HANS KUGLER, B.S., PH.D
December 11, 1935 – May 5, 2019
By Scott C. Tips
The artillery thundered ever closer as the Red Army advanced into eastern Germany. Young Hans, not even a teenager then, learned to shelter himself in a doorway as Russian fighter planes strafed the nearby ground. It was the kind of childhood that caused a young boy to grow up quickly into manhood.
Two Dogs and a Principled Stand
But it had not always been like that – at least not until 1943, when Hans’ father, a wealthy, conservative German landowner, had commanded his two very-protective German Shepard dogs to attack and chase off his property a feckless Nazi Party leader who had come to the family home demanding land. Unfortunately for the Nazi, the two canines were faster runners and managed to take some chunks of flesh out of his fat limbs before he could escape. Two weeks later Hans’ father received his draft notice, with orders to report to the Russian Front.
Although the family was left fatherless during this critical time, Hans’ father returned home safely after having served as a medical assistant. But, in the meantime, the Red Army had overrun eastern Germany and occupied the region where Hans and his family lived. And after the fall of Berlin, the Soviets quickly set up the local German communists as the new totalitarian proxy rulers.
To instill obedience to the new order, the Soviets created a political-indoctrination process of weekly communist-party meetings and Hans’ father was ordered to attend. Having more important things to do, he did not go. Finally, under much pressure, Hans’ father went to one of these meetings where he then proceeded to verbally lambast the local party leader for being a no-good, lying opportunist. Being somewhat thin-skinned, the communists took offense and threw the father in jail for six weeks. From then on, he plotted his and his family’s escape to the West.
Escape to the West
In 1945, with Germany a shambles and confusion still rampant everywhere, it was not yet terribly difficult to escape from the East to the West. At the wall-less border, the new East German border guards made a pretense of firing over the family’s heads as they pointed them in the right direction with a friendly wave. It was in this way that Hans and his family crossed the border into West Germany, pausing briefly in Bavaria before continuing on to Stuttgart where they settled. At ten years of age, then, Hans began his new life in Stuttgart.
After finishing school there, Hans joined the West German Air Force. From 1958 to 1960, he advanced up the ranks to jet training. But instead of ordering him into a fighter-jet squadron, the Air Force recognized his abilities as a teacher and made him a platoon leader and instructor for three crews in the West German Air Force Academy. Then, it was back to school in Munich with Hans alternating between military reserve training and more education. During those days Hans operated an Air Force flight simulator outside of Munich.
Fellow NHF Board member Dr. Murray (Buz) Susser, himself a former fighter pilot but with the U.S. Air Force remarked, “It’s strange to think that my good friend Hans and I, had we been born just a short time sooner might have been mortal enemies chasing each other across the skies in dog fights and shooting at each other. Instead, we have been close friends.”
And Then Even Farther West
By 1964, Hans had been awarded his Bachelor of Science degree by the University of Munich School of Medicine, where he had majored in physiology under the noted Nobel Laureate Doctor A. Butenandt. Deciding though that the United States might be the best place for him to continue his post-graduate studies, Hans applied for admission into the chemistry program of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Parenthetically, Stony Brook is now recognized as one of the top universities in the World for medicine and sciences.
Not letting its reputation overawe him, however, Hans zipped through the program there, obtaining his Ph.D (in organo-phosphorus chemistry) in the shortest time of anyone in New York. The end of the 1960s and the start of the 1970s saw Hans at Stony Brook doing post-doctoral work and teaching chemistry as an assistant professor.
This and other research were the basis for Hans’ first book on anti-aging – Slowing Down the Aging Process – published in 1971 and which was a groundbreaker in the field of anti-aging. I myself bought the book at the time and still have the copy today.
Leaving New York for Indiana in 1971, Hans worked for two years in the research department of the Standard Oil Company of Indiana in the field of environmental chemistry. Of particular interest to Hans were the effects of pesticides on chemistry, food, and human metabolism. He also researched the sound-stimulated rate of growth of agricultural plants.
As interesting as the research was, though, Hans was drawn back to academia. Hans began teaching chemistry again, this time to pre-med students as well as teaching quantum chemistry to graduate students at Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1972, and he continued doing that for two years. While teaching at the University, Hans did his first studies on anti-aging and cancer. His research there led him to postulate and present at medical meetings his “Combination Theory of Aging.” At the same time, Hans developed the ground-work for a “multi-factorial approach” to human and animal longevity, cancer, heart disease, brain functions, and chronic mental diseases, emphasizing immune and free-radical pathology.
Hans also associated himself with the famous Professor Dr. Robert Mendelsohn of the Illinois University School of Medicine. Together, they researched the combined effects of environmental and nutritional factors on overall health (such as immunity and base metabolism).
Later, when Hans moved to California, he continued teaching chemistry, this time at El Camino College. Academia and teaching seemed to be in his blood, as did writing.
