Herr Doktor

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Der Herr Doktor ist eingetroffen.[1]
Raised in Stuttgart, Germany during an era when the Hippocratic oath had been downgraded to an optional Hippocratic suggestion, The Medic considers healing a generally unintended side effect of satisfying his own morbid curiosity.

In TV Land, a doctor or scientist is roughly 75% likely to be German or Austrian, complete with thick accent. Increase to 98% for Mad Scientists. We can probably thank Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Wernher von Braun. To elaborate, many top notch scientists from Germany, Austria, and Poland, either fearing persecution for being Jewish, or not wanting to aid a Complete Monster of a ruler, or in a few rare cases deciding that war simply got in the way of proper research, fled Europe either just before or immediately after World War II, or got captured and/or taken by the Allies. Many came to America and helped work on The Manhattan Project. Most of their theories and inventions designed to aid the war effort, for good or bad, significantly changed how people lived when applied to peacetime practices, cementing the idea of a foreign genius that can either become the boon of society, or its damnation.

It's worth noting that Central Europe was a scientific and economic powerhouse in the early 20th century, dominating the physics field. More than a few Germans were "rehabilitated" by the Russian and American space program, to the point of each side complaining "they have more Germans than we do!" For a slightly safer stereotype, consider using a Swede or Norwegian instead, with the same unintelligible theories and outrrageous akksent!

See also All Psychology Is Freudian, which has caused every psychologist to be portrayed as Austrian, and Stupid Jetpack Hitler for when this crosses over with Those Wacky Nazis. If the Nazi scientist has Supernatural Aid, see Ghostapo.

Examples of Herr Doktor include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Mazinger Z: Even though it is not apparent, Big Bad and Mad Scientist Dr. Hell was German. Like a bonus, he started out as a weapon researcher for the Nazis.
  • Hellsing has the obvious one; a Nazi scientist responsible for creating the FREAKS, as well as almost all of the other technology Millennium has. The worst part? As far as we're concerned his real name is 'Herr Doktor'; he's never referred to as anything else in the main series.
    • His nametag in the manga, however, with some difficulty, reads "Avondale Napyeer". Some have taken it as the Doctor's name.
  • Case Closed, the American dub of Detective Conan, gave the local Absent-Minded Professor Dr Agasa a German accent.
  • Dr. Heinz Schneider from El Cazador, who decoded the Witch Species genome.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • All the scientists from the (Nazi-occupation era) Tintin comic book The Shooting Star are Nordic scientists with outrageous accents and Einstein Hair. They all have huge foreheads to boot.
  • Dr. Heinrich Megala from Captain Atom.
  • Baron Von Blitzschlag in Avengers: The Initiative, a former Nazi scientist who was specifically added in reference to Wernher von Braun.


Commercials[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

Dr Riedenschneider: Maybe you've heard of me. The Professor? Or Herr Doktor, maybe.

  • Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow has a passel of German and Austrian Mad Scientists.
  • Subverted in the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie. After Watson is injured in a bomb blast, his girlfriend/soon-to-be fiance Mary goes to him in the hospital, as he is attended by a very German-sounding doctor. However, Mary figures out that the doctor is actually Holmes in disguise.
    • It is actually a much stronger subversion as Holmes' impersonation sounds very French and not German.
  • Marathon Man, although this one is a dentist.
  • Dr. Strangelove of Dr. Strangelove.
  • Dr. Scott from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
    • "Good evening, Dr. Scott. Or, should I say, Dr. Von Scott!"
      • SIEG HEIL!
        • And to explain the joke more... "Just what exactly are you implying?" "THAT HE'S A FUCKING NAZI!"
    • Interestingly enough, Dr. Frank N. Furter himself originally had a German accent in the early days of the stage show. For reasons unknown, the idea was quickly dropped.
  • The Road to Wellville's Dr. Spizvogel, unt seins Handhabung Therapeutic!
  • Professor Max Krassman from The Muppet Movie, played by Mel Brooks in full Alter Kocker mode.

When a German scientist tells you to hold on to your hat, it's not casual conversation. HOLD ON TO YOUR HAT! HAT! HOLD! Good!

