Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Married to the SS 3

Moving Forward
In August 1936 the Heydrich’s moved to Schlactensee next door to Admiral and Frau Canaris. The two couples met frequently and Heydrich, a talented amateur violin player, joined the Canaris’ string quartet.

Heydrich was a keen fencer and fenced once for Germany; in view of his subordinate’s ability at the sport Himmler ordered the creation of an SS fencing tournament at the end of 1936. Heydrich also rode most mornings, often with Admiral Canaris or one of his staff Walter Schellenberg.
Heydrich was a womaniser and his frequent absences provoked Lina to complain as Heydrich moaned to his colleague and rival Karl Wolff[i]. Heydrich would take his staff with him on drunken nights out, trawling the nightclubs and bars of whatever town he found himself in, searching for a woman to bed.

‘He was shamelessly brutal and cynical in his attitude towards women. They sensed it and shunned him. That was why such a good-looking man, who should have been attractive to most women, had little success with them.’[ii]
The couple’s third child Silke was born on 9th April 1939. This was not sufficient to keep Heydrich from straying.

In July 1939 Heydrich had ordered his subordinates to set up a brothel ‘honey trap’. The owner of Salon Kitty was blackmailed into letting the SD use her establishment to spy on diplomats and senior Nazis using the establishment. Heydrich was known to use the facilities, ordering that the listening equipment be turned off as he did so.

Werner Best

In December 1936 Canaris and Werner Best[iii] signed what was known as the Ten Commandments; an agreement laying down the spheres of work for Abwehr and the SD, which was to pass onto the Abwehr any military information collected. The rivalry between the two organisations was to continue long after Heydrich’s death, ceasing only when the Abwehr was absorbed into the SS empire in early 1944.
Ironically liaison between Heydrich and Canaris was reducing at this time. Heydrich was determined on a sting on the Russians. Heydrich hoped to prove to Stalin that many of the Red Army’s top brass were intriguing against him and asked Abwehr for a sample of Marshal Tukachevsky’s signature. Canaris refused and the information was obtained illegally by SD agents breaking into Abwehr and Wehrmacht offices.

Throughout the spring of 1937 the sting was prepared and the trap was sprung in May. It was hoped that the resultant turmoil, which resulted in the Marshal’s death, would destabilise the senior ranks of the Red Army for many years. Stalin seems to have had a double agent working for him and the SD and he used the sting to clear out a lot of potential threats to his rule. The effect of the destabilisation was not as catastrophic as the Nazis had hoped for, although as many as half the officer corps of the Red Army were purged as a result. Himmler himself in a speech at Posen, nearly 18 months after Heydrich’s death, to the senior SS officers speaking of the purge said
‘We……were convinced that the Bolshevik system and Stalin had committed their biggest mistake. But in our judgement of the situation we have completely bamboozled ourselves. I believe now that Russia would not have been able to hold out for two years of war if they had kept the Tsarist generals around Tukachevsky.’[iv]

Marshall Tukachevsky
On 27th September 1939 the Reichsicherhauptamt[v] (RSHA) was set up. The RSHA was a merging of SD and the Security police, further infiltration of Germany’s police by the SS under Heydrich’s control.

The SS under order from Himmler, arresting and deporting Polish Jews, acted as a catalyst for the happenings of the night of 9-10th November 1938. The son of one of those stranded on the German-Polish border, named Herschel Grynzpan attempted to assassinate one of the attachés at the German embassy in Paris[vi].
The Nazis took this as an excuse to order an orchestrated rampage directed against the unfortunate Jews in Germany and Austria; an attack orchestrated by Josef Goebbels attempting to regain influence with Hitler after an affair with a Czech film actress. Always the hypocrite Goebbels commented
'Here & there window panes had been smashed, synagogues had set themselves alight or burst into flames some other way.'[vii]

A Berlin Synagogue after Reichskristallnacht
Heydrich ordered the police & SS not to get in the way of the destruction of Jewish property or prevent acts of violence against Jews. Looting was not allowed and foreign nationals (including Jews) were not to be touched; any SS taking part were to do so in civilian clothes. The SS wished to remain in the background during this event, apart from ensuring that arrested Jews were incarcerated in Dachau.
Heydrich was more fully involved in the hearings two days later, chaired by Goering, reviewing the events of the previous days. The meeting convened to discuss compensation by the Jews for the damages inflicted on their property throughout Germany. At that meeting Heydrich was pleased to inform the delegates of the efforts the SS had made to oppress Jews within the Reich.

