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Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (German: [ˈhaɪnʁɪç ˈluːɪtˌpɔlt ˈhɪmlɐ] ( listen); 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
(Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
(NSDAP) of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
and one of the people most directly responsible for the Holocaust. As a member of a reserve battalion during World War I, Himmler did not see active service. He studied agronomy in university, and joined the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
in 1923 and the SS in 1925. In 1929, he was appointed Reichsführer-SS
Reichsführer-SS
by Hitler. Over the next 16 years, he developed the SS from a mere 290-man battalion into a million-strong paramilitary group, and, following Hitler's orders, set up and controlled the Nazi concentration camps. He was known to have good organisational skills and for selecting highly competent subordinates, such as Reinhard Heydrich in 1931. From 1943 onwards, he was both Chief of German Police and Minister of the Interior, overseeing all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo
Gestapo
(Secret State Police). Himmler had a lifelong interest in occultism, interpreting Germanic neopagan and Völkisch beliefs to promote the racial policy of Nazi Germany, and incorporating esoteric symbolism and rituals into the SS. On Hitler's behalf, Himmler formed the Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
and built extermination camps. As facilitator and overseer of the concentration camps, Himmler directed the killing of some six million Jews, between 200,000 and 500,000 Romani people, and other victims; the total number of civilians killed by the regime is estimated at eleven to fourteen million people. Most of them were Polish and Soviet citizens. Late in World War II, Hitler briefly appointed him a military commander and later Commander of the Replacement (Home) Army and General Plenipotentiary for the administration of the entire Third Reich (Generalbevollmächtigter für die Verwaltung). Specifically, he was given command of the Army Group Upper Rhine
Rhine
and the Army Group Vistula; he failed to achieve his assigned objectives and Hitler replaced him in these posts. Realising that the war was lost, he attempted to open peace talks with the western Allies without Hitler's knowledge, shortly before the war ended. Hearing of this, Hitler dismissed him from all his posts in April 1945 and ordered his arrest. Himmler attempted to go into hiding, but was detained and then arrested by British forces once his identity became known. While in British custody, he committed suicide on 23 May 1945.

Contents

1 Early life

1.1 Nazi activist

2 Rise in the SS

2.1 Consolidation of power 2.2 Anti-church struggle

3 World War II 4 The Holocaust

4.1 Posen speech 4.2 Germanization

5 20 July plot 6 Military commander

6.1 Peace negotiations

7 Capture and death 8 Mysticism
Mysticism
and symbolism 9 Relationship with Hitler 10 Marriage and family 11 Historical assessment 12 See also 13 References

13.1 Explanatory notes 13.2 Citations 13.3 Bibliography

13.3.1 Printed 13.3.2 Online

14 Further reading 15 External links

Early life Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was born in Munich
Munich
on 7 October 1900 into a conservative middle-class Roman Catholic family. His father was Joseph Gebhard Himmler (17 May 1865 – 29 October 1936), a teacher, and his mother was Anna Maria Himmler (née Heyder; 16 January 1866 – 10 September 1941), a devout Roman Catholic. Heinrich had two brothers, Gebhard Ludwig (29 July 1898 – 1982) and Ernst Hermann (23 December 1905 – 2 May 1945).[2] Himmler's first name, Heinrich, was that of his godfather, Prince Heinrich of Bavaria, a member of the royal family of Bavaria, who had been tutored by Gebhard Himmler.[3][4] He attended a grammar school in Landshut, where his father was deputy principal. While he did well in his schoolwork, he struggled in athletics.[5] He had poor health, suffering from lifelong stomach complaints and other ailments. In his youth he trained daily with weights and exercised to become stronger. Other boys at the school later remembered him as studious and awkward in social situations.[6] Himmler's diary, which he kept intermittently from the age of ten, shows that he took a keen interest in current events, dueling, and "the serious discussion of religion and sex".[7][8] In 1915, he began training with the Landshut
Landshut
Cadet Corps. His father used his connections with the royal family to get Himmler accepted as an officer candidate, and he enlisted with the reserve battalion of the 11th Bavarian Regiment in December 1917. His brother, Gebhard, served on the western front and saw combat, receiving the Iron Cross
Iron Cross
and eventually being promoted to lieutenant. In November 1918, while Himmler was still in training, the war ended with Germany's defeat, denying him the opportunity to become an officer or see combat. After his discharge on 18 December, he returned to Landshut.[9] After the war, Himmler completed his grammar-school education. From 1919–22, he studied agronomy at the Munich
Munich
Technische Hochschule
Technische Hochschule
(now Technical University Munich) following a brief apprenticeship on a farm and a subsequent illness.[10][11] Although many regulations that discriminated against non-Christians—including Jews
Jews
and other minority groups—had been eliminated during the unification of Germany
Germany
in 1871, antisemitism continued to exist and thrive in Germany
Germany
and other parts of Europe.[12] Himmler was antisemitic by the time he went to university, but not exceptionally so; students at his school would avoid their Jewish classmates.[13] He remained a devoted Catholic while a student, and spent most of his leisure time with members of his fencing fraternity, the "League of Apollo", the president of which was Jewish. Himmler maintained a polite demeanor with him and with other Jewish members of the fraternity, in spite of his growing antisemitism.[14][15] During his second year at university, Himmler redoubled his attempts to pursue a military career. Although he was not successful, he was able to extend his involvement in the paramilitary scene in Munich. It was at this time that he first met Ernst Röhm, an early member of the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
and co-founder of the Sturmabteilung
Sturmabteilung
("Storm Battalion"; SA).[16][17] Himmler admired Röhm because he was a decorated combat soldier, and at his suggestion Himmler joined his antisemitic nationalist group, the Bund Reichskriegsflagge (Imperial War Flag Society).[18] In 1922, Himmler became more interested in the "Jewish question", with his diary entries containing an increasing number of antisemitic remarks and recording a number of discussions about Jews
Jews
with his classmates. His reading lists, as recorded in his diary, were dominated by antisemitic pamphlets, German myths, and occult tracts.[19] After the murder of Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau
Walther Rathenau
on 24 June, Himmler's political views veered towards the radical right, and he took part in demonstrations against the Treaty of Versailles. Hyperinflation was raging, and his parents could no longer afford to educate all three sons. Disappointed by his failure to make a career in the military and his parents' inability to finance his doctoral studies, he was forced to take a low-paying office job after obtaining his agricultural diploma. He remained in this position until September 1923.[20][21] Nazi activist

Himmler in early SS uniform, with rank of Oberführer

Himmler joined the Nazi Party
Nazi Party
(NSDAP) in August 1923; his Party number was 14,303.[22][23] As a member of Röhm's paramilitary unit, Himmler was involved in the Beer Hall Putsch—an unsuccessful attempt by Hitler and the NSDAP to seize power in Munich. This event would set Himmler on a life of politics. He was questioned by the police about his role in the putsch, but was not charged because of insufficient evidence. However, he lost his job, was unable to find employment as an agronomist, and had to move in with his parents in Munich. Frustrated by these failures, he became ever more irritable, aggressive, and opinionated, alienating both friends and family members.[24][25] In 1923–24, Himmler, while searching for a world view, came to abandon Catholicism and focused on the occult and in antisemitism. Germanic mythology, reinforced by occult ideas, became a religion for him. Himmler found the NSDAP appealing because its political positions agreed with his own views. Initially, he was not swept up by Hitler's charisma or the cult of Führer
Führer
worship. However, as he learned more about Hitler through his reading, he began to regard him as a useful face of the party,[26][27] and he later admired and even worshipped him.[28] To consolidate and advance his own position in the NSDAP, Himmler took advantage of the disarray in the party following Hitler's arrest in the wake of the Beer Hall Putsch.[28] From mid-1924 he worked under Gregor Strasser
Gregor Strasser
as a party secretary and propaganda assistant. Travelling all over Bavaria agitating for the party, he gave speeches and distributed literature. Placed in charge of the party office in Lower Bavaria by Strasser from late 1924, he was responsible for integrating the area's membership with the NSDAP under Hitler when the party was re-founded in February 1925.[29][30] That same year, he joined the Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
(SS) as an SS-Führer (SS-Leader); his SS number was 168.[23] The SS, initially part of the much larger SA, was formed in 1923 for Hitler's personal protection, and was re-formed in 1925 as an elite unit of the SA.[31] Himmler's first leadership position in the SS was that of SS-Gauführer (district leader) in Lower Bavaria from 1926. Strasser appointed Himmler deputy propaganda chief in January 1927. As was typical in the NSDAP, he had considerable freedom of action in his post, which increased over time. He began to collect statistics on the number of Jews, Freemasons, and enemies of the party, and following his strong need for control, he developed an elaborate bureaucracy.[32][33] In September 1927, Himmler told Hitler of his vision to transform the SS into a loyal, powerful, racially pure elite unit. Convinced that Himmler was the man for the job, Hitler appointed him Deputy Reichsführer-SS, with the rank of SS-Oberführer.[34] Around this time, Himmler joined the Artaman League, a Völkisch youth group. There he met Rudolf Höss, who was later commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, and Walther Darré, whose book, The Peasantry as the Life Source of the Nordic Race, caught Hitler's attention, leading to his later appointment as Reich Minister of Food and Agriculture. Darré was a firm believer in the superiority of the Nordic race, and his philosophy was a major influence on Himmler.[35][31] Rise in the SS

Himmler in 1929. Photograph by Heinrich Hoffmann.

