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Reinhard Heydrich: Part III

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by Wilfried Heink-

In 1940, Heydrich – aside from servings as chief of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA, which included the Gestapo, and Kripo), and also an active pilot in the air force –  in August of that year was appointed and served as President of the International Criminal Police Commission (later Interpol, the international law enforcement agency). Representatives of thirty-three member states, among them Great Britain, France and the USA, in 1938 met at Bucharest to decide if the HQ of that organization should be moved from Vienna, since Germany had annexed Austria. Heydrich protested, his protest not seriously challenged by anyone, and when the then President, Vienna’s police chief Otto Steinhäusel, died, Heydrich took over as President on August 28, 1940. Only England, France as well as a few small countries had by then quit the organization. At the same time when Heydrich’s Einsatzgruppen (EG – rapid response force) were pacifying Poland, he became president of the international police force without the slightest concern raised by the representatives of the remaining 30 member states, most of them cheering him on.

Comment: This has me wondering. “Historians” tell us that as soon as the fighting was over, and Poland defeated, the EG committed atrocities upon atrocities with the whole world informed about it. And here we have the representatives of 30 states cheering when Heydrich, the commander of those alleged killing squads, took over as chief of the international police. Is it possible that the “historians” have it wrong, that the EG were units employed to establish order behind the lines and not indiscriminate killers? No doubt in my mind. But to be acknowledged as an expert on the history of the Third Reich, one first must believe that all “Nazis” were criminals and proceed from there. Quacks!

Following Heydrich’s appointment, as new HQ of Interpol a villa on the Wannsee in Berlin was picked. Two Wannsee’s (lakes at the outskirts of Berlin) exist, the big- and the small Wannsee. Deschner writes that the Interpol office was located at the big Wannsee, but has it wrong; the address was “Small Wannsee Nr.16”. Deschner then claims that on January 20, 1942 the infamous Wannsee-Konfernz took place at the HQ of Interpol, wrong again but more on that later.

As mentioned, Heydrich was an active air force pilot, flying reconnaissance missions over England and Scotland but always returning to Berlin between actions to his job as security chief, Hitler and Himmler viewing those activities with mixed feelings. He was also active in sports, fencing his favorite, and made it possible for Paul Sommer, Jew and former German fencing champion, to escape to America. He was always the perfectionist, and what he did, he did meticulously, according to his widow. He did not like to loose, that also true for arguments. But if his counterpart had solid counter-arguments or proposals that differed from his, and if that person stood his ground unwaveringly, Heydrich gave in.

More and more communists, socialists and other enemies of the regime fled to foreign countries, some of them then continuing their subversive work against the Reich from their new domicile. That was a concern for Heydrich, but his jurisdiction ended at Germany’s borders, the intelligence service responsible for foreign countries. Heydrich did not have a good working relationship with the head of that service, especially with Conrad Patzig, predecessor of Canaris. Eventually, Patzig was removed – reconnaissance flights over the then friendly Poland the issue – and in December 1934 replaced by Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, picked not lastly because of his good relationship with Heydrich. Canaris promised to work with the SD “in friendship and openness”. The two met at the end of January and renewed their friendship, the families visiting regularly. Erika Canaris also played the violin and the evenings were filled with music. However, competencies of the two services was the issue and negotiations to resolve the differences were started, with Canaris representing the intelligence service and Heydrich, with Dr. Best, the SD. A ten-point program was eventually worked out, the “Ten Commandments”, but it was not perfect, because the borders of political intelligence and military intelligence overlapped, naturally. Canaris deemed it necessary to spy on enemies inside of Germany, with Heydrich doing the same in foreign countries, a necessity if one hopes to be successful. Thus, a new agreement had been worked out, with Canaris having his competencies curtailed. That agreement was to be signed at Prague in May of 1942, just days before Heydrich was assassinated.

Heydrich considered suspicion to be a virtue, his SD officers called “Oberverdachtsschöpfer”, extremely suspicious, and he took this to be a compliment. We need to remember the times here, communists had moved undercover and traitors were present in all spheres of the Reich. As it turned out, he was not suspicious enough, the traitors telling England and Moscow all they needed to know, Deschner makes no mention of that. Heydrich considered multi-national corporations at that time already to be a threat (those of us who pay attention know this to be true), and placed them under surveillance. He had a Berlin brothel, frequented by the affluent, taken over by the SD, but that did not pan out, Heydrich saying that “pillow-talk” is just a legend.

