Newly discovered documents have revealed that Nazi officials got themselves into a bit of a tizz over a Finnish dog which raised its paw in response to the command "Hitler".
According to AP, piss-taking mutt Jackie was owned by pharmaceutical company boss Tor Borg, whose German wife Josefine was known for not being particularly fond of the Nazis.
She dubbed the animal "Hitler" for its Nazi-salute trick, and once the foreign office in Berlin got wind of the outrage, they ordered the German embassy in Helsinki to investigate.
Borg was summonsed to explain himself, but "denied ever calling the dog by the German dictator's name", assured that paw-raising "had only happened a few times in 1933" and promised that he'd never done anything "that could be seen as an insult against the German Reich".
The Germans weren't convinced, and while the foreign office examined possible ways to drag Borg before a court for insulting Hitler, German chemical monolith IG Farben, "offered to eliminate his company" by cutting off supplies of pharmaceuticals to Borg's wholesale operation.
In January 1941, the powers that be decided to drop the matter, and it would have been consigned to history had a researcher not recently unearthed original files on the case in the German foreign office's political archives.
Klaus Hillenbrand, who's penned several books on the Nazi era, examined the papers and concluded that the episode was "completely bizarre".
He said: "Just months before the Nazis launched their attack on the Soviet Union, they had nothing better to do than to obsess about this dog."
The Guardian has more on the strange case of the saluting dog here. ®
Keen students of history will recall that Field Marshal Erich Von Manstein's dachshund Knirps was trained to raise its paw in salute when ordered to "Heil Hitler!"
Those seeking some IT angle on this story may care to note that Alcatel-Lucent has just hired a "quality assurance and customer care" executive named George Nazi.