Heydrich, Reinard Tristan Eugen
Reinhard Heydrich, born on 07-03-1904 in Halle an der Saale, to composer Richard Bruno Heydrich
and his wife Elisabeth Anna Maria Amalia Kranz, who got three chidren. Her father was Hofrat Kranz, founder of the Dresden Conservatory. Reinhard's two forenames were patriotic musical references: "Reinhard" from Amen, an opera written by his father, in a portion called "Reinhard's Crime", while his first middle name, 'Tristan' stems from Richard Wagner's (see Wagner)
Tristan und Isolde. His third name probably derives from military hero Prince Eugene of Savoy. He was born into a well-to-do Catholic family. Music was a part of Heydrich's everyday life; his father was an opera singer as well as the founder of the Halle Conservatory of Music. Young Heydrich developed a passion for the violin, which he carried into his adult life, and he impressed listeners with his musical talent, but had a high lady's voice. When World War I broke out in 1914, 10-year-old Heydrich was too young to enlist for military service. Because of the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, inflation spread across Germany and many families, including Heydrich's, lost their life savings. In 1922, he joined the Navy, taking advantage of the education and pension it offered. Heydrich had a laughable ladies voice which frustrated him much and made him later, in his top position, deadly for the people who had mocked him. He became a naval cadet at Germany's chief naval base at Kiel. Heydrich was unpopular among his fellow cadets as rumors of his supposed Jewish ancestry resurfaced. As a signals officer on the battleship Schleswig Holstein. First attack on the Westerplatte in Poland, he find himself with authority over the subordinate officers who had once bullied him, he got revenge by treating them like lowly subjects. Heydrich became a notorious womanizer, having countless affairs and in April 1931, Raeder (see Raeder
) sentenced Heydrich to "dismissal for impropriety." He was dismissed in 1931. Heydrich was devastated, but he remained engaged to Lina von Osten (see Lina
He now found himself with no prospects for a career. In 1931, Heinrich Himmler (see Himmler
) began to set up a counter-intelligence division of the SS. Acting on the advice of his associate Karl von Eberstein (see Eberstein
), who was a friend of Lina von Osten, Himmler interviewed Heydrich. A commonly stated version is that Himmler arranged for an interview with Heydrich and was instantly impressed, hiring him on the spot. His pay was 180 reichsmarks per month. In doing so Himmler effectively recruited Heydrich into the Nazi Party. He would later receive a Totenkopfring from Himmler for his service. In July 1932, Heydrich's counter intelligence service grew into an effective machine of terror and intimidation. With Hitler agitating for absolute power in Germany, Himmler and Heydrich wished to control the political police forces of all 17 German states. Heydrich had his men uncover false "evidence" that SA leader Ernst Röhm (see Röhm
) was plotting to overthrow Hitler (see Adolf Hitler
) (did you know
). Himmler put pressure on Hitler to purge Röhm and the leading members of the SA, (see Heines
). Meanwhile Heydrich, Himmler, Goering (see Hermann Goering
) (did you know
) (see Goering Peter
) and Lutze (see Lutze
) drew up lists of those who should be "
liquidated" starting with seven top SA officials and ending with many more. On 30-06-1934, the SS and Gestapo acted in coordinated mass arrests that continued throughout the entire weekend. Röhm was shot, without trial, along with the leadership of the SA. (see Heines
) (see Schweighart
) This Nazi purge became known as the Night of the Long Knives. In 1942 He organized the Wannsee conference with Adolf Eichmann (see Eichmann
) and Roland Freisler (see Freisler
). The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942.
The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews that Reinhard Heydrich had been appointed as the chief executor of the "Final solution to the Jewish question". In the course of the meeting, Heydrich presented a plan, presumably approved by Adolf Hitler, for the deportation of the Jewish population of Europe and French North Africa, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, to German-occupied areas in eastern Europe, and the use of the Jews fit for labour on road-building projects, in the course of which they would eventually die according to the text of the Wannsee Protocol, the surviving remnant to be annihilated after completion of the projects. Instead, as Soviet and Allied forces gradually pushed back the German lines, most of the Jews of German-occupied Europe were sent to extermination or concentration camps, or killed where they lived. As a result of the efforts of historian Joseph Wulf, the Wannsee House, where the conference was held, is now a Holocaust Memorial.
Heydrich was, for all intents and purposes, military dictator of Bohemia and Moravia. His changes to the government's structure left President Emil Hacha (see Hacha
) and his cabinet virtually powerless. He often drove alone in a car with an open roof, a show of his confidence in the occupation forces and in the effectiveness of his government. In London, the Czechoslovak government in exile, Prozatímní státní zřízení, was plotting to assassinate Heydrich. Two men specially trained by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík, were chosen for the operation.
After receiving training from the British, they returned by parachute on 28-12-1941. The attack was scheduled for 27 May. On that date, Heydrich was ambushed while he rode in his open car in the Prague suburb of Libeň. As the car slowed to take the turn, Gabčík took aim with a Sten sub-machine gun, but it jammed and failed to fire. Instead of ordering his driver to speed away, Heydrich called his car to a halt in an attempt to take on the attackers. Kubiš then threw a bomb, a converted anti-tank mine, at the rear of the car. The explosion wounded Heydrich and also Kubiš himself. I found the same spot unchanged when I visited Praque to make pictures of this event. Kubiš and his group were found on 18 June in the Church of St. Cyril and St. Methodious on Resslova Street in Prague. In a bloody battle that lasted for two hours, Kubiš was wounded and died shortly after arrival at the hospital. The other parachutists committed suicide to avoid capture after an additional four-hour battle with the SS. It appeared that the group was betrayed by the team member Carl Curda, His reward was 500,000 Reichsmarks and a new identity, "Karl Jerhot". He married a German woman and was the rest of the war a spy for the Gestapo. After the war, Sergeant Major Curda was caught by the restored pre-communist Czech Government, and was tried and convicted for high treason. He was executed in Pankrac Prison on 29-04-1947, age 35. His betrayed "friends" in the crib were Sergeant Jan Hruby, age 27, Lieutenant Adolf Opalka, age 27, Sergeant Jerslaw Svarc, age 28 and Sergeant Josef Valcik, age 27.
Heydrich was taken to Bulovka hospital. He had suffered a severe injury to the left side of his body with major damage to his diaphragm, spleen, and lung, as well as a broken rib. The doctors immediately performed an operation and, despite a slight fever.
After Himmler's visit, Heydrich slipped into a coma and never regained consciousness. He died on the 4th of June, probably around 4:30am, at the age of 38. The autopsy states that he died of septicemia. In 1944, Lina Heydrich had her son, Heider removed from the Hitler Youth out of fear that he may meet the same fate as his father. In June 1942. Lidice a village near Praque, ceased to exist. Lidice had been implicated in the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich and Hitler's order was given to "teach the Czechs a final lesson of subservience and his orders were: Execute all adult men, transprot all women to a concentration camp, gather the children suitable for Germanisation, the place them in SS families in the Reich and bring the rest of the children up in other ways and at last burn down the village and level down the village and level it entirly. Horst Böhme the SiPo chief for the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia, immediately acted on the orders. Members of the Ordnungspolize and SD (Sicherheitsdienst) surrounded the village of Lidice, blocking all avenues of escape. The village of Lidice was then destroyed building by building with explosives, then completely leveled until not a trace remained, with grain being planted over the flattened soil. The name was then removed from all German maps. All 173 men over 16 years of age from the village were executed. Another 11 men who were not in the village were arrested and executed soon afterwards along with several others already under arrest. Several hundred women and over 100 children were deported to concentration camps; a few children considered racially suitable for Germanisation were handed over to SS families and the rest were sent to the Chełmno extermination camp where they were gassed to death. After the war ended, only 153 women and 17 children returned. Reinhard Heydrich was buried on the Berlin's Invalidenfriedhof, a military cemetery and next to Fritz Todt the leader of Organisation Todt (see Todt). The grave of Heydrich was destroyed by the Russians after the war. Only steps away the graves of the Generaloberst Werner Fritsch (see Fritsch), General Carl Gablenz (see Gablenz), Lothar von Arnaud de la Perèire (see Arnaud), Wolfgang Fürstner (see Fürstner) the Jewish commander of the Olympic village in 1936, one arm General Hans Hube (see Hube), Rudolf Schmundt (see Schmundt) Hitler’s Adjutant who was killed with the bomb attack, on 29th July 1940 and General Wilhelm Staehle (see Staehle). Klaus Pohle from Ottawa, Canada, very interested in war graves, made investigations after the grave of Heydrich and ascertained the right spot with photographs from the burial and the cemetery archives. He visited the cemetery and with his compositions he is sure to have found the right spot of the grave, between the graves of a certain Anthes and Graf Tauentzien von Wittenberg. He visited the cemetery accidental shortly after Heydrich's death date and the same gravestone he found, had a fresh floral tribute and a note in Polnish attached to a rose.