The architect of the Holocaust – Heinrich Himmler ranks among the most powerful person in Nazi Germany. Obsessed with racial purity, he spearheaded the Holocaust which led to the death of over six million Jewish people.
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was a powerful member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Under the authority of Adolf Hitler, Himmler established concentration camps where a total of 11 to 14 million people was killed. However, when Germany was about to lose in the war, his loyalty to Hitler wavered – he left him and saved himself.
Check out the interesting facts about Heinrich Himmler below and see what made him a fearsome figure during the Nazi Regime.
Heinrich Himmler Facts
1. Himmler was an awkward child
Heinrich Himmler was born into a middle-class family who has close ties with the royal family of Bavaria. Apparently, his father Joseph Gebhard Himmler was a renowned tutor of Prince Heinrich of Bavaria.
Whilst Himmler performed well in a Landshut grammar school headed by his father as deputy principal, he nonetheless struggled with athletics and social relations. Primarily, this aloofness was a consequence of his poor health. To compensate, he engaged in weight training and exercise to improve his physical strength.
Still, as his classmates would recall, Himmler remained studious yet awkward in social gatherings, an interesting fact about Heinrich Himmler.
2. Himmler confides to his diary
At the age of 10, Heinrich Himmler started to keep his diary. Entries therein showed the development of his philosophy and ideology.
In the beginning, Himmler has already shown interest in current events and philosophical discussions of religion and sexuality. When he met Ernst Röhm – one of the founding members of the Nazi Party – his diary entries reflect his issues in the “Jewish question”. Eventually, his journals were filled with antisemitic remarks and records of his discussion about the Jews.
Indeed, his diary contains the ideological growth of Himmler as a critical child towards becoming among the most powerful person in Nazi Germany.
3. Himmler was disconnected to the people around him
Heinrich Himmler encountered several disappointments in life that shattered his worldview.
First, he was compelled to engage in an office job after failing to make a profession in the military. Further, due to his parents’ insufficiency of funds to finance his post-graduate studies, he was made to rely solely on his diploma on agronomy or agriculture.
Second, the failure of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party’s attempt to seize power in Munich – Beer Hall Putsch – led Himmler to lose his job. Due to his involvement in Nazi activism, no one wants to employ him as an agronomist. With this, he needed to move back in with his parents.
Eventually, these events changed Himmler. He became hostile and ill-tempered. This led him to be alienated from both his friends and family members.
4. Himmler established the first concentration camp
After Adolf Hitler used populist rhetoric to condemn the Jews for the currently persisting economic hardship, the Nazi Party won over 37 percent of votes and 230 seats in the 1932 election. Thereafter, Hitler was made the Chancellor of Germany.
Following the orders of Hitler, Heinrich Himmler formed the first official concentration camp at Dachau, an unfortunate fact about Heinrich Himmler. He appointed Theodor Eicke, a devoted Nazi, to spearhead the said camp. Eventually, he came up with a system that was used for all the upcoming concentration camps in Germany.
5. Himmler was interested in the occult
Interestingly, Heinrich Himmler’s passion for occult and mysticism never wavered throughout his entire life.
As early as 1922, his diary was said to have a long list of books about German myths and occult tracts. When came to abandon Catholicism, Himmler started to find his worldviews through Germanic mythology and various occult ideas. Eventually, these beliefs became his religion. He used this interest to justify his racist philosophy – that the Aryan and the Nordic races are indeed superior.
Throughout his leadership, he endorsed ancestor worship among the members of the SS and replaced Christianity with a philosophy that denied humanitarianism. In 1935, Heinrich Himmler founded The Ahnenerbe, a research society dedicated to exploring the Earth to find proof of the ancient origins of the Germanic race and its superiority above others.
6. Himmler was Hitler’s “loyal Heinrich”
Heinrich Himmler was Adolf Hitler’s Reichsführer-SS – the highest formal SS rank who has the power to act independently and receive direct and special orders from the Führer. Thus, these two men had regular contact with each other.
Himmler complied with Hitler’s concept of Führerprinzip. This principle demands the unconditional obedience of the subordinates to their superiors. With this, Himmler placed himself below Hitler and unconditionally obeyed his commands.
Despite the subordination of Himmler, Hitler was not particularly fond of his occult interests.
7. Himmler was second Hitler
Heinrich Himmler rose to be among the most powerful person during the Third Reich, an interesting Heinrich Himmler fact. Apparently, this prominence soared because of his ability to consolidate and expand his powers. Thus, despite his pedantic and dull personality, he actually ranks next to Adolf Hitler in terms of power.
Himmler was known to be shrewd, ambitious, and sadistic. In fact, he was named as history’s brutal mass murderer and the architect of the Holocaust.
8. Himmler last met his Führer in Berlin
When Germany was about to be defeated in 1945, Heinrich Himmler switched sides and independently negotiated for a peace settlement. Despite such, on April 20, 1945 – Hitler’s birthday, Himmler swore his undivided loyalty to Adolf Hitler. Little did they know that this will be their last meeting.
Later on, Himmler contacted the World Jewish Congress about the release of the Jewish inmates locked in the concentration camp. He told them that there was a high survival rate in these camps, despite the fact the such was untrue. Nonetheless, this collaboration led to the liberation of over 20,000 Jews locked therein.
Heinrich Himmler was a man of loyalty and ambition. Despite being awkward as a child, he managed to rise up to his belief and became a person of power. However, his ambition dominated his loyalty. Despite his aspiration of being heir to Hitler, Himmler abandoned him when defeat started to become imminent.
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