Situated just off the Mall in London, close to both the heart of British government and monarchy, lies the country’s only memorial to a Nazi.
‘Giro’, the Nazi in question, was in fact a pet terrier and was brought to Britain by the German ambassador Leopold von Hoesch in 1932. In the spirit of fairness it is important to note that both Giro and Hoesch originally served the Weimar Republic, and it was not until 1933 and the passing of the Enabling Act that they started representing the Third Reich, presumably more out of proxy rather than choice.
Both Giro and Hoesch lived in the German Embassy at 9 Carlton House Terrace, where in 1934 Giro chewed through a cable in the back garden and died from electrocution.
Presumably distraught from the untimely death of his beloved pet, Hoesch set about a proper burial for Giro in the Embassy’s back garden. Today, Giro’s rather diminutive tombstone can still be seen, albeit not in its original location due to some building work which forced it to be moved in the late 1960s. It reads:
Or, in English….
A faithful companion!
London in February 1934.
It should be noted that Leopold von Hoesch was in fact a rather popular figure amongst the ruling classes in Britain and worked tirelessly to maintain Anglo-German relations until his death in 1936. According to an obituary by The Times, Hoesch spoke beautiful English, was full of charm, hosted some fabulous parties at the Embassy and – most importantly – was extremely well dressed!
After his death in 1936, Hoesch was even honoured with a British-ordered funeral cortege which took him to Dover (via Buckingham Palace) draped in a swastika flag.
From Dover he was taken to Germany on the British destroyer HMS Scout, although once back on home soil it is reported that not a single representative of the Nazi Party attended his funeral. It seems poor old Hoesch and Giro were more loved in London than they were in their own country!