‘In spite of the elimination of the Jew from the economic life, the main problem, namely to kick the Jew out of Germany, remains. May I make a few proposals to that effect? Following a suggestion by the Commissioner of the Reich, we have set up a centre for the Emigration of Jews in Vienna, and that way we have eliminated 50,000 Jews from Austria while from the Reich only 19,000 Jews were eliminated during the same period of time; we were so successful because of the cooperation on the part of the competent Ministry for Economic Affairs and of the foreign charitable organizations.’[viii]

Heydrich’s proposal that the Jews be made to wear identification was turned down, to be reinstated a year later during the round-up of Jews into ghettos in Poland. This was then expanded to all Jews under German control on 1st September 1941.

Foreign Affairs

Artur Nebe
In 1937, disgusted by the Nazis, Admiral Canaris started contacting those in opposition to the regime, a move that was to lead to his death in 1945. One of Heydrich’s men Artur Nebe, a senior police officer and now an SS officer, was a conduit of information to Abwehr about Himmler and Heydrich. In 1938 Canaris was involved with his co-conspirators in abortive attempts to alert western governments to the dangers posed by Nazi Germany. They were just ignored, despite the Anschluss in Austria in March and the Czechoslovakia question, allegedly definitively sorted at Munich on 28th September.
Himmler, Heydrich and the SS were fully involved in helping to manufacture both crises. And as in so many other political interventions the Abwehr and the SD were working in competition with each other. The wilful blindness of the politicians to Hitler’s desire for German aggrandisement was a major contributory factor to WW2 and in both cases Heydrich’s men were active.

Alfred Naujocks
The putative reason for the German invasion of Poland was Polish alleged incursions into Germany. Heydrich and his team created a cover story for the invasion on 1st September; creating out a scenario at Gleiwitz that allowed Hitler to order the Wehrmacht’s blitzkrieg of Poland. The operation was led by one of Heydrich's most trusted troublemakers Alfred Naujocks.
The Polish invasion was the first real action that the Waffen SS[ix] was involved in. And by the end of September units of Police Battalions were involved in the fighting too. The Waffen SS was Himmler’s attempts to become the soldier and commander he had signally failed to be during the Great War. This fighting force was his pet project nurtured for many years and now taking its place on the battlefields of Europe.

Heydrich, a trained pilot, flew a number of sorties in the Polish campaigning with the Luftwaffe. He maintained contact with Himmler, returning to Himmler’s train[x] in between times to direct the RSHA. In late September he stage managed the security aspects of Hitler’s visit to Warsaw from the train.
Heydrich also flew several sorties during the invasion of Russia, until he crashed his plane behind enemy lines. Hitler and Himmler then forbad him to fly in combat again, apparently finally realising the dangers inherent in having the chief of Germany’s security apparatus captured by the enemy.

Heydrich and the Holocaust
It was during the Polish invasion that the anti-Semitism, long fostered in Germany, began to show its horrendous side[xi] to a world that continued to watch from the sidelines. Lina Heydrich always claimed that she knew nothing of her husband’s role in the Holocaust. The Gestapo under his control was a major player in the Nazi oppression of the Jews, who were sidelined with growing ferocity from 1933 onwards.

Heinrich Muller
Heydrich was tasked by Goering on 24th January 1939 to deal with Jewish question through emigration & evacuation. Heydrich arranged the setting up an office Reich Central Office for Jewish Emigration; Heinrich ‘Gestapo’ Muller[xii] was put in charge. The day to day running of the office was given to a man whose name would be synonymous with the Holocaust; Adolf Eichmann.
It was not until 31st July 1941, several weeks after the invasion of the Soviet Union, that Heydrich was tasked with the ‘Final Solution’ or Endlosung. In contrast the camp at Auschwitz was already being planned in February 1940. The machinery of oppression, started in February 1933 had been leading up to this order, albeit subconsciously.

