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Thus I have basically given the order to also kill the wives and children of these partisans, and commissars. I would be a weakling and a criminal to our descendants if I allowed the hate-filled sons of the sub-humans we have liquidated in this struggle of humanity against subhumanity to grow up.
~ Heinrich Himmler.)

Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (October 7, 1900 – May 23, 1945) was one of the most powerful men in the Nazi Party during its rule of Germany — second only to Adolf Hitler in power. He was the leader of the Schutzstaffel (Reichsführer-SS) and overseer of the concentration camps, extermination camps and death squads, and was one of the chief architects of the Holocaust (the mass murder of millions Jews as well as Roma, prisoners of war, Poles, communists, homosexuals, people with disabilities and other so-called “life unworthy for life”).

Background

As a member of a reserve battalion during World War I, Himmler did not see active service. Himmler joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in August 1923, receiving Party number 14,303. As a member of Ernst 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.

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 worship. However, as he learned more about Hitler through his reading, he began to regard him as a useful face of the party, and he later admired and even worshipped him. 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. From mid-1924 he worked under 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.

That same year, he joined the Schutzstaffel (SS) as an SS-Führer (SS-Leader); his SS number was 168. The SS, initially part of the much larger Sturmabteilung, was formed in 1923 for Hitler's personal protection, and was re-formed in 1925 as an elite unit of the SA. 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. 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.

In 1929, he was appointed Reichsführer-SS by Adolf 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 for good organizational skills and for selecting highly competent subordinates, such as Reinhard Heydrich in 1931.

From 1943 onward, he was both Chief of German Police and Minister of the Interior, overseeing all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo. 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 and built extermination camps. As a 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 and the Army Group Vistula; he failed to achieve his assigned objectives and Hitler replaced him in these posts. Realising the war was lost, Himmler attempted to open peace talks with the western Allies without Hitler's knowledge, shortly before the end of the war. Hearing of this, Hitler dismissed him from all his posts in April 1945.

Himmler was captured after the war, after unsuccessfully trying to negotiate with the west, and he was genuinely shocked to be treated as a criminal upon capture. He committed suicide while in custody by biting into a cyanide capsule he had hidden in his mouth. His body was buried in an unmarked grave near Lüneburg, Germany, and the location of it remains unknown.

Quotes

The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don't ask for their love; only for their fear.
~ “Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA -- ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State.”

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Trivia

  • When Himmler witnessed the gassing of Jews, he actually vomited.
  • Himmler was listed as the #1 worst human of all time by WatchMojo.com
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