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Nazis Trained Dogs to Talk, Read and Spell

By c.r. bauman    June 06, 2011 at 12:33PM / (0) comments

It seems that the "perfect" world imagined by Nazi scientists late in the first half of the 20th century also included superior dogs that would be able to master human language, serve alongside SS soldiers, and potentially follow Mein Kampf.

According to Cardiff University historian Jan Bondeson's new book Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, "In the 1920s, Germany had numerous 'new animal psychologists' who believed dogs were nearly as intelligent as humans, and capable of abstract thinking and communication."

"When the Nazi party took over," Bondeson writes, "one might have thought they would be building concentration camps to lock these fanatics up, but instead they were actually very interested in their ideas."    
   
Hitler, a historically-known dog-lover, set up a Tier-Sprechschule (German for “Animal Talking School”), whereby a selection of “educated dogs” were taught, amongst other things, the differences between “heil!” and “heel!”

Teachers claimed several successes. One of which being a terrier named Rolf who was said to have been able to spell by tapping his paw against a blackboard. It was said the dog “mused into religion.”

There was another instance where a German Shepherd allegedly barked “Mein Fuhrer!” at the sight of a Hitler image.

Bondeson argues however, that the German love of dogs in that time overshadowed objectivity which lead to many exaggerations.

"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," Bondeson says. "Indeed, when they started interning Jews, the newspapers were flooded with outraged letters from Germans wondering what had happened to the pets they left behind."

For a national movement responsible for the greatest of atrocities in the name of human rights, the Nazi's ironically felt strongly for animal rights.

In a year where a popular video game (Call Of Duty:Black Ops) included an outbreak Nazi zombies, could another video game with Nazi dogs be far behind?

 

Image: ~Rogue Artist~ / via Flickr

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