Photo of the Day

Franz Tschakert and his “Woman of Glass” in the 1930s. Himmler found his man in the technician Franz Tschakert, the creator of the celebrated “Woman of Glass” model for the Dresden Hygiene Museum. According to research by the German journalist Norbert Lenz, in early 1941 Tschakert and his team at the museum were put in charge of a top-secret “Reich project” to construct a fully functional, lifelike “gynoid” or sex doll called “Borghild” that could be mass produced like so many V-2 rockets to service soldiers in the field. The SS officer in charge was Dr. Joachim Mrurgowsky of the feared SS Institute.

Guys and Dolls

Hitler Invented the Inflatable Sex Doll…. Allegedly!

Since ancient times, men have been getting it on with synthetic women. Is this just fancy performance handling or something more disturbing?

The greatest danger in Paris is the widespread and uncontrolled presence of whores

– Heinrich Himmler

While historians have recorded the battles, atrocities, and ghost blimps of World War II in great detail, Hitler’s secret sex doll program remains shrouded in mystery to this day. The Borghild Project was (supposedly) a super-secret attempt to stop the spread of syphilis by providing Nazi soldiers with inflatable sex dolls. That’s right: Hitler invented the blow-up doll.

Sadly, the evidence in support of this having actually happened is sketchy, so it may not be a true story.

The top-secret 1940 mission  entitled “Borghild Project” was inspired by SS chief Heinrich Himmler, who at one occasion sent the führer a memo, alerting the syphilis problem in the brothels in Paris. He had already received far too many reports of SS men and regular soldiers succumbing to syphilis and gonorrhea in the unwholesome brothels of Paris and Poland, and the army’s own mobile “field brothels” were costly and woefully overextended. Why not use true Aryan ingenuity to come up with a “final solution” to one of the oldest problems of warfare?

So, supposedly, Adolf Hitler ordered the manufacture of Aryan blow-up Sex dolls to discourage his troops of having  sexual intercourse with disease-ridden prostitutes.

Purported to be the world’s first sex doll, is said to be the creation of Nazi scientists in 1941. Borghild, was a sex doll or “gynoid”, developed as a “female hygiene project” to stop soldiers on the front having sex with prostitutes. It was believed that the project was developed by Himmler, and approved by Hitler, to give inflatable sex dolls to the troops, that they could carry in their back-packs.

The project was pushed forward by an ambitious Danish doctor, called Hannussen. He wanted to create a doll with an artificial face of lust, for the soldiers.

Throughout time we as a people have always been obsessed with sex. We are either trying to have it as much as possible, wishing we were having it as much as possible, treating it like a dirty little secret while thinking about it as much as possible or we’re just plain doing’ it as much as possible.

Granted, sex dolls are not as warm as real women are. But according to some men, they aren’t nearly as cold, either. There are Japanese brothels that feature sex dolls rather than living, breathing, human prostitutes. The Japanese boast full-on love-doll brothels where men pay top yen to carnally consort with sex dolls in virtual-reality whorehouses. Japan also briefly featured a TV show with a silicone sex doll as its main character. And one crafty Japanese inventor has produced a sex doll that also doubles as a drinking fountain.

Eastern Europeans love using sex dolls in swimming competitions…

During “National Men’s Day” in Lithuania, one swimming race involves men using sex dolls as rafts. And until 2013—when the event was cancelled due to “health and safety” concerns—Russia’s “Bubble Baba Challenge” also featured men rocketing down the river afloat on inflatable sex dolls.

Australian authorities insist that sex dolls are “not recognized flotation devices.”

In 2011 after an Aussie couple escaped drowning by using inflatable sex toys as life rafts during a flood; authorities sternly warned the public that sex dolls are “not recognized flotation devices.”

Heartbroken men have been known to design sex dolls that resemble their lost lovers.

After being dumped by his lover in 1916, Austro-Hungarian artist Oskar Kokoschka wrote that he’d “lost all desire to go through the ordeal of love again.” Instead, he provided a dressmaker with insanely detailed instructions for building a life-sized simulacrum of the woman who kicked him to the curb. He reportedly destroyed the doll in a fit of rage during a party.