This order of Goering’s is the point where oppression and annihilation become official state policy. The killings of Jews and gypsies and Homosexuals and other untermenschen[xiii] had been continuing for years. Now there was to be a dramatic hithertofore unimaginable increase in the deaths.
Throughout his time in the SS control of the concentration camps and then the death camps was deliberately kept out of Heydrich’s control by Himmler, who followed his master’s poicy of divide and rule amongst his subordinates. When Theodor Eicke was moved from running this portion of the SS empire it was handed to the control of Oswald Pohl; a rabid supporter of Himmler’s. Pohl was perfectly capable of seeing off Heydrich’s attempts to take over the concentration camps.

The invasion of Poland had seen organised killings of Jews and Poles. The killing squads’ officers had been informed on 21st September were informed by Heydrich that their role was to free the occupied territories of these undesirable:
'The Commissar for Settlement in the East will be the Reichsfuhrer SS. The deportation of the Jews to the alien province, extrusion beyond the demarcation line, was approved by the Fuhrer.'[xiv]
but it was not until the invasion of Russia that the killings became streamlined. Groups of Einzsatzgruppen, under Heydrich’s overall and close control, were sent in immediately behind the Wehrmacht units and swept up the untermenschen, killing them or sending them to camps where they were treated inhumanely before being killed.

Jews for Sale? – Yehuda Bauer, 1994 Yale University

Heydrich – Mario R Dederichs, Greenhill Books 2006
Heydrich – Gunther Deschner, Orbis Publishing 1981

The Third Reich in Power – Richard J Evans, Penguin Books 2006
The Life and Times of Reinhard Heydrich – GS Graber, Robert Hale 1981

Nazi Aggression & Violence - International Military Trials Nuremberg, United States Government Printing Office 1946
Heinrich Himmler – Peter Longerich, Oxford University Press 2012

The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich – Callum MacDonald, Da Capo Press 1998
Heydrich – Charles Wighton, Chilton Company 1962

Reinhard Heydrich Volume 1 & 2 – Max Williams. Ulric Publishing 2001 & 2003

[i] Himmler’s chief adjutant and then head of the Personalstab RFSS
[ii] Heydrich - Dederichs
[iii] One of Heydrich’s subordinates, Best was Deputy head of the SD
[iv] Heydrich - Dederichs
[v] Reich Security Head Office
[vi] Grynzpan may very well have had a homosexual relationship with vom Rath.
[vii] The Third Reich in Power - Evans
[viii] Volume 4 Nazi Aggression & Violence - International Military Trials Nuremberg
[ix] Formerly known as Verfugungstruppe
[x] Usually stationed within a few miles of Hitler’s train
[xi] The process of eliminating Jews from the Reich gradually increased in tempo and visibility.
[xii] Head of the Gestapo
[xiii] Sub-humans
[xiv] Jews for Sale - Bauer

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Married to the SS 2

Living in the Nazi Utopia
Thomas Mann
In January 1933 the Nazi Party, through a series of deals with conservative politicians, came to power. The machinations and back room dealings had required little SS involvement during the latter part of 1932, although Himmler was party to some of the discussions in January.
In February 1933 Heydrich was sent as a delegate to the International Disarmament conference in Geneva, with Freidrich-Wilhem Kruger, an SA member. There he behaved in such an unprofessional manner that the German Ambassador to the conference, Nadolny, filed a complaint.

On his return Himmler put Heydrich in charge of investigating Thomas Mann, one of Germany’s premier authors. Mann left Germany for the relative safety of Switzerland the same month[i]. Safely abroad Mann suggested that Heydrich should be committed to the concentration camp at Dachau, which had passed into SS control in April, as the head of an
‘Un-German, pro-Marxist, pro-Jewish and anti-Nationalist movement.’[ii]
The killings of Jews at Dachau began the very next day after control passed to the SS.

