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Nazi-Trained German Shepherds Provide ‘Law, Order’


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On March 27, 1961, nine black college students from Tougaloo College walked into the whites-only main branch of the Jackson public library, sat down and began reading books. The Tougaloo Nine — four women and five men, all members of a NAACP youth council — were arrested and charged with breach of peace, just as the Freedom Riders would be two months later.

As an indication of just how tight segregation’s hold was in Mississippi, this was the capitol city’s first sit-in — more than a year after that particular movement had broken out in Greensboro, NC, and spread almost immediately to cities and towns throughout the south.

The next day, March 28, the Jackson Police Department hurriedly borrowed two German Shepherds from the police in nearby Vicksburg, and that afternoon set them on a small group of black students marching to the jail from nearby Jackson State University.

A day later, the police unleashed the two dogs on a group of about 100 blacks who had assembled outside the courthouse for the trial of the Touglaoo Nine. The reason? The blacks had applauded when the defendants arrived

The photograph above was taken during this attack on “noisy bystanders,” as the caption puts it. The picture illustrated a short feature welcoming the dogs — named Happy and Rebel — to town. The article, in the State Times, a Jackson paper, was headlined “Police Dogs Emphasize Law, Order,” and contained this remarkable sentence:

Harry Nawroth of Springfield [Missouri], the former Nazi storm trooper who trained killer Dobermans to guard Hitler’s airports, trained both “Happy” and “Rebel.”

The entire, jaw-dropping article reads as follows:

“Happy” and “Rebel,” charter members of the Vicksburg Police Department’s canine corps, are making the Jackson Police Department’s orders to racial demonstrators more meaningful.

The two 100-pound German Shephards were placed at the disposal of local police after racial demonstrations at the Jackson City Library Monday.

Since their arrival Tuesday, the animals have spearheaded the disbursement of two major Negro demonstrations.

The dogs have digested well the law enforcement and riot control tactics which were sometimes drummed into their thick skulls at a Springfield, Mo., police dog training academy.

Most important, however, is the fact that they are affectionately dedicated to obey swiftly and efficiently the commands given them by their handlers, patrolmen Ed Reel and James Terry.

Reed and “Happy,” Terry and “Rebel” are bound together by constant companionship and affection. Wherever they go, they go together; whatever they do, they do together.

At night, man and animal share the same dangers as they patrol Vicksburg’s dark alleys and maintain constant vigilance against disorder.

By day, however, when the heavy leather harnesses are removed, the dogs become equally dedicated to their handlers’ family.

Harry Nawroth of Springfield, the former Nazi storm trooper who trained killer Dobermans to guard Hitler’s airports, trained both “Happy” and “Rebel.” He cautioned both Reed and Terry never to beat their wives or spank their children in front of the dogs because the animals would turn on the very men who direct them.

Nawroth has trained more thaan 23,000 dogs of all breeds during his lifetime so he ought to know. Both handlers have a very peaceful home life.

“Happy,” the black dog, joined the Vicksburg Police Department in late December after completing the rigorous 16-week course in Springfield.

On his first night in Vicksburg, the dog tracked a Negro to his rural dwelling in Bovina more than a mile away from the store he had burglarized five hours before the dog arrived on the scene.

Between loans to other law-enforcement agencies throughout the state, the dogs are dispatched by Police Chief Murray Sills to patrol trouble spots from dusk until dawn. Since the dogs have been frequenting Vicksburg taverns, violence has been almost non-existent, prowlers have stopped prowling, and resident are sleeping much easier.

“Rebel,” the lighter dog, joined the Vicksburg force in February and has been used almost exclusively for patrol.

This article was clipped and filed by the State Sovereignty Commission. See a scan of the original article here.

The archival news photo on pages 4-5 in Breach of Peace shows two German Shepherds along with a number of police watching the first bus of Freedom Riders arrive in Jackson. They may be Happy and Rebel.

Related posts:

  1. The Rebel Army
  2. Breach in the Media
  3. Freedom Rider Diary from Jackson City Jail
  4. Les voyageurs de la liberté ont ouvert la route à Obama
  5. ‘A Minor White Girl . . . Negro Bucks and White Hoodlums’


1 Comment

“He cautioned both Reed and Terry never to beat their wives or spank their children in front of the dogs because the animals would turn on the very men who direct them.”

Well, I guess there was an upside for Reed and Terry’s wives (and kids) in having Nazi trained dogs in the house. A let-up in the beatings must have come as a relief.

Posted by DrBB on 15 April 2011 @ 7am