Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsfuhrer of the Schutzstaffel and a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and one of the people most directly responsible for the Holocaust. Take a look below for 30 more shocking and interesting facts about Heinrich Himmler.
1. As a member of a reserve battalion during World War I, Himmler didn’t see active service.
2. He studied agronomy in university, and joined the Nazi Party in 1923 and the SS in 1925.
3. In 1929, he was appointed Reichsfuhrer-SS by Hitler.
4. 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.
5. He was known to have good organizational skills and for selecting highly competent subordinates, such as Reinhard Heydrich in 1931.
6. From 1943 onwards, he was both Chief of German Police and Minister of the Interior, overseeing all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo.
7. Himmler had a lifelong interest in occultism, interpreting Germanic neopagan and Volkisch beliefs to promote the racial policy of Nazi Germany, and incorporating esoteric symbolism and rituals into the SS.
8. On Hitler’s behalf, Himmler formed the Einsatzgruppen and built extermination camps.
9. As 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 estimate at 11 to 14 million people. Most of them were Polish and Soviet citizens.
10. Late in World War II, Hitler briefly appointed Himmler a military commander and later Commander of the Replacement Army and General Plenipotentiary for the administration of the entire Third Reich.
11. He was given command of the Army Group Upper Rhine and the Army Group Vistula; however, he failed to achieve his assigned objectives and Hitler replaced him in these posts.
12. Realizing that the war was lost, he attempted to open peace talks with the western Allies without Hitler’s knowledge, shortly before the war ended.
13. Hearing of his betrayal, Hitler dismissed him from all of his posts in April, 1945, and ordered his arrest.
14. Himmler attempted to go into hiding, but was detained and then arrested by British forces once his identity became known.
15. While in British custody, he committed suicide on May 23, 1945.
16. Himmler was born on October 7, 1990, in a German Roman Catholic family in Munich.
17. His father, Gebhard Himmler, was a school teacher and his mother, Anna Maria Himmler, was a devotee Catholic woman.
18. Himmler received his education from a grammar school as his father was the principal of the school.
19. Himmler didn’t like athletics as a child and was a studious kid.
20. He was shy and awkward. However, his father forced him to work hard in sports in order to make him strong.
21. Himmler spent a lot of time as a child studying religion, mysticism and sex.
22. As a teenager, Himmler showed a lot of patriotism and wanted to serve his country in the First World War.
23. At the age of 17, his father got him enrolled into the reserve Battalion of the 11th Bavarian regiment using his connections with the royal family. However, those were the very last days of the First World War and Germany was already on the verge of losing.
24. Himmler met his future wife, Margarete Boden, in 1927. Seven years older than him, she was a nurse who shared his interest in herbal medicine and homeopathy, and was part owner of a small private clinic.
25. Himmler and Boden were married in July 1928, and their only child, Gudrun, was born on August 8, 1929. The couple were also foster parents to a boy named Gerhard von Ahe, son of an SS officer who had died before the war.
26. After the Nazis seized power, the family moved first to Mohlstrasse in Munich, and in 1934 to Lake Tegern, where they bought a house. Himmler also later obtained a large house in the Berlin suburb of Dahlem, free of charge, as an official residence.
27. Hedwig Potthast, Himmler’s young secretary starting in 1936, became his mistress by 1939. She left her job in 1941.
28. Himmler fathered two children with Potthast: a son, Helge, born on February 15, 1942, and a daughter, Nanette Dorothea, born July 20, 1944.
29. Hitler called Himmler’s mystical and pseudoreligious interests “nonsense.”
30. Himmler wasn’t a member of Hitler’s inner circle; the two men weren’t very close and rarely saw each other socially. Himmler socialized almost exclusively with other members of the SS.