Nazis – Hebrew orders police dogs

Born in Vienna in 1891, Rudolphina Menzel was not particularly fond of dogs until a puppy bit her when she was four-years-old. Paradoxically, this incident heightened her fondness for the canine breed. She began giving her pocket money to friends to look after the stray dogs she came across as her parents “refused to allow those dirty, contaminating creatures to stain their expensive carpets with mud from the street.”

She married the physician Rudolph Menzel in 1915 and the couple moved to Linz, the birthplace of Adolf Hitler. In this small town they established a famous dog school where canines were taught skills such as attacking, guarding, and tracking, all according to the soundest modern dog-psychology principles.

An ardent Zionist, Rudolphina instructed the hounds to obey only Hebrew commands and sent some of them to Palestine. The Austrian police received police dogs from the couple and Mrs. Menzel spent time in Berlin training dogs for the German army, in Hebrew of course. Later, under Nazi management, these army dogs still responded to no language except Hebrew and their handlers had to continue issuing commands such as shev (sit) and artza (down).

After the 1938 Anschluss the Menzels turned down a German offer to serve the army as dog trainers. Instead they fled to Palestine. There, Rudolphina trained dogs that helped the Allies during World War II. The British faithfully promised her that her dogs would never be turned against Jews and they kept their word.

(Aderet, Ofer. “The Dogs of War,” Haaretz, 11.04.10)

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