Main article: Machtergreifung Upon the resignation of SS commander Erhard Heiden
Erhard Heiden
in January 1929, Himmler assumed the position of Reichsführer-SS
Reichsführer-SS
with Hitler's approval;[34][36][a] he still carried out his duties at propaganda headquarters. One of his first responsibilities was to organise SS participants at the Nuremberg Rally
Nuremberg Rally
that September.[37] Over the next year, Himmler grew the SS from a force of about 290 men to about 3,000. By 1930 Himmler had persuaded Hitler to run the SS as a separate organisation, although it was officially still subordinate to the SA.[38][39] To gain political power, the NSDAP took advantage of the economic downturn during the Great Depression. The coalition government of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
was unable to improve the economy, so many voters turned to the political extreme, which included the NSDAP.[40] Hitler used populist rhetoric, including blaming scapegoats—particularly the Jews—for the economic hardships.[41] In the 1932 election, the Nazis won 37.3 percent of the vote and 230 seats in the Reichstag.[42] Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany
Chancellor of Germany
by President Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933, heading a short-lived coalition of his Nazis and the German National People's Party. The new cabinet initially included only three members of the NSDAP: Hitler, Hermann Göring as minister without portfolio and Minister of the Interior for Prussia, and Wilhelm Frick
Wilhelm Frick
as Reich Interior Minister.[43][44] Less than a month later, the Reichstag building was set on fire. Hitler took advantage of this event, forcing von Hindenburg to sign the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended basic rights and allowed detention without trial.[45] The Enabling Act, passed by the Reichstag in 1933, gave the Cabinet—in practice, Hitler—full legislative powers, and the country became a de facto dictatorship.[46] On 1 August 1934, Hitler's cabinet passed a law which stipulated that upon von Hindenburg's death, the office of president would be abolished and its powers merged with those of the chancellor. Von Hindenburg died the next morning, and Hitler became both head of state and head of government under the title Führer
Führer
und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor).[47] The Nazi Party's rise to power provided Himmler and the SS an unfettered opportunity to thrive. By 1933, the SS numbered 52,000 members.[48] Strict membership requirements ensured that all members were of Hitler's Aryan Herrenvolk
Herrenvolk
("Aryan master race"). Applicants were vetted for Nordic qualities—in Himmler's words, "like a nursery gardener trying to reproduce a good old strain which has been adulterated and debased; we started from the principles of plant selection and then proceeded quite unashamedly to weed out the men whom we did not think we could use for the build-up of the SS."[49] Few dared mention that by his own standards, Himmler did not meet his own ideals.[50] Himmler's organised, bookish intellect served him well as he began setting up different SS departments. In 1931 he appointed Reinhard Heydrich chief of the new Ic Service (intelligence service), which was renamed the Sicherheitsdienst
Sicherheitsdienst
(SD: Security Service) in 1932. He later officially appointed Heydrich his deputy.[51] The two men had a good working relationship and a mutual respect.[52] In 1933, they began to remove the SS from SA control. Along with Interior Minister Frick, they hoped to create a unified German police force. In March 1933, Reich Governor of Bavaria Franz Ritter von Epp
Franz Ritter von Epp
appointed Himmler chief of the Munich
Munich
Police. Himmler appointed Heydrich commander of Department IV, the political police.[53] That same year, Hitler promoted Himmler to the rank of SS-Obergruppenführer, equal in rank to the senior SA commanders.[54] Thereafter, Himmler and Heydrich took over the political police of state after state; soon only Prussia
Prussia
was controlled by Göring.[55] Himmler further established the SS Race and Settlement Main Office (Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt or RuSHA). He appointed Darré as its first chief, with the rank of SS-Gruppenführer. The department implemented racial policies and monitored the "racial integrity" of the SS membership.[56] SS men were carefully vetted for their racial background. On 31 December 1931, Himmler introduced the "marriage order", which required SS men wishing to marry to produce family trees proving that both families were of Aryan descent to 1800.[57] If any non-Aryan forebears were found in either family tree during the racial investigation, the person concerned was excluded from the SS.[58] Each man was issued a Sippenbuch, a genealogical record detailing his genetic history.[59] Himmler expected that each SS marriage should produce at least four children, thus creating a pool of genetically superior prospective SS members. The programme had disappointing results; less than 40 per cent of SS men married and each produced only about one child.[60]

Himmler (front right, beside prisoner) visiting the Dachau Concentration Camp in 1936

In March 1933, less than three months after the Nazis seized power, Himmler set up the first official concentration camp at Dachau.[61] Hitler had stated that he did not want it to be just another prison or detention camp. Himmler appointed Theodor Eicke, a convicted felon and ardent Nazi, to run the camp in June 1933.[62] Eicke devised a system that was used as a model for future camps throughout Germany.[63] Its features included isolation of victims from the outside world, elaborate roll calls and work details, the use of force and executions to exact obedience, and a strict disciplinary code for the guards. Uniforms were issued for prisoners and guards alike; the guards' uniforms had a special Totenkopf
Totenkopf
insignia on their collars. By the end of 1934, Himmler took control of the camps under the aegis of the SS, creating a separate division, the SS-Totenkopfverbände.[64][65] Initially the camps housed political opponents; over time, undesirable members of German society—criminals, vagrants, deviants—were placed in the camps as well. A Hitler decree issued in December 1937 allowed for the incarceration of anyone deemed by the regime to be an undesirable member of society.[66] This included Jews, Gypsies, communists, and those persons of any other cultural, racial, political, or religious affiliation deemed by the Nazis to be Untermensch
Untermensch
(sub-human). Thus, the camps became a mechanism for social and racial engineering. By the outbreak of World War II
World War II
in autumn 1939, there were six camps housing some 27,000 inmates. Death tolls were high.[67] Consolidation of power In early 1934, Hitler and other Nazi leaders became concerned that Röhm was planning a coup d'état.[68] Röhm had socialist and populist views, and believed that the real revolution had not yet begun. He felt that the SA—now numbering some three million men, far dwarfing the army—should become the sole arms-bearing corps of the state, and that the army should be absorbed into the SA under his leadership. Röhm lobbied Hitler to appoint him Minister of Defence, a position held by conservative General Werner von Blomberg.[69] Göring had created a Prussian secret police force, the Geheime Staatspolizei or Gestapo
Gestapo
in 1933, and appointed Rudolf Diels
Rudolf Diels
as its head. Göring, concerned that Diels was not ruthless enough to use the Gestapo
Gestapo
effectively to counteract the power of the SA, handed over its control to Himmler on 20 April 1934.[70] Also on that date, Hitler appointed Himmler chief of all German police outside Prussia. This was a radical departure from long-standing German practice that law enforcement was a state and local matter. Heydrich, named chief of the Gestapo
Gestapo
by Himmler on 22 April 1934, also continued as head of the SD.[71] Hitler decided on 21 June that Röhm and the SA leadership had to be eliminated. He sent Göring to Berlin on 29 June, to meet with Himmler and Heydrich to plan the action. Hitler took charge in Munich, where Röhm was arrested; he gave Röhm the choice to commit suicide or be shot. When Röhm refused to kill himself, he was shot dead by two SS officers. Between 85 and 200 members of the SA leadership and other political adversaries, including Gregor Strasser, were killed between 30 June and 2 July 1934 in these actions, known as the Night of the Long Knives.[72][73] With the SA thus neutralised, the SS became an independent organisation answerable only to Hitler on 20 July 1934. Himmler's title of Reichsführer-SS
Reichsführer-SS
became the highest formal SS rank, equivalent to a field marshal in the army.[74] The SA was converted into a sports and training organisation.[75]

Himmler and Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
at Dachau
Dachau
in 1936, viewing a scale model of the camp.

On 15 September 1935, Hitler presented two laws—known as the Nuremberg Laws—to the Reichstag. The laws banned marriage between non-Jewish and Jewish Germans and forbade the employment of non-Jewish women under the age of 45 in Jewish households. The laws also deprived so-called "non-Aryans" of the benefits of German citizenship.[76] These laws were among the first race-based measures instituted by the Third Reich. Himmler and Heydrich wanted to extend the power of the SS; thus, they urged Hitler to form a national police force overseen by the SS, to guard Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
against its many enemies at the time—real and imagined.[77] Interior Minister Frick also wanted a national police force, but one controlled by him, with Kurt Daluege
Kurt Daluege
as his police chief.[78] Hitler left it to Himmler and Heydrich to work out the arrangements with Frick. Himmler and Heydrich had greater bargaining power, as they were allied with Frick's old enemy, Göring. Heydrich drew up a set of proposals and Himmler sent him to meet with Frick. An angry Frick then consulted with Hitler, who told him to agree to the proposals. Frick acquiesced, and on 17 June 1936 Hitler decreed the unification of all police forces in the Reich, and named Himmler Chief of German Police.[78] In this role, Himmler was still nominally subordinate to Frick. In practice, however, the police was now effectively a division of the SS, and hence independent of Frick's control. This move gave Himmler operational control over Germany's entire detective force.[78][79] He also gained authority over all of Germany's uniformed law enforcement agencies, which were amalgamated into the new Ordnungspolizei
Ordnungspolizei
(Orpo: "order police"), which became a branch of the SS under Daluege.[78] Shortly thereafter, Himmler created the Kriminalpolizei
Kriminalpolizei
(Kripo: criminal police) as the umbrella organisation for all criminal investigation agencies in Germany. The Kripo was merged with the Gestapo
Gestapo
into the Sicherheitspolizei
Sicherheitspolizei
(SiPo: security police), under Heydrich's command.[80] In September 1939, following the outbreak of World War II, Himmler formed the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt
SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt
(RSHA: Reich Main Security Office) to bring the SiPo (which included the Gestapo
Gestapo
and Kripo) and the SD together under one umbrella. He again placed Heydrich in command.[81]

Himmler, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, and other SS officials visiting Mauthausen concentration camp
Mauthausen concentration camp
in 1941

Under Himmler's leadership, the SS developed its own military branch, the SS-Verfügungstruppe
SS-Verfügungstruppe
(SS-VT), which later evolved into the Waffen-SS. Nominally under the authority of Himmler, the Waffen-SS developed a fully militarised structure of command and operations. It grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions during World War II, serving alongside the Heer (army), but never being formally part of it.[82] In addition to his military ambitions, Himmler established the beginnings of a parallel economy under the umbrella of the SS.[83] To this end, administrator Oswald Pohl
Oswald Pohl
set up the Deutsche Wirtschaftsbetriebe (German Economic Enterprise) in 1940. Under the auspices of the SS Economy and Administration Head Office, this holding company owned housing corporations, factories, and publishing houses.[84] Pohl was unscrupulous and quickly exploited the companies for personal gain. In contrast, Himmler was honest in matters of money and business.[85] In 1938, as part of his preparations for war, Hitler ended the German alliance with China, and entered into an agreement with the more modern Japan. That same year, Austria was unified with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
in the Anschluss, and the Munich
Munich
Agreement gave Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
control over the Sudetenland, part of Czechoslovakia.[86] Hitler's primary motivations for war included obtaining additional Lebensraum
Lebensraum
("living space") for the Germanic peoples, who were considered racially superior according to Nazi ideology.[87] A second goal was the elimination of those considered racially inferior, particularly the Jews
Jews
and Slavs, from territories controlled by the Reich. From 1933 to 1938, hundreds of thousands of Jews
Jews
emigrated to the United States, Palestine, Great Britain, and other countries. Some converted to Christianity.[88] Anti-church struggle Main articles: Kirchenkampf
Kirchenkampf
and Nazi persecution of the Catholic Church Himmler believed that a major task of the SS should be "acting as the vanguard in overcoming Christianity and restoring a 'Germanic' way of living" as part of preparations for the coming conflict between "humans and subhumans".[89] Himmler biographer Peter Longerich
Peter Longerich
wrote that, while the Nazi movement as a whole launched itself against Jews and Communists, "by linking de-Christianisation with re-Germanization, Himmler had provided the SS with a goal and purpose all of its own".[89] Himmler was vehemently opposed to Christian sexual morality and the "principle of Christian mercy", both of which he saw as dangerous obstacles to his planned battle with "subhumans".[89] In 1937, Himmler declared:

We live in an era of the ultimate conflict with Christianity. It is part of the mission of the SS to give the German people in the next half century the non-Christian ideological foundations on which to lead and shape their lives. This task does not consist solely in overcoming an ideological opponent but must be accompanied at every step by a positive impetus: in this case that means the reconstruction of the German heritage in the widest and most comprehensive sense.[90]

