The Jewish Genealogy Association 

The animals in WWI

By Micheline Gutmann





We are far from having listed on this site all the victims in our families.

However, it is worth remembering, at least briefly, the participation of our animal friends in this period and to achieve what we owe them.

We can not imagine the number of animals that participated in this war. They were even more likely than men to suffer and die for a cause that was obviously not theirs.  


The pigeons had a strategic role. They were widely used especially in the north of France. In Lille a monument dedicated to the memory of the services they have rendered.

Cars for doves accompanied the armies, one of which has been preserved in the Museum of the Great War in Meaux


Dogs were specially trained for different tasks: they accompanied the medical teams, looking wounded, pulled carts or served to the connections and participating as sentinels,

The idea of making their transport supplies led a team to Canada and the United States in order to buy dogs and sleds. And two sections were formed in the Vosges. Some dogs received decorations.

Those who were only mascots have been lucky,

And then there were those who followed their master. An example is given in the beautiful story of Jean Christophe Rufin, "The red collar" that we have quoted in GenAmi 70.


Horses, about 10 million in total, with perhaps 1 million deaths in France, due to illness, injury and hunger, have provided a special effort: used in the cavalry, it was their role during thousands years, but also to tow artillery machine guns and cannons.

Their importance was high and the lack of horses probably contributed to Germany's failure.

A superb film "War Horse" was directed by Steven Spielberg in 2011 based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo wrote in 1982. It should be noted that English novelist specialist stories for young people, was among the few English writers made Chevalier of Arts and Letters in France.