Located in Carlton House Terrace, not far from the Duke of York Column in St James’s, is a small headstone dedicated to “Giro”.
Giro was the pet hound – some accounts say he was a terrier but it has also been claimed he was an Alsatian – of German Ambassador Leopold von Hoesch, who took up his post in London in 1932 (initially under the Weimar Republic and then under Hitler’s regime from 1933).
Ambassador von Hoesch and his family, along with Giro, lived at the embassy at number nine Carlton House Terrace.
Until 1934, that is, when Giro apparently chewed through a cable in the back yard and was fatally electrocuted.
Giro was buried in the backyard, the grave marked with a small headstone written in German which describes Giro as “a faithful companion” and records the date of his death as February, 1934.
The headstone, which has been described as London’s only Nazi memorial (although that’s perhaps a bit unfair given the dog had little choice), was moved to its current location behind an iron fence just off the street thanks to building works in the 1960s. The protective plastic shield was added later.
Apparently much loved among his British hosts (and said to be a less than ardent supporter of the Nazis), Hoesch, meanwhile, died of heart failure in 1936 (prompting speculation he had been assassinated by the Nazis) – his body repatriated via Dover where it was shipped home aboard the HMS Scout. His replacement was Joachim von Ribbentrop.