World War II When Hitler and his army chiefs asked for a pretext for the invasion of Poland
Poland
in 1939, Himmler, Heydrich, and Heinrich Müller masterminded and carried out a false flag project code-named Operation Himmler. German soldiers dressed in Polish uniforms undertook border skirmishes which deceptively suggested Polish aggression against Germany. The incidents were then used in Nazi propaganda
Nazi propaganda
to justify the invasion of Poland, the opening event of World War II.[91] At the beginning of the war against Poland, Hitler authorised the killing of Polish civilians, including Jews
Jews
and ethnic Poles. The Einsatzgruppen (SS task forces) had originally been formed by Heydrich to secure government papers and offices in areas taken over by Germany
Germany
before World War II.[92] Authorised by Hitler and under the direction of Himmler and Heydrich, the Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
units—now repurposed as death squads—followed the Heer (army) into Poland, and by the end of 1939 they had murdered some 65,000 intellectuals and other civilians. Militias and Heer units also took part in these killings.[93][94] Under Himmler's orders via the RSHA, these squads were also tasked with rounding up Jews
Jews
and others for placement in ghettos and concentration camps. Germany
Germany
subsequently invaded Denmark
Denmark
and Norway, the Netherlands, and France, and began bombing Great Britain in preparation for an invasion.[95] On 21 June 1941, the day before invasion of the Soviet Union, Himmler commissioned the preparation of the Generalplan Ost (General Plan for the East); the plan was finalised in July 1942. It called for the Baltic States, Poland, Western Ukraine, and Byelorussia to be conquered and resettled by ten million German citizens. The current residents—some 31 million people—would be expelled further east, starved, or used for forced labour. The plan would have extended the border of Germany
Germany
a thousand kilometres to the east (620 miles). Himmler expected that it would take twenty to thirty years to complete the plan, at a cost of 67 billion Reichsmarks.[96] Himmler stated openly: "It is a question of existence, thus it will be a racial struggle of pitiless severity, in the course of which 20 to 30 million Slavs and Jews
Jews
will perish through military actions and crises of food supply."[97] Himmler declared that the war in the east was a pan-European crusade to defend the traditional values of old Europe from the "Godless Bolshevik
Bolshevik
hordes".[98] Constantly struggling with the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
for recruits, Himmler solved this problem through the creation of Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
units composed of Germanic folk groups taken from the Balkans
Balkans
and eastern Europe. Equally vital were recruits from among the Germanic considered peoples of northern and western Europe, in the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Denmark
Denmark
and Finland.[99] Spain and Italy also provided men for Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
units.[100] Among western countries, the number of volunteers varied from a high of 25,000 from the Netherlands[101] to 300 each from Sweden
Sweden
and Switzerland. From the east, the highest number of men came from Lithuania
Lithuania
(50,000) and the lowest from Bulgaria
Bulgaria
(600).[102] After 1943 most men from the east were conscripts. The performance of the eastern Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
units was, as a whole, sub-standard.[103]

Himmler inspects a prisoner of war camp in Russia, circa 1941

In late 1941, Hitler named Heydrich as Deputy Reich Protector of the newly established Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Heydrich began to racially classify the Czechs, deporting many to concentration camps. Members of a swelling resistance were shot, earning Heydrich the nickname "the Butcher of Prague".[104] This appointment strengthened the collaboration between Himmler and Heydrich, and Himmler was proud to have SS control over a state. Despite having direct access to Hitler, Heydrich's loyalty to Himmler remained firm.[105] With Hitler's approval, Himmler re-established the Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
in the lead-up to the planned invasion of the Soviet Union. In March 1941, Hitler addressed his army leaders, detailing his intention to smash the Soviet Empire and destroy the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
intelligentsia and leadership.[106] His special directive, the "Guidelines in Special Spheres re Directive No. 21 (Operation Barbarossa)", read: "In the operations area of the army, the Reichsführer-SS
Reichsführer-SS
has been given special tasks on the orders of the Führer, in order to prepare the political administration. These tasks arise from the forthcoming final struggle of two opposing political systems. Within the framework of these tasks, the Reichsführer-SS
Reichsführer-SS
acts independently and on his own responsibility."[107] Hitler thus intended to prevent internal friction like that occurring earlier in Poland
Poland
in 1939, when several German Army generals had attempted to bring Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
leaders to trial for the murders they had committed.[107] Following the army into the Soviet Union, the Einsatzgruppen
Einsatzgruppen
rounded up and killed Jews
Jews
and others deemed undesirable by the Nazi state.[108] Hitler was sent frequent reports.[109] In addition, 2.8 million Soviet prisoners of war died of starvation, mistreatment or executions in just eight months of 1941–42.[110] As many as 500,000 Soviet prisoners of war died or were executed in Nazi concentration camps over the course of the war; most of them were shot or gassed.[111] By early 1941, following Himmler's orders, ten concentration camps had been constructed in which inmates were subjected to forced labour.[112] Jews
Jews
from all over Germany
Germany
and the occupied territories were deported to the camps or confined to ghettos. As the Germans were pushed back from Moscow in December 1941, signalling that the expected quick defeat of the Soviet Union had failed to materialize, Hitler and other Nazi officials realised that mass deportations to the east would no longer be possible. As a result, instead of deportation, many Jews
Jews
in Europe were destined for death.[113][114] The Holocaust Main article: The Holocaust

Part of a series on

The Holocaust

Jews
Jews
on selection ramp at Auschwitz, May 1944

Responsibility

Nazi Germany

People

Major perpetrators Adolf Hitler Heinrich Himmler Reinhard Heydrich Adolf Eichmann Odilo Globocnik Theodor Eicke Richard Glücks Ernst Kaltenbrunner Rudolf Höss Christian Wirth Joseph Goebbels

Organizations

Nazi Party Gestapo Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
(SS) Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV) Einsatzgruppen Sturmabteilung
Sturmabteilung
(SA) Verfügungstruppe (SS-VT) Wehrmacht

Collaborators during World War II

Nazi ideologues

Early policies

Racial policy Nazi eugenics Nuremberg Laws Haavara Agreement Madagascar Plan Forced euthanasia

Victims

Jews
Jews
during World War II

Europe Germany

Romani people
Romani people
(Gypsies) Poles Soviet POWs Slavs in Eastern Europe Homosexuals People with disabilities Freemasons Jehovah's Witnesses

Ghettos

Białystok Budapest Kaunas Kraków Łódź Lublin Lwów Minsk Riga Warsaw Vilnius

Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland

List of selected ghettos

Atrocities

Pogroms

Kristallnacht Bucharest Dorohoi Iaşi Izieu Szczuczyn Jedwabne Kaunas Lviv (Lvov) Marseille Tykocin Vel' d'Hiv Wąsosz

Einsatzgruppen

Babi Yar Bydgoszcz Częstochowa Kamianets-Podilskyi Ninth Fort Odessa Piaśnica Ponary Rumbula Erntefest

"Final Solution"

Wannsee Conference Operation "Reinhard" Holocaust trains Extermination camps

End of World War II

Wola massacre Death marches

Camps

Nazi extermination camps

Auschwitz-Birkenau Bełżec Chełmno Jasenovac Majdanek Maly Trostenets Sajmište Sobibór Treblinka

Nazi concentration camps

Bergen-Belsen Bogdanovka Buchenwald Dachau Dora Gonars (Italy) Gross-Rosen Herzogenbusch Janowska Kaiserwald Mauthausen-Gusen Neuengamme Rab Ravensbrück Sachsenhausen Salaspils Stutthof Theresienstadt Uckermark Warsaw

Transit and collection camps

Belgium

Breendonk Mechelen

France

Gurs Drancy

Italy

Bolzano

Netherlands

Amersfoort Westerbork

Divisions

SS-Totenkopfverbände Concentration Camps Inspectorate Politische Abteilung Sanitätswesen

Extermination methods

Gas van Gas chamber Extermination through labour Einsatzgruppen Human medical experimentation

Resistance

Jewish partisans Bricha

Ghetto
Ghetto
uprisings

Warsaw Białystok Łachwa Częstochowa

Allied response

Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations

Auschwitz bombing debate Nuremberg trials Denazification

Aftermath

Bricha Displaced persons Central Committee of the Liberated Jews

Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany

Lists

Holocaust survivors

Deportations of French Jews to death camps

Survivors of Sobibór Timeline of Treblinka extermination camp Victims of Nazism Rescuers of Jews

Resources

Bibliography List of books about Nazi Germany

The Destruction of the European Jews

Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos

Functionalism versus intentionalism

Auschwitz Protocols Vrba–Wetzler report

Remembrance

Days of remembrance Memorials and museums

v t e

Nazi racial policies, including the notion that people who were racially inferior had no right to live, date back to the earliest days of the party; Hitler discusses this in Mein Kampf.[115] Somewhere around the time of the German declaration of war on the United States in December 1941, Hitler finally resolved that the Jews
Jews
of Europe were to be "exterminated".[114] Heydrich arranged a meeting, held on 20 January 1942 at Wannsee, a suburb of Berlin. Attended by top Nazi officials, it was used to outline the plans for the "final solution to the Jewish question". Heydrich detailed how those Jews
Jews
able to work would be worked to death; those unable to work would be killed outright. Heydrich calculated the number of Jews
Jews
to be killed at 11 million, and told the attendees that Hitler had placed Himmler in charge of the plan.[116] In June 1942, Heydrich was assassinated in Prague
Prague
in an operation led by Jozef Gabčík
Jozef Gabčík
and Jan Kubiš, members of Czechoslovakia's army-in-exile who had been trained by the British Special
Special
Operations Executive.[117] During the two funeral services, Himmler—the chief mourner—took charge of Heydrich's two young sons, and he gave the eulogy in Berlin.[118] On 9 June, after discussions with Himmler and Karl Hermann Frank, Hitler ordered brutal reprisals for Heydrich's death.[117] Over 13,000 people were arrested, and the village of Lidice
Lidice
was razed to the ground; its male inhabitants and all adults in the village of Ležáky
Ležáky
were murdered. At least 1,300 people were executed by firing squads.[119][120] Himmler took over leadership of the RSHA
RSHA
and stepped up the pace of the killing of Jews
Jews
in Aktion Reinhard (Operation Reinhard), named in Heydrich's honour.[121] He ordered the Aktion Reinhard camps—the first extermination camps—to be constructed at Bełżec, Sobibór, and Treblinka.[122] Initially the victims were killed with gas vans or by firing squad, but these methods proved impracticable for an operation of this scale.[123] In August 1941, Himmler attended the shooting of 100 Jews at Minsk. Nauseated and shaken by the experience,[124] he was concerned about the impact such actions would have on the mental health of his SS men. He decided that alternate methods of killing should be found.[125][126] On his orders, by early 1942 the camp at Auschwitz had been greatly expanded, including the addition of gas chambers, where victims were killed using the pesticide Zyklon B.[127] By the end of the war, at least 5.5 million Jews
Jews
had been killed by the Nazi regime;[128] most estimates range closer to six million.[129][130] Himmler visited the camp at Sobibór in early 1943, by which time 250,000 people had been killed at that location alone. After witnessing a gassing, he gave 28 people promotions, and ordered the operation of the camp to be wound down. In a revolt that October, prisoners killed most of the guards and SS personnel, and 300 prisoners escaped. Two hundred managed to get away; some joined partisan units operating in the area. The remainder were killed. The camp was dismantled by December 1943.[131] The Nazis also targeted Romani (Gypsies) as "asocial" and "criminals".[132] By 1935, they were confined into special camps away from ethnic Germans.[132] In 1938, Himmler issued an order in which he said that the 'Gypsy question' would be determined by "race".[133] Himmler believed that the Romani were originally Aryan but had become a mixed race; only the "racially pure" were to be allowed to live.[134] In 1939, Himmler ordered thousands of Gypsies to be sent to the Dachau concentration camp
Dachau concentration camp
and by 1942, ordered all Romani sent to Auschwitz concentration camp.[135] Himmler was a main architect of the Holocaust,[136][137][138] using his deep belief in the racist Nazi ideology to justify the murder of millions of victims. The Nazis planned to kill Polish intellectuals and restrict non-Germans in the General Government
General Government
and conquered territories to a fourth-grade education.[139] The Nazis wanted to breed a master race of racially pure Nordic Aryans in Germany. As an agronomist and farmer Himmler was acquainted with the principles of selective breeding, which he proposed to apply to humans. He believed that he could engineer the German populace, for example, through eugenics, to be Nordic in appearance within several decades of the end of the war.[140] Posen speech Main article: Posen speeches