  • Almost averted by Dr Emmet Brown of Back to The Future. As we find out in the third movie, he has German ancestry, the old family name was Von Braun.
  • Zonad features one of these as a parody of 50s paranoia movies. The film is set in rural Ireland and it's never explained what the doctor is actually doing there.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the Decepticon medic, Scalpel, is also known as "Ze Doktor" (and is in fact called only that during the film himself). Of course, weird accents aren't anything new for Transformers.
  • Dr. Erskine from Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Dead Alive uses this trope for a one-off scene. The protagonist needs sedatives to deal with a zombie or two. He visits a bald, drooling, sadistic-looking taxidermist in a lab coat whose absurd accent is excused by Rule of Funny. The taxidermist claims not to be a doctor and that he fled the Latvian occupation, when "We were hunted like animals!" When he turns from his shelf, he snags his lab coat on something, and through the tear his Nazi armband is clearly visible.
  • Professor Meisenbach in Thank You for Smoking. Implied to be a former Nazi scientist.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Frankenstein is the doctor's name and may be the trope codifier (although in the novel he is Swiss and doesn't actually receive his doctorate).
  • In Dracula, Professor Van Helsing is actually Dutch, but constantly peppers his English with German. (Yes, Bram Stoker did, in fact, do the research—German was a lingua franca in that area of Europe.)
    • Also, Dutch is a Germanic language closely related to German.
    • And German was the language of science in the 19th century—a (non-German) scientist tossing around German words would be like a musician casually using Italian words.
  • In Unseen Academicals, Mister Nutt does psychotherapy on himself, using a thick Überwaldian accent when in the doctor persona.
  • Comes up as a sort of Discussed Trope in the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Unnatural History. Fitz is annoyed by the Doctor pressuring him to have fun and mentally refers to him as Herr Doctor. There's probably some connection to the fact that Fitz is himself half-German and was picked on for it a lot growing up during World War II.
  • Dr. Martin Hesselius from Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's In a Glass Darkly, the first Occult Detective of literature, is a German physician.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • In a variation, Dr. Hans Zarkov of Flash Gordon is Polish. The original comic never really played up his accent, but every film and TV adaptation has given him a thick Polish accent (except the 2000s Sci-Fi Channel version, which made him American). Most kid viewers probably thought it was a German accent, because of the prevalence of this trope.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Crimson Skies had a German scientist to rescue.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons Ravenloft campaign setting, featuring as it did expies of many classic horror characters, of course featured some of these:
    • Dr. Rudolph van Richten, expy of Bram Stoker's Abraham van Helsing.
    • Dr. Victor Mordenheim, expy of Victor Frankenstein and creator of Adam, expy of, well, you know....


Theatre[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Medic from Team Fortress 2. Fellow Medics will even say "Thank you, Herr Doctor!" He had a medical license long ago, but due to an incident involving somehow stealing a patient's skeleton, he lost it. The details in-between are fuzzy, but according to a hidden page that used to be on the website, apparently he faked his death and somehow ended up joining the team, still continuing to practice medicine, and inventing the Medigun. Confirmed not to be a Nazi, but still not entirely sympathetic.
    • The "Loose Canon" comic reveals that the original BLU Medic was the Sigmund Freud.
  • If you crashed in the old fight simulator Stunt Island, a German doctor would promise to have you "Patched up and flying again, tomorrow!"
  • Warship Gunner 2 had Doctor Braun, a female scientist who lends the Wilkians a submarine to perform covert ops attacks.
  • Nazi Zombies - Doctor Richtofen, who was partially responsible for the zombies.
  • BioShock (series)'s Dr. Tenenbaum. Not only was she a former Nazi scientist (and of Jewish descent even!) she's responsible for the research that created the Little Sisters. However she's trying to fix that.
    • Played straight with Dr. Steinman, trying to be "The Picasso of Plastic Surgery".
  • Dr. Wily from the Mega Man games.
  • Die Anstalt (The Asylum) - Originally German, of course, but when they translate it into to English will the previous psychiatrist lose his cool German accent? Never!
  • League of Legends has Heimerdinger, a Gadgeteer Genius whose name definitely invokes this trope.
  • Professor Von Kripelspac from Conkers Bad Fur Day, a weasel scientist that sits in a floating chair.
  • Dr. Stanislaus Braun from Fallout 3, who is the overseer of Vault 112. He keeps the vault dwellers trapped in a virtual reality simulator, keeping them there forever, for his own amusement.
  • Klingmann from Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within. "People refer to me as Herr Doktor Klingmann here."
  • Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars has Herr Hagenmeyer.
  • The Norwegian Professor Ingvar Johanssen of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines was the one responsible for digging up the Ankaran Sarcophagus. His accent is outrageous, though surprisingly realistic,[2] for a one-shot stereotype character.
  • The Cybran leader from Supreme Commander, Dr. Gustaf Brackman has suspiciously Germanic name (Swedish actually) although he speaks clear English.
  • Romanian Mad Scientist Dr. Ort-Meyer from the Hitman series, who sounds like a mix of Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Girl Genius revels in this trope. Then again, in a comic about Mad Science in a setting where German is the lingua franca, it's par for the course. The only ones who speak with anything resembling the stereotypical accent are the Super Soldiers, though.
  • El Goonish Shive lampshades and parodies it with "Stereotypical German Scientist Dr. Germahn". Initially the host of a 'questions from the readers' sub-strip, he has since popped up frequently in odd places, even as the Q&A section has been mostly taken over by his Dumb Ditzy Blonde Assistant Amanda.
  • Professor Zweistein fills in this role in The FAN


