Friday, January 07, 2011

The dog who drove Nazis crazy

From JPost:
Germany's Nazi government was so angry about a dog trained to imitate Hitler that it started an obsessive campaign against its Finnish owner, according to newly discovered documents.

In the middle of World War II, the Foreign Office in Berlin commanded its diplomats in the Nazi-friendly Nordic country to gather evidence on the dog, and even came up with plans to destroy the pharmaceutical wholesale company of the dog's owner.

The dog, Jackie, was a mutt owned by Tor Borg, a businessman from the Finnish city of Tampere. Borg's wife Josefine, a German citizen known for her anti-Nazi sentiments, dubbed the dog Hitler because of the strange way it raised its paw high in the air like Germans greeting the Fuehrer with a cry of "Heil Hitler!"

On January 29, 1941, German Vice Consul Willy Erkelenz in Helsinki wrote that "a witness, who does not want to be named, said ... he saw and heard how Borg's dog reacted to the command 'Hitler' by raising its paw."

Borg was ordered to the German embassy in Helsinki and questioned about his dog's unusual greeting habits.

He denied ever calling the dog by the German dictator's name, but admitted that his wife called the dog Hitler. He tried to play down the accusations, saying the paw-raising had only happened a few times in 1933 — shortly after Hitler came to power.

The Finnish merchant ensured the Nazi diplomats that he never did anything "that could be seen as an insult against the German Reich."

The zealous diplomats in Helsinki did not believe him and wrote back to Berlin that "Borg, even though he claims otherwise, is not telling the truth."

The different ministries that were involved in the dog scandal — the Foreign Office, the Economy Ministry and even Hitler's Chancellory — meticulously reported all their findings about the canine.

The economy ministry announced that the German chemical conglomerate IG Farben, which had supplied Borg's wholesale trade with pharmaceuticals, offered to eliminate his company by ending their cooperation with him.

Based on all this support, the Foreign Office was already looking for ways to bring Borg to trial for insulting Hitler, but in the end, none of the potential witnesses were willing to repeat their accusations in front of a judge.
Although the episode is funny, there is a very important lesson to be learned:

Totalitarians have no sense of humor, and hate being made fun of.

Satire, humor and put-downs are important weapons against Islamists, Islamic terrorists and Islamist dictators. The entire purpose of terror, after all, is to feel important and relevant, to feel that you can make superpowers quake with fear. Every statement coming out of Iran is designed to make that state look like a superpower whose decisions must be taken seriously. If the reaction is instead belittling and humorous scorn that shows that they are like mere mosquitoes who need to be slapped down, they lose much of their incentive and power.

The Islamic terror supporters are good at insults but they are awful at being the butts of jokes. A few well-placed YouTube videos can make even other Arabs laugh at them. And it is something that anyone can do.