"Die Ausrottung des jüdischen Volkes"

An excerpt from the Posen speeches
Posen speeches
where Himmler discusses the ongoing extermination of the Jews

Problems playing this file? See media help.

On 4 October 1943, during a secret meeting with top SS officials in the city of Poznań
Poznań
(Posen), and on 6 October 1943, in a speech to the party elite—the Gau and Reich leaders—Himmler referred explicitly to the "extermination" (German: Ausrottung) of the Jewish people.[141] A translated excerpt from the speech of 4 October reads:[142]

I also want to refer here very frankly to a very difficult matter. We can now very openly talk about this among ourselves, and yet we will never discuss this publicly. Just as we did not hesitate on 30 June 1934, to perform our duty as ordered and put comrades who had failed up against the wall and execute them, we also never spoke about it, nor will we ever speak about it. Let us thank God that we had within us enough self-evident fortitude never to discuss it among us, and we never talked about it. Every one of us was horrified, and yet every one clearly understood that we would do it next time, when the order is given and when it becomes necessary. I am now referring to the evacuation of the Jews, to the extermination of the Jewish People. This is something that is easily said: 'The Jewish People will be exterminated', says every party member, 'this is very obvious, it is in our program—elimination of the Jews, extermination, a small matter.' And then they turn up, the upstanding 80 million Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. They say the others are all swines, but this particular one is a splendid Jew. But none has observed it, endured it. Most of you here know what it means when 100 corpses lie next to each other, when there are 500 or when there are 1,000. To have endured this and at the same time to have remained a decent person—with exceptions due to human weaknesses—has made us tough, and is a glorious chapter that has not and will not be spoken of. Because we know how difficult it would be for us if we still had Jews
Jews
as secret saboteurs, agitators and rabble-rousers in every city, what with the bombings, with the burden and with the hardships of the war. If the Jews
Jews
were still part of the German nation, we would most likely arrive now at the state we were at in 1916 and '17 ...[143][144]

Hitler's motivation for authorising Himmler's speeches was to ensure that all party leaders were made aware of these plans and actions. Thus, it would be impossible for them to later deny knowledge of the killings. Because the Allies had indicated that they were going to pursue criminal charges for German war crimes, Hitler tried to gain the loyalty and silence of his subordinates by making them all parties to the planned genocide.[141] Germanization Main article: Germanization As Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood (RKFDV) with the incorporated VoMi Himmler was deeply involved in the Germanization
Germanization
program for the East, particularly Poland. As laid out in the General Plan for the East, the aim was to enslave, expel or exterminate the native population and to make Lebensraum
Lebensraum
("living space") for Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans). He continued his plans to colonise the east, even when many Germans were reluctant to relocate there, and despite negative effects on the war effort.[145][146] Himmler's racial groupings began with the Volksliste, the classification of people deemed of German blood. These included Germans who had collaborated with Germany
Germany
before the war, but also those who considered themselves German but had been neutral; those who were partially "Polonized" but "Germanizable"; and Germans who were of Polish nationality.[147] Himmler ordered that those who refused to be classified as ethnic Germans should be deported to concentration camps, have their children taken away, or be assigned to forced labour.[148][149] Himmler's belief that "it is in the nature of German blood to resist" led to his conclusion that Balts or Slavs who resisted Germanization
Germanization
were racially superior to more compliant ones.[150] He declared that no drop of German blood would be lost or left behind to mingle with an "alien race".[146] The plan also included the kidnapping of Eastern European children by Nazi Germany.[151] Himmler urged:

Obviously in such a mixture of peoples, there will always be some racially good types. Therefore, I think that it is our duty to take their children with us, to remove them from their environment, if necessary by robbing, or stealing them. Either we win over any good blood that we can use for ourselves and give it a place in our people, ... or we destroy that blood.[152]

The "racially valuable" children were to be removed from all contact with Poles, and raised as Germans, with German names.[151] Himmler declared, "We have faith above all in this our own blood, which has flowed into a foreign nationality through the vicissitudes of German history. We are convinced that our own philosophy and ideals will reverberate in the spirit of these children who racially belong to us."[151] The children were to be adopted by German families.[149] Children who passed muster at first but were later rejected were taken to a ghetto in Łódź, where most of them eventually died.[151] By January 1943, Himmler reported that 629,000 ethnic Germans had been resettled; however, most resettled Germans did not live in the envisioned small farms, but in temporary camps or quarters in towns. Half a million residents of the annexed Polish territories, as well as from Slovenia, Alsace, Lorraine, and Luxembourg were deported to the General Government
General Government
or sent to Germany
Germany
as slave labour.[153] Himmler instructed that the German nation should view all foreign workers brought to Germany
Germany
as a danger to their German blood.[154] In accordance with German racial laws, sexual relations between Germans and foreigners were forbidden as Rassenschande
Rassenschande
(race defilement).[155] 20 July plot Main article: 20 July plot On 20 July 1944, a group of German army officers led by Claus von Stauffenberg and including some of the highest-ranked members of the German armed forces attempted to assassinate Hitler, but failed to do so. The next day, Himmler formed a special commission that arrested over 5,000 suspected and known opponents of the regime. Hitler ordered brutal reprisals that resulted in the execution of more than 4,900 people.[156] Though Himmler was embarrassed by his failure to uncover the plot, it led to an increase in his powers and authority.[157][158] General Friedrich Fromm, commander-in-chief of the Reserve (or Replacement) Army (Ersatzheer) and Stauffenberg's immediate superior, was one of those implicated in the conspiracy. Hitler removed Fromm from his post and named Himmler as his successor. Since the Reserve Army consisted of two million men, Himmler hoped to draw on these reserves to fill posts within the Waffen-SS. He appointed Hans Jüttner, director of the SS Leadership Main Office, as his deputy, and began to fill top Reserve Army posts with SS men. By November 1944 Himmler had merged the army officer recruitment department with that of the Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
and had successfully lobbied for an increase in the quotas for recruits to the SS.[159] By this time, Hitler had appointed Himmler as Minister of the Interior and Plenipotentiary General for Administration (Generalbevollmächtigter für die Verwaltung).[160] In August 1944 Hitler authorised him to restructure the organisation and administration of the Waffen-SS, the army, and the police services. As head of the Reserve Army, Himmler was now responsible for prisoners of war. He was also in charge of the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
penal system, and controlled the development of Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
armaments until January 1945.[161] Military commander On 6 June 1944 the Western Allied armies landed in northern France during Operation Overlord.[162] In response, Army Group Upper Rhine (Heeresgruppe Oberrhein) group was formed to engage the advancing US 7th Army (under command of General Alexander Patch[163]) and French 1st Army (led by General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny) in the Alsace region along the west bank of the Rhine.[164] In late 1944, Hitler appointed Himmler commander-in-chief of Army Group Upper Rhine. On 26 September 1944 Hitler ordered Himmler to create special army units, the Volkssturm
Volkssturm
("People's Storm" or "People's Army"). All males aged sixteen to sixty were eligible for conscription into this militia, over the protests of Armaments Minister Albert Speer, who noted that irreplaceable skilled workers were being removed from armaments production.[165] Hitler confidently believed six million men could be raised, and the new units would "initiate a people's war against the invader".[166] These hopes were wildly optimistic.[166] In October 1944, children as young as fourteen were being enlisted. Because of severe shortages in weapons and equipment and lack of training, members of the Volkssturm
Volkssturm
were poorly prepared for combat, and about 175,000 of them lost their lives in the final months of the war.[167] On 1 January 1945 Hitler and his generals launched Operation North Wind (Unternehmen Nordwind). The goal was to break through the lines of the US 7th Army and French 1st Army to support the southern thrust in the Ardennes offensive, the final major German offensive of the war. After limited initial gains by the Germans, the Americans halted the offensive.[168] By 25 January, Operation North Wind had officially ended. On 25 January 1945, in spite of Himmler's lack of military experience, Hitler appointed him as commander of the hastily formed Army Group Vistula (Heeresgruppe Weichsel) to halt the Soviet Red Army's Vistula–Oder Offensive into Pomerania.[169] Panzer General Heinz Guderian considered Himmler's appointment "idiocy" and regarded the officers Himmler chose to organize the defense as "uniformly incapable of performing their allotted tasks".[170] Knowing that Himmler would need all the help he could get, Guderian appointed General Walther Wenck, an experienced staff officer, as his chief of staff.[166] Himmler established his command centre at Schneidemühl, using his special train, Sonderzug Steiermark, as his headquarters. The train had only one telephone line, inadequate maps, and no signal detachment or radios with which to establish communication and relay military orders. Himmler seldom left the train, only worked about four hours per day, and insisted on a daily massage before commencing work and a lengthy nap after lunch.[171] Operation Solstice, an attack from Pomerania
Pomerania
against the northern flank of Marshal Georgy Zhukov's 1st Belarusian Front, was launched on 16 February 1945, but could make little headway against Pavel Alexeyevich Belov's 61st Army and Semyon Bogdanov's 2nd Guards Tank Army.[166] Zhukov responded by redirecting two Soviet tank armies against the German forces. Within five days, tanks of the Red Army
Red Army
had reached the Baltic, trapping the German forces, who sought to escape by sea.[166] Himmler was unable to devise any viable plans for completion of his military objectives. Under pressure from Hitler over the worsening military situation, Himmler became anxious and unable to give him coherent reports.[172] Hitler was unwilling to admit that his choice of commander had been poor. After an intense argument with Guderian, who insisted on a change of command of the Army Group Vistula,[173] Hitler assigned Wenck to Himmler's headquarters to take over command of a limited counter-offensive; Hitler then observed that it was not possible for him to move the troops needed for Guderian's planned double pincer attack from neighbouring regions.[174] When the counter-attack failed to stop the Soviet advance, Hitler held Himmler personally liable and accused him of not following orders. Himmler's tenure as a military commander ended on 20 March, when Hitler replaced him with General Gotthard Heinrici
Gotthard Heinrici
as Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Vistula. By this time Himmler, who had been under the care of his doctor since 18 February, had fled to a sanatorium at Hohenlychen.[173] Hitler sent Guderian on a forced medical leave of absence, and he reassigned his post as chief of staff to Hans Krebs on 29 March.[175] Himmler's failure and Hitler's response marked a serious deterioration in the relationship between the two men.[176] By that time, the inner circle of people which Hitler trusted was rapidly shrinking.[177] Peace negotiations In early 1945, the German war effort was on the verge of collapse and Himmler's relationship with Hitler had deteriorated. Himmler considered independently negotiating a peace settlement. His masseur, Felix Kersten, who had moved to Sweden, acted as an intermediary in negotiations with Count Folke Bernadotte, head of the Swedish Red Cross. Letters were exchanged between the two men,[178] and direct meetings were arranged by Walter Schellenberg
Walter Schellenberg
of the RSHA.[179]

Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
in 1945

Himmler and Hitler met for the last time on 20 April 1945—Hitler's birthday—in Berlin, and Himmler swore unswerving loyalty to Hitler. At a military briefing on that day, Hitler stated that he would not leave Berlin, in spite of Soviet advances. Along with Göring, Himmler quickly left the city after the briefing.[180] On 21 April, Himmler met with Norbert Masur, a Swedish representative of the World Jewish Congress, to discuss the release of Jewish concentration camp inmates.[181] As a result of these negotiations, about 20,000 people were released in the White Buses
White Buses
operation.[182] Himmler falsely claimed in the meeting that the crematoria at camps had been built to deal with the bodies of prisoners who had died in a typhus epidemic. He also claimed very high survival rates for the camps at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, even as these sites were liberated and it became obvious that his figures were false.[183] On 23 April, Himmler met directly with Bernadotte at the Swedish consulate in Lübeck. Representing himself as the provisional leader of Germany, he claimed that Hitler would be dead within the next few days. Hoping that the British and Americans would fight the Soviets alongside what remained of the Wehrmacht, Himmler asked Bernadotte to inform General Dwight Eisenhower
Dwight Eisenhower
that Germany
Germany
wished to surrender to the West. Bernadotte asked Himmler to put his proposal in writing, and Himmler obliged.[184] Meanwhile, Göring had sent a telegram, a few hours earlier, asking Hitler for permission to assume leadership of the Reich—an act that Hitler, under the prodding of Martin Bormann, interpreted as a demand to step down or face a coup. On 27 April, Himmler's SS representative at Hitler's HQ in Berlin, Hermann Fegelein, was caught in civilian clothes preparing to desert; he was arrested and brought back to the Führerbunker. On the evening of 28 April, the BBC
BBC
broadcast a Reuters news report about Himmler's attempted negotiations with the western Allies. Hitler, who had long considered Himmler to be second only to Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
in loyalty (he called Himmler "the loyal Heinrich"), flew into a rage at this apparent betrayal. Hitler told those who were still with him in the bunker complex that Himmler's act was the worst treachery he had ever known and ordered his arrest. Fegelein was court-martialed and shot.[185] By this time, the Soviets had advanced to the Potsdamerplatz, only 300 m (330 yd) from the Reich Chancellery, and were preparing to storm the Chancellery. This report, combined with Himmler's treachery, prompted Hitler to write his last will and testament. In the testament, completed on 29 April—one day prior to his suicide—Hitler declared both Himmler and Göring to be traitors. He stripped Himmler of all of his party and state offices and expelled him from the Nazi Party.[186][187] Hitler named Grand Admiral
Grand Admiral
Karl Dönitz
Karl Dönitz
as his successor. Himmler met Dönitz in Flensburg and offered himself as second-in-command. He maintained that he was entitled to a position in Dönitz's interim government as Reichsführer-SS, believing the SS would be in a good position to restore and maintain order after the war. Dönitz repeatedly rejected Himmler's overtures[188] and initiated peace negotiations with the Allies. He wrote a letter on 6 May—two days before the German Instrument of Surrender—formally dismissing Himmler from all his posts.[189] Capture and death

Himmler's corpse after his suicide by cyanide poisoning, May 1945

Rejected by his former comrades and hunted by the Allies, Himmler attempted to go into hiding. He had not made extensive preparations for this, but he had equipped himself with a forged paybook under the name of Sergeant Heinrich Hitzinger. With a small band of companions, he headed south on 11 May to Friedrichskoog, without a final destination in mind. They continued on to Neuhaus, where the group split up. On 21 May, Himmler and two aides were stopped and detained at a checkpoint set up by former Soviet POWs. Over the following two days, he was moved around to several camps[190] and was brought to the British 31st Civilian Interrogation Camp near Lüneburg, on 23 May.[191] The duty officer, Captain Thomas Selvester, began a routine interrogation. Himmler admitted who he was, and Selvester had the prisoner searched. Himmler was taken to the headquarters of the Second British Army in Lüneburg, where Doctor Wells conducted a medical exam on him. The doctor attempted to examine the inside of Himmler's mouth, but the prisoner was reluctant to open it and jerked his head away. Himmler then bit into a hidden potassium cyanide pill and collapsed onto the floor. He was dead within 15 minutes.[192][193] Shortly afterward, Himmler's body was buried in an unmarked grave near Lüneburg. The grave's location remains unknown.[194] Mysticism
Mysticism
and symbolism Main article: Ideology of the SS Himmler was interested in mysticism and the occult from an early age. He tied this interest into his racist philosophy, looking for proof of Aryan and Nordic racial superiority from ancient times. He promoted a cult of ancestor worship, particularly among members of the SS, as a way to keep the race pure and provide immortality to the nation.

The stylised lightning bolts of the SS insignia were based on the Armanen runes
Armanen runes
of Guido von List.

Viewing the SS as an "order" along the lines of the Teutonic Knights, he had them take over the Church of the Teutonic Order in Vienna in 1939. He began the process of replacing Christianity with a new moral code that rejected humanitarianism and challenged the Christian concept of marriage.[195] The Ahnenerbe, a research society founded by Himmler in 1935, conducted research all over the globe to look for proof of the superiority and ancient origins of the Germanic race.[196][197] All regalia and uniforms of Nazi Germany, particularly those of the SS, used symbolism in their designs. The stylised lightning bolt logo of the SS was chosen in 1932. The logo is a pair of runes from a set of 18 Armanen runes
Armanen runes
created by Guido von List
Guido von List
in 1906. The ancient Sowilō
Sowilō
rune originally symbolised the sun, but was renamed "Sig" (victory) in List's iconography.[198] Himmler modified a variety of existing customs to emphasise the elitism and central role of the SS; an SS naming ceremony was to replace baptism, marriage ceremonies were to be altered, a separate SS funeral ceremony was to be held in addition to Christian ceremonies, and SS-centric celebrations of the summer and winter solstices were instituted.[199][200] The Totenkopf (death's head) symbol, used by German military units for hundreds of years, had been chosen for the SS by Schreck.[201] Himmler placed particular importance on the death's-head rings; they were never to be sold, and were to be returned to him upon the death of the owner. He interpreted the deaths-head symbol to mean solidarity to the cause and a commitment unto death.[202] Relationship with Hitler As second in command of the SS and then Reichsführer-SS, Himmler was in regular contact with Hitler to arrange for SS men as bodyguards;[203] Himmler was not involved with Nazi Party policy-making decisions in the years leading up to the seizure of power.[204] From the late 1930s, the SS was independent of the control of other state agencies or government departments, and he reported only to Hitler.[205] Hitler's leadership style was to give contradictory orders to subordinates and to place them into positions where their duties and responsibilities overlapped with those of others. In this way, Hitler fostered distrust, competition, and infighting among his subordinates to consolidate and maximise his own power. His cabinet never met after 1938, and he discouraged his ministers from meeting independently.[206][207] Hitler typically did not issue written orders, but gave them orally at meetings or in phone conversations; he also had Bormann convey orders.[208] Bormann used his position to control the flow of information and access to Hitler,[209] earning him enemies, including Himmler. Hitler promoted and practised the Führerprinzip. The principle required absolute obedience of all subordinates to their superiors; thus Hitler viewed the government structure as a pyramid, with himself—the infallible leader—at the apex.[210] Accordingly, Himmler placed himself in a position of subservience to Hitler, and was unconditionally obedient to him.[211] However, he—like other top Nazi officials—had aspirations to one day succeed Hitler as leader of the Reich.[212] Himmler considered Speer to be an especially dangerous rival, both in the Reich administration and as a potential successor to Hitler.[213] Speer refused to accept Himmler's offer of the high rank of SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer, as he felt to do so would put him in Himmler's debt and obligate him to allow Himmler a say in armaments production.[214] Hitler called Himmler's mystical and pseudoreligious interests "nonsense".[215] Himmler was not a member of Hitler's inner circle; the two men were not very close, and rarely saw each other socially.[216][206] Himmler socialised almost exclusively with other members of the SS.[217] His unconditional loyalty and efforts to please Hitler earned him the nickname of der treue Heinrich ("the faithful Heinrich"). In the last days of the war, when it became clear that Hitler planned to die in Berlin, Himmler left his long-time superior to try to save himself.[218] Marriage and family

Himmler with his wife Margarete and daughter Gudrun

Himmler met his future wife, Margarete Boden, in 1927. Seven years his senior, she was a nurse who shared his interest in herbal medicine and homoeopathy, and was part owner of a small private clinic. They were married in July 1928, and their only child, Gudrun, was born on 8 August 1929.[219] The couple were also foster parents to a boy named Gerhard von Ahe, son of an SS officer who had died before the war.[220] Margarete sold her share of the clinic and used the proceeds to buy a plot of land in Waldtrudering, near Munich, where they erected a prefabricated house. Himmler was constantly away on party business, so his wife took charge of their efforts—mostly unsuccessful—to raise livestock for sale. They had a dog, Töhle.[221] After the Nazis seized power the family moved first to Möhlstrasse in Munich, and in 1934 to Lake Tegern, where they bought a house. Himmler also later obtained a large house in the Berlin suburb of Dahlem, free of charge, as an official residence. The couple saw little of each other as Himmler became totally absorbed by work.[222] The relationship was strained.[223][224] The couple did unite for social functions; they were frequent guests at the Heydrich home. Margarete saw it as her duty to invite the wives of the senior SS leaders over for afternoon coffee and tea on Wednesday afternoons.[225]