According to the owner of a sex shop in Italy, in 2010 a 50-year-old man was “in tears” as he showed dozens of photographs of a presumably dead blonde woman whom he commissioned shop owners to recreate as a sex doll.

Author Graeme Donald discovered the sex dolls project while researching the history of the Barbie doll that was based on the Lilli sex doll of 1956 (pictured)

“Bild Lilli” was a bawdy, foul-mouthed female German cartoon character in the early 1950s that one writer described as a “pornographic caricature.” Due to the cartoon’s popularity, a line of “Bild Lilli” dolls was manufactured in two sizes—7.5 inches and 11.5 inches. They were marketed to adult males, although their size ensured that they couldn’t be penetrated and could only potentially do the penetrating. Bild Lilli is fingered, pun intended, as the direct inspiration for America’s Barbie doll.

8 AD. — The First Sex Doll Story Told. In Metamorphoses, Ovid wrote of a myth involving a woman sculpted from ivory by Pygmalion. Her name was Galatea and he became so obsessed with her, bathing her feeding her and of course sleeping with her, eventually Aphrodite made her into a real woman.

11th to 12th Century — Touching of Naked Statues Encouraged. Naked women made of marble, called “Sheela-na-gigs,” were carved into the sides of English and Irish churches to ward off evil spirits. The carvings had exaggerated vulvas and a legend at the time said caressing these sexy busts gave you the power to heal others.

15th Century — The First Sex Dolls at Sea. Called “Dame De Voyage” in French, “Dama De Vinje” in Spanish or, the most hilarious of the three, “Seemannsbraut,” in German, these female dolls made out of sewn cloth were used by sailors aboard their ships to occupy their time (and bodies) on long trips at sea.

The very early version of the modern sex doll was a glorified penile hand puppet made of hand-sewn leather by European sailors of the 17th century. The French referred to these disgusting little hot pockets as dames de voyage (travel ladies). Dutch sailors traded so much with the Japanese back then, the Japanese began referring to these little masturbatory aids as “Dutch wives.” Even in modern times, many Japanese people still refer to high-tech silicone love dolls as “Dutch wives.”

Some of the first sex dolls were used by the Dutch sailors who would be isolated at sea during long voyages. These user open dolls, referred to by the Spanish as dama de viaje, were made of sewn cloth or old clothes, and were a direct predecessor to today’s sex dolls. The Dutch sold some of these dolls to Japanese people during the Rangaku period, and the term “Dutch wives” is still sometimes used in Japan to refer to sex dolls.

“Bild Lilli” dolls—”erotic” German figurines that are said to be the inspiration for the Barbie doll.

Accordingly, German dictator Adolf Hitler allowed the making of sex dolls for his massive Nazi army during the Second World War to combat syphilis [he was rumoured to be even suffering from the said illness himself]. It seemed that the Allied troops and the French resistance fighters were not the only enemies the Nazis had to contend with in Paris during WWII; they also had to have iron-strong wills to be able to resist the temptations presented by the Parisian joie de vivre.

According to reports, the manufacturing of the said sex dolls during the war was part of the Borghild Project, a highly classified mission in 1940 which was inspired by SS chief Heinrich Himmler. It was Himmler who alerted the notorious German dictator about their troops’ problem concerning syphilis. Hitler, then, gave the “go signal” for the making of blow up sex dolls and let each Nazi soldier have one to use as a more hygienic alternative to visiting Paris’ brothels.

Himmler, in his letter to the German Fuehrer, said that the “greatest danger” present in Paris was “the large and uncontrolled number of whores” in the city. So, Borghild Project was focused on making sex dolls that were not life-sized but were big enough to fit inside a soldier’s backpack. For the design of the sex dolls, Nazi authorities first approached the Hungarian actress Kathy von Nagy. They wanted her to be the doll’s model. But when she refused, Nazi officials opted to use a blond-haired, blue-eyed sex doll for the sexual comfort of their soldiers.