In the fall of 1936, Heydrich received a phone call at home from the attorney Bielschowsky, a Jew, but left alone because he was one of Heydrich’s friends from his home town of Halle (Deschner has to write this. Wilf). Bielschowsky asked Heydrich if he knew a party big wig by the name of Martin Bormann, Heydrich answered something like “unfortunately yes”. This started a five-year investigation and at the end, Heydrich was convinced that Bormann was working for the Soviets. Reinhard Gehlen, an army intelligence officer and later head of the BDR intelligence agency (BND), wrote in his memoirs that Bormann had worked for the Soviets from the start of the war. Others, like Ohlendorf, Schellenberg and Berger also attested to that at the IMT, the latter at the Wilhelmstraße trial. Gehlen, as well as Canaris, investigated and established that Bormann operated the only unobserved short wave transmitter, but neither did anything, claiming that they had been afraid, Bormann then in a powerful position (I have a problem with the ‘investigation’ story, Canaris was a traitor and Gehlen probably also, the Americans insisting on him becoming BRD intelligence chief, payment for services rendered? Wilf.).

After the publication of the Gehlen memoirs, an article appeared in the British, Swedish and BRD press by the Czech journalist Rudolf Ströbinger about a conversation between him and the Czech general Josef Bartik, intelligence officer and Benes (Czech president) confidant (DW von 13. & 14. 9. 1971, “So wurde Martin Bormann ein Agent der Sowjetunion”). Bartik told that Bormann in 1920 was a member of the Freikorps (German paramilitary units formed after WWI); he was taken prisoner by the Bolsheviks but had saved his life by promising to work for them. When Bormann had risen to his position as private secretary to Hitler, the Soviets approached him to remind him of his promise, a signed document, and from then on the Soviets were informed about every detail. Bartik had planned to publish this but when the Soviets entered Prague the material disappeared.

Back to Heydrich, and he naturally asked Bielschowsky (B) why he wanted to know anything about Bormann, who at that time was Heß’ chief of staff. B told him that the wife of a former client, suspected of being a communist – exonerated in 1931 with B as his attorney but now again in protective custody – had asked him to act for her husband again. The wife had brought along material from the previous case, including some pictures of her husband as a Freikorps soldier. She told B that she planned on contacting a former comrade of her husband, the noncom Bormann. Heydrich recognized Bormann on the picture and the woman’s husband was interviewed, with Heydrich attending but not dressed in uniform. During the interview Bormann was mentioned, in passing, and the prisoner remembered him vividly. He told B that Bormann was taken prisoner by the Bolsheviks in the summer of 1919 and to the surprise of everyone had returned unharmed. This after the missing persons report about him had already been typed, ready to be send, for the Bolsheviks did not take prisoners. B had no doubt that the prisoner (unfortunately no name is provided. Wilf) had told the truth, and when Heydrich in his investigation found out that Bormann had not mentioned his imprisonment by the Bolsheviks in his personal files, the “Case Bormann” file started to grow. Heydrich collected material on Bormann, probably personally mostly to not arouse any suspicion, and in spring 1942 he was ready to move against Bormann. But before he could do that, he was assassinated. The assassins were not found for weeks, giving rise to speculations that Bormann might have had his hand in it.

Comment: It appears that Bormann might also have been interested in Heydrich’s elimination, aside from Canaris and the Brits, who were hiding behind the Czech resistance. To this day we don’t know who “Deep Throat” was, fact is, the Soviets were very well informed and that information could only have come from someone close to Hitler. For instance, precise details about the last big German offensive, the Kursk battle, were leaked to the Soviets. The Russian hammered German position with artillery fire in the morning before the battle was to begin, knowing exactly where what was located. That and the treachery by the German staff, von Treschkow in particular, sealed the fate of the German eastern front. Hundreds of thousands of German soldiers died because of treason, the traitors celebrated as hero’s in the BRD. Was it Bormann that supplied the Soviets with information? We don’t know, but he is a strong possibility.

