The Shmooze

A Talking German Shepherd?

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

So that’s what “master race” meant.

A new book contends the Nazis attempted “to breed an army of educated dogs that could read, write and talk,” Time reports under the surely unprecedented headline “How Nazi Scientists Tried to Create an Army of Talking Dogs.”

In Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, Cardiff University historian Jan Bondeson “mines obscure German periodicals” to discover “scientists envisioned a day when dogs would serve alongside German troops, and perhaps free up SS officers by guarding concentration camps.”
Hitler even set up a Tier-Sprechschule – “Animal Talking School” – near Hanover, Time reports, and recruited “educated dogs” from throughout the country.

“Teachers claimed a number of incredible findings,” says Time. An Airedale terrier named Rolf who could spell by tapping his paw on a board “mused on religion, learned foreign languages and even asked a noblewoman, ‘Can you wag your tail?’” Rolf apparently told his German masters he wanted to serve in the German army because he disliked the French. Another canine barked “Mein Fuhrer” when asked to describe Hitler, Time reports. “And Don, a German pointer, is said to have imitated a human voice to bark, ‘Hungry! Give me cakes!’ in German.”

“Part of the Nazi philosophy was that there was a strong bond between humans and nature. They believed a good Nazi should be an animal friend,” author Bondeson tells time. Perversely, when the Nazis started interning Jews, “newspapers were flooded with outraged letters from Germans wondering what had happened to the pets they left behind.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Hitler, Nazi

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.