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The Daily Need

Photo: Sit, shake, salute?

Tor Borg and his dog Jackie. Germany's Nazi government started an obsessive campaign to ruin the Finnish businessman during World War II because his dog imitated the Hitler salute. Photo: AP/Tamro Group Image bank

Historians recently discovered a strange footnote in the history of World War II. It seems that a few months before Adolf Hitler ordered 4.5 million troops to invade the Soviet Union, the Foreign Office in Berlin ordered its diplomats in Finland to gather evidence against Finnish businessman Tor Borg for possible insults against the German Reich. Borg had a dog named Jackie with an unusual way of raising its paw in the air, similar to the German greeting that accompanies the cry of “Heil Hitler!” Borg’s wife Josefine, a German citizen with anti-Nazi sentiments, nicknamed the dog “Hitler.”

After an investigation by the German vice consul in Helsinki, Borg was ordered to the German embassy and questioned about the dog’s unusual paw-raising reaction to the command “Hitler.” Borg claimed that the salute only happened a few times shortly after Hitler came to power, but more ministries became involved in the investigation, including the Foreign Office, the Economy Ministry and Hitler’s Chancellory. They began a campaign to ruin Borg by financially destroying his pharmaceutical wholesale company. In the end, the campaign faltered because of the unwillingness of witnesses to testify. Borg’s company, Tampereen Rohduskuppa Oy, eventually became Tamro Group, the leading wholesale company for pharmaceuticals in the Nordic countries.

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