Hitler's Third Reich and World War Two in the News

Death of Heinrich Himmler

End of the Third Reich and the Nazi Leaders

What happened to the leading figures of the Third Reich? How and when their stories come to an end? And what kind of an end it was?

Holding his daughter Gudrun while seated in an audience
After the suicide

Heinrich Himmler

Reichsführer-SS - Commander of the German Schutzstaffel (SS)
Chief of the German Police, controlling the Gestapo.
Supreme Commander of the Volkssturm and the Home Army.
Reich Commissioner of German Nationhood.

Date of death: 1945-05-23 11:14 PM, age 44.
Cause of death: Suicide - A potassium cyanide capsule.
Last words: "I am Heinrich Himmler!"

Arrested on May 22nd by British troops and soon recongnized. His false documents were too perfectly in order - very unusual during the chaotic last days - which caused suspicion.

Murdered by British? Documents from the National Archives used to substantiate claims that British intelligence agents murdered Heinrich Himmler in 1945 are forgeries.

1943-10-04 Himmler made speech during a secret SS meeting in the Polish city of Poznan: "I also want to mention a very difficult subject before you here, completely openly. It should be discussed amongst us, and yet, nevertheless, we will never speak about it in public... I am talking about the “Jewish evacuation”: the extermination of the Jewish people."

"I know there are many people in Germany who feel sick at the very sight of this black [SS] uniform. We understand this and we do not expect to be loved."
- Heinrich Himmler

"The SS had been organized by Heinrich Himmler according to the principles of the Jesuit Order. The rules of service and spiritual exercises prescribed by Ignatius de Loyola constituted a model which Heinrich Himmler strove carefully to copy. Absolute obedience was the supreme rule; every order had to be executed without comment."
- Walter Shellenberg (Chief of the Nazi Sicherheitdienst (SD)

Katrin's choice: how do I tell my son about great-uncle Heinrich? Frau Himmler is the great-niece of Heinrich Himmler, mastermind of the concentration camp system that murdered millions of Jews. She is married to an Israeli whose family was confined to the Warsaw ghetto, which was burned to the ground by troopers acting on her great-uncle’s orders. Sometime soon her son will have to be told of the tragedy that is part of his heritage. Katrin Himmler, 38, has tackled the problem by writing an account of the family which she will give to her son as soon as he is old enough to read.

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