“The Borghild-project – a
of the III. Reich”
world’s first sexdoll – or ”gynoid” – was built in 1941 by a team of
craftsmen from Germanys Hygiene Museum Dresden. The project
was supervised by the famous preparator and technician
Franz Tschakert. The ”Father of the woman of glass”, which happened
to be the sensation in 1930’s II. International Hygiene-Exhibit, used his
skills and experience in order to
create a kind of doll the world had never seen before.
”field-hygienic project” was an initiative of Reichsführer SS Heinrich
Himmler, who regarded the doll as an ” counterbalance” (or regulating effect
)for the sexual drive of his stormtropers.
In one his letters, dated 20.11.1940 he mentions the ”unnessessary
losses”, the Wehrmacht had suffered in France inflicted by street
”The greatest danger in Paris are the wide-spread and uncontrolled whores, picking by clients in bars, dancehalls and other places . It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health, just for the sake of a quick adventure.”
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.
members of the team – also Tschakert – ware bound to keep the secret.
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
pushed everybody forward to make the project a success. The ”galvonoplastical
dolls” – manufactured in a bronzemold – were meant to follow the
Stormtroopers in ” desinfections-trailers” into the enemy`s land, in order
to stop them visiting ”infection herds”
- linke front-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 clearify the difficulties.
thing, purpose and goal of the dolls is to relieve our soldiers. They have to
fight and not be on the browl 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-
The synthetic flesh has to feel the same like real flesh
The doll’ s body should be as agile and moveable as the real body
The doll’s organ should feel absolutely realistic.”
June 1940 – 1941 IG Farben had already developed a number of ”skin-friendly
polymers” for the SS. Special characteristics : high tensile strength and
cast of a suitable model proved to be more difficult.
was meant to reflect the beauty-ideal of the Nazis , i. e. 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 bestform”,
a ”perfect automaton of lust”, that would combine ”the best of all
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
Mrurgowsky’ s exit , Dr. Hannussen rejected the idea to cast a face from a
living person. He believed in an ”artifial face of lust”, which would be
more attractive to soldiers.
his logbook he wrote:
doll has only one purpose and she should never become a substitute for the
mother at home... When the soldier makes love to Borghild, it has nothing to do
with love. Therefore the face of our anthropomorphic sexmachine should be
exactly how Weininger
described the common wanton’s face.”
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.
a short practical training at ”Puppenwerk Käthe Kruse” he worked since 1937
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 (Tschakert), a hair-dresser , a lathe
operator and - in the beginning-
from ”Würtemberg’s Metallfabrik” in Friedrichshafen. The first
construction-document showed that
Tschakert had planned to use” a simple aluminium-skelleton”. But soon he
changed his mind and decided to use Elastolin. The synthetic flesh was
Rink: ” 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 extremly tearproof,
but it developed yellow spots when cleaned with certain detergents.”
At this stage Rink
gave the doll‘ s torso the finishing touch, working with plaster and a mixture of
”Schwarzmehl (?) and glue”
Under Hannussens strict directions ”ten
wanton-faces” (Rink) 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 believe , that men get only aroused through female sexual
characteristics they thought it all would ”depend on the right face”. Rinks
plasters were used to produce some model-heads in a showroom-factory in Königsberg.
Varnished and hair-dressed they looked a bit like wigholders.
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.
types of dolls were planned : Typ A :168, Typ B : 176, Typ C : 182 cm.
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
finsihed in september 1941. She was exactely the “nordish type”.
idea of our hairdresser to give the doll a “Schneckenfrisur”(earphones of
hair) was rejected by Hannussen. He 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.
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 instead our budget.
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-mold for Type B was
never finished. I have no clue of whereabouts of the doll, but I presume, that
she - like all my plasters and
studies - was send to Berlin.
If she was kept in Tschakerts studio in Dresden, it is most likely that she was
destroyed in Februray 1945, when allied bombers destroyed the city.”
Fact is: the bombs devastated
the Hygiene-Museum . Two models of the woman of glass – Taschkert masterpiece
Arthur Rink was kind enough to
contribute the only photos left from the Borghild-doll.
“They are small
contact-sheets: Facial study no2. Dominant and
Body Total, sideways. I
found both photos in the bin of the museum‘s laboratory. I have no other
pictures, because it was forbidden to take
Body Total,sideways shows
the first Borghild-doll as presented in 1941 to Himmler at the
SS-Hygiene-Institute in Berlin. The influence
of Rinks teacher Arno Breker is evident. Breker‘s work is a hypertrophy of the
natural bodys expression. The doll is aesthetical refined and
reduced to a max of sexual appeal.
According to Rink the torso was meant to stay “without artifial hair”. It is
possible that the reason for that, was a
simple consideration of the
hygienic risks .
About the author:
Norbert Lenz, born 1966 in
Hamburg, is a freelance-journalist contributing regulary to magazines like
Stern, Max and Focus.
The translation was provided by
his wife Susanne Lenz.