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Nazis wanted speaking dogs to guard concentration camps

Although Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler is known to have felt hatred towards certain groups of people, he was very fond of animals, especially German Shepherds. He even advocated a dog school called “Tiersprechschule Asra” (Asra talking school for dogs/animals).

Hitler’s devotion to animals materialized at a legislative level too, as in 1933 shortly after gaining power a law was passed in order to prevent violence against animals. Anyone who abused an animal could risk as much as a two-year prison sentence. The Fuhrer spent plenty of time with his dog called Blondi, who was a gift from his personal secretary Martin Bormann in 1941. While sources suggest that Blondi was a very intelligent dog, no one recorded that Hitler’s beloved pet could have had the ability to speak.

The “Tiersprechschule Asra” was founded by Margarethe Schmidt in the German town of Leutenberg, Thuringia, in 1930 and operated until 1945. Hitler was enthusiastic about the idea of teaching dogs different human skills as he believed that specially trained dogs could contribute to the war efforts of Nazi Germany. The ‘super dogs’ could have operated as guards of concentration camps to alleviate the burden of SS henchmen.

The trainers at “Tiersprechschule Asra” were influenced by the “New Animal Psychology” movement developed by Dr. Karl Krall in the early 20th century. Followers of the movement believed that, similarly to humans, dogs and horses had high intelligence that could be revealed via training. The main goal of the instructors at “Tiersprechschule Asra” was to create canines such as the Airedale terrier Rolf. This highly intelligent dog (who died in 1919) was reputed to have been able to communicate by touching letters with his paw and he even spoke to his owner. Although the great challenge was not achieved, the most talented student of the school, a German Shepherd, was rumored to have barked “Mein Führer” whenever he was asked who Adolf Hitler was.

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