The Machtergreifung[iii] did not change Lina’s life except that her husband was seconded to Berlin by Himmler. It was not until 5th March that Heydrich returned to Munich with the news of their move to Berlin, where they were to have a villa in Charlottenberg; Heydrich was setting up an SD central HQ.
That move never happened as on 9th March 1933 the Nazis took control of the Bavarian government and Himmler was appointed provisional Police President of Bavaria. The post was then handed to another Nazi old fighter and the following week Himmler was given control of the Bavarian political police. This was the first appointment in his rise to take over control of all the security apparatus in the Nazi state.

Over the next few months Himmler, with Heydrich in his wake collected control of the political police in all the Lander, until only one prize remained; the Prussian Gestapo, created and lovingly cherished by Hermann Goring, second only to Hitler in power.
On 17th June 1933 Lina gave birth to her first child Klaus; his Godfathers were Ernst Rohm; head of the SA and Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS.

Ernst Rohm
Himmler had always resented the subordination of his SS (and to a very large degree the SS known to history was his creation) to the SA. Immediately prior to Rohm’s return to Germany Himmler had announced the separation of the SS from the SA; an announcement that was contradicted by Rohm in an SA order in January 1931 This humiliation was swallowed by Himmler, but probably never forgiven.
Rohm’s attempted to ignore Hitler’s continued messages in July and August 1933 that there was to be no more talk of a ‘second revolution’[iv] following the ‘Nazification’ of government and social groupings and clubs.

'This army of the political soldiers of the German revolution has no wish to take the place of our Army or to enter into competition with it[v]……….I will suppress every attempt to disturb the existing order as ruthlessly as I will deal with the so-called second revolution.'[vi]
Rohm had made enemies on the way to power, a homosexual in a party where homosexuals were seen as degenerate, and on 1st December 1933, when he was made Minister without Portfolio[vii], the most potent of his enemies was drawn into Himmler and Heydrich’s orbit.

Hitler and Goering with Goebbels and Hess
Hermann Goering schemed with Himmler and Heydrich for months before Hitler forced Goering to give up one of his most treasured creations; the Prussian Gestapo. He did not entirely relinquish his hold over it, retaining oversight for several months. On 20th April 1934 Himmler was given de facto control and made Heydrich chief of the Gestapo. A newspaper comment of the time showed the way the wind was blowing
‘The nomination of the Reichsfuhrer-SS to replace Diels[viii]………..doubtlessly indicates a sharper course for the Gestapo, becoming ever more political.’[ix]
Throughout the first half of 1934 Goering and Himmler’s men were searching for evidence to show that Rohm was planning to overthrow Hitler. There was plenty of evidence of his ‘degeneracy’ of which Hitler was well aware. When it suited him Hitler was extremely broadminded[x]; it was the threat of the second revolution that he feared. By the end of June Goering and Himmler seem to have persuaded him to act and on the 30th June the SA was emasculated; Rohm and many of its leaders killed then and on the days following.

On 20th July Himmler was given his reward for the actions of his men; the SS was made directly responsible to Hitler. By now the SS was not only enlarging its concentration camp empire and the security side overseen by Heydrich. The SS also provided protection for Hitler under the leadership of Sepp Dietrich, another altekampfer[xi]. Expansion of this side of the SS was ultimately to lead to the Waffen SS; Himmler’s answer to the Wehrmacht.
The SS Triumphant
The takeover of the Gestapo by the SS meant a move for Himmler[xii] and Heydrich family to Berlin. Lina and Reinhard’s second child Heider was born on 23rd December 1934 and by early the following year Lina and Reinhard played host to Himmler at a ceremony on Fehmarn for the laying of the foundations for their new holiday home. Heydrich had obtained a mortgage of 35,000 Reichsmarks.

