Blondi (1941 – 30 April 1945)[note 1] 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 into the Führerbunker located underneath the garden of the Reich Chancellery on January 16, 1945. In March or in early April (likely 4 April) 1945, she had a litter of five puppies with Gerdy Troost's German Shepherd, Harras. Hitler named one of the puppies "Wulf", his favorite nickname and the meaning of his own first name, Adolf (Noble wolf) and he began to train her. One of Blondi's puppies was reserved for Eva Braun's sister Gretl, and Eva sent Gretl a letter containing a photo of Blondi and three of her puppies, Gretl's being indicated with an arrow.
Hitler was reportedly very fond of Blondi, keeping her by his side and allowing her to sleep in his bedroom in the bunker. This affection was not shared by Eva Braun, Hitler's mistress (and later his wife), who preferred her two Scottish Terrier dogs named Negus and Stasi (or Katuschka). According to Hitler's secretary (Traudl Junge), Eva hated Blondi and was known to kick her under the dining table.
In May 1942, Hitler bought another young German Shepherd "from a minor official in the post office in Ingolstadt" to keep Blondi company. He called her Bella.
During his military service in World War I, Hitler had great affection for a stray white Fox Terrier named "Fuchsl" and was distraught when he lost him. He had been given a German Shepherd before named "Prinz" in 1921, during his years of poverty, but he had been forced to lodge the dog elsewhere. However, she managed to escape and return to him. Hitler, who adored the loyalty and obedience of the dog, thereafter developed a great liking for the breed. He also owned a German Shepherd called "Muckl".
Before Blondi, Hitler had two German Shepherd dogs, a mother [born 1926] and daughter [born ca. 1930] – both named Blonda. In some photos taken during the 1930s the younger Blonda is incorrectly labeled as Blondi (in most cases photograph descriptions were written later).
Blondi played a role in Nazi propaganda, of which portraying Hitler as an animal lover was an important aspect. Dogs like Blondi were coveted as "germanischer Urhund", being close to the wolf, and grew very fashionable during the Third Reich.
During the course of April 29, 1945, Hitler learned of the death of his ally Benito Mussolini who had been executed by Italian partisans. This, along with the fact the Soviet Army was closing in on his location, led Hitler to strengthen his resolve not to allow himself or his wife to be captured. That afternoon, Hitler expressed doubts about the cyanide capsules he had received through Heinrich Himmler's SS. To verify the capsules' potency, Hitler ordered Dr. Werner Haase to test them on his dog Blondi, and the dog died as a result. Hitler became completely inconsolable.
According to a report commissioned by Joseph Stalin and based on eye witness accounts, Hitler's dog-handler, FeldwebelFritz Tornow, took Blondi's pups and shot them in the garden of the bunker complex on April 30, after Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide. He also killed Eva Braun's two dogs, Frau Gerda Christian's dogs and his own dachshund. Tornow was later captured by the Allies. 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. After the battle in Berlin ended, the remains of Hitler, Braun, and two dogs (thought to be Blondi and her offspring Wulf) were discovered in a shell crater by a unit of SMERSH, the Soviet counter-intelligence agency. The dog thought to be Blondi was exhumed and photographed by the Soviets.
Notes and references
^Some sources incorrectly suggest 1934 as Blondi's date of birth.
^Eatwell, Roger (1995). Fascism: A History. Chatto & Windus. p. 152.
^Traudl Junge: Bis zur letzten Stunde. Hitlers Sekretärin erzählt ihr Leben. Claassen, Düsseldorf 2001, ISBN 3-546-00311 (Biography of Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge)
^Goebbels' Diary, 30 May 1942: " He [Hitler] has bought himself a young German Shepherd dog called “Blondi” which is the apple of his eye. It was touching listening to him say that he enjoyed walking with this dog so much, because only with it could he be sure that [his companion] would not start talking about the war or politics. One notices time and time again that the Fuhrer is slowly but surely becoming lonely. It is very touching to see him play with this young German Shepherd dog. The animal has grown so accustomed to him that it will hardly take a step without him. It is very nice to watch the Fuhrer with his dog. At the moment the dog is the only living thing that is constantly with him. At night it sleeps at the foot of his bed, it is allowed into his sleeping compartment in the special train and enjoys a number of privileges….that no human would ever dare to claim. He bought the dog from a minor official in the post office in Ingolstadt."
^Beevor, Antony (2002). Berlin: The Downfall 1945. Viking-Penguin Books. p. 399. ISBN0-670-03041-4.
^According to the autopsy, both dogs were shot and Blondi was killed by poison. Some sources say that Wolf was killed with the other puppies in the Chancellery garden (see Moorhouse, Roger (2007). Killing Hitler: The Plots, The Assassins, and the Dictator Who Cheated Death. Bantam. p. 323. ISBN0-553-38255-1.).
^le Tissier, Tony (1992). Berlin Then and Now, After the Battle.