Adolf Hitler (right) ordered sex dolls after Heinrich Himmler (left) said it is their duty to protect soldiers from syphilis.

At 11 am on November 11th, 1918 Germany signed the armistice which ended the First World War. In observance of the event November 11th was named Armistice Day in many countries, and later it was rededicated in the Commonwealth as Remembrance Day (to commemorate all war dead) and in the United States as Veterans Day (to honour all veterans).

When the Nazi war machine occupied France in May of 1940, any business which wanted to remain in operation had to deal with the Germans. Shops, cafes, tradesmen and filles de joie had to accept German soldiers as customers or literally starve; the Germans seized 20% of all produce, 50% of the meat and 80% of the champagne, and what was not seized outright was purchased at the confiscatory rate of one reichsmark per twenty francs. In Paris, the luxurious brothels of the Pigalle district (which was also home to the Moulin Rouge and Grand Guignol) were placed under direct military control and were only allowed to serve German officers. And though independent whores were under no such restriction, they had little choice but to accept German troops into their beds if they wanted the only currency which could actually buy anything anymore. Nor were the professionals alone; many single French women, or married ones whose husbands had been killed, wounded or captured, were forced to prostitute themselves to the enemy in order to provide for themselves and their children. Even those with an income might find themselves hard-pressed. The ration allowance provided by the Vichy government was a scant 1300 calories a day (roughly two-thirds what an active adult woman needs and one-third the intake of a healthy teenage boy). The only way to get extra coupons, goods or hard currency (to buy things on the black market) was to become what Frenchmen angrily called “a mattress for the Boche”. Nor were all of these liaisons voluntary; land ladies were often forced to billet troops (who then took what they pleased, as ever happens in such situations), and French streetwalkers were no more able to refuse the trade of unprincipled German soldiers.

Of course, this sort of behaviour took its toll; condoms were as much in short supply as anything else, men in positions of armed authority over women often refuse to use them even when they were available. The result? An epidemic of syphilis (blamed, of course, on the whores rather than amateurs or the soldiers’ own stupid behaviour) among the occupying troops which was so serious that Heinrich Himmler persuaded the Führer to order the manufacture of blow-up sex dolls which could be issued to the troops so they wouldn’t have to rely on French hookers. This plan, dubbed the Borghild Project, was dropped two years later when it was found that soldiers wouldn’t carry the dolls for fear of ridicule if they were captured.

The officers, who were employing the high-class doxies of the brothels, had no such problems, nor did most of them abuse their companions; in fact, some of them later reported that the Germans were better, cleaner, and more generous clients than the Frenchmen they were used to. Because of this, many of them did quite well for themselves during the occupation, a fact which was to return to haunt them later; they, and the other women who managed to feed themselves and their own by supplying sex to those in control, were subjected to horrible treatment after the liberation.

The following facts are not in dispute: The Nazi occupation of France in 1940 led to a lot of fraternizing between German soldiers and Parisian prostitutes, and the resulting outbreak of syphilis led to a lot of ubermensch losing the spring in their goosesteps. Something had to be done!

After Hitler signed off on the plan, Himmler hired Franz Tschakert of the German Hygiene Museum to design and manufacturer the Nazi-riffic sex dolls. Tschakert was a real person: he created the “Woman of Glass” — an anatomically correct transparent sculpture of a woman that caused a sensation in 1930s Germany — so it’s at least plausible that he would be tapped for the gig of designing a perfect fake-lady.

In a document supposedly uncovered by journalist Norbert Lenz  SS chief Heinrich Himmler wrote: “The greatest danger in Paris is the widespread and uncontrolled presence of whores, picking up clients in bars, dance halls and other places. It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health for the sake of a quick adventure.”

Himmler’s solution wasn’t “tell the men to stop schtupping French whores.” Instead (as the story goes) Himmler said, “Let’s make plastic women who don’t have diseases!” And so the above-top-secret Borghild Project was born.

