Howl Hitler: Nazis tried to teach dogs to talk and read – and claimed one could even discuss religion, incredible new book claims
Last updated at 10:45 PM on 24th May 2011
Now an equally unlikely weapon in Hitler’s armoury has emerged – talking dogs.
The Germans saw canines as being almost as intelligent as humans and tried to train them to ‘speak’, read and spell, a university academic claims. They even conducted experiments in man-to-dog telepathy.
Howl Hitler: The dictator is pictured here with his two German Shepherds Blondi and Bella. He famously killed Blondi moments before committing suicide in his bunker in 1945
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Hitler, a well-known dog lover, hoped the animals would learn to communicate with their SS masters, and supported a special dog school set up to teach them to talk.
Nazi officials recruited so-called educated dogs from all over Germany and trained them to tap out signals using their paws.
Some were said to have been able to imitate the human voice, with one apparently uttering the words ‘Mein Fuhrer’ when asked who Adolf Hitler was. Another was said to have ‘written’ poetry.
The Germans hoped to use the animals for the war effort, such as getting them to work alongside the SS and guard concentration camps.
The experiments are reported in research by academic Dr Jan Bondeson into ‘unique and amazing dogs in history’.
Rolf the speaking dog talking with Frau Moekel. The Germans hoped to use the animals for the war effort, such as getting them to work alongside the SS and guard concentration camps to free up officers
Dog school: This picture shows Frau Schmitt with seven of her pupils. They could communicate through tapping out words with their paws, but were also claimed to imitate the human voice with some success
Young Hitler, pictured right. The Germans viewed canines as being almost as intelligent as humans and attempted to build an army of fearsome 'speaking' dogs
Top dog: Dachschund 'Kurwenal', left, who had a visit from a troop of 28 uniformed youths from the Nazi animal protection organisation on his birthday, and Rolf, right, the speaking dog
HITLER'S LOVE OF DOGS
Dr Bondeson, of Cardiff University, visited Berlin where he scoured obscure periodicals to build up an account of the more out-of-this world Nazi ideas. Hitler himself had two German Shepherds called Blondi and Bella. He killed Blondi moments before committing suicide in his bunker in 1945.
The dog school was called the Tier-Sprechschule ASRA and was based near Hanover. Led by headmistress Margarethe Schmitt, it was set up in the 1930s and continued throughout the war years.
Rolf, an Airedale terrier, reportedly ‘spoke’ by tapping his paw against a board, each letter of the alphabet being represented by a certain number of taps. He was said to have speculated about religion, learnt foreign languages, written poetry and asked a visiting noblewoman: ‘Could you wag your tail?’
The patriotic dog even expressed a wish to join the army – because he disliked the French.
A Dachshund named Kurwenal was said to speak using a different number of barks for each letter, and told his biographer he would be voting for Hindenburg.
And a German pointer named Don imitated a human voice to bark: ‘Hungry! Give me cakes.’
Dr Bondeson, whose book Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet Of Canine Curiosities is out now, said: ‘It is absolutely extraordinary stuff.
‘There were some very strange experiments going on in wartime Germany, with regard to dog-human communication.’
Last month, declassified British files showed the Nazis planned to leave poisoned sausages, chocolate and coffee where Allied troops would find them if they invaded Germany.
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