Did Adolf Hitler supply Aryan blow-up sex dolls to discourage his troops from sleeping with disease-ridden French prostitutes?
That's the claim in a new book, " Mussolini's Barber," by Graeme Donald, who charts the so-called "Borghild Project" of 1940, after SS chief Heinrich Himmler wrote to Hitler alerting him of the health risks posed to his men by liaisons with French women.
"The greatest danger in Paris is the widespread and uncontrolled presence of whores, picking up clients in bars, dance halls, and other places," he wrote, according to Time. "It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health just for the sake of a quick adventure."
According to the Time article:
Hitler gave Himmler's plan the all-clear, and designers set to work creating a smaller-than-life doll dubbed a "gynoid."
The doll's face was left blank, the reasoning being ... well, it has something to do with the ability to impart fantasies on faceless women.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, the Nazis did give the dolls blue eyes and blonde hair.
Much, of course, has been written of the Nazi occupation of Paris during WWII. Google "hitler french prostitutes ss" and settle in for some fascinating reading. A 2008 article in the Daily Mail suggests that the Nazis needn't have bothered with dolls — Frenchwomen seemed more-than-willing to consider keeping company with the Germans who by accounts "were so handsome and so brave in comparison with the drunken French soldiers who had surrendered the fight."
In fact, it led to a baby boom, "despite the fact that more than two million redblooded French men were locked away in prison camps."
Interestingly enough, it also led to a boom in movie ticket sales:
Soon, the attendance figures were achieving staggering new highs - 224 million tickets were sold in 1941, rising to 310 million in 1943 as the French sought the escapism, the dark, the warmth and the erotic adventures the cinema offered.
Back to the headlines...
Donald, the author, reportedly uncovered the sex toy operation while retracing the footsteps of Americans Ruth and Elliot Handler, the inventors... wait for it ...of the Barbie doll.
True or not, a highly readable account of world history.