After Hitler signed off on the plan, Himmler hired Franz Tschakert of the German Hygiene Museum to design and manufacturer the Nazi-riffic sex dolls. Tschakert was a real person: he created the “Woman of Glass” — an anatomically correct transparent sculpture of a woman that caused a sensation in 1930s Germany — so it’s at least plausible that he would be tapped for the gig of designing a perfect fake-lady.

The Nazis quickly recognized a huge flaw in their plan, however: Who’d seriously have sex with a doll?

Here’s how Nazi psychiatrist Dr. Rudolf Chargeheimer described the issue:

“The purpose and goal of the dolls is to relieve our soldiers. They have to fight and not be on the prowl or mingle with ‘foreign womenfolk.’ However, no real men will prefer a doll to a real woman.”

That is, unless the dolls can meet a high bar of quality.

The field-hygienic project was an initiative of Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, who regarded the doll as a counterbalance (or regulating effect) for the sexual drive of his stormtroopers. In one his letters, dated 20.11.1940 he mentions the unnecessary losses, the Wehrmacht had suffered in France inflicted by street prostitutes. The greatest dangers in Paris are the widespread and uncontrolled whores, picking by clients in bars, dance halls and other places. It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health, just for the sake of a quick adventure.”

The project – called Burghild in the first place – was considered “Geheime Reichssache”, which was more secret than top secret at the time. Himmler put his commander-in-chief SS-Dr. Joachim Mrurgowsky in charge, the highest-ranking officer of Berlins notorious SS-institute.

All members of the team – also Tschakert – ware bound to keep the secret.

In July 1941, when Hitler’s army attacked Russia, an unknown but ambitious Danish SS-Doctor named Olen Hannussen took over from Mrurgowsky. Perhaps he was the one who changed Burghild to Borghild, which is nothing more than the Danish equivalent.

Hannussen pushed everybody forward to make the project a success. The galvonoplastical dolls – manufactured in a bronzemold – were meant to follow the Stormtroopers in disinfection-trailers into the enemys land, in order to stop them visiting infection herds – like brothels and loose women. At least, this was Himmler‘s plan. A psychiatrist Dr. Rudolf Chargeheimer , befriended with Hannussen and also involved in the project, wrote him a letter to clarify the difficulties.

“Sure thing, purpose and goal of the dolls is to relieve our soldiers. They have to fight and not be on the prowl or mingle with foreign womenfolk. However:  no real men will prefer a doll to a real woman, until our technicians meet the following quality standards-

  1. The synthetic flesh has to feel the same like real flesh
  2. The doll’s body should be as agile and moveable as the real body
  3. The doll’s organ should feel absolutely realistic.”

Between June 1940 – 1941, IG Farben had already developed a number of ”skin-friendly polymers” for the SS. Special characteristics : high tensile strength and elasticity. The cast of a suitable model proved to be more difficult.

Borghild was meant to reflect the beauty-ideal of the Nazis, ie: white skin, fair hair, and blue eyes. Although the team considered a doll with brown hair, the SS- Hygiene-Institute insisted on manufacturing a nordish doll. Tschakert hoped to plastercast from a living model and a number of famous female athletes were invited to come to his studios, among them Wilhelmina von Bremen and Annette Walter. In the process Tschakert realized it was the wrong way. In a letter to Mrurgowsky he came to the conclusion: “Sometimes the legs are too short and look deformed, or the lady has a hollow back and arms like a wrestler. The overall appearance is always dreadful and I fear there is no other way than to combine.” While Mrurgowsky still favoured a whole imprint of NS- diva Kristina Söderbaum, the Borghild-designer decided to build the doll’s mold in a modular way. In Tschakerts view the doll should be nothing more than a female form, a perfect automaton of lust, which would combine the best of all possible bodies. The team agreed on a cheeky and naughty face, a look-a-like of Käthe von Nagy, but the actress politely declined to borrow her face to Tschakert’s doll.  After Mrurgowskys exit, Dr. Hannussen rejected the idea to cast a face from a living person. He believed in an artificial face of lust, which would be more attractive to soldiers.

In his logbook he wrote:

The doll has only one purpose and she should never become a substitute for the honourable mother at home… When the soldier makes love to Borghild, it has nothing to do with love. Therefore the face of our anthropomorphic sex machine should be exactly how Weininger described the common  wanton’s face.

