Sometimes referred to as ‘the hangman’ or ‘the blond beast’, Reinhard Heydrich was a senior figure in the Nazi regime who will always be remembered for the heinous role he played in the Holocaust.
1. Heydrich was described by Adolf Hitler as ‘the man with the iron heart’. Most historians agree that he was a dark and sinister figure amongst the ranks of the Nazi elite.
2. In 1922, Heydrich’s military career started as a Naval Cadet at Kiel. By 1928 he had been promoted to the rank of Sub-Lieutenant.
3. During 1932, Himmler appointed Heydrich as Chief of the SD (Sicherheitsdienst) which was the intelligence agency of the SS.
4. Heydrich was one of the organisers of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. Along with others he received an award to celebrate the role he played in making the games a success.
5. Heydrich was one of the organisers of the infamous Kristallnacht persecution of Jewish people, property and business during November 1938.
6. During World War Two, Heydrich was responsible for the organisation of mass executions in newly occupied European countries.
7. During 1939, Heydrich established task forces (Einsatzgruppen) to round up Jewish people for placement into ghettos. In doing so it is estimated that by the end of the war the soldiers involved in this process had killed around 1 million people (700,000 in Russia alone).
8. During 1941 Heydrich was appointed as Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia (Czechoslovakia). In this role, he established a cruel dictatorship which resulted in a significant loss of life.
9. By 1942, under Heydrich’s leadership, it is estimated that around 4,500 Czech people had either been executed or arrested. Those who were arrested were mainly sent to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.
10. Heydrich died in 1942, following injuries he sustained during an assassination attempt by British trained operatives whilst he was travelling to Berlin for a meeting with Hitler.