Propaganda Minister Joseph Gerbbels invoked the animal when he warned Germany’s other parties in 1928.
“Like the wolf tearing into the sheep herd, that’s how we’ll come.”
David Crossland / The Australian / June 1, 2020
Adolf Hitler and one of his three ‘Blondies’ at his chalet near Berchtesgaden in southern Bavaria in the early 1940s.
Adolf Hitler kept alsatians because of their similarity to wolves while Hermann Goring owned lions, according to a study exploring Nazi leaders’ use of predatory animals as icons of power.
Hitler owned at least 12 alsatians between 1922 and 1945, including three bitches called Blondi and three males called Wolf. He approved of newsreel footage showing him with the dogs as it portrayed him as an animal-loving man of the people while conveying his status as a leader demanding obedience, author Jan Mohnhaupt writes in his book Animals in National Socialism.
He liked to be called Wolf in private and named his East Prussian military headquarters the Wolf’s Lair. “To this day, wolves are associated with the far right and that is clearly linked to the Nazis,” said Mohnhaupt.
Hitler mocked Eva Braun’s Scottish terrier as a “duster”, the book reveals. According to her friends, Hitler’s fondness for his dogs made her jealous. When Blondi was lying under the dinner table, Braun would give the dog a discreet kick so that he would admonish it for yelping, writes Mohnhaupt.
Predators were to domestic pets what the master race was to subhumans, according to Nazi logic. Nazi author Will Vesper said cats were the Jews of the animal world because they were sly and false.
Big cats, by contrast, lent their names to the tanks of the Wehrmacht such as the Tiger and the Panther, a tradition carried on after the war with the Leopard tank.
Goring had seven young lions in his households between 1933 and 1940, but they were not publicised. His favourite was called Mucki. “They actually lived in the house and it kept happening that a lion walked into the office and frightened their guests,” said Mohnhaupt in a newspaper interview. “It was a way for Goring to demonstrate his power.”
SS guards at Buchenwald concentration camp kept bears to entertain their families and intimidate prisoners, Mohnhaupt writes.
Domestic animals were respected only if they were useful, such as horses and pigs.
Hitler’s best friends died with him: he had his last Blondi poisoned and her five puppies shot before he killed himself.