The second International Hygiene Exhibition was held in 1930/31, in a building erected west of the Großer Garten park according to plans designed by Wilhelm Kreis, which became the museum’s permanent home. One of the biggest attractions was, and remains, a transparent model of a human being, the Gläserner Mensch or Transparent Man, of which many copies have subsequently been made for other museums.

Today Arthur Rink, born 1919, a master of art and student of Hitler’s favourite sculptor Arno Breker, is the only living eye-witness of the most discreet kept project of the III. Reich.

After a short practical training at Puppenwerk Käthe Kruse he worked in Tschakerts studio at the German Hygiene-Museum in Dresden. He joined the Borghild-team as early as 1940: There was on sculptor (rink), a varnisher, a specialist for synthetic materials, a hair-dresser , a lathe operator and  – in the beginning-  a mechanic from Würtemberg’s Metallfabrik in Friedrichshafen. The first construction-document showed that Tschakert had planned to use a simple aluminium-skeleton. But soon he changed his mind and decided to use Elastolin. The synthetic flesh was another problem. The material was not easy to find. Mr. Tschakert, an expert on plastics, had tried several materials based on rubber or butyl rubber: All came from IG Farben or from the Rheinischen Gummi- und Celluloid Fabrik.

One material was called Ipolex, it was extremely tearproof, but it developed yellow spots when cleaned with certain detergents. At this stage Rink gave the dolls torso  the finishing touch, working with plaster and a mixture of Schwarzmehl  and glue Under Hannussens strict directions  ten wanton-faces were modelled, and used by Dr. Chargeheimer in  psychological tests. Chargeheimer and Hannussen were convinced, Borghild’s success would depend in a major way on her facial expression. Contrary to common belief, that men get only aroused through female sexual characteristics they thought it all would depend on the right face. The purpose of this costly exercise was to find out what type of woman the soldiers would really fancy.  Or like Chargeheimer wrote to Hannussen – the idea of beauty harboured by the SS might not be shared by the majority of our soldiers. He even considered the vulgar could appeal to most ordinary men. The results of  Dr. Chargeheimers tests at the barracks of Soldatenheim St. Helier  are not known. Fact is that at this time, Rink and Tschakert had already finished a complete model of the doll. Arthur Rink made a solemn declaration about what happened next.

Three types of dolls were planned: Type A: 168, Type B: 176, Type C: 182 cm.

Type B would be the first to go into serial production. The members of the project were divided about Borghild’s breasts. The SS favoured them round and full, Dr Hannussen insisted on “a rose hip form, that would grip well” and he won the dispute. The first model of Borghild was finished in September 1941. She was exactly the “Nordish type.”

Hannussen wanted her to have “a boyish hair-do” to underline that Borghild was “part of the fighting forces”– a field-whore and not an honourable Mother.

Borghild’s presentation in Berlin was a great success. Himmler was there and Dr Chargeheimer. While the gentlemen examined her artificial orfices , Franz Tschakert was very nervous, but Himmler was so enthusiast that he ordered 50 Borghilds on the spot. It was considered to move to a special production facility, because Tschakert’s studio was too small to cope with the production of 50 dolls. In the face of more and more unpleasant developments in the east Himmler dropped his plans one week later and cut the budget.

In the beginning of 1942, some weeks after Stalingrad, the whole project was put on hold. All construction-documents had to be returned to the SS-Hygiene-Institute. The bronze-mould for Type B was never finished.

Franz Tschakert and his “Woman of Glass” (1936)

The synthetic ‘comforters’ or blow-up sex dolls were made from silicone and designed to stop soldiers being laid low with syphilis. Smaller than life-size, the so-called ‘gynoids’ were to be targeted at the men most at temptation from a ‘quick adventure’ with a French prostitute.

Initially, the Hungarian actress Kathe von Nagy was asked if the doll could be modelled on her, but she refused. Instead the look of the Aryan doll with blonde bob hair and blue eyes was left bland so soldiers could apply their own fantasy.