Jewish policies were a hodge-podge of different approaches in the Third Reich, with the foreign office (AA) and NSdAP party officials engaged, as well as other departments, with the SS the last organization to join in. Heydrich had “International Jewry” investigated ‘scientifically’ (Deschner uses quotation marks) and thus felt that he was qualified to get involved. He wrote in 1936 that the driving forces behind the enemies of the Reich were always the same: World Jewry, Freemasonry and the political clergy.  “Jews are deadly enemies of all Nordic- healthy societies”, he continued, “their goal always the same – the conquest of the world”, and Heydrich was convinced that Jews and Germans had to be separated. A new department, Referat II, 112, inside the SD was created (no date provided by Deschner, but in 1934 it existed already), responsible for Jewish matters, and some historians claim that this is when the idea of the “Endlösung”, the extermination of Jews, started to take shape in the heads of Himmler and Heydrich. Not so, Heinz Höhne told his readers in a Der Spiegel series in 1966 “…that there is no evidence that the thought of the murder of Jews was present in the hearts and minds of the SS before the order was given” (I would like to know what order he refers to, up to now nothing resembling one has been found. Wilf). “Up to early summer of 1941 we have no document of any SS-Organization re. the planned physical elimination of Jewry” (Der Orden unter dem Totenkopf, p.299) (no idea what documents he refers to from 1941 that have allegedly surfaced. Wilf).

We then learn about the boycott of Jewish businesses on April 1, 1933 (a Sabbath), Deschner of course conveniently forgetting the call for a boycott of German goods by World Jewry of March 24 of that year. In 1934 the terror (Deschner’s words) against Jews subsided, Hans Frank even talked about an end to discrimination. Jews, who had been expelled, also believed that the worst was over, and in May 1935 the Völkische Beobachter, a daily from 1923 on, reported that 10,000 of them had returned. This did not go over well and repressions followed, but calm returned again in 1936, “Jewish businesses flourishing up to November 1938”, according to Aronson (Reinhard Heydrich und die Frühgeschichte von Gestapo und SD, p.205).

The program, suggested by Heydrich, was called Lösung durch Auswanderung (Emigration as the solution) and in 1936 it took shape. Leopold Itz Edler von Mildenstein was appointer as the first head of Referat II, 112, and his successor, Herbert Hagen formulated the SD policy: 1. The elimination of Jewish influence in all spheres, including the economy. 2. Promotion of Jewish emigration. (Göring, in charge of the five-year-plan, voiced reservations re. removing Jews from the economy, saying that this will take time)

Heydrich was convinced that the Jewish problem can only be solved through emigration to Palestine. And instead of those who favored assimilation, he sited with the Zionists, praising their racial policies and the attempt to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. “As a National Socialist I am a Zionist”, he told friends. In 1938 his policy was accepted, on February 1, 1938 Hitler approving the emigration of Jews to Palestine. Hagen, and his nondescript (unscheinbar, Deschner’s word) assistant Eichmann had already made the necessary preparations. In February 1937 Eichmann had met commander Feifel Polkes of the Zionist secret (terror in fact. Wilf) organization “Haganah” in Berlin and in the fall the visit was returned, Hagen and Eichmann traveled to Palestine. Hagen’s report was received favorably, the SD plan now more and more accepted and Heydrich, because of the research done by his people, acknowledged as an authority. The ministry of the interior issued instructions to ignore prior convictions of Jews who were willing to emigrate, thus making it easier for them.

Eichmann established the Jewish department in Vienna following the Anschluß (union between Germany and Austria) in May 1938, and in the fall of that year Eichmann reported that 45,000 Jews had left Austria. But, not all went smooth. The Swiss complained about the influx of Jews and on October 5th the order was issued that all Jewish passports must show the letter “J” (Jude). The Poles, who had their own Jewish problems, used this as an excuse and followed suit, trying to get rid of Polish Jews living in Germany because it would have been impossible for those Jews to have their passports altered, in Poland, in the short time allotted by Polish authorities. Heydrich, who had no intention of being burdened by an additional 15,000 Polish Jews living in Germany, had them arrested and taken to the border. The Poles refused to accept them but they were pushed across the border at nighttime. Among those forcefully expelled was a tailor named Grynszpan (Grünspan), and when his son Herschel, living in Paris, found out about that he shot the German diplomat Ernst von Rath on November 7, 1938 as revenge (accounts differ, but not the issue. Wilf).