Images of Himmler and Gudrun together

Hedwig Potthast, Himmler's young secretary starting in 1936, became his mistress by 1939. She left her job in 1941. He arranged accommodation for her, first in Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg
and later at Berchtesgaden. He fathered two children with her: a son, Helge (born 15 February 1942) and a daughter, Nanette Dorothea (born 20 July 1944, Berchtesgaden). Margarete, by then living in Gmund with her daughter, learned of the relationship sometime in 1941; she and Himmler were already separated, and she decided to tolerate the relationship for the sake of her daughter. Working as a nurse for the German Red Cross during the war, Margarete was appointed supervisor in Military District III (Berlin-Brandenburg). Himmler was close to his first daughter, Gudrun, whom he nicknamed Püppi ("dolly"); he phoned her every few days and visited as often as he could.[226] Margarete's diaries reveal that Gerhard had to leave the National Political Educational Institute in Berlin because of poor results. At the age of 16 he joined the SS in Brno
Brno
and shortly afterwards went "into battle", He was captured by the Russians but later returned to Germany.[227] Hedwig and Margarete both remained loyal to Himmler. Writing to Gebhard in February 1945, Margarete said, "How wonderful that he has been called to great tasks and is equal to them. The whole of Germany is looking to him."[228] Hedwig expressed similar sentiments in a letter to Himmler in January. Margarete and Gudrun left Gmund as Allied troops advanced into the area. They were arrested by American troops in Bolzano, Italy, and held in various internment camps in Italy, France, and Germany. They were brought to Nuremberg to testify at the trials and were released in November 1946. Gudrun emerged from the experience embittered by her alleged mistreatment and has remained devoted to her father's memory.[229][230] Historical assessment

Death mask
Death mask
of Himmler on display in the Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum
in London

Speer said that though Himmler seemed pedantic and insignificant on the surface, he was a good decision maker, had a talent for selecting highly competent staff, and successfully inserted the SS into every aspect of daily life.[231] Peter Longerich
Peter Longerich
observes that Himmler's ability to consolidate his ever-increasing powers and responsibilities into a coherent system under the auspices of the SS led him to become one of the most powerful men in the Third Reich.[232] Historian Wolfgang Sauer says that "although he was pedantic, dogmatic, and dull, Himmler emerged under Hitler as second in actual power. His strength lay in a combination of unusual shrewdness, burning ambition, and servile loyalty to Hitler."[233] Historian Peter Padfield opined that "Himmler ... appeared the most powerful man under Hitler. It is impossible to say whether he was in practice, and meaningless to ask, since he was never prepared to use his power directly to change the course of events...".[234] Historian John Toland relates a story by Günter Syrup, a subordinate of Heydrich. Heydrich showed him a picture of Himmler and said, "The top half is the teacher but the lower half is the sadist."[235] Historian Adrian Weale comments that Himmler and the SS followed Hitler's policies, without question or ethical considerations. Himmler accepted Hitler and Nazi ideology, and saw the SS as a chivalric Teutonic order of new Germans. Himmler adopted the doctrine of Auftragstaktik ("mission command"), whereby orders were given as broad directives, with authority delegated downward to the appropriate level to carry them out in a timely and efficient manner. Weale states that the SS ideology gave the men a doctrinal framework, and the mission command tactics allowed the junior officers leeway to act on their own initiative to obtain the desired results.[236] In 2008, the German news magazine Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel
described Himmler as one of the most brutal mass murderers in history, and the architect of the Holocaust.[237] See also

Germany
Germany
portal Biography portal World War II
World War II
portal

Service record of Heinrich Himmler Glossary of Nazi Germany Lebensborn List of Nazi Party
Nazi Party
leaders and officials List of SS personnel Racial policy of Nazi Germany

References Explanatory notes

^ At that time Reichsführer-SS
Reichsführer-SS
was only a titled position, not an actual SS rank (McNab 2009, pp. 18, 29).

Citations

^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 13. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 12–15. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 1. ^ Breitman 2004, p. 9. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 17–19. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, pp. 3, 6–7. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 16. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 8. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 20–26. ^ Breitman 2004, p. 12. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 29. ^ Evans 2003, pp. 22–25. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 33, 42. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 31, 35, 47. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, pp. 6, 8–9, 11. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 54. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 10. ^ Weale 2010, p. 40. ^ Weale 2010, p. 42. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 60, 64–65. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, pp. 9–11. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 11. ^ a b Biondi 2000, p. 7. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 72–75. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, pp. 11–12. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 77–81, 87. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, pp. 11–13. ^ a b Evans 2003, p. 227. ^ Gerwarth 2011, p. 51. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 70, 81–88. ^ a b Evans 2003, p. 228. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 89–92. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, pp. 15–16. ^ a b McNab 2009, p. 18. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 148. ^ Weale 2010, p. 47. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 113–114. ^ Evans 2003, pp. 228–229. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 17, 19–21. ^ Evans 2005, p. 9. ^ Bullock 1999, p. 376. ^ Kolb 2005, pp. 224–225. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2011, p. 92. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 184. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 192. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 199. ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 226–227. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 20, 22. ^ Pringle 2006, p. 41. ^ Pringle 2006, p. 52. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 17, 23, 151. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, pp. 24, 27. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 149. ^ McNab 2009, p. 29. ^ Flaherty 2004, p. 66. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 23, 36. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 127, 353. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 302. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, pp. 22–23. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 378. ^ Evans 2003, p. 344. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 136, 137. ^ Evans 2005, p. 84. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 151–153. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 84–85. ^ Evans 2005, p. 87. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 86–90. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 306–309. ^ Evans 2005, p. 24. ^ Evans 2005, p. 54. ^ Williams 2001, p. 61. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 308–314. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 31–35, 39. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 316. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 313. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 543–545. ^ Gerwarth 2011, pp. 86, 87. ^ a b c d Williams 2001, p. 77. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 204. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 201. ^ Gerwarth 2011, p. 163. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 56, 57, 66. ^ Sereny 1996, pp. 323, 329. ^ Evans 2008, p. 343. ^ Flaherty 2004, p. 120. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 641, 653, 674. ^ Evans 2003, p. 34. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 554–558. ^ a b c Longerich 2012, p. 265. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 270. ^ Shirer 1960, pp. 518–520. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 118, 122. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 518, 519. ^ Evans 2008, pp. 14–15. ^ Evans 2008, pp. 118–145. ^ Evans 2008, pp. 173–174. ^ Cesarani 2004, p. 366. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 93, 98. ^ Koehl 2004, pp. 212–213. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 81–84. ^ van Roekel 2010. ^ McNab 2009, pp. 84, 90. ^ McNab 2009, p. 94. ^ Evans 2008, p. 274. ^ Gerwarth 2011, p. 225. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 598, 618. ^ a b Hillgruber 1989, p. 95. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 958. ^ Longerich, Chapter 15 2003. ^ Goldhagen 1996, p. 290. ^ POWs: Holocaust Memorial Museum. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 480–481. ^ Evans 2008, p. 256. ^ a b Longerich, Chapter 17 2003. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 86. ^ Evans 2008, p. 264. ^ a b Gerwarth 2011, p. 280. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 129. ^ Gerwarth 2011, pp. 280–285. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 714. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 570–571. ^ Evans 2008, pp. 282–283. ^ Evans 2008, pp. 256–257. ^ Gilbert 1987, p. 191. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 547. ^ Gerwarth 2011, p. 199. ^ Evans 2008, pp. 295, 299–300. ^ Evans 2008, p. 318. ^ Yad Vashem, 2008. ^ Introduction: Holocaust Memorial Museum. ^ Evans 2008, pp. 288–289. ^ a b Longerich 2012, p. 229. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 230. ^ Lewy 2000, pp. 135-137. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 230, 670. ^ Zentner & Bedürftig 1991, p. 1150. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 236. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 3. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 429, 451. ^ Pringle 2006. ^ a b Sereny 1996, pp. 388–389. ^ Posen speech (1943), audio recording. ^ Posen speech (1943), transcript. ^ IMT : Volume 29, p. 145f. ^ Cecil 1972, p. 191. ^ a b Overy 2004, p. 543. ^ Overy 2004, p. 544. ^ Nicholas 2006, p. 247. ^ a b Lukas 2001, p. 113. ^ Cecil 1972, p. 199. ^ a b c d Sereny 1999. ^ Kohn-Bramstedt 1998, p. 244. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 578–580. ^ Rupp 1979, p. 125. ^ Majer 2003, pp. 180, 855. ^ Shirer 1960, §29. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 696–698. ^ Evans 2008, p. 642. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 698–702. ^ Lisciotto 2007. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 702–704. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 1036. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 1086. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 715. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 1087. ^ a b c d e The Battle for Germany
Germany
2011. ^ Evans 2008, pp. 675–678. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 884, 885. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 891. ^ Guderian 1957, p. 332. ^ Duffy 1991, p. 178. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 715–718. ^ a b Duffy 1991, p. 241. ^ Duffy 1991, p. 181. ^ Duffy 1991, p. 247. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 891, 913–914. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 914. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, pp. 230–233. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 943–945. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 923–925, 943. ^ Penkower 1988, p. 281. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 724. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 727–729. ^ Shirer 1960, p. 1187. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 943–947. ^ Evans 2008, p. 724. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 237. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 733–734. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, pp. 239, 243. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 734–736. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 1, 736. ^ Bend Bulletin 1945. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 1–3. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 248. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 256–273. ^ Yenne 2010, p. 134. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 50. ^ Yenne 2010, p. 64. ^ Yenne 2010, pp. 93, 94. ^ Flaherty 2004, pp. 38–45, 48, 49. ^ Yenne 2010, p. 71. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 287. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 16. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 20. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 251. ^ a b Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 29. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 323. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 377. ^ Evans 2005, p. 47. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 181. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 83. ^ Sereny 1996, pp. 322–323. ^ Sereny 1996, pp. 424–425. ^ Speer 1971, p. 473. ^ Speer 1971, p. 141, 212. ^ Toland 1977, p. 869. ^ Speer 1971, p. 80. ^ Weale 2010, pp. 4, 407–408. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 17. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 258. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 109–110. ^ Flaherty 2004, p. 27. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 109, 374–375. ^ Manvell & Fraenkel 2007, p. 40–41. ^ Gerwarth 2011, p. 111. ^ Longerich 2012, pp. 466–68. ^ Himmler 2007, p. 285. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 732. ^ Himmler 2007, p. 275. ^ Sify News 2010. ^ Sereny 1996, pp. 323–324. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 747. ^ Sauer, Wolfgang. ^ Padfield 2001, p. 534. ^ Toland 1977, p. 812. ^ Weale 2010, pp. 3, 4. ^ Von Wiegrefe 2008.