Author Graeme Donald has uncovered the secretive ‘Borghild Project’ while researching the history of the Barbie doll – which was based on a post-war German sex doll toy. He included the tale in his book, Mussolini’s Barber, a compilation of bizarre stories connected with the biggest events of history.

The World War Two project began in 1940 after SS chief Henrich Himmler wrote: ‘The greatest danger in Paris is the widespread and uncontrolled presence of whores, picking up clients in bars, dance halls, and other places.

‘It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health just for the sake of a quick adventure.’  The dolls were apparently trialed 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.

Mr Donald said: ‘I was looking at the weird things on the periphery of major events when I came across this story.

‘I was actually researching the history of the Barbie doll that was based on a German sex doll of the 1950s.

‘Ruth and Elliot Handler from America visited Germany in 1956 and saw the Lilli dolls that were sold in barbers’ shops and nightclubs – and were not for children.

‘Ruth didn’t realise this and bought one and realised later they were not toys. But Ruth and her husband used the doll as a foundation for what became Barbie.

‘While I was researching this I came across references to Nazi sex dolls and found out that Hitler had ordered them to be made.

‘As ever, more troops were laid low by disease than by bullets. Syphilis was a problem Hitler was aware of and he was rumoured to have suffered from it himself. ‘In an attempt to try and stop the troops getting sexually transmitted diseases the Nazis started to develop sex dolls. ‘There was debate about whether the dolls should have the hair-style with side-plaits spiralled into circles, but in the end a boyish bob won the day. ‘They were made from highly tensile and elastic polymers and the first ones were trialled in Jersey.

There is no clue of whereabouts of the dolls, but it is presumed, that they – like all the plasters and studies were sent to Berlin. If they were kept in Tschakerts studio in Dresden, it is most likely that they were destroyed in February 1945, when allied bombers destroyed the city. Apparently the bombs devastated the Hygiene-Museum and the other models of the woman of glass – Taschkert masterpieces were destroyed.

It is estimated that up to 10 per cent of troops were infected with syphilis during World War I. Treatment centres were set up during World War II to treat troops with syphilis and gonorrhoea, as the disease was still a huge problem.

It is rumoured that Adolf Hitler had syphilis and is said to have displayed many symptoms consistent with the advanced form of the disease. Some have suggested that Hitler’s madness was partly due to him suffering from syphilis.The numbers of people infected with syphilis dramatically decreased in the 1940s due to the widespread availability of penicillin.

Whether these 50 dolls were actually produced is murky. Some say the dolls were tested in the field, but soldiers refused to carry them due to the fear of embarrassment if they were captured. Some say Himmler cut the funding before the dolls were finished, because the war was going pretty badly by 1942. Some say the whole thing never happened at all.

If the sex dolls were or were not fit surrogates for the whores of Paris, we will never know. The vicious bombings the German city of Dresden was subjected to during the war destroyed the factories that made these sex dolls. The Hygiene Museum really was heavily damaged by Allied shells during the bombing of Dresden, though, which conveniently destroyed evidence of the project (if any existed).

After many years of investigation, with no evidence to support the story, some historians now consider that the Borghild Project is a hoax. Author Graeme Donald first discovered Nazi Germany’s sex doll project while investigating the history of the American Barbie doll for his book Mussolini’s Barber, which chronicles the most bizarre untold war tales.

“While I was researching this, I came across references to Nazi sex dolls and found out that Hitler had ordered them to be made,” Donald told The Sun. “As ever, more troops were laid low by disease than by bullets. Syphilis was a problem Hitler was aware of and he was rumored to have suffered from it himself.”

However,  this story was never proven that is not a hoax. The main supporting evidence for the project were two photographs purportedly rescued from the trash, which were later disproven as a hoax.

Furthermore, the existence of a journalist named Norbert Lenz has also been questioned, as there is no proof that he ever existed in the first place, nor has any employee at the German Hygiene Museum ever recalled the project ever existing, when asked.

So, was Hitler really the father of blow-up sex dolls, we’ll never know.

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