Wilhelm Canaris
In January 1935 a new head of the Abwehr[xiii] took over his post, Admiral Canaris. His predecessor had been harried out of his post by a litany of complaints from Heydrich and Himmler and it is possible that Canaris, with whom Heydrich was on friendly terms, was selected to propitiate the rising stars on the security front.
Himmler and Heydrich were opposites attracting and repelling each other at the same time. Heydrich made fun of Himmler’s fascination with the occult and myths and legends (although not to his face) and Himmler decried Heydrich’s ‘cold rational censoriousness.’ He would however allow no other criticism of Heydrich save from himself or Hitler. When his sister-in-law took it upon herself to decry Heydrich’s abilities in the spring of 1936; an incensed Himmler wrote to her, forbidding her to enter SS property;

‘I hear you have been to our offices again making tactless and pig-stupid remarks……in future you will refrain from making any remarks about SS affairs and personalities.’[xiv]
The relationship between Lina and Marga Himmler descended into acrimony that year as did Lina’s relationship with her husband’s boss. At the beginning of 1936 Lina stopped attending Marga’s SS wives coffee afternoon and set up opposition tea afternoons; at one of which she called the Reichsfuhrer’s wife an old goat.

This did not go down well, anymore than her crude comments about the size of Frau Himmler’s underwear. A lonely Marga Himmler had taken to comfort eating in the very frequent absences of her husband, who now lived full-time in Berlin, while she and Gudrun stayed in Gmund for most of the time. Never an attractive woman at the best of times, Marga was now very fat.  

Himmler visits Dachau KZL
On 17th June Himmler was made Chief of the German Police, just a few weeks before the Olympics. The work of infiltrating the police by the SS now began in earnest. Heydrich was given control of all the security police and complete control over the committal to and release from the concentration camps[xv].
Sometime in the summer, angered by her treatment of his wife, Himmler arranged for Lina to attend Kiel regatta with the wife of another senior SS officer. While she was away Himmler demanded that Heydrich divorce his wife, apparently screaming at Heydrich

‘You’ve got to get rid of Lina, I insist that you divorce her. How can you expect to control the Gestapo if you can’t control your own wife?’[xvi]
On being informed of Himmler’s demand Lina immediately returned from Kiel. The next meeting between Himmler and his subordinate’s wife took place at a grand party organised by Hermann and Emmy Goering, as part of the Olympics celebrations. Emmy paired off Himmler and Lina who argued bitterly about the divorce, until Lina was rescued by her husband. Lina and Himmler did not speak again until May 1942.

Hitler – Alan Bullock, Penguin Books 1990

Heydrich – Mario R Dederichs, Greenhill Books 2006
Heydrich – Gunther Deschner, Orbis Publishing 1981

The Face of the Third Reich – Joachim Fest, Pelican Books 1972
The Life and Times of Reinhard Heydrich – GS Graber, Robert Hale 1981

Heinrich Himmler – Peter Longerich, Oxford University Press 2012
The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich – Callum MacDonald, Da Capo Press 1998

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – William L Shirer, Bookclub Associates 1985
Heydrich – Charles Wighton, Chilton Company 1962

Reinhard Heydrich Volume 1 & 2 – Max Williams. Ulric Publishing 2001 & 2003

[i] From where he was able to speak out against the regime
[ii] Heydrich - Dederichs
[iii] Seizure of power
[iv] Emphasising the social side of National Socialism and fervently supported by many in the SA, now numbering millions, including Rohm
[v] Hitler - Bullock
[vi] The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - Shirer
[vii] He had wanted to be Minister of Defence
[viii] Former head of Gestapo and a relative of Goering’s.
[ix] Heydrich - Dederichs
[x] There are numerous instances of senior Nazis who were part Jewish, or homosexual or ‘suffering’ from other
[xi] Old Fighter
[xii] Frau Himmler and her daughter stayed in Gmund, where the Himmlers had moved after selling their property at Waldtrudering
[xiii] German military intelligence
[xiv] Heydrich - Dederichs
[xv] Eager to extend his power Heydrich attempted to take over control of the concentration camps, worrying Theodor Eicke, who was chief of the camp empire. Heydrich, as in the navy, did not make many friends amongst his peers.
[xvi] Heydrich - Wighton

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Married to the SS 1

Lina Heydrich

When Lina Mathilde von Osten sent her fiancée to join the Nazi party and then the SS she had no idea that that she had set him on the path to an engrossing career and his death. Lina was the daughter of a schoolteacher on the small island of Lutjenbrode. Her father was from a family of impoverished Holsteiner minor aristocracy.
A committed Nazi, Lina met the future head of the Sicherheinstdienst (SD)[i] of the SS in Kiel, at a rowing-club ball on 6th December 1930; Lina was at college in Kiel. Reinhard Heydrich was a young naval officer, stationed in the town. He had always been the odd one out throughout his schooldays and his cadetship; and even now his fellow officers were stand-offish. Heydrich, although tall and blonde, had a girlish voice and many women found him unattractive. Lina was not one of them.

