Hitler’s Dogs Alive and Well on the Chicago Trains
By Jessika Bialak, our reporter in Evanston
I said I wouldn’t do it, but I did. I got back on the d*mn Redline train with my buddy Claire for more adventure last night. It’s like falling off a horse and then getting back on the horse to prove you are not afraid of snakes. Or something like that.
The black-shirt security guards are using the dogs to scare the homeless people on the train.
Through a series of events last night, Claire and I figured this out. We put on our costumes, me the hard-to-tell-if-it’s-an-ugly-guy complete with ugly toupe’ and Claire the trampy-campy-vampy sidekick. We decided to look into some important topics in the world of the average homeless person: the Redline train and the games of the black-shirt security guards who are supposed to be visible on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) trains.
Our special topic tonight, boys and girls, is the famous German Shepherd. The guard dogs being dragged around by the black-shirts.
We get right into the heart of the train. People do not know what we have with us to protect ourselves and we are not going to say in this account. We also had my brother last night, in the next car, one text away. He is huge and does not need a bad toupe’ to look ugly. I mean that in a sibling-silly-storyteller way. I owe him a case of beer for going last night. He was on the next car.
It all started when we were commiserating with other persons on the train trying to get some sleep. There were quite a few women on the Redline—which is not that common, I guess—and so we talked about the typical kinds of things homeless folks have to deal with… exhaustion, hunger, no bathroom, fear of rats, men who act like rats who have something to prove…
When we got to one end of the journey, the black-shirts came onto the car and two of them had huge German Shepherds in tow. They turned the dogs around to make room for more of their black-shirt colleagues to come onto the car. The idea of having the K-9 security detail is that the criminals will be afraid, will avoid the trains, and will not commit their usual crimes. The dogs are supposed to help make sure the crime does not happen and the criminals do not hang around.
Instead, the dogs scare the living sh*t out of the homeless people. The dogs bark at the homeless people and lunge at them. One dog, with a big metal cage over its mouth (a muzzle?) bumped this against Claire’s leg roughly while barking at her. The dogs bark at people sleeping, people reclining, people arguing with security guards, and at people walking on and off the car of the train.
It is unknown how the dog knows if you are homeless—or even if you are just pretending to be.
We assume the handles the guards use to steer the dogs have either 1) a spike in them to jab into the dog’s neck to make it bark or 2) a slight electric battery charge to make it bark. They might very well have both. These are relatively common and grossly inhumane devices that are part of the disgusting dastardly dog doings of security personnel in cities where things are rough. Things are tough. And security guards act like animals.
Welcome to Chicago.
In this city, a lot of things happen…
…and you might wonder who was in charge when some of the more idiotic decisions are being made.
Really? Guard dogs on a train harassing homeless people? Are we trying to become the sh*ttiest city in the world to live in? Are we trying to throw away any possible points for being humane to our disadvantaged persons? Are we trying to become well known for treating people like wild animals to be shepherded and chased around our CTA platforms?
Just how terrible do people want Chicago to be? How terrible do they want our reputation to be? It is hard to understand why nobody looks into things before making decisions. At least the people breeding herding dogs into what would become the “German Shepherd” had an informed and educated plan for doing so.
Does anyone in Chicago have a plan for what goes on in the middle of the night on CTA property?
Taxpayers getting on the train super late at night get barked at by guard dogs. People going to work get mauled, homeless people get scared, folks coming home from work get threatened, guys coming home from a date get growled at, and students on their way home from a party get bumped and nudged and menaced by a dog.
Hitler and the Nazis were famous for loving dogs—and for abusing them. A recent book by Jan Mohnhaupt talks about these topics and also about Hitler’s love for his special dog, Blondi. The Germans believed in rights for animals. At first blush, it sounds like they loved their dogs and other friends… but the reader will have to learn more about these topics to form a more educated opinion about all of this. The sources below tell just a bit of the story of how some of the most inhumane people who ever lived felt about dogs and other animals.
How inhumane are the black-shirt guards charged with dampening crime—or harassing the homeless—or guarding CTA property—or protecting taxpayers—or finding criminals who need to be handed over to the police for arrest? Part of the problem of judging them is we are not sure of wh*t the f*ck the role of the black-shirts is on the trains, exactly.
The black-shirts do seem to be very good at avoiding criminals and crime all night long.
We tell people all the time about the black-shirt guards (who spend most of their time together, tightly packed onto a SINGLE CAR on the train, without moving around much and without doing a whole lot of work or security rounds or troubleshooting). We tell of the dogs—and the constant barking, the jumping, the nudging of the people by the metal muzzles on the front end of the dog and the sweeping of people’s legs by a huge coarse tail at the other end of the dog. We explain that when we complain, we are told to “go to a different car if you don’t like it” and how the guards are laughing and screaming and joking in the middle of the night.
When unhoused people complain they are trying to sleep, the guards look like they will die laughing… saying things like “Well, you got a free wakeup call!”
All the black-shirts laugh and we watch in horror as people run off the train, others move to the other end of the car, and during all of this the dogs are constantly bumping into passengers. The dogs get yanked around by the throat roughly if they bark at the other dogs, and the guards move the dogs out of the way with their boots to turn the dogs around and make more room for the guards to stand.
We tell people all of the ridiculous and disgusting stuff that the guards do on the train. We tell them how rude the black-shirts are, how rough they are on the dogs, how pointless their presence seems to be. We tell people all about the black-shirt activities.
Nobody believes us.
So the black-shirts are playing their game.
But what about the poor dogs? It is certainly not the dogs’ fault they are there on the train to begin with. They seem to want to be elsewhere—maybe asleep? Maybe resting under a bench somewhere? Maybe sitting on a hill watching butterflies?
What the dogs are trying to tell us is they are unhappy. They bark, they lunge, they jump around, they bump into passengers’ legs constantly, they menace sleeping persons, and they whine and growl and whimper as they are dragged on and off the trains, turned around to make room for the inhumane and hateful black-shirt guards who seem to not care for the dogs—and who seem to not know how to handle them correctly.
Hitler’s forces were masters at controlling big dogs for a wide variety of atrocities against humans. Hitler’s dogs were a staple of the control processes over prisoners, criminals, traitors, assassins, and just plain people who were being rounded up because Hitler did not like them.
These Chicago dogs cannot tell us what they want, where they would rather be. They cannot yawn because the muzzle has their mouth locked closed almost completely.
The dogs cannot bite anyone because that metal cage keeps their jaws together. You can see their huge sharp teeth. You can see they are magnificent and powerful animals. You can see they could do a great deal of damage to an arm or leg. Or throat. One of these dogs could kill you. It is a very real danger, if that is what they are programmed to do. If they have been trained to kill you. If there is need to defend themselves. I wonder if they were let loose on the train, who they would kill first?
The black-shirt security guards might be at the top of their list.
For further reading:
“Breeding Racism: The Imperial Battlefields of the ‘German’ Shepherd Dog,” by Aaron Skabelund. Society and Animals 16 (2008) pp. 354-371. Available in PDF format: https://www.animalsandsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/skabelund.pdf
“German Shepherd,” Wikipedia. It is mentioned here that “biting” is a problem for this breed of dog. https://en.wikipedia.beta.wmflabs.org/wiki/German_Shepherd
“Hitler's Dogs: The Nazis and Their Pets,” by Susanne Spröer, https://www.dw.com/en/hitlers-dogs-g%C3%B6rings-lions-how-the-nazis-used-and-abused-animals/a-53698708
“Tiere im Nationalsozialismus” [English: Animals under National Socialism], by Jan Mohnhaupt, 2020. Berlin: Hanser.