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Europe Without Jews: SS Reinhard Heydrich

Updated on November 5, 2011

History, often and wrongly, paints infamous villains of the world in unrealistic light. Many forget they were not born that way but evolved into the monsters that we know. Take Himmler's right hand man, SS Reinhard Heydrich. He carried out the horrible anti-Jew orders that Himmler was given from Hitler. The exterminations. Heydrich was in charge of the Nazi internal security. But to the contrary, his father, Bruno Heydrich, was a opera composer and director of a music school. When Reinhard was young, his parents divorced, she remarried a man with the last name of Suss, which the boy went by for awhile. During this time (1914-24) he was teased for being a Jew, even though it was not the case. Despite this, he shrugged it off and lived in prosperity and became part of the well educated that excelled in music and sports. After WW1, like many wondering in life, he enlisted in the German Navy- it was for money, that was all. Up to 1931, he meant no ill-will towards Jews until he met and married Lina von Osten. While the couple were deeply in love, she was very anti-Jew and a member of the Nazi party! Yet, Lina's father despised his daughter's husband and somehow had him dragged in front of a military court on vague charges. During the court drama, Heydrich blamed his wife for his alleged wrongdoing, which the judges thought were far worse than the criminal complaint. They dismissed it and called him, "worthless of being an naval officer".

Heydrich joined the other 4.5 million unemployed Germans. Then, out of the blue, Himmler requested to interview him based on information that Heydrich was experienced in intelligence. During the interview, Himmler was very impressed with his knowledge- knowledge that was all based from reading espionage novels! Heydrich had never been in intelligence! Like many job interviewers even today, he bluffed his way into the job. In fact, he had not even read Hitler's book, "Mein Kampf", as many Germans had in the 1930's. In fact, Heydrich only adopted a Nazi view of things if it served him in some way, in other words, the dogma he heard was taken like a grain of sand. He did embrace the anti-Jew hate of Hitler, but preferred doing it as it was done from 1935-39, via legalities and law, not killing them. Making Germany an unfriendly place for a Jew to live was much more his style. When Hitler invaded Poland, his response was, why? What do you expect us to do with the millions of Jews there? It was not our problem before, now it is! Hitler's solution was then to invade Russia to disperse them, yet they had even more. Now Heydrich was ordered to get rid of them. Now, the monster evolved and millions were executed and tossed into ditches all from the orders of Heydrich. As 1942 came, Hitler's final solution of the Jews was revealed at the Wannsee Conference and all based on Germany winning the war. But, Heyrdrich privately said, the war was to end in 1941. Yet, the Jew issue became the SS focal point and Hitler relied on them. Eager to prove himself, that is what Heydrich did. He became the monster that ate Jews. Then, like the many executed on his order, he was assassinated commuting to work.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      OK, thanks for the nuances.

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      Roger Bogaert 6 years ago

      1/"When Reinhard was young, his parents divorced, she remarried a man with the last name of Süss" : incorrect / Reinhard's parents didn't divorce at all / Bruno Heydrich's mother, widowed at a young age, remarried a certain Gustav Robert Süss (from Meissen, about 25 kilometers from Dresden)/ although "Süss" has a jewish ring, that Gustav Robert Süss wasn't jewish.

      2/"Yet, Lina's father despised his daughter's husband and had him dragged... : not Lina's father, but the father of another girl Reinhard Heydrich was dating / the trial took place in the first half of 1931; Heydrich was dismissed from the marine on 1rst of May 1931

      3/"During the court drama Heydrich blamed his wife..." : they were not married yet; they married 26th of December 1931.

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      ThomasRydder 6 years ago

      Like his leader, Adolf Hitler, Heydrich evidently became something for which he was totally unqualified. Hitler himself, a corporal, had the gift of gab, and used it to incite hatred and genocide. Informational and excellently written!! :)TR

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 6 years ago from Northern Germany

      Heydrich had affairs with 2 women at the same time, one of them Lina von Osten. Father von Osten gave navy honour court a hint after Heydrich had dissolved one affair by mailing the newspaper announcement of his engagement to the other woman. That was considered to be unworthy for a navy officer and Heydrich was dismissed.

      Even later in high SS ranks, Heydrich never went after the members of the navy court.

      Germany in the 20ties and early 30ties held few opportunities for talented organizers like Heydrich. It was his organizational skills and not his fanatism that swept him to the top with the known monstrous outcome.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      Yes, the story is amazing and what job pressure can do.

    • quotations profile image

      Robert P 6 years ago from Canada

      I was amazed to learn how this amoral monster stumbled his way into power. It should be a cautionary tale about who we elect or put into positions of power. Sometimes the worst monsters are not the true believers - at least you know where you stand with them - but the ones who will do anything to get ahead.