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Jacob Heilbrunn…supremely enlightening…
—The New York Times Book Review
Reinhard Heydrich is widely recognized as one of the great iconic villains of the twentieth century, an appalling figure even within the context of the Nazi leadership. Chief of the Nazi Criminal Police, the SS Security Service, and the Gestapo, ruthless overlord of Nazi-occupied Bohemia and Moravia, and leading planner of the "Final Solution," Heydrich played a central role in Hitler's Germany. He shouldered a major share of responsibility for some of the worst Nazi atrocities, and up to his assassination in ...
Reinhard Heydrich is widely recognized as one of the great iconic villains of the twentieth century, an appalling figure even within the context of the Nazi leadership. Chief of the Nazi Criminal Police, the SS Security Service, and the Gestapo, ruthless overlord of Nazi-occupied Bohemia and Moravia, and leading planner of the "Final Solution," Heydrich played a central role in Hitler's Germany. He shouldered a major share of responsibility for some of the worst Nazi atrocities, and up to his assassination in Prague in 1942, he was widely seen as one of the most dangerous men in Nazi Germany. Yet Heydrich has received remarkably modest attention in the extensive literature of the Third Reich.
Robert Gerwarth weaves together little-known stories of Heydrich's private life with his deeds as head of the Nazi Reich Security Main Office. Fully exploring Heydrich's progression from a privileged middle-class youth to a rapacious mass murderer, Gerwarth sheds new light on the complexity of Heydrich's adult character, his motivations, the incremental steps that led to unimaginable atrocities, and the consequences of his murderous efforts toward re-creating the entire ethnic makeup of Europe.
“This admirable biography makes plausible what actually happened and makes human what we might prefer to dismiss as monstrous.”—Timothy Snyder, Wall Street Journal
— Timothy Snyder
“Supremely enlightening.”—Jacob Heilbrunn, The New York Times Book Review
— Jacob Heilbrunn
— Roy Foster
“Hitler’s Hangman: The Life of Heydrich by Robert Gerwarth is superb on the making of evil.”—Frank Dikotter, The Daily Telegraph (Books of the Year)
— Frank Dikotter
— Simon Sebag Montefiore
— Richard J. Evans
— Richard Overy
— Gavin Englebrecht
— Hew Strachan
"Gerwarth's mastery of primary sources and relevant secondary literature is impressive, and his integration of the most recent scholarship and historiographical perspectives on the Nazi dictatorship and the Holocaust make this fine biography even more compelling. An outstanding, exceptional book sure to become the standard account of one of the most infamous Nazi war criminals."—D.R. Snyder, Choice
— D.R. Snyder
— Geoffrey Roberts
— Dr Dorothy Mas
— Roger Moorhouse
— Roy Foster
— Frank Dikotter
— Simon Sebag Montefiore
In calm and harrowing detail, Gerwarth (Modern History, War Studies/Univ. College Dublin; The Bismarck Myth: Weimar Germany and the Legacy of the Iron Chancellor, 2005, etc.) explores the life and work of the embodiment of Nazism, Reinhard Heydrich (1904–1942).
The author trails the life of this favorite of the Fuhrer, the Gestapo chief, from his comfortable childhood as the favored son of a musician through his career as a paragon of Nazi philosophy put into practice. Rumors of the taint of Jewish blood in the veins of the arrogant man wearing the cap with the death's-head insignia were untrue. After being drummed out of the German navy, the ambitious young man found his calling in the nascent SS, quickly rising to second in command under Heinrich Himmler. The "Jewish expert" Eichmann reported to Heydrich, who was instrumental in establishing the Kristallnacht pogroms of 1938. He conceived ghettoes as storage places for Jews until more convenient disposal could be arranged. The requirement for Jews to wear the yellow star was his idea, and he worked to rapidly increase the population of the concentration camps. To ease the work of his murderers, Heydrich pioneered the use of lethal gas. Breaks from his day job of killing civilians included flying missions with the Luftwaffe just for fun. His successes earned him the Protectorate of Moravia and Bohemia. As the war progressed, the Jewish "final solution" evolved, and Heydrich convened Wannsee to implement it early in 1942. A few months later, he was assassinated. In partial reprisal, the village of Lidice and its inhabitants were liquidated.Page by page in this scholarly history, Gerwarth builds a complex story of the perfection of mass murder.
The author meticulously takes us inside the Third Reich, face to face with the Nazi hero, revealing as few texts do how the bureaucracy of evil worked.
List of Illustrations and Maps viii
I Death in Prague 1
II Young Reinhard 14
III Becoming Heydrich 50
IV Fighting the Enemies of the Reich 84
V Rehearsals for War 116
VI Experiments with Mass Murder 141
VII At War with the World 173
VIII Reich Protector 218
IX Legacies of Destruction 278
Posted January 29, 2012
I found this book very inlightening although I had trouble with the German words and meanings and had to look them up.
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Posted March 2, 2012
Posted April 19, 2012