Bibliography Printed

Biondi, Robert, ed. (2000) [1942]. SS Officers List: (as of 30 January 1942): SS-Standartenfuhrer to SS-Oberstgruppenfuhrer: Assignments and Decorations of the Senior SS Officer Corps. Atglen, PA: Schiffer. ISBN 978-0-7643-1061-4.  Breitman, Richard (2004). Himmler and the Final Solution: The Architect of Genocide. London: Pimlico. ISBN 978-1-84413-089-4.  Bullock, Alan (1999) [1952]. Hitler: A Study in Tyranny. New York: Konecky & Konecky. ISBN 978-1-56852-036-0.  Cecil, Robert (1972). The Myth of the Master Race: Alfred Rosenberg and Nazi Ideology. New York: Dodd, Mead. ISBN 978-0-396-06577-7.  Cesarani, David (2004). Holocaust: From the Persecution of the Jews
Jews
to Mass Murder. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-27511-8.  Duffy, Christopher (1991). Red Storm on the Reich: The Soviet March On Germany, 1945. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-80505-9.  Evans, Richard J. (2003). The Coming of the Third Reich. New York: Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-14-303469-8.  Evans, Richard J. (2005). The Third Reich in Power. New York: Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-14-303790-3.  Evans, Richard J. (2008). The Third Reich at War. New York: Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-14-311671-4.  Flaherty, T. H. (2004) [1988]. The Third Reich: The SS. Time-Life Books, Inc. ISBN 1-84447-073-3.  Gerwarth, Robert (2011). Hitler's Hangman: The Life of Heydrich. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11575-8.  Gilbert, Martin (1987) [1985]. The Holocaust: A History of the Jews
Jews
of Europe During the Second World War. New York: Holt. ISBN 978-0-8050-0348-2.  Goldhagen, Daniel (1996). Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-0-679-44695-8.  Guderian, Heinz (1957). Panzer Leader. New York: Ballantine Books.  Grazhdan, Anna (director); Artem Drabkin & Aleksey Isaev (writers); Valeriy Babich, Vlad Ryashin, et. al (producers) (2011). The Battle for Germany
Germany
(television documentary). Soviet Storm: World War II in the East. Star Media's Official YouTube Channel. Retrieved 15 May 2015.  Hillgruber, Andreas (1989). The Nazi Holocaust Part 3, The "Final Solution": The Implementation of Mass Murder, Volume 1. Westpoint, CT: Meckler. ISBN 978-0-88736-266-8.  Himmler, Katrin (2007). The Himmler Brothers. London: Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-330-44814-7.  Internationaler Militärgerichtshof Nürnberg (IMT) (1989). Der Nürnberger Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbrecher (in German). Band 29: Urkunden und anderes Beweismaterial. Nachdruck München: Delphin Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7735-2523-9.  Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-06757-6.  Koehl, Robert (2004). The SS: A History 1919–45. Stroud: Tempus. ISBN 978-0-75242-559-7.  Kohn-Bramstedt, Ernest (1998) [1945]. Dictatorship and Political Police: The Technique of Control by Fear. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-17542-5.  Kolb, Eberhard (2005) [1984]. The Weimar Republic. London; New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-34441-8.  Lewy, Guenter (2000). The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies. Oxford University Press USA. ISBN 0195142403.  Longerich, Peter (2012). Heinrich Himmler: A Life. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-959232-6.  Lukas, Richard C. (2001) [1994]. Did the Children Cry?: Hitler's War Against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939–1945. New York: Hippocrene. ISBN 978-0-7818-0870-5.  Majer, Diemut (2003). "Non-Germans" Under the Third Reich: The Nazi Judicial and Administrative System in Germany
Germany
and Occupied Eastern Europe with Special
Special
Regard to Occupied Poland, 1939–1945. Baltimore; London: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-6493-3.  Manvell, Roger; Fraenkel, Heinrich (2011) [1962]. Goering: The Rise and Fall of the Notorious Nazi Leader. London: Skyhorse. ISBN 978-1-61608-109-6.  Manvell, Roger; Fraenkel, Heinrich (2007) [1965]. Heinrich Himmler: The Sinister Life of the Head of the SS and Gestapo. London; New York: Greenhill; Skyhorse. ISBN 978-1-60239-178-9.  McNab, Chris (2009). The SS: 1923–1945. London: Amber Books. ISBN 978-1-906626-49-5.  Nicholas, Lynn H. (2006) [2005]. Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web. New York: Vintage. ISBN 978-0-679-77663-5.  Overy, Richard (2004). The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia. New York: Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-02030-4.  Padfield, Peter (2001) [1990]. Himmler: Reichsführer-SS. London: Cassel & Co. ISBN 978-0-304-35839-7.  Penkower, Monty Noam (1988). The Jews
Jews
Were Expendable: Free World Diplomacy and the Holocaust. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8143-1952-9.  Pringle, Heather (2006). The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 978-0-7868-6886-5.  Rupp, Leila J. (1979). Mobilizing Women for War: German and American Propaganda, 1939–1945. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-04649-2.  Sereny, Gitta (1996) [1995]. Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth. New York; Toronto: Random House. ISBN 978-0-679-76812-8.  Shirer, William L. (1960). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-62420-0.  Speer, Albert (1971) [1969]. Inside the Third Reich. New York: Avon. ISBN 978-0-380-00071-5.  Toland, John (1977) [1976]. Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography. London: Book Club Associates.  Weale, Adrian (2010). The SS: A New History. London: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1-4087-0304-5.  Williams, Max (2001). Reinhard Heydrich: The Biography: Volume 1. Church Stretton: Ulric. ISBN 978-0-9537577-5-6.  Yenne, Bill (2010). Hitler's Master of the Dark Arts: Himmler's Black Knights and the Occult
Occult
Origins of the SS. Minneapolis: Zenith. ISBN 978-0-7603-3778-3.  Zentner, Christian; Bedürftig, Friedemann, eds. (1991). The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. Amy Hackett (trans.). New York: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-02-897502-3. 

Online

"How many Jews
Jews
were murdered in the Holocaust? How do we know? Do we have their names?". Yad Vashem. Archived from the original on 19 May 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2012.  "Introduction to the Holocaust". ushmm.org. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 1 July 2012.  "The Treatment of Soviet POWs: Starvation, Disease, and Shootings, June 1941– January 1942". ushmm.org. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 9 June 2012.  Himmler, Heinrich (6 October 1943). "Heinrich Himmler's Speech at Poznan (Posen)". Holocaust History Project. Archived from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.  Himmler, Heinrich (6 October 1943). "The Complete Text of the Poznan Speech". Holocaust History Project. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.  Lisciotto, Carmelo (2007). "SS & Other Nazi Leaders". Holocaust Research Project. Retrieved 20 June 2012.  Longerich, Heinz Peter (2003). "15. Hitler and the Mass Shootings of Jews
Jews
During the War Against Russia". Hitler's Role in the Persecution of the Jews
Jews
by the Nazi Regime. Atlanta: Emory University. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2013.  Longerich, Heinz Peter (2003). "17. Radicalisation of the Persecution of the Jews
Jews
by Hitler at the Turn of the Year 1941–1942". Hitler's Role in the Persecution of the Jews
Jews
by the Nazi Regime. Atlanta: Emory University. Archived from the original on 9 July 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2013.  van Roekel, Evertjan (2010). "Nederlandse SS'ers en de Holocaust" [Dutch SS and the Holocaust]. Historisch Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 28 August 2014.  Sauer, Wolfgang. "Heinrich Himmler". grolier.com. Archived from the original on 11 December 1997. Retrieved 21 June 2012.  Sereny, Gitta (November 1999). "Stolen Children". Talk. Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 1 July 2012.  Staff (24 May 1945). " Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Kills Himself in British Prison". Bend Bulletin. Retrieved 17 March 2014.  Staff (2 December 2010). "Shadowy Nazi support group still honours daughter of SS head". sify.com. Sify News. Retrieved 1 July 2012.  Von Wiegrefe, Klaus (11 March 2008). "Das Dunkle im Menschen" [The Darkness in Man]. Der Spiegel. No. 45. Hamburg: SpiegelNet GmbH. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 

Further reading

Frischauer, Willi (2013) [1953]. Himmler: The Evil Genius of the Third Reich. Unmaterial Books. ISBN 978-1-78301-254-1.  Haiger, Ernst (Summer 2006). "Fiction, Facts, and Forgeries: The 'Revelations' of Peter and Martin Allen about the History of the Second World War". The Journal of Intelligence History. 6 (1): 105–117.  Hale, Christopher (2003). Himmler's Crusade: The True Story of the 1938 Nazi expedition into Tibet. London: Transworld. ISBN 978-0-593-04952-5.  Himmler, Katrin (2005). Die Brüder Himmler. Eine deutsche Familiengeschichte [The Brothers Himmler: A German Family History] (in German). S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. ISBN 978-3-10-033629-3.  Himmler, Katrin (2016). The Private Heinrich Himmler. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-1-250-06465-3.  Höhne, Heinz (1972). The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS. Translated from German by Richard Barry. London; New York: Penguin Classic. ISBN 978-0-14-139012-3.  Höss, Rudolf (2000) [1951]. Commandant of Auschwitz: The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess. London: Phoenix Press. ISBN 978-1-84212-024-8.  Morgan, Ted (1990). An Uncertain Hour: The French, the Germans, the Jews, the Klaus Barbie Trial, and the City of Lyon, 1940–1945. London: The Bodley Head. ISBN 978-0-370-31504-1.  Reitlinger, Gerald (1981) [1956]. The SS: Alibi of a Nation 1922–1945. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-839936-8.  Russell, Stuart (2007). La fortezza di Heinrich Himmler — Il centro ideologico di Weltanschauung delle SS — Cronaca per immagini della scuola-SS Haus Wewelsburg 1934–1945 [The Fortress of Heinrich Himmler: The Center of SS Ideology: A Chronicle With Pictures of the SS Haus Wewelsburg School, 1934–1945]. Rome: Editrice Thule Italia. ISBN 978-88-902781-0-5. 

