The 21st vegetarian stamp

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Learning that PETA has conned the U.S. Postal Service into creating stamps honoring 20 famous vegetarians, a couple of things come to mind. The first is, “Put us down for everyone else.” The list of famous meat eaters would certainly dwarf the list of famous vegetarians.

The second, of course, is they are ignoring perhaps the most famous vegetarian of all: Adolf Hitler.

According to history books and periodicals of the time, Hitler dabbled in vegetarianism his whole life but probably became a staunch vegetarian in 1931 when his niece died. According to witnesses, the next morning he was offered a piece of ham and refused, saying “it is like eating a corpse.”

A typical Hitler meal in the late 1930s included orange juice with linseed gruel, rice pudding with herb sauce, and crisp bread with butter and nut paste. Not a hint of meat.

In April 1941 Time Magazine confirmed that he went meatless, and in June, 1942, a UPI manager in Europe confirmed it. Hitler promoted the lifestyle wholeheartedly, claiming the moral and ethical high ground – as many vegetarians tend to do.

In fact Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda, said “the Fuhrer is a convinced vegetarian, on principle. His arguments cannot be refuted on any serious basis.”

One of Hitler’s favorite pastimes was trying to disgust his meat-eating friends at dinner. While eating his vegetarian meal Hitler would talk ad nauseam about slaughterhouses and how meat is processed. Along with his philosophical beliefs, some historians contend Hitler embraced vegetarianism to try to cure a terrible case of flatulence, which was both embarrassing and worrisome. Vegetarianism did not work, of course. But he did stick with it to his dying day.

Hitler and Nazis in general, by the way, were also big on animal rights. An article translated in the 1990s from a 1933 German document stated: “The new Germany not only frees man from the curse of materialism, sadism and cultural Bolshevism, but gives the cruelly persecuted, tortured and until now, whooly defenseless animals their rights… The formal laws are imminent – thanks to the energetic initiative of our Peoples’ chancellor Adolf Hitler, for whom all friends of animals of the world will maintain forever their gratitude, their love and their loyalty.”

Since vegetarians seem to think good people and vegetarianism are somehow linked, they should admit that the opposite may be true. But we all should admit that vegetarianism probably wasn’t any more responsible for Hitler’s madness than his mustache was.

The point is that being a vegetarian doesn’t grant fame, talent, looks or intelligence. Or compassion, if hundreds of concentration camps are any indication. It just suggests a limited diet. Which isn’t a lot to write home about. 

For more, read Greg Henderson's feature Famous vegetarians on new U.S. postage stamps

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gary digiuseppe    
little rock  |  December, 05, 2011 at 09:28 AM

PETA didn't con the USPS into anything. They're just using a service called, which is an independent company and will put anything within reason on a stamp that can be used for US (not international) postage. You have to pay a fairly hefty premium, but it's a lot cheaper if you buy them in bulk, as PETA is undoubtedly doing. Just a way for PETA to make a buck, and perhaps the meat industry should counter by having its own stamps printed up depicting famous carnivores, like me.

Walt Barnhart    
Denver, CO  |  December, 05, 2011 at 10:35 AM

If you're right, Gary, PETA disguised it well. First, they debuted the stamp at the Hollywood Post Office. Second, the stamps they showed did not contain a readable code -- which would be required if they are Finally, if it's a "vanity" stamp it's a stupid fund-raising gambit, because not only would they have to pay 44 cents apiece but design costs and the hefty premium to the company for the privelege. (But as I said in my column, vegetarianism doesn't connote intelligence, does it?)

USA  |  December, 05, 2011 at 02:09 PM

Remember kids being a vegetarian will make you want to murder Jews, homosexuals,Communist feminist, the mentally disabled, and other religious minorities. Fail argument is fail argument. [url][/url]

Walter W    
Leipzig, Germany  |  December, 05, 2011 at 02:26 PM

Hitler wasn't a vegetarian... He ate ham, sausages and game, none of which are vegetarian.

December, 05, 2011 at 03:13 PM

Nice article! Have referred to it in my most recent blogpost "Would you like a side of corpse with your meal, Sir?"

Canada  |  December, 05, 2011 at 04:02 PM

Hitler was not a vegetarian and was a huge fan of stuffed squab and sausage. It is even recorded in cook books from that time period and one of the Chef's found the need to comment "The stuffed squab was a particular favorite of Mr. Hitler's but please do not let that spoil your appetite." Stop spreading Nazi propoganda; the lie about Hitler being a vegetarian was spread by Joseph Goebbels to make Hitler appear more ascetic. Goebbels also lied and said Hitler never drank, which he did and he was a big fan of watered down liquor, and that he never slept around, we know he had a mistress, Eva Braun. The only thing which Goebbels has claimed about Hitler that has been true is that Hitler was not a smoker. Stop spreading lies, you are making omnivores look bad, and this is coming from a vegetarian.

