Reinhard Heydrich

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SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich

Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich (b. 7 March 1904 in Halle an der Saale, Prussia, German Empire; 4 June 1942 in Prague-Libeň, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia) was a officer of the German Navy, the Luftwaffe and the Schutzstaffel, who had positions such as director of the Reich Main Security Office (including the Criminal Police, the Gestapo, and the Sicherheitsdienst). Heydrich's eventual replacements were Ernst Kaltenbrunner as the chief of RSHA as well as Karl Hermann Frank (de) 27 to 28 May 1942 and Kurt Daluege (de) 28 May 1942 to 14 October 1943 as the new acting Reichsprotektor (Reich Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia. After Heydrich's death, his legacy lived on; the first three "trial" labour camps were constructed and put into operation at Treblinka, Sobibór, and Belzec. The project was allegedly named Operation Reinhard in Heydrich's honor.

Life

SS-Oberführer Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich was an exceptional athlete, he mastered Tennis, Sailing, Fencing and Riding among other sports.
Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich
From left to right: SS-Brigadeführer Karl Wolff, Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler and SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich
Awards and decorations (in German)

Early life

Heydrich was born in Halle an der Saale to composer Richard Bruno Heydrich and his wife Elisabeth Anna Maria Amalia Kranz; Heydrich held a life-long passion for the violin. His two forenames were patriotic musical references: "Reinhard" from an opera of his father's, in a portion called "Reinhard's Crime". His first middle name, 'Tristan' stems from Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde. His third name probably derives from military hero Prince Eugene of Savoy, Eugen in German (the German cruiser Prinz Eugen was also named for Eugene of Savoy as was the 7th Division of the Waffen-SS).

He was too young to have fought in World War I but joined the para-military Freikorps after the war.

NSDAP and the SS

Heinrich Himmler became 1929 Reichsführer der SS. In 1931, Himmler began to set up a counter-intelligence division of the SS. Acting on a friend's advice, he interviewed Heydrich, and, it is alleged, after a twenty minute test whereby Heydrich had to outline plans for the new division, Himmler hired him on the spot. In doing so Himmler also effectively recruited Heydrich into the Party. He would later receive a Totenkopfring from Himmler, for his service. At this time, he was relatively insignificant within the NSDAP intelligence apparatus. He and his staff spent their time building up a card-file system on all people who were considered a threat to the Party, often including party officials themselves.

In July 1932, Heydrich became the head of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), an intelligence organization wholly committed to the defence of National Socialism. He built it by recruiting agents from unusual sources, some of whom were not really committed NSDAP supporters, just people Heydrich found talented or useful, from whom reports could be compiled on various aspects of life in Germany. The organization benefitted from close cooperation with the Gestapo, which Heydrich also gained control of in 1936, as part of a combined security police force. Later, the SD and the Gestapo were united under the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) under Heydrich.

Heydrich was an outstanding, talented organizator and leader, therefore national socialist leaders considered him, as a possible descendant of the Führer.

Luftwaffe

Heydrich began training as a pilot of the Luftwaffe in 1935, and undertook fighter pilot training at the flight school at Werneuchen in 1939. Himmler initially forbade Heydrich from flying combat missions, but later relented, allowing him to join Jagdgeschwader 77 in Norway, where he was stationed from 15 April 1940 during Operation Weserübung. He returned to Berlin on 14 May 1940 after having crashed his plane on takeoff at Stavanger the previous day.

On 20 July 1941, without seeking authorization from Himmler, Heydrich rejoined Jagdgeschwader 77 during Operation Barbarossa, arriving at Yampil, Vinnytsia Oblast in a borrowed Bf 109. His aircraft was hit by Russian flak in action near the Dniester on 22 July, and he had to land the plane in enemy territory. He avoided capture, contacted a forward German patrol and returned to Berlin after being rescued. It was his final, nearly 100th combat mission.

Death

Heydrich was appointed acting governor of Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in 1941. He was attacked in Prague on 27 May 1942 by a British-trained team of Czech and Slovak partisans with the support of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile. He died from his injuries a week later.

Revisionists have argued that Heydrich had successfully calmed previous unrest in the Protectorate by methods such as improved conditions for the workers. Czechs are argued to have tried to stop the attack and to have helped the wounded Heydrich. The politically correct version instead describes Heydrich's regime as a rule of terror. Revisionists have further argued that the Allies hoped that the Germans would react harshly to the assassination of Heydrich and that the countermeasures taken would incite the Czech public.[1][2]

Another theory is that Heydrich was about the expose the critical Allied spy Wilhelm Canaris and that this was prevented by the assassination.[2] Heydrich was also investigating Martin Bormann as a possible Allied spy.[3]

Lidice and the expulsion of the Sudetenland Germans

As a reprisal for the assassination, Lidice, a town that had housed some of the assassins, was leveled, and the men shot.[2] 173 men were killed. In addition, the children have been claimed to have been sent to the Chelmno camp in order to be killed. This claim has been rejected by Holocaust revisionists.[4]

Lidice was used as a justification for the expulsion of the entire population of Sudetenland Germans from Czechoslovakia and that was associated with mass deaths/killings on a far larger scale, but that are mentioned much less frequently than Lidice.

Promotions

Reichsmarine:

  • Fähnrich zur See: 1 April 1922
  • Oberfähnrich zur See: 1 April 1924
  • Leutnant zur See: 1 July 1926
  • Oberleutnant zur See: 1 July 1928

SS:

Luftwaffe:

  • Hauptmann der Reserve (Captain of the reserves)
  • Major der Reserve, 1941

Awards and decorations (excerpt)

Heydrich was recipient of many high and highest awards and decorations, here a small selection

Gallery

See also

External links

Wilfried Heink

References

  1. Reinhard Heydrich: Part IV http://revblog.codoh.com/2012/09/reinhard-heydrich-4/
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Reinhard Heydrich: Conclusion http://revblog.codoh.com/2012/09/reinhard-heydrich-5/
  3. Reinhard Heydrich: Part III http://revblog.codoh.com/2012/09/reinhard-heydrich-3/
  4. Carlo Mattogno. (2011). Chelmno—A German Camp in History and Propaganda. Holocaust Handbooks. http://holocausthandbooks.com/index.php?page_id=15