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Heinrich Himmler.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Heinrich Himmler

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original works written by or about: Heinrich Himmler

List of Himmler speeches This list of Himmler speeches includes online sources and material in the US National Archives. Die Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
als antibolschewistische Kampforganisation: An essay by Himmler (in German) Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
at the Holocaust Research Project Works by or about Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
in libraries ( WorldCat
WorldCat
catalog) Register of the Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Papers, 1914–1944 at the Hoover Institution Archives Footage of Himmler's corpse and the cyanide capsule he used to kill himself

Government offices

Preceded by Erhard Heiden Reichsführer-SS 1929–1945 Succeeded by Karl Hanke

Political offices

Preceded by Wilhelm Frick Interior Minister of Germany 1943–1945 Succeeded by Wilhelm Stuckart

Military offices

Preceded by None Commander of Army Group Upper Rhine 10 December 1944 – 24 January 1945 Succeeded by None

Preceded by None Commander of Army Group Vistula 25 January 1945 – 13 March 1945 Succeeded by Generaloberst Gotthard Heinrici (20 March)

Awards and achievements

Preceded by Joseph Stalin Cover of Time Magazine 12 February 1945 Succeeded by William Hood Simpson

v t e

Heinrich Himmler

Reichsführer-SS Chief of German Police Minister of the Interior

Reichsführer-SS

Himmler's service record Ideology of the SS Personal Staff Reichsführer-SS Freundeskreis Reichsführer-SS
Reichsführer-SS
("Circle of Friends of the Reichsführer-SS") Adolf Hitler Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
(Chief of the RSHA) Ernst Kaltenbrunner
Ernst Kaltenbrunner
(successor as Chief of the RSHA) Karl Wolff
Karl Wolff
(Chief of Personal Staff) Hedwig Potthast
Hedwig Potthast
(secretary) Rudolf Brandt
Rudolf Brandt
(Personal Administrative Officer to RFSS) Hermann Gauch
Hermann Gauch
(adjutant) Werner Grothmann
Werner Grothmann
(aide-de-camp) Heinz Macher (second personal assistant) Walter Schellenberg
Walter Schellenberg
(personal aide) Karl Maria Wiligut (occultist)

Organizations

Schutzstaffel Gestapo Ahnenerbe Lebensborn Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion

Responsibility for the Holocaust

The Holocaust Porajmos Crimes against Poles Crimes against Soviet POWs Persecution of Slavs in Eastern Europe Persecution of homosexuals Action T4 Persecution of Serbs Suppression of Freemasonry Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses Persecution of black people Kommandostab Reichsführer-SS Volksliste Operation Reinhard Hegewald Posen speeches Himmler-Kersten Agreement

Family

Margarete Himmler
Margarete Himmler
(wife) Gudrun Burwitz
Gudrun Burwitz
(daughter) Hedwig Potthast
Hedwig Potthast
(mistress) Gebhard Ludwig (older brother) Ernst (younger brother) Katrin Himmler (great-niece) Heinz Kokott (brother-in-law) Richard Wendler
Richard Wendler
(brother-in-law)

Military

Operation Himmler Army Group Oberrhein Army Group Vistula Operation Nordwind

Failed assassins

Václav Morávek Claus von Stauffenberg Henning von Tresckow

People

Erhard Heiden
Erhard Heiden
(predecessor as Reichsführer-SS) Karl Hanke
Karl Hanke
(successor as Reichsführer-SS) Falk Zipperer (closest friend) Karl Gebhardt
Karl Gebhardt
(personal physician) Felix Kersten (personal masseur) Hugo Blaschke (dentist) Sidney Excell
Sidney Excell
(man who arrested Himmler)

v t e

Members of the Hitler Cabinet

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
(Chancellor / Führer) Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
(President of the Reichstag) Ernst Röhm
Ernst Röhm
(Stabschef-SA) Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
(Reichsführer-SS) Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
(Deputy Führer)1 Franz von Papen
Franz von Papen
(Vice-Chancellor)

Acting officeholders shown in italics

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Konstantin von Neurath Joachim von Ribbentrop

Minister of the Interior

Wilhelm Frick Heinrich Himmler

Minister of Finance

Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk

Minister of Justice

Franz Gürtner Franz Schlegelberger Otto Georg Thierack

Minister of the Reichswehr

Werner von Blomberg Wilhelm Keitel

Minister of Economics

Alfred Hugenberg Kurt Schmitt Hjalmar Schacht Hermann Göring Walther Funk

Minister for Food and Agriculture

Alfred Hugenberg Richard Walther Darré Herbert Backe

Minister for Labour

Franz Seldte

Minister for Postal Affairs

Paul Freiherr von Eltz-Rübenach Wilhelm Ohnesorge

Minister for Transport

Paul Freiherr von Eltz-Rübenach Julius Dorpmüller

Minister of Aviation

Hermann Göring

Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda

Joseph Goebbels

Minister for Science and Education

Bernhard Rust

Minister for Church Affairs

Hanns Kerrl Hermann Muhs

Minister for Armaments and Ammunition

Fritz Todt Albert Speer

Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories

Alfred Rosenberg

Minister of State for Bohemia and Moravia

Karl Hermann Frank

Minister without portfolio

Hans Frank Otto Meissner Arthur Seyss-Inquart Martin Bormann Hans Lammers Konstantin Hierl

1 Until May 1941.

v t e

Interior Ministers of Germany

Imperial Interior Secretaries (1871–1918)

Karl Hofmann Karl Heinrich von Boetticher Arthur von Posadowsky-Wehner Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg Clemens von Delbrück Karl Helfferich Max Wallraf Karl Trimborn

Weimar Republic (1918–1933)

Friedrich Ebert Hugo Preuß Eduard David Erich Koch-Weser Georg Gradnauer Adolf Köster Rudolf Oeser Wilhelm Sollmann Karl Jarres Martin Schiele Otto Geßler Wilhelm Külz Walter von Keudell Carl Severing Joseph Wirth Wilhelm Groener Wilhelm von Gayl Franz Bracht

Nazi Germany (1933–1945)

Wilhelm Frick Heinrich Himmler Paul Giesler Wilhelm Stuckart

German Democratic Republic (1949–1990)

Karl Steinhoff Willi Stoph Karl Maron Friedrich Dickel Lothar Ahrendt Peter-Michael Diestel

Federal Republic of Germany (1949–)

Gustav Heinemann Robert Lehr Gerhard Schröder Hermann Höcherl Paul Lücke Ernst Benda Hans-Dietrich Genscher Werner Maihofer Gerhart Baum Jürgen Schmude Friedrich Zimmermann Wolfgang Schäuble Rudolf Seiters Manfred Kanther Otto Schily Wolfgang Schäuble Thomas de Maizière Hans-Peter Friedrich Horst Seehofer

v t e

The Holocaust

By territory

Albania Belarus Belgium Channel Islands Croatia Estonia France Norway Latvia Libya Lithuania Luxembourg Poland Russia Serbia Ukraine

Lists and timelines

Victims of Nazism Holocaust survivors Survivors of Sobibór Victims and survivors of Auschwitz

Books and other resources Films about the Holocaust Nazi concentration camps Nazi ideologues Rescuers of Jews Shtetls depopulated of Jews Timeline of deportations of French Jews Timeline of the Holocaust Timeline of the Holocaust in Norway Treblinka timeline

Camps

Concentration

Bergen-Belsen Bogdanovka Buchenwald Dachau Danica Dora Đakovo Esterwegen Flossenbürg Gonars Gospić Gross-Rosen Herzogenbusch Jadovno Janowska Kaiserwald Kraków-Płaszów Kruščica Lobor Mauthausen-Gusen Neuengamme Rab Ravensbrück Sachsenhausen Salaspils Sisak children's camp Stutthof Tenja Theresienstadt Topovske Šupe Uckermark Warsaw

Extermination

Auschwitz-Birkenau Bełżec Chełmno Jasenovac Majdanek Maly Trostenets Sajmište Slana Sobibór Treblinka

Transit

be Breendonk Mechelen fr Gurs Drancy it Bolzano Risiera di San Sabba nl Amersfoort Schoorl Westerbork

Methods

Einsatzgruppen Gas van Gas chamber Extermination through labour Human medical experimentation

Nazi units

SS-Totenkopfverbände Concentration Camps Inspectorate Politische Abteilung Sanitätswesen

Victims

Jews

Roundups

fr Izieu Marseille Vel' d'Hiv

Pogroms

Kristallnacht Bucharest Dorohoi Iaşi Jedwabne Kaunas Lviv Odessa Tykocin Wąsosz

Ghettos

Poland

Białystok Kraków Łódź Lublin Lwów Warsaw

Elsewhere

Budapest Kovno Minsk Riga Vilna

"Final Solution"

Wannsee Conference Operation Reinhard Holocaust trains Extermination camps

Einsatzgruppen

Babi Yar Bydgoszcz Kamianets-Podilskyi Ninth Fort Piaśnica Ponary Rumbula Erntefest

Resistance

Jewish partisans Ghetto
Ghetto
uprisings

Warsaw Białystok Częstochowa

End of World War II

Death marches Wola Bricha Displaced persons Holocaust denial

trivialization

Others

Romani people
Romani people
(gypsies) Poles Soviet POWs Slavs in Eastern Europe Homosexuals People with disabilities Serbs Freemasons Jehovah's Witnesses Black people

Responsibility

Organizations

Nazi Party Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
(SS) Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) Sicherheitsdienst
Sicherheitsdienst
(SD) Waffen-SS Wehrmacht

Units

Einsatzgruppen Police Regiments Orpo Police Battalions

Collaborators

Ypatingasis būrys Lithuanian Security Police Rollkommando Hamann Arajs Kommando Ukrainian Auxiliary Police Trawnikis Nederlandsche SS Special
Special
Brigades

Individuals

Major perpetrators Nazi ideologues

Early elements Aftermath Remembrance

Early elements

Nazi racial policy Nazi eugenics Nuremberg Laws Haavara Agreement Madagascar Plan Forced euthanasia (Action T4)

Aftermath

Nuremberg trials Denazification Holocaust survivors

Survivor guilt

Reparations

Remembrance

Days of remembrance Memorials and museums

v t e

National Socialist German Workers' Party

Leader

Anton Drexler
Anton Drexler
(1919–1921) Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
(1921–1945) Martin Bormann
Martin Bormann
(1945)

Related articles

Germany
Germany
and World War I Stab-in-the-back myth Weimar Republic Treaty of Versailles Occupation of the Ruhr Politischer Arbeiter-Zirkel German Workers' Party Thule Society National Socialist Program Nuremberg Rally Ranks and insignia Sturmabteilung
Sturmabteilung
(SA) Beer Hall Putsch Brown House, Munich Horst-Wessel-Lied Party songs Adolf Hitler's rise to power Night of the Long Knives Schutzstaffel
Schutzstaffel
(SS) Enabling Act of 1933 NSDAP/AO Greater German Reich Hitler Youth World War II Operation Werwolf Denazification Article 21 Paragraph 2 (de facto prohibition) National Socialism German Question Jewish Question Anti-Semitism in Germany

Party offices

NSDAP Office of Racial Policy NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs NSDAP Office of Colonial Policy NSDAP Office of Military Policy Hitler's Chancellery Nazi Party
Nazi Party
Chancellery Amt Rosenberg

Publications

Völkischer Beobachter Das Schwarze Korps Das Reich Innviertler Heimatblatt Arbeitertum Der Angriff

Members

Gottfried Feder Dietrich Eckart Alfred Rosenberg Joseph Goebbels Heinrich Himmler Reinhard Heydrich Hermann Göring Gregor Strasser Otto Strasser Albert Speer Rudolf Hess Ernst Kaltenbrunner Adolf Eichmann Joachim von Ribbentrop Houston Stewart Chamberlain Hans Frank Rudolf Höss Richard Walther Darré Baldur von Schirach Artur Axmann Ernst Röhm Wilhelm Frick Josef Mengele Ernst Hanfstaengl Julius Streicher Hermann Esser

Derivatives

Black Front (Strasserism) / German Social Union Deutsche Rechtspartei (through entryism) / Deutsche Reichspartei / National Democratic Party of Germany Socialist Reich Party

Authority control

WorldCat
WorldCat
Identities VIAF: 34578034 LCCN: n50034966 ISNI: 0000 0001 2127 4594 GND: 11855123X SELIBR: 305108 SUDOC: 028694473 BNF: cb126130639 (data) NLA: 35765903 NDL: 01024893 NKC: jn20000700717 BNE: XX1220

.