I would venture that there are few phrases that stimulate the brain-meats of journalists or bloggers more than “Nazi sex dolls”. It is an idea so rife with possibility that it is nigh irresistible. The Daily Mail, in fact, just recently found itself under its powerful sway when it published this article, detailing the findings of one Graeme Donald, author of Mussolini’s Barber: And Other Stories of the Unknown Players who Made History Happen, who stumbled upon this tantalizing bit of information while researching the history of the Barbie doll. Barbie, in case you do not know, was originally modeled on Lilli (pictured here courtesy of The Daily Mail), a 1950s German sex doll.
Donald claims to have uncovered evidence relating to the “Borghild Project”, a program set up by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in order to make a doll who could satisfy the desires of their soldiers on the front and, in turn, help them to avoid being sidelined by the venereal diseases passed onto them by (The Daily Mail specifies) French prostitutes.
The dolls were apparently trialled in Nazi-occupied Jersey at the German barracks in St Hellier.
After being refined, Himmler was so impressed he immediately ordered 50 of them.
However, at the beginning of 1942 he changed his mind and the whole project was axed and any evidence was destroyed in the Allied bombing of Dresden.
The story came from German sculptor Arthur Rink, one of the men on the team which designed the doll at the Racial Hygiene and Demographic Biology Research Unit.
The plan referred to the dolls as “gynoids” and were said to be “smaller than life-size” (again, quoting The Daily Mail).
So, you can see the allure here, right? Hitler commissioned lilliputian sex dolls for Nazi troops. How could you not want to publish that story? Everyone wants to run that! It possesses a bizarre, fucked up perfection. And so, people have. More importantly, people did. In 2005. A quick search shows that Boing Boing’s Xeni Jardin fell under the siren spell of Nazi sex dolls (via Fleshbot who, in true, blogger fashion, appended a question mark to their headline to give themselves an out (NSFW)) just a month shy of 6 years ago. She was quickly disappointed thirteen days later, when it was argued that the story was, instead, a hoax. She was, perhaps, just as disappointed as I was when I Googled “Nazi Sex Dolls” upon receiving this link to see if I could beat Boing Boing to the punch. DAMN YOU JARDIN!
So now the question is: Is it a hoax? Has Graeme Donald found actual proof of the fabled “Borghild Project” or have both he, and The Daily Mail, and about a dozen others (including Gawker, no question mark this time) simply given in to the temptation of writing about lilliputian Nazi sex dolls, something for which I can hardly blame them? Could it be that I have become part of some sort of recursive hoaxing? I very much hope it is the first. History that weird should always be true.