Fr. Denis Fahey, Fr. Leonard Feeney, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were pretty famous names in the Christian West in the 1930s and 1940s. Is there any information concerning Hitler having views on any of these men?

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    Hitler didn't speak a word of English. He wasn't a scholar. What makes you think he read the works of those authors?
    – Jos
    Apr 24, 2022 at 3:43
  • @Jos Speaking a language and understanding a language are 2 different things. Apr 24, 2022 at 7:34
  • @MarkJohnson Indeed it is. I don't see any relevance to the question, but you are absolutely right.
    – Jos
    Apr 24, 2022 at 7:46
  • @Jon Being capable of reading english is relevant to the question. Speaking it is not. Apr 24, 2022 at 7:53
  • @Jos Hitler had translators as his disposal. It's hardly far-fetched to assume he had these translators translate for him information about foreign figures.
    – whitewings
    Apr 24, 2022 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


Is there any information concerning Hitler having views on any of these men?

J.R.R. Tolkien

Since most of the publications, for which J.R.R. Tolkien is now known for were published after 1945, Hitler is unlikley to have had any views at all.

A major exception could be The Hobbit, which was definitely known in Germany in 1938 but was not published in German at the time (see below).

As to what Hitlers personal reading habits actually were is hard to determine, since what was eventuelly retrieved from his private library after WWII also contained books that were given to him as well as books from his entourage.

Allthough Hitler didn't speak other languages, it is believed that he had a basic understanding of english and french:

1964-01-28: Adolf Hitler - Anatomie eines Diktators - DER SPIEGEL Nach dem Zeugnis des (Hitler-Arztes) Professor von Hasselbach ließ Hitler sich englische, amerikanische und französische Zeitschriften regelmäßig vorlegen: »Die zum Verständnis erforderlichen Sprachkenntnisse hatte er sich - von geringen französischen Schulkenntnissen abgesehen - im Laufe des Lebens allmählich angeeignet. Vorwiegend zu diesem Zweck ließ er sich vor dem Kriege häufig englische und französische Filme im Originaltext vorführen.«

'According to the testimony of (Hitler's doctor) Professor von Hasselbach, Hitler regularly had English, American and French magazines in front of him: 'In the course of his life he had gradually acquired the language skills required for understanding - apart from little knowledge of French at school. Mainly for this purpose he had English and French films shown to him in the original text before the war.«

Professor von Hasselbach was Hitler's attending doctor between 1936 and 1944.

2013-06-26: Hollywoods Kollaboration mit Nazi-Deutschland - DER SPIEGEL:
Adolf Hitler war ausgeprochener Film-Liebhaber, er ließ sich auch neue Hollywood-Produktionen pünktlich vor der Premiere direkt aus den Kopierwerkstätten der US-Studios in die Reichskanzlei schicken.

Adolf Hitler was an outspoken film lover, and he also had new Hollywood productions sent to the Reich Chancellery directly from the US studios' copy shops in good time before the premiere.

So the statements from his attending doctor, who was near him for 8 years, are plausible.

The first German translation of The Hobbit, first published 1937-09-21, was in 1957.

The 1938 negotiations for a German publication failed since Tolkien refused to supply a Ariernachweis (Aryan certificate).

The Lord of the Rings was first published in 1954/1955, with it's first German translation in 1969/1970.

The Silmarillion was first published in 1977, with it's first German translation in 1978

[Letter 29] From a letter to Stanley Unwin
25 July 1938
[Allen & Unwin had negotiated the publication of a German translation of The Hobbit with Rütten & Loening of Potsdam. This firm wrote to Tolkien asking if he was of ‘arisch’ (aryan) origin.]

I must say the enclosed letter from Rütten and Loening is a bit stiff. Do I suffer this impertinence because of the possession of a German name, or do their lunatic laws require a certificate of ‘arisch’ origin from all persons of all countries?

Personally I should be inclined to refuse to give any Bestätigung (although it happens that I can), and let a German translation go hang. In any case I should object strongly to any such declaration appearing in print. I do not regard the (probable) absence of all Jewish blood as necessarily honourable; and I have many Jewish friends, and should regret giving any colour to the notion that I subscribed to the wholly pernicious and unscientific race-doctrine.

You are primarily concerned, and I cannot jeopardize the chance of a German publication without your approval.

So I submit two drafts of possible answers.

[Letter 30] To Rütten & Loening Verlag
[One of the ‘two drafts’ mentioned by Tolkien in the previous letter. This is the only one preserved in the Allen & Unwin files, and it seems therefore very probable that the English publishers sent the other one to Germany. It is clear that in that letter Tolkien refused to make any declaration of ‘arisch’ origin.]

25 July 1938
20 Northmoor Road, Oxford

Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your letter. . . . . I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people. My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject – which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.

Your enquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subjects of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its suitability for publication, of which you appear to have satisfied yourselves without reference to my Abstammung.

I trust you will find this reply satisfactory, and remain yours faithfully

J. R. R. Tolkien.

  • The bit about Tolkien and the Ariernachweis is interesting. Tolkien and Lewis were anti-Nazi. By today's standards most Jews would probably consider both of them "anti-semitic", but for their time they were pretty down-the-middle with their views on Jews. Fahey and Feeney, on the other hand, were both anti-Nazi but were much more anti-Talmudic than Lewis and Tolkien.
    – whitewings
    Apr 24, 2022 at 11:44
  • The ref work is sloppy but the info on WP is correct. (Told his own publisher that he refuses and would accept if translation left 'hanging', told German publisher that this is 'impertinent' to ask of him) However, that is primarily how Tolkien saw these rules, not how AH opined on the author or his work(s). Apr 24, 2022 at 21:00
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    After my comment to your answer you added to it. In your new edit it doesn't shock me that Tolkien expressed displeasure at not having "ancestors of that gifted people." Tolkien expresses an oddly un-Catholic view. According to the Church it was only a special thing to have Jewish blood until Jesus appeared. Afterwards it meant absolutely nothing. Tolkien and Lewis were philo-Talmudic. Lewis even married a Jew.
    – whitewings
    Apr 26, 2022 at 2:22
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    @DJClayworth,whitewings My impression was that Tolkien's reply was written in such a way as to cause the greatest amount of irritation to the reciever. Irony is often the best weapon and Tolkien, as an author, knew how to use a pen. Apr 27, 2022 at 13:19

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