When Lina’s escort left the ball the 19 year old Lina and her friend were picked up by Heydrich and a fellow officer. Heydrich escorted her to her room after the party. They had a date two days later and by the 18th the couple were secretly engaged. Lina was taken aback;
‘Mein Gott, Herr Heydrich, you haven’t even met my parents and know nothing about my father’s reputation. You are a naval officer, have your rules, your marriage regulations…..’[ii]
Heydrich overcame her objections and at Christmas Lina took Heydrich home to meet the family. Her father was impressed by the naval officer now engaged to his daughter.

Young Heydrich
Back in Kiel, Heydrich announced his engagement. He had been involved with another girl from the college and had entertained her at his room[iii]. Consequently the young lady, whose family had some influence in the navy, considered herself engaged to Heydrich. A complaint against Heydrich was made to Admiral Raeder and the matter was referred to an honour court.
Heydrich would probably have survived the honour court if he had not acted so arrogantly; disavowing his fiancée, claiming that she had been determined to sleep with him.

‘”His proven insincerity, aimed at whitewashing himself” displeased the court, which concluded by asking whether it was “possible for an officer guilty of such unforgiveable behaviour to remain in the Reichsmarine.”’[iv]
The decision on Heydrich’s future was passed back to Raeder by the court. Raeder dismissed the first lieutenant from the service. He was now unemployed. Heydrich’s parents ran a conservatoire at Halle. Since the war the conservatoire had fallen on bad times and Heydrich could not look to his parents for financial support. His mother had been reduced to cleaning her own home, for the first time having to do without a maid.

Joining the SS

Karl von Eberstein
Up to this point Heydrich had little contact with the Nazi party; his godmother’s son Karl von Eberstein was a member of Stahlhelm[v] and of the still relatively small SS[vi] and Heydrich had stayed in sporadic contact with him. Frau Heydrich now contacted Baroness von Eberstein, whose son was on the staff of SA[vii] chief Rohm. Eberstein was aware that Himmler, Reichsfuhrer SS[viii] had been given responsibility for internal security for party leaders and was looking to set up an intelligence section.
On 1st June 1931, following a meeting with Eberstein Heydrich joined the Nazi party, encouraged to do so by his fiancée. A fortnight later he was to have his first meeting with the man who turned his world upside down and gave him the all-important uniform to replace the one he had lost earlier in the year.

The Himmler family
Heinrich Himmler and his wife lived at Waldtrudering outside Munich, where Frau Himmler attempted to make money raising chickens, while her husband devoted himself to the Nazi party and more particularly his SS. On 14th June, on the basis of a misunderstanding, Himmler gave Heydrich the job of creating the Sicherheistdienst of the Reichsfuhrer SS. This was to be an intelligence organisation focussed on party members. The pay was minimal, but Himmler promised Heydrich a pay raise when he married.
In the autumn Himmler informed Hitler of his belief that Heydrich was of Jewish origins. This apparently did not bother Hitler who commented:

'Heydrich was a highly gifted, but also a very dangerous man, whose gifts the movement had to retain.'[ix]
Both Hitler and Himmler believed that this question mark over their new recruit’s ancestry would be a means of controlling him. It is possible that Heydrich too believed this slur which had dogged him since his schooldays.


Cheif of SA Ernst Rohm
By October Himmler was informing Rohm that the SS was now over 10,000 strong; a remarkable increase in membership from the previous December. Heydrich started work at the Brown House[x] on 10th August SS member 10,120[xi].
A year to the day of their official engagement Lina and Reinhard Heydrich were married; Heydrich had been promoted to Sturmbannfuhrer[xii] the day before. They were married on the island of Fehmarn, where Lina’s family came from. Heydrich’s colleagues formed an honour guard outside the church.

