The dog that insulted Hitler – and survived

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The Independent Online

A Finnish dog which could imitate the Hitler salute so enraged the Nazis that they started an obsessive campaign against the dog's owner, newly discovered documents have revealed.

But the totalitarian state that dominated most of Europe was unable to do much about Jackie and his paw-raising parody of Germany's Fuhrer.

In the middle of the Second World War, the Foreign Office in Berlin commanded its diplomats in the Nazi-friendly Nordic country to gather evidence on Jackie, owned by Tor Borg.

In 1941, the German vice-consul in Helsinki, Willy Erkelenz, 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 dictator's name, but admitted that his wife did. The zealous diplomats did not believe him and wrote to Berlin that "Borg, even though he claims otherwise, is not telling the truth".

But despite vigorous investigations by various ministries, the Nazi authorities eventually decided not to press charges due to a lack of witnesses.

The incident came to light when some 30 files containing correspondence and diplomatic cables were recently found by a researcher at the political archives of the German Foreign Office.