On November 9th 1938  the annual meeting of the “Old Fighters”, the NS elite, took place in Munich. During the gathering it was announced that von Rath had died, Hitler was devastated and refused to speak, Goebbels filled in for him (This is Deschner’s version, and there are others here as well. Wilf). Goebbels, in his speech, talked of acts of revenge, and the party leaders present interpreted as having received an order and issued the appropriate instructions (Deschner is fantasizing here, Goebbels had no authority outside of Berlin, he could not order anyone to do anything. Wilf). A pogrom erupted suddenly, Jewish businesses destroyed; Synagogues burned, etc., the event recorded in history books as Kristallnacht (Crystal Night). Heydrich, who stayed at the hotel “Vier Jahreszeiten” in Munich was naturally surprised by this, astonished in fact, since his emigration policy worked well. He contacted Himmler who mumbled something about a Führer order (just speculations by Deschner. Wilf) but Heydrich ordered his people to safeguard non-Jewish businesses and also historically valuable material in the synagogues. He ordered the arrest of wealthy Jews, stressing ‘that those arrested are not to be harmed” (They were taken into protective custody and released a short while later). Heydrich called the actions during the night “bone headed” a “disgrace” and “the worst setback in regards to Jewish policy since 1934” (not sure what happened in 1934. Wilf).

Comment: Why did this occur at a time when Jews were encouraged to leave in an orderly fashion? True, other countries did not want Jews, but the efforts continued. The fact about the refusal by others to admit Jews is conveniently ‘forgotten’ by Deschner, but Rudolf Vogel provides details in his book, I wrote an essay based on it

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Cui bono? Jewish businesses were insured and Göring had a fit, the details in my essay. The German government did not benefit, Jews were not persecuted at that time, although strongly encouraged to leave. Who benefited from disturbing this relative calm? Ingrid Weckert has some suggestions in her essay “Crystal Night”

In fact, we have a similar occurrence later in the Czech Protectorate, with fatal consequences for Heydrich, more later.

Following crystal night efforts to help Jews to get out of Germany were increased, with Göring now also firmly on board. Heydrich made use of his “Haganah” connections, and contacted the Jewish secret organization “Mossad”, who had made it their calling to smuggle Jews into Palestine. Two Mossad agents, Pino Ginzburg and Moshe Auerbach, took up residence in Berlin, and Heydrich ‘encouraged’ them to smuggle 400 Jews into Palestine per week. A Jewish reservation at Nisko on the river San was proposed after Poland had capitulated. Jews were deported there but because of poor preparations and general unwillingness of Jews to settle there, dropped again. After crystal night, the island of Madagascar was considered as a Jewish homeland. French foreign secretary Bonnet had mentioned to von Ribbentrop that France would like to get rid of some 10,000 Jews, and are considering Madagascar as the destination. Heydrich now urged them on, writing Ribbentrop on June 24, 1940, that Göring had ordered him to find a “territorial solution” to the Jewish problem and that from January 1, 1938 on he had been able to get 200,000 Jews out of Germany through emigration, in spite of all the setbacks because of the war, etc. But 3.25 million Jews remain and need to be settled somewhere, with Madagascar the ideal territory.

Heydrich did not wait for Ribbentrop’s answer but told his staff about the plan and to make preparations for it. His staff enthusiastically went to work, an expert on tropics, Theodor Dannecker, was instructed to investigate the feasibility of Madagascar. However, the war again intervened and Madagascar was officially dropped on February 24, 1942.

Comments: Deschner writes that Heydrich strongly (nachhaltig…eingesetzt) supported the Madagascar plan, but repeatedly refers to the EG actions, with the Wannsee conference thrown in. The official story is, and Deschner apparently signs on to it, that the Einsatzgruppen (EG – rapid response force) were murder squads, roaming the vast expanses of Russia, searching for Jews to kill, thereby all but neglecting what they had been ordered to do: Fight partisans and establish order behind the lines. Deschner is unable to explain this obvious contradiction between Heydrich the savior of Jews and Heydrich the mass murderer of Jews. Deschner refers to Auschwitz as the epitome of the “Final Solution”, i.e., the mass murder of Jews. He also mentions the alleged ‘extermination camps’ of Treblinka and Sobibor, forgetting Belzec, and also not one word about those camps now called “Action Reinhard Camps”, as in Reinhard Heydrich. One has to wonder when this story was concocted, the Deschner book published in 1977. Then of course there is the spelling, at times it is spelled “Reinhardt”, as in Fritz Reinhardt of the economics ministry but the spelling “Reinhard” is preferred to implicate Heydrich (I wrote a short essay on this also outlining a few issues )

Deschner fills pages, trying to make Heydrich into a mass murderer, but he is not successful. This is why this IfZ scribbler von Schmoller I mentioned in Part I has a problem with the book; Deschner comes too close to the truth, contradicting the mass murder stories, lies.

To be continued…

Written by Wilfried Heink in: Holocaust,National Socialism | Tags: