Leopold von Hoesch, a German diplomat in the early 20th century, arrived in London in 1932 as the ambassador for the Weimar Republic. He took up residence at 9 Carlton Terrace, which was the German Embassy at the time. Today the building is a private home, but adjacent to the property is one small memorial to von Hoesch’s time: the grave of his dog, Giro.
By most accounts, it seems that von Hoesch was devoted to his pet Alsatian, whose death in February of 1934 was rather sudden—the result of a run-in with an exposed electricity cable, reportedly in what is now the Institute of Contemporary Arts. He was buried in the embassy garden.
The existence of Giro’s grave was largely unknown until the 1960s when his small gravestone was discovered during construction work and moved to its current position at the base of a gigantic tree. The wooden and plexiglass case (which somewhat resembles a kennel) was added to protect the gravestone in the 1990s. The inscription reads: “Giro; ein treuer Begleiter!” translating to “Giro; a faithful companion!”
Extremely apocryphal accounts suggest that Giro received a funeral with full Nazi honors, though this was unlikely as von Hoesch was not a supporter of the new regime he served under following the Nazi takeover in 1933 until his death three years later. Regardless, the canine grave hidden on the former embassy grounds is considered the only Nazi memorial in London.
Know Before You Go
The gravestone is between the tall column holding the statue of Frederick, Duke of York and No. 9 Waterloo Place, just off the Mall.
It is located at the base of a tree behind an iron gate. It can be seen through the gate. The perspex cover can make viewing the gravestone difficult.
Access is level if arriving from the direction of Pall Mall, and it can be seen at any time.