Chicago  |  December, 05, 2011 at 05:40 PM

Adopting a vegetarian/vegan diet is certainly the easiest way to live a more compassionate lifestyle. I've eaten the best meals as a vegan, and I've never been happier. I also feel better knowing that my diet aligns with my morals. No animals died or suffered to produce the food I eat. This is a good, short video to watch about this topic: Or visit for information on adapting a more compassionate lifestyle.

Fort Worth  |  December, 06, 2011 at 09:45 AM

This is a very unprofessional article and quite frankly, not what I appreciate seeing here. I have vegetarians in my family and they afford me respect, knowing how I make my living, as I do them. My sister-in-law does not eat meat, eggs or dairy and yet she allows my nieces and nephew to make their own choice about eating those things and she does not have a problem with my brother eating or preparing meat. You really underestimate the consideration that vegetarians have for those that they love. Not every vegetarian is married to or the parent of another vegan or vegetarian. It would behoove you not to ridicule them, insult their intelligence or align them with mass murderers. It's a stamp. Why do you even care and how on earth did you come to the conclusion that this was an appropriate story angle to take? Do you think that this stamp is going to cut into meat sales somehow? Articles like this sure can, though. Just because a handful of vocal activists often stoop to lambast meat eaters doesn't mean you have to do the same and sensationalize things to boot. In reality, most vegetarians don't make a big deal of it and regularly sit around tables where beef is the centerpiece of the meal. Grow up.

December, 08, 2011 at 09:56 AM

You obviously don't read many of the articles on this website or the over-the-top rude comments vegetarians are constantly making. If your feelings got hurt by the article maybe you should go somewhere else for your reading material. Just a thought.

Good Tofu    
right coast, US  |  December, 06, 2011 at 09:52 AM

This article has nothing to do with actual vegetarians. You may as well say Hitler was a pacifist.

Ames, IA  |  December, 06, 2011 at 03:34 PM

I think this is the direction the beef/meat-producing industry should NOT go in response to PETA's clever, if annoying, move. As beef producers, we try to not let the "bad eggs" among us be the vision of our industry...PETA is merely doing the same. My preferred response? The vegetarians they forgot to mention...OUR CATTLE.

Los Angeles  |  December, 11, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Is your argument that beef and dairy producers are more cold-hearted and more cruel than high-ranking Nazi leaders? Regardless, Hitler was not vegetarian:

SoCal  |  January, 10, 2012 at 01:07 PM

Wow! This has to rank in the top ten of most false statements I've ever read. Everyone knows Hilter was NOT and never was a vegetarian. I myself read a transcript of an interiew with a former Chef who worked for Adolph which described a typical meal that Hilter would enjoy. In addition; persons who believe that all living things should be treated with compassion and respect certainly can not be compared with Nazis in any way shape or form. A vegetarian or vegan diet is only limited by a person's imagination, creativity and finances.

Los Angeles  |  January, 10, 2012 at 02:26 PM

Seriously guys, look at the demographic he's writing this article for. If they actually had someone intelligent with fact checking ability writing for them, how many of their readers would be able to understand the articles.

Missouri  |  January, 11, 2012 at 07:44 AM

Kay, What gives you the right to call people that enjoy this site and read these articles uneducated or able to even understand the articles. Do you understand what goes into agriculture or what it takes to survive in the industry. I am educated as is many of my fellow colleagues that read and enjoy these articles and like anything else you read and enjoy and take what you want to out of it. You do not know me or understand my way of life so I would appreciate if you would not question what I can or cannot understand.

USA  |  January, 11, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Kary, I also wonder how many of these readers are well-educated, although I bet a large number of them are, especially pertaining to this field. When you are generalizing the readers of this website, that indicates that you must be included in this demographic as well. As a well-educated college gradute myself, I enjoy the conversation-sparking opinion pieces that this site provides. In my opinion, this appears to be another one of PETA's gimmicks, while the meat industry is hopefully coming up with real education-based strategies with take-away learnings for the public about where our food comes from and why it is important to our nation, and our world.

January, 12, 2012 at 11:39 PM

Hitler wasn't even a vegetarian, he quite enjoyed sausages and other types of meat on occasion.

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