‘Above the altar was a swastika of fir-tree branches. The approach to the church door was lined on either side by uniformed Nazis with right arms extended in the Hitler salute. At the dedication mass Bruno Heydrich sang a prayer composed by himself specially for the occasion. As the married couple and the congregation left the church, the organ played the Horst Wessel, battle hymn of the Nazi party.’[xiii]

At the end of the year the newly married couple visited Heydrich’s boss and his wife at Waltrudering. During the visit Himmler took the opportunity to quiz Lina on her antecedents. Initially Lina joined Heydrich living in one of two rooms used by the nascent SD. A new home was provided for the bride by her husband at Lochhausen 55 in Munich shortly thereafter.
A few months later the happy couple moved to a small villa on Zaccalistrasse; where the SD based its HQ. The SD was now named the Press and Information Service for Reichstag deputy Himmler; the Nazi party having been banned in April 1932. By this time the SS now numbered 25,500. But by June numbers had mushroomed to 41,500.

Lina did all the housework for the home/office which was disguised as an ordinary home. She was also responsible for feeding the SD staff and was often reduced to cooking vegetable soup. In July Heydrich was formally named chief of the SD, which was poorly funded. In July and August Heydrich recruited twelve men to work for the SD.
Major and Minor Irritations

In the spring of 1932 rumours of Heydrich’s alleged Jewish ancestry had started circulating amongst members of the Nazi party. Some of his former naval colleagues had testified to the Nazi Gauleiter in Halle that Heydrich was a Jew. But it was not until early June that the Gauleiter wrote to Gregor Strasser[xiv] informing him of the allegations.
‘It has come to my attention that there is in, in the Reich leadership organisation, a party member with the name Heydrich, whose father lives in Halle. There is reason to believe that the Bruno Heydrich indicated as his father is a Jew.’[xv]
The Nazi Party chief genealogist Dr Geschke was asked to investigate. Himmler and Hitler clearly believed that Heydrich was tainted by Jewish blood, but were more than happy to collude in a cover-up. By 22nd June Dr Geschke had pronounced Heydrich free of the dreaded taint; normally the investigations took months.

‘It is evident from the attached list of ancestors………Reinhardt[xvi] Heydrich is of German origin and free from any admixture of coloured or Jewish blood.’
This was not the last time the issue was raised.

In the autumn Himmler, Rohm and Hess visited the SD offices; Lina, always short of money, had been annoyed by one of the SD men who had been taking her matches. In retaliation she purchased a pack of exploding joke matches. Her husband lit Himmler’s cigar with one of the joke matches and, predictably, Himmler was not amused Rohm his boss was. Hess promised the SD additional funding, but was only able to produce half the promised monies; 500 Reichsmarks. 

Heydrich – Mario R Dederichs, Greenhill Books 2006
Heydrich – Gunther Deschner, Orbis Publishing 1981

The Face of the Third Reich – Joachim Fest, Pelican Books 1972
The Life and Times of Reinhard Heydrich – GS Graber, Robert Hale 1981

Heinrich Himmler – Peter Longerich, Oxford University Press 2012
Heydrich – Charles Wighton, Chilton Company 1962

Reinhard Heydrich Volume 1 & 2 – Max Williams. Ulric Publishing 2001 & 2003

[i] Security
[ii] Heydrich - Dederichs
[iii] Lina Heydrich claims that her husband informed her that he did not sleep with the girl, merely offering her a bed for the night when she was stranded in Kiel without accommodation. Lina Heydrich’s pronunciations on her husband should always be taken sceptically.
[iv] Ibid
[v] The Steel Helmets, a right wing paramilitary organisation
[vi] There were just over 2,700 members
[vii] Sturmabteilung – the Nazi paramilitary organisation
[viii] The SS was subsidiary to the head of the SA
[ix] The Face of the Third Reich - Fest
[x] The Nazi HQ in Munich
[xi] Himmler was 168 and Eberstein was 1386
[xii] Equivalent to the rank of Major in the German and British armies.
[xiii] Heydrich - Dederichs
[xiv] In charge of re-organising the party
[xv] Heydrich - Dederichs
[xvi] Heydrich was known to use either spelling of his name