Felix Kersten

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Felix Kersten (30 September 1898 Yuryev (Dorpat), Imperial Russia – 16 April 1960, Stockholm, Sweden) was before and during World War II the personal masseur of Heinrich Himmler. Kersten used his position to aid people persecuted by Nazi Germany, although whether his actions were as decisive as Kersten claimed in his memoirs is not readily verifiable from other sources.

Early life

Kersten was born in a Baltic German family in Estonia when the country was still a part of Imperial Russia. During World War I he fought in the German Army and arrived in Finland in April 1918 with the German forces that intervened in the Finnish Civil War. Kersten served for a while in Suojeluskunta, was granted Finnish citizenship in 1920 and commissioned 2nd Lieutenant (vänrikki) in the Finnish Army in September 1921.

Kersten began his studies in Helsinki where he studied with the specialist Dr Colander. After two years' study he was awarded his degree in scientific massage. He then left for Berlin where he continued his studies and eventually became Dr. Ko's pupil after an encounter at a dinner party. In 1925 Dr. Ko told Kersten "You have learned all I can teach you." He then turned his patients over to Kersten and retired.

Kersten had a number of very influential customers, among them Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands (after 1928) and Benito Mussolini’s son-in-law and Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano. Kersten accepted Heinrich Himmler's request to become his personal masseur,...
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