Blondi

Blondi (1934 - 29 April 1945) was Adolf Hitler's German Shepherd dog, given to him as a gift in 1941 by Martin Bormann. Blondi stayed with Hitler even after his move to the underground bunker in January 1945 during the Battle of Berlin, and in April 1945, she had a litter of five puppies with Gerdy Troost's German Shepherd, Harras. Hitler named one of the puppies "Wolf", his favourite nickname and the meaning of his own first name, Adolf. [Bullock, A. Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (Penguin Books 1962), 785.]

By all accounts, Hitler was very fond of Blondi, keeping her by his side and allowing her to sleep in his bedroom in the bunker, an affection not shared by Eva Braun, Hitler's partner, who hated Blondi and was known to kick her, according to Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge. [Traudl Junge: Bis zur letzten Stunde. Hitlers Sekretärin erzählt ihr Leben. Claassen, Düsseldorf 2001, ISBN 3-546-00311 (Biography of HItkers secretary Traudl Junge)]

Hitler had been given a German Shepherd before, in 1921, during his years of poverty, but he had been forced to lodge the dog elsewhere, although it managed to escape and return to him. Hitler, who adored loyalty and obedience, thereafter developed a great liking for the breed. [ cite book |last=Beevor |first=Anthony |title=Berlin: The Downfall 1945|publisher=Viking Books|date=2004|pages=p. 357|isbn=978-0670886951]

Role in Nazi propaganda

The National Socialists embraced animal welfare as a central theme. Presenting Hitler as an animal lover was an important aspect of Nazi propaganda, and his close relationship with Blondi became well known, marketed in books and postcards. In 19th century Germany, various "Tierschutz" (animal protection) organizations had won high level celebrity support, from Richard Wagner for example, who famously remarked that he would not want to live in a world in which "no dog would wish to live any longer." [Tröhler, Ulrich and Maehle, 1987 in Andreas-Holger in Rothfel, Nigel. "Representing Animals". University of Indiana Press, p. 29.] [Compare Heinrich Himmler in the 1943 Posen Speech (Translation of the German Original): Whether 10,000 Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an anti-tank ditch interests me only in so far as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished. (...) We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals. But it is a crime against our own blood to worry about them and give them ideals] .

German shepherds like Blondi [Boria Sax. Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust. Foreword by Klaus P. Fischer. New York and London: Continuum, 2000. ISBN 978-0-8264-1289-8.] were coveted as "germanischer Urhund", being close to the wolf, and grew very fashionable during the Third Reich.

Blondi's death

Before Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, he ordered physician Werner Haase to test a cyanide capsule on Blondi. The capsule killed the animal. According to a report commissioned by Stalin and based on eye witness accounts, Hitler's dog-handler, a Sergeant Fritz Tornow, took Blondi's pups from the arms of the Goebbels children, who had been playing with them, and shot them in the garden of the bunker. He then killed Eva Braun's two dogs and his own dachshund by lethal injection. Tornow was later captured by the Allies. ["The Hitler Book: The Secret Dossier Prepared For Stalin From The Interrogations of Hitler's Personal Aides", Edited by Henrik Eberle and Matthias Uhl and translated by Giles MacDonogh, Public Affairs, 2005, ISBN 1586483668.] Hitler's nurse, Erna Flegel, said in 2005 that Blondi's death had affected the people in the bunker more than Eva Braun's suicide had. [Harding, Luke. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/may/02/artsandhumanities.secondworldwar "Hitler's nurse breaks 60 years of silence"] , "The Guardian", May 2, 2005.]

In "In Hitler's Bunker: A Boy Soldier's Eyewitness Account of the Führer's Last Days," Armin D. Lehmann elaborated on Blondi's death.

Pop culture

*A dog portraying Blondi appears in the film "Downfall" ("Der Untergang", 2004), dramatizing events leading up to Hitler's suicide.
*Blondi is referenced in Walter Moers' song "Ich hock' in meinem Bonker". In the videoclip of this song, Hitler even bathes with Blondi.
*According to Deborah Harry the band Blondie was named after Blondi and sometimes performed as 'Hitler's Dog'.
*Blondi appears in a computer game "" (1989).
*Blondi is mentioned in Peter Greenaway's novel "Gold" (1992).
*The novel "Dog Years" by Günter Grass contains a section about Blondi.
*Blondi is the name of an Album by the artist Wumpscut


References

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