In fact, Hans has also authored Seven Keys to a Longer Life (Stein & Day, 1978), Tripping the Clock, A Practical Guide to Anti-Aging and Rejuvenation (Health Quest, 1983), and some 200 articles in such various publications as Let’s Live, Prevention, and Health Freedom News. As if that were not enough to keep him occupied, until the time of his death, he was also the editor of Preventive Medicine Update and the Senior Science Adviser to the Journal of Longevity.
The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree
Like his father, Hans was never shy about taking a stand and speaking his mind. All who know him will definitely agree with this point. A frequent speaker at general health and medical meetings, Hans was known for stating his views clearly and firmly, whether those views are on science, medicine, or politics. And he didn’t care who became angry because of those sincerely held views.
Hans also made appearances on radio and television programs, with easily more than 500 such appearances under his belt. The programs included AM New York, AM Canada, KPIX San Francisco, and many others. Reflecting his Renaissance-man personality, the topics covered by Hans on these programs had a wide ambit – primarily nutrition, anti-aging, drug prevention, politics, and climate change.
Translating his views and knowledge into action, Hans even ran for political office. Although unsuccessful, he made a strong showing that attracted attention.
This urge to act has also meant being actively involved on the board of directors and in other leadership roles of organizations such as the National Health Federation and the International Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. In fact, Hans was a past president of NHF and, at the time of his death, on our Board of Governors for 28 straight years, having joined the Board in January 1991. As a result of his efforts, he has received some eleven awards from various medical and health organizations.
Still, while engaged in all of these various activities, Hans always made time for his special personal loves – flying aircraft and riding horses. Observing that the two activities often go together, Hans remarked several times that “it is interesting that the highest percentage of jet jockeys also own and ride horses.” The Empty Saddle Club in Palos Verdes, California, which was originally founded as an old cowboy club and of which Hans was a long-time member, saw Hans participating in its cowboy events where he quickly became known as the “German Cowboy.” As for his flying, I flew with Hans in his twin-engine plane not too long ago out of Torrance, California airport and he was a natural-born flyer. A pilot myself, I also flew Hans’ plane but was not a match at all for his skill level.
Most Recent Studies and Work
Stem cells were Hans’ most recent fascination. For the last many years, he had been focusing his research activities on applying stem cells to improve health and extend life. According to Hans, stem cells could give the body give a boost similar to what Dr. Paul Niehans’ injected-cell therapy achieves. In fact, Niehans’ therapy has helped Down’s syndrome individuals tremendously and many other previously untreatable conditions.
Hans was very quick to point out, though, that he was not working on stem cells derived in any way from fetuses and that it is a bunch of nonsense that they must come from this source. Rather, the research that Hans pursued was based upon modifying our own skin cells (because at present, to be useable, stem cells must come from our own DNA), inserting the cells into a donated female egg cell that has had its own DNA removed, and then growing the culture in a Petri dish.
An avid bodybuilder, Hans had survived a serious automobile accident that would have killed a less-fit person. For a while, he was told by doctors and others that because of the accident and his reduced heart function, he would just have to adjust to a slower pace and a lower quality of life. But they hadn’t known the young Hans who had grown up dodging bullets. Here was just another bullet to dodge, and he did, at least for many years. As Hans himself put it after engineering his own recovery with stem cells and sheer grit, “With a car accident and reduced heart function, everyone told me that I could not do anything about it – but, now, here I am completely back to normal, thanks to stem cells!” But the accident still had left Hans with a weakened heart and this eventually caught up with him.
Still, others such as NHF Executive Director Katherine Carroll, were impressed with his physical appearance and strength. As she put it, “It always impressed me that in his 80s, Hans was committed to retaining his vigor and musculature. I met him once in a tank-tee shirt and he looked amazing for his age – or any age for that matter. It impressed me that when he encountered robbers in his garage, he kick-boxed them into submission and literally beat them up.”
Whenever I would meet Hans for lunch at his favorite watering hole – The Good Stuff Restaurant – in Redondo Beach, California, he always impressed me the same way, someone having great strength undiminished really by age. But, as we all knew, Hans was not just brawn, he was brains as well; and you could see it in the many, diverse topics he expounded on, from Chemtrails and Climate Change to politics to the latest advances in medical science. He was current on all and not ever shy about letting you know his opinion on them.
Unfortunately, though, on a Sunday morning, May 5, 2019, while driving with his beloved and always present companion dog Miss Boogle down a city street, Hans’ weakened heart finally gave way and without it working properly he lost consciousness. His truck smashed into a power pole, and he was taken from the wrecked vehicle to a local hospital where he died. His dog was saved, but Hans was lost to all of us.
Hans Kugler was more than just a great, kind, and smart man, he was my friend for almost 30 years. At the time of his death, Hans was Chairman of the Board of the World’s oldest health-freedom organization — the National Health Federation — and we should all remember that Hans was personally responsible on at least three separate occasions of having played a key role in saving the NHF from takeover by dissident Board members and outsiders. NHF owes Hans a huge debt. Having served on the NHF Board for almost three decades, Hans was virtually a one-man “NHF institution.”
I miss Hans and his wisdom terribly. He instilled so much of that wisdom in those who had the privilege to be part of his inner circle. I was lucky to have had him as a close friend. We all were.