George Ludwig Heinrich Heck was like his brother Heinz, a German zoologist. Lutz also was director of the zoo, the Zoological Garden in Berlin. He was also in 1931 the Tierpark Hellabraunn in Munich it. Two brothers placed their focus on native species of animals, especially animals of German origin, eg. Bears, lynx and otters received attention.
Since the beginning of 1920 showed two zoo directors to which the aurochs and the oerpaard, allowed themselves to breeding back. Heck especially drew inspiration from the Old Germanic Siegfried saga which forms the first part of the Nibelungenlied. This explains that the German warrior Siegfried wanted to hit down beasts. These animals looked very strong muscular and fierce off as the aurochs.
So they took the end of 1920 initiated several breeding programs. They felt that properties of missing ancestors could be found in the genes of domesticated breeds with primitive features. They were looking for that very specific to animals that did certain characteristics. Lutz explained to herds of wild Corsican cows Spanish fighting bulls and other animals with wild-looking features. In addition, they have selected on
aggressiveness, color, size and shape of the horns. The two animals they wanted to reconstruct were:
- The aurochs, the wild ancestor of all domesticated animals, extinct since 1627
- Tarpan: the ancestor of horses, extinct since 1887
What is an aurochs?
The aurochs is a rundras which died out around 1627 of which the domesticated animals of today are descended. The height of the aurochs was around 160 cm and 185 cm. The height of the oeroskoe was around 150cm. They weighed about 1000kg. Cow and calf were reddish brown. The bull was black and brown to black with a narrow light dorsal stripe down his back and a white ring around his chin and nose. The horns were facing forward and curved inward. Those were about 80cm long.
What is a tarpan?
The tarpan is a wild horse that occurred in Eastern Europe. The last specimen was seen in 1887. They had a pale gray coat with black dorsal stripe across the back to the tail, erect mane, a short, thick neck in anticipation of strong shoulders, a heavy head with convex nose line, reasonable long ears and a shoulder height of approximately 130cm.
But these animals had to be put in the wild and they had previously required an ideal area. The realization of this project and the establishment of a nature reserve during WW II was accompanied by tremendous suffering.
The Nazi vision of the Third Reich was in fact based on legends and myths. The German people was then raised with stories of Tacitus and the legend of the 'warrior Siegfried. The German people believed that Germans' forest-people "were. They believed that their ancestors hunted animals of the forest and it had shaped their identity and race. "The Roman historian Tacitus said that Germans an unmixed race seemed to be that had not mixed with other races and was alone with blue eyes, coppery hair and a huge body."
The experiment of the brothers Heck so therefore went along with the policy of the Third Reich. Support from the Nazis would therefore be welcome for his project. On May 1, 1933 Lutz was "supporting member" of the SS and was on May 1, 1937 also a member of the NSDP. He became friends with Herman Goering. Goering had acquired many titles during the war but he was ao commander of the Luftwaffe. He was also the official successor of the furher and above all he was Reich Hunting Master. Through courtship and regularly organizing hunting parties knew Lutz to obtain funding for its project. Goering was then seen as the patron of the terugfokexperiment. Historical records also show that the pursuit of purity in the breed was also nagestreven in nature.
Shortly after, the animals were placed on Goring's hunting took the Soviet Union occupation in Poland. This left the forest of Bialowieza, which was situated in this area, out of reach of Goering.
In 1941 the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in anyway and took possession of the Polish territory occupied by the Russians. In this way the Germans conquered the Bialowieza forest belonging to it. It was a conquest of man and nature. They wanted their primitive animals in release. They saw the wissent and aurochs as the most powerful representatives of the German forest. The aurochs was the ultimate hunting challenge. In order to achieve this, they had the aim to reconstruct the ancient forests of Germania. Above the forest all their residents had to be cleared. But also the nature reserve they had Germanise by putting German people, trees and animals so that it would be restored to its original state.
Backed by Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and one of the main organizers of the Haulocaust, he wanted to cleanse the area of its inhabitants. To pursue their idealism, were driven more than 20 000 people in three years, deported and slain. Both Poles, Belorussians and Jews. The Final Solution and one of the first 'massacres' would have known early in the Bialowieza forest. It was the first 'Jew-free' area. The only people who would come into the wood, were German fighters, just as in their ideology. They attached importance only to strong wildlife. Domestic cattle called them degenerate and animals were of little importance. Many animals that were unimportant, then were just completed and the same policy was also applied to humans. For example, the rules of the organized German Olympic Games showed that, who did not bring the perfect performance was bad, could be slain. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf; "He who is not physically and spiritually healthy and dignified, has no right his suffering by giving to his children."
With this mind, the Germans were working with cattle, horses and eventually with people.
After the war followed for Groening an arrest in 1945 after which he committed suicide some time later. The Heck brothers were not arrested and were not seen as criminals but simply as followers. They put their professional zoologist as usual. Both brothers died in the 80s.
Lutz's experiments with cattle breeds resulted today in a race known as Heck cattle. Heck cattle are often called "Hitler Cows'. In Flanders, the Heck cattle was arrested by the Department of Natuurpunt the Flemish Government in the 90s in 1999 they claimed the return of the aurochs. The then director improved and this indicated that the administration was well aware of that the phenotype of Heck cattle did not correspond to the extinct aurochs.
In the Netherlands we find the Heck cattle back into the Oostvaarderplassen and on the mudflats of the Flakke. There, the cow proved they can stand on their own feet. In 2010 count there were 450 to 500.