't get: if we're going to fantasize a scenario so farfetched we've mastered time travel to even make it possible to consider, why not instead of killing Hitler, intervene to influence his development in some way that his role in the world ends up being a net good? It seems to me that unless we buy into the same mindset of personal identity/genetic heritage as immutable destiny that inspired Hitler to butcher millions of innocents, we'd want to believe it should be possible to reform even someone as loathsome as Hitler given the right interventions and conditions. I mean, if we're going to fantasize, why not go whole hog and fantasize about a world where an even better outcome than killing Hitler might have been possible?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:24 AM on December 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hitler's time-travel day care giver: "Make good choices!"
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 8:44 AM on December 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mean, if we're going to fantasize, why not go whole hog and fantasize about a world where an even better outcome than killing Hitler might have been possible?

cuz america
posted by Existential Dread at 8:53 AM on December 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Meatbomb: "Hitler has only got one ball.
Göring has two but they're quite small.
Himmler is very sim'lar,
And Joseph Goebbels has no balls at all.
"

The variant I learned:

Hitler had only one big ball
Göring had two but they were small
Himmler had something similar
And poor old Goebbels had no balls at all.
posted by chavenet at 9:03 AM on December 19, 2015


I mean, if we're going to fantasize, why not go whole hog and fantasize about a world where an even better outcome than killing Hitler might have been possible?

Because Ray Bradbury.
posted by BWA at 9:05 AM on December 19, 2015


wait, so Hitler, Franco and Mao all had only one testicle?
posted by ennui.bz at 9:06 AM on December 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


wait, so Hitler, Franco and Mao all had only one testicle?

And supposedly Napoleon.
posted by Fizz at 9:09 AM on December 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


wait, so Hitler, Franco and Mao all had only one testicle?

Sensing a little compensatory behavior?
posted by pracowity at 9:36 AM on December 19, 2015


Sensing a little compensatory behavior?

So maybe if somebody'd just gone back in time and installed neuticles in these guys, they wouldn't have gone around making their insecure masculinity the rest of the world's problem?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:44 AM on December 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whereas Stalin had five.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:02 AM on December 19, 2015


What's curious to me is that when these medical records surfaced in an auction in 2010 the Bavarian government (not the German government) promptly seized them. Wouldn't this be like if a celebrity's medical records surfaced in an auction in Las Vegas and the State of Nevada seized them? What? Why?

Just speculating, but the Bavarian government probably has some authority over what comes up for auction in Bavaria. Just like I'd expect the state of Nevada has some authority over what comes up for auction in Las Vegas. Also, the Beer Hall Putsch was in Munich, so they could probably claim the records belonged to them anyway.
posted by hoyland at 10:07 AM on December 19, 2015


Also, I suspect there's a prohibition on selling Hitler memorabilia.
posted by hoyland at 10:20 AM on December 19, 2015


Did anyone else subconsciously cross their legs while reading this? Because help they're welded shut.
posted by adept256 at 11:04 AM on December 19, 2015


/= is a legitimate operator but you've just set the value of Taylor Swift to be (Taylor Swift)/(Hitler)
posted by Wolfdog at 11:22 AM on December 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, I suspect there's a prohibition on selling Hitler memorabilia.

But this is memoraballia, totally different.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:26 AM on December 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Since we're doing this, here's the version I learnt;

Hitler has only got one ball
The other is hanging on the wall
His mother, the dirty bugger
Cut it off when he was four
posted by adept256 at 11:31 AM on December 19, 2015


Re the Bavaria question—Bavaria has rights to Mein Kampf (disclaimer: I wrote this article) because Hitler was a resident of Bavaria. I wonder if that means they have rights to other publications/records pertaining to Hitler?
posted by mynameisluka at 12:16 PM on December 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I once heard Napoleon had a particularly small endowment. I wonder if there is something in this overcompensation business after all.
posted by orange swan at 2:14 PM on December 19, 2015


mynameisluka: "Re the Bavaria question—Bavaria has rights to Mein Kampf (disclaimer: I wrote this article) because Hitler was a resident of Bavaria. I wonder if that means they have rights to other publications/records pertaining to Hitler?"

That's a very interesting article. It's sort of amusing how Germany tries so hard to withhold the book when it's so readily available everywhere else, and online as well.
posted by chavenet at 2:15 PM on December 19, 2015


A German historian has unearthed the Nazi leader’s long-lost

I was hoping that sentence would end differently.
posted by uosuaq at 2:50 PM on December 19, 2015


In an associated investigation, The Angry Samoans nicely describe the horror film that was the archiving of the rest of Hitler's dangly bits: They Saved Hitler's Cock.
posted by Gotanda at 3:22 PM on December 19, 2015


wait, so Hitler, Franco and Mao all had only one testicle?

Franco's testicle was lost to injury anyway, so that gives us two out of three of the greatest mass murderers of the 20th Century (the third being Stalin) with cryptorchidism.

It may be a bog walk on sinkable stones, but that's too intriguing to pass by without a little further exploration.

We know that anti-NMDA receptor antibodies can trigger psychosis, including in children, and recently a version of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis secondary to ovarian tumors has been described (Kattullus' excellent FPP from a few years ago is a good introduction); we also know that cryptorchidism is associated with much higher rates of testicular cancer:
In unilateral cryptorchidism (where only one testicle is undescended), testicular cancer risk is 6.3 times increased in the undescended testicle, and 1.7 times increased in the descended one, compared with general population rates, a meta-analysis showed.[3]
The testes are homologs of the ovaries, and I don't think it's too much to wonder whether testicular cancer due to cryptorchidism could also give rise to anti-NMDA receptor antibodies, and consequent psychosis-like symptoms.

Of course, neither Hitler nor Mao were diagnosed with cancer as far as I know, but most cases of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis are associated with benign ovarian tumors. I didn't find any information about how often cryptorchidism causes non-cancerous tumors.

And anti-NMDA receptor disease does often resemble Parkinson's, which Hitler supposedly suffered from.
posted by jamjam at 5:35 PM on December 19, 2015


The lone nut theory, proved at last!
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 6:38 PM on December 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


Well, the Armstrong and Miller sketch should be here.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:47 PM on December 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


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