Branch: Waffen SS
Born: 7 March 1904 in Halle an der Saale, Germany.
Died: 4 June 1942 in Prague-Liben, Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia (now Czech Republic).
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich was born on 7 March 1904 in Halle an der Saale, Germany and became a high-ranking German National Socialist official during World War II, and one of the main architects of The Holocaust. He was SS-Obergruppenführer (Lieutenant-general) and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office (including the Gestapo, and Kripo) and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor (Deputy Reich-Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia. In August 1940 he was appointed and served as President of Interpol (the international law enforcement agency). Reinhard Heydrich chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, which laid out plans for the final solution to the Jewish Question the deportation and extermination of all Jews in German-occupied territory.
Historians regard him as the darkest figure within the Nazi elite, and Adolf Hitler christened him the man with the iron heart. He was the founding head of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), an intelligence organisation tasked with seeking out and neutralising resistance to the National Socialist Party via arrests, deportations, and murder. He was an organiser of Kristallnacht, a series of co-ordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9-10 November 1938, carried out by SA stormtroopers and civilians, one of the early events of the Holocaust. Upon his arrival in Prague, Reinhard Heydrich sought to eliminate opposition to the Nazi occupation through the suppression of the Czech culture and the deportation and execution of members of the Czech resistance.
He was attacked in Prague on 27 May 1942 by a British-trained team of Czech and Slovak soldiers who had been sent on behalf of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile to kill him in an operation code named Operation Anthropoid. He died from his injuries a week later. Intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the towns of Lidice and Leáky. Lidice was razed to the ground all adult males were executed, and all but a handful of its women and children were deported and killed in Nazi concentration camps.
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich was born in 1904 in Halle an der Saale to composer and opera singer Richard Bruno Reinhard Heydrich and his wife Elisabeth Anna Maria Amalia Krantz, a Roman Catholic. His two forenames were patriotic musical references: Reinhard was the name of the tragic hero from Amen, an opera written by his father, while Tristan stems from Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. His third name, Eugen, was the name of his late maternal grandfather, Professor Eugen Krantz, who had been the director of the Dresden Royal Conservatory. Reinhard Heydrich was born into a family of social standing and substantial financial means. Music was a part of Reinhard Heydrich's everyday life his father was the founder of the Halle Conservatory of Music. His mother was a piano instructor there. Reinhard Heydrich developed a passion for the violin, a passion he carried into his adult life he impressed listeners with his musical talent.
His father was a German nