Heydrich, Reinhard Tristan Eugen, 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 children. Marie born in 1901, Reinhard born 1904 and Heinz Siegfried, born 1905. Elisabeth’s 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 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. The Heydrich household was very strict and the children were frequently disciplined. As Reinhard was six months old he he almost died of a meningitis. As a youth, Heydrich engaged his older brother, Reinard, in mock fencing duels. Young Heydrich developed a passion for the violin, which he carried into his adult life, and he impressed listeners with his musical talent. Heydrich was very intelligent and excelled in his schoolwork—especially in science—at the “Reform gymnasium.” A talented athlete, he became an expert swimmer and fencer. He was shy, insecure, and was frequently bullied for his high-pitched voice and rumored Jewish ancestry. The latter claim earned him the nickname “Moses Handel.” Young Heydrich also suffered as the target of schoolyard bullies, teased about his very high pitched voice and his devout Catholicism in the mostly Protestant town. He was also beaten up by bigger boys and tormented with anti-Jewish slurs amid rumors of Jewish ancestry in his family. 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. The sportive 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, Gross Admiral, Erich Raeder sentenced Heydrich to “dismissal for impropriety.” He was dismissed in 1931. Heydrich was devastated, but he remained engaged to, an enthusiastic Nazi Party member, Lina von Osten
. He now found himself with no prospects for a career. In 1931, Heinrich Himmler (did you know) began to set up a counter-intelligence division of the SS. Acting on the advice of his associate SS Obergruppenführer, Freiherr Friedrich von 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. Heydrich met Walter Schellenberg and went to work in the counter/intelligence department of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), Security Service. From 1939 to 1942 Schellenberg was Heinrich Himmler’s personal aide and a deputy chief in the Reich Main Security Office under Heydrich who answered only to Himmler. 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 Julius Röhm
was plotting to overthrow Adolf Hitler (did you know). Himmler put pressure on Hitler to purge Röhm and the leading members of the SA. Meanwhile Heydrich, Himmler, Hermann Goering (did you know) (see Goering Peter) and new SA leader, Victor 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 Edmund Heines) (see Johannes Schweighart) This Nazi purge became known as the Night of the Long Knives. In 1942 He organized the Wannsee conference with Adolf Eichmann and jurist, Roland 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 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 his driver SS Oberscharfführer Johannes Klein slowed to take the turn, Gabčík took aim with a Sten sub-machine gun, but it jammed and failed to fire as there was still rabbit food in the barrel which had covered the gun in his bag. Instead of ordering his driver to speed away, Heydrich called his car to a halt in an attempt to take on the attackers. Jan Kubiš then threw a bomb, a converted anti-tank mine, at the rear of the car. The explosion and fragments wounded Heydrich in the back and also Kubiš himself. Driver Klein pursued Gabcik, stopped him in front of a butcher shop Brauner, but his Gabzik shoot him in his shinbone. As there came no ambulance bystanders stopped cars passing by.The first was a baker but he refused to to help as he saw the SS uniform of Heydrich. The Czech police stopped the next car a van and helped Heydrich in the small cabin. The driver first took the wrong way and turned the van. Passing the spot of the attempt Heydrich said that he wanted to lay in container of the van and the driver helped him. Now the most mighty man of the protectorate lay on his belly between the boxes with beeswax. He arrived in the Bulovka hospital about 11.00 o’clock, half a hour after the attempt. 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. I found the same spot unchanged when I visited Prague to make pictures of this event.
Death and burial ground of Heydrich, Reinhard Tristan Eugen
Heydrich 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.The Czech surgeon Alois Vincenc Honek would assist professor Dr. Walter Hollbaum of the German clinic of the Karels square, Hollbaum very nervous started with a wrong incision and medical superintendent Walter Dick took over and removed the damaged spleen.They didn’t expect too much problems as the wound was pretty small. Himmler ordered another physician, Karl Gebhardt, to fly to Prague to assume care. Despite still a fever, Heydrich’s recovery appeared to progress well. Theodor Morell , Hitler’s personal physician, suggested the use of sulfonamide (a new antibacterial drug), but Gebhardt, thinking Heydrich would recover, refused. On 2 June, during a visit by Himmler, Heydrich reconciled himself to his fate by reciting a part of one of his father’s operas: Heydrich slipped into a coma after Himmler’s visit and never regained consciousness. He died on 4 June, probably around 04:30, he was 38.
The autopsy concluded that he died of sepsis. Theodor Morell a disputed doctor died age 61, on 26-05-1948 in Tegernsee. Heydrich’s flirtation with death, always driving in a open car, without any protection in occupied Poland, resulted final in his death..
After Himmler’s visit, Heydrich slipped into a coma and never regained consciousness. He died on the 4th of June, probably The autopsy states that he died of septicemia. The Final Solution plans begun by Heydrich were further developed under Himmler, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, and Eichmann, with the help of SS subordinates, Nazi bureaucrats, industrialists, scientists, and people from occupied countries. 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.
Her eldest son, Klaus, died as a result of a traffic accident on 24-10-1943. On that day, Klaus was cycling with his brother Heider Heydrich in the courtyard of the Castle Jungfern-Breschan. Seeing that the gate to the street was open, Klaus rode out onto the street where he was struck by a small truck coming down the road. Klaus died from his injuries later that afternoon. 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, transport 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. Heinz Siegrfried Siegfried was the younger brother of Reinhard and an Obersturmführer, journalist and publisher of the soldiers’ newspaper, Die Panzerfaust. He was at first a fervent admirer of Hitler, but after the death of Reinhard he got a large packet containing his brother’s files with the detailed plans for the extermination of the Jews, the so-called Final Solution. Thereafter, Heinz Heydrich helped many Jews escape the holocaust by forging identity documents and printing them on Die Panzerfaust. When in November 1944 an economic commission headed by a State Attorney investigated the editorial staff of Panzerfaust, Heinz Heydrich thought he had been discovered and shot himself, on 19-11-1944, age 39, in order to protect his family from the Gestapo. Ironically, the attorney knew nothing about the forgeries, and was only trying to find out the reason for shortages in paper supplies. Heinz Heydrich is buried in the Soldatenfriedhof Riesenburg. Reinhard Heydrich is buried on the Berlin’s Invalidenfriedhof, a military cemetery and next to Fritz Todt the leader of Organisation Fritz Todt. The grave of Heydrich was destroyed by the Russians after the war. Only steps away the graves of the Field Marshal Walther von Reichenau, Generaloberst der Infanterie, Chef Artillerie Regiment, Werner Freiherr von Fritsch, General der Flieger, Chief of the Reichs Air Force Ministry, Carl Gablenz, Vice Admiral, Lothar von Arnaud de la Perèire , Hauptmann der Wehrmacht, Wolfgang Fürstner the Jewish commander of the Olympic village in 1936, one arm Generaloberst der Panzertruppe, Kommandeur der 16th Panzerdivision, Hans Hube, the flying aces, Generaloberst der Flieger, Director General of Equipment for the Luftwaffe, Ernst Udet, General der Infanterie, died after bomb attack in the Wolfsschanze, Rudolf Schmundt Hitler’s Adjutant who was killed with the bomb attack, on 29th July 1940 and Kommandeur des Militärwaisenhaus Potsdam. Resistance Group Oberst Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, Oberst der Wehrmacht, Wilhelm 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 Polish attached to a rose.