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The plastic surgeon in The Venture Brothers.
  • One of Megabyte's henchmen in Re Boot is known only as Herr Doctor.
  • Dexter's Laboratory - Dexter is a Mad Scientist with a German accent—made more blatant (and funny) since none of his family has any accent or gives any indication they have any German ancestry.
  • Phineas and Ferb has Dr. Doofenschmirtz who actually never graduated—there's a song about it: "I Must Impress My Professor"—and has a brother who's in local politics and lacks the accent.
  • Despite being a race of cyborgs from another planet, the Gobots had two of these: Guardian Baron von Joy and Renegade Herr Fiend.
  • Mr. Lizard the Wizard on Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales was a German-accented lizard...who was a wizard.
  • Dr. Wily, from the American Mega Man cartoon from The Nineties.
  • Dr. Paradigm of Street Sharks has some vaguely European accent. For no reason ever given.
  • Walt Disney's Ludwig von Drake (sometimes psychologist, sometimes Omnidisciplinary Scientist, depending on the comic) comes from Vienna. Otherwise, there's not much emphasis on his German/Austrian origin.
  • Spoofed in Bounty Hamster, where the recurring scientist character is named Professor Notgerman and has a Scottish accent.
  • Animaniacs: Dr. Otto Scratchansniff, the Warners' "p-sychiatrist".
  • Dr. Scientist from Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • Countess von Verminstrasser from the Invader Zim episode "Lice".
  • Professor Dementor from Kim Possible, as indicated by his LOUD GERMAN-ACCENTED SPEAKING!
  • Doctor Jacques von Hamsterviel, the Big Bad of Lilo & Stitch: The Series.
  • Dr. Ketzer,[3] a genius geneticist in Exo Squad. In a twist, he is not working for the local Adolf Hitler Expy but rather against him. Not that it makes him any more sympathetic.
  • The Parking Lot 51 scientist pitties from UFM: Unidentified Flying Mater, as well as "Dr. Aschleppwagen" (Mater's disguise) from the same short.
  • Dr. Oro Myicin, psychiatrist from "Hare Brush", who convinces Bugs Bunny he is really Elmer J. Fudd, Millionaire using psychotropic drugs of some kind.
  • Present in one episode of Ren and Stimpy where a bus crash leaves the pair in critical condition, forcing said doctor to operate with the remaining parts which leaves the asthma hound chihuaha and red cat sown together into one mismatched hybrid. Despite having traits common to a Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate, this troper assumes the doctor (like Franken Fran) is simply doing his job to keep his patients alive, even if he has to resort to nonstandard, questionably extreme practices, such as urgently demanding his assistant knock Ren back into unconsciousness with a mallet when he regains consciousness in the midst of surgery


Real Life[edit | hide]

  1. "The Doctor is in."
  2. if on the Swedish side of outrageously broad Scandinavian accents
  3. German for "Heretic"