Wednesday, January 17, 2018

'Giro', The German Ambassador's Dog

London The Unfinished City
A Faithful Companion!
London in February 1934.

I am amazed when walking around London, even if it is a place that I have visited many times before, the amount of weird or unusual things that I have previously missed.

For instance: I have walked around, along and through Waterloo Place many times. Whether going to Pall Mall from The Mall, or looking at the various statues or simply just wandering around the area. But, not once, in all of these visits, had I noticed this little grave to "Giro", nestled beneath a tree.

I had to find out more about this curious little grave.

Brief History

In 1932 Leopold von Hoesch came to London, as the German Ambassador, with his pet terrier, Giro. Hoesch had been a diplomat in Peking and Madrid, before becoming the German Ambassador in Paris.

Taking up residence at 9 Carlton Place, which had been an embassy for Prussia, America and the Swiss, but, as of 1920, the Weimar Republic had taken over residence.

Following the Enabling Act of 1933, the Weimar Republic ceased to exist, so Hoesch, and by extension Giro, represented the Nazi Party. This was more by proxy, than by Hoesch's political ideologies. Obviously, it is impossible to discover what Giro's political ideologies were, or even if he had any anyway.

In February 1934, while rooting around in the garden, Giro bit through an electrical power cable, and died from electrocution. He was buried in the grounds of the Embassy.

London The Unfinished City
A clearer image of the grave.

With Adolf Hitler gaining more power, in Germany, Hoesch became an outspoken critic of him, resulting in distrust  between the two men.

Hoesch would die two years later, after suffering a stroke, or heart attack,  in his bedroom at the Embassy.

Such was the respect for Leopold von Hoesch, in London, that he was given a state funeral, with a 19 gun salute, from St James's Park, as his Nazi flag draped coffin was carried to Victoria Station.

His coffin was carried to Germany aboard HMS Scout, where not a single member of the Nazi Party turned out for his funeral. 

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