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Hitler's Hangman

HITLER’S HANGMAN

HITLER’S

HANGMAN

THE LIFE OF HEYDRICH

ROBERT GERWARTH

YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS

N E W H AV E N A N D LO N D O N

Copyright © 2011 Robert Gerwarth

All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any form

(beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and

except by reviewers for the public press) without written permission from the publishers.

For information about this and other Yale University Press publications, please contact:

U.S. Office: [email protected] www.yalebook.com

Europe Office: sales @yaleup.co.uk www.yalebooks.co.uk

Set in Adobe Caslon by IDSUK (DataConnection) Ltd

Printed in Great Britain by TJ International Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Gerwarth, Robert.

Hitler’s hangman: the life and death of Reinhard Heydrich/Robert Gerwarth.

p. cm.

ISBN 978–0–300–11575–8 (hardback)

1. Heydrich, Reinhard, 1904–1942. 2. Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei.

Schutzstaffel–Biography. 3. Nazis—Biography. 4. Germany–Politics and

government–1933–1945. 5. Czechoslovakia–Politics and government–1938–1945.

I. Title.

DD247.H42G47 2011

943.086092–dc22

[B]

2011013535

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

For Porscha

Contents

List of Illustrations and Maps

viii

Preface

x

Introduction

xiii

I
Death in Prague

1

II
Young Reinhard

14

III
Becoming Heydrich

50

IV
Fighting the Enemies of the Reich

84

V
Rehearsals for War

116

VI
Experiments with Mass Murder

141

VII
At War with the World

173

VIII
Reich Protector

218

IX
Legacies of Destruction

278

Notes

295

Bibliography

352

Index

383

Illustrations and Maps

1 Heydrich as chief of the Bavarian Political Police, 1934. Bildarchiv

Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

2 Heydrich’s demolished car after the assassination, May 1942.

Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

3 a) and b) The Heydrich assassins: Josef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš.

Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

4 Reinhard’s father, Bruno Heydrich
c.
1940. Stadtarchiv Halle.

5 Young Reinhard and his sister Maria,
c.
1910. Bildarchiv Preussischer

Kulturbesitz.

6 Heydrich as a naval officer cadet, 1924. Stadtarchiv Halle.

7 The Heydrich wedding, 1931. Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

8 Heinrich Himmler looks on as Heydrich and Karl Wolff depart from

Himmler’s home in Waltrudering,
c
. 1935. Bildarchiv Preussischer

Kulturbesitz.

9 Himmler, Heydrich and Kurt Daluege,
c.
1935. Bildarchiv Preussischer

Kulturbesitz.

10 Heydrich talks to a delegation of German industrialists,
c
. 1935.

Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

11 Heydrich, his sons Klaus and Heider and his newborn daughter Silke,

1939. Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

12 Heydrich looks on as Hitler observes the front line in Poland, 1939.

Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

13 Heydrich in pilot gear during the Battle of Britain, 1940. Bildarchiv

Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

14 Himmler, Heydrich and Arthur Nebe confer after the failed attempt

on Hitler’s life, 1939. Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

15 Heydrich during a fencing tournament in Berlin,
c
. 1941. Bildarchiv

Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

I L LU S T R AT I O N S A N D M A P S

ix

16 Heydrich and Göring at the latter’s birthday reception in January

1941. Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

17 Heydrich, Rudolf Hess, Himmler and Fritz Todt listen as Professor

Konrad Meyer explains his plans for German settlement in the East,

March 1941. SZ archive.

18 Heydrich saltues as the SS flag is raised over Prague Castle on his

arrival, September 1941. SZ archive.

19 Heydrich greets his former adjutant, Carl Albrecht Oberg, on his

arrival in Paris, May 1942. SZ archive.

20 Himmler speaks at Heydrich’s funeral, June 1942. SZ archive.

Maps

1 Germany, 1937.

xxi

2 German Reich, 1942.

xxii

1 Only a few months after the Nazis’ seizure of power, Heydrich as head of the Bavarian Political

Police where he and Himmler used their powers to incarcerate political opponents of the new

regime in Dachau concentration camp.

2 Heydrich’s demolished car after the assassination. The bomb struck the rear wheel of Heydrich’s

Mercedes convertible causing metal splinters and horse-hair from the upholstering to enter

Heydrich’s body. He died of blood-poisoning a few days later.

a)

b)

3 a) and b) The Heydrich assassins: Josef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš volunteered for a mission to be

parachuted into the Nazi-occupied territories in 1941. After the assassination, both were betrayed

and killed during the SS siege of their hide-out.

4 Reinhard’s father,

Bruno Heydrich, was an

accomplished musician

and composer, whose

Conservatory in Halle

was a flourishing family

business until the First

World War.

5 Young Reinhard and his

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