Theodor Morell

Theodor Morell bigraphy, stories - Personal physician to Adolf Hitler

Theodor Morell : biography

July 22, 1886 – May 26, 1948

Theodor Gilbert Morell (July 22, 1886 – May 26, 1948) was Adolf Hitler’s personal physician. Morell was well known in Germany for his unconventional treatments. He had medical training and was licensed as a general practitioner in Germany long before he met Hitler.

Early life

Morell was the second son of a primary school teacher, born and raised in a small village called Trais-Münzenberg in Upper Hesse. Morell’s paternal ancestry was of Frisian origin prior to the 12th century. He studied medicine in Grenoble and Paris then trained in obstetrics and gynaecology in Munich beginning in 1910. By 1913, he had a doctoral degree and was fully licensed as a medical doctor. After a year serving as an assistant doctor on cruise ships, he bought a practice in Dietzenbach. He served at the front during World War I, then as a medical officer. By 1919, he was in Berlin with a medical practice and in 1920 married Hannelore "Hanni" Moller, a wealthy actress. He targeted unconventional treatments at an upscale market and eventually turned down invitations to be personal physician to both the Shah of Persia and the King of Romania.

Morell claimed to have studied under Nobel Prize-winning bacteriologist Ilya Mechnikov, along with having taught medicine at prestigious universities, and sometimes called himself "professor". He also owned significant interests in several medium-sized European pharmaceutical companies. Morell had joined the Nazi party in 1933.

Substances given to Hitler

Morell kept a medical diary of the drugs, tonics, vitamins and other substances he administered to Hitler, usually by injection or in pill form. Most were commercial preparations, some were his own. Since some of these compounds are considered toxic, many historians have speculated Morell may have contributed to Hitler’s poor health. This fragmentary list of representative ingredients would have seemed somewhat less shocking during the 1940s: amphetamines, Atropa belladonna, Atropine, caffeine, chamolile, cocaine via eyedrops, E. Coli, enzymes, Eukodol (a trade name for Oxycodone), Glyconorm, Mutaflor, methamphetamine, morphine, strychnine, Oxedrine Tartrate, potassium bromide, Prophenazone, proteins, and lipids derived from animal tissues and fats, sodium barbitone, sulfonamide, testosterone, and vitamins.

Morell apparently never told Hitler (or anyone else) what he was administering, other than to say that the preparations contained various vitamins and "natural" ingredients, though this account is discredited, as Hitler knew what was being administered. Some ingredients were later confirmed by doctors who had been shown pills by Hitler while temporarily treating him. A few of the preparations (such as Glyconorm, a tonic popular in Switzerland for fighting infections) contained rendered forms of animal tissues such as placenta, cardiac muscle, liver, and bull testicles. During his interrogation after the war, Morell claimed another doctor had prescribed cocaine to Hitler, and at least one other doctor is known to have administered it through eyedrops after he requested it in the hours following an almost successful assassination attempt on 20 July 1944. Cocaine was routinely used for medical purposes in Germany during that time, but Morell is said to have increased the dosage tenfold; nonetheless, the concentration was still weak, as the eyedrops were only 1% cocaine. Overuse of cocaine eyedrops has been associated with psychotic behavior, hypertension and other symptoms; given the weak dosage, it is more likely they were caused by methamphetamine, of which these are also common symptoms. However, historians have generally tended to discount any effects of Morell’s treatments on Hitler’s decision-making.


Morell escaped Berlin on one of the last German flights out of the city but was soon captured by the Americans. One of his interrogators was reportedly "disgusted" by his obesity and complete lack of hygiene. Although he was held in an American internment camp, on the site of the former Buchenwald concentration camp, and questioned because of his proximity to Hitler, Morell was never charged with any crimes. His health declined rapidly. Grossly obese and suffering from speech impairment, he died in Tegernsee on May 26, 1948 after a stroke.