The ultimate goal of a large-scale project known as “Wooffan SS” was for dogs to take over as SS officers, spies, and concentration camp guards. The Telegraph sifts through the sordid kennel of history:
The Germans viewed canines as being almost as intelligent as humans and attempted to build an army of fearsome ‘speaking’ dogs, extraordinary new research shows. Hitler hoped the clever creatures would learn to communicate with their SS masters — and he even had a special dog school set up to teach them to talk. The incredible findings show Nazi officials recruited so-called educated dogs from all over Germany and trained them to speak and tap out signals using their paws.
The Germans hoped to use the animals for the war effort, such as getting them to work alongside the SS and guard concentration camps to free up officers. The bizarre ‘Wooffan SS’ experiment has come to light after years of painstaking research by academic Dr Jan Bondeson into unique and amazing dogs in history.
The school, based in Leutenburg near Hannover and led by headmistress Margarethe Schmitt, was set up in the 1930s and continued throughout the war years. It was reported to have had some success, with dogs tapping out words with their paws. Some of them were able to imitate the human voice and one, when asked who Adolf Hitler was, is said to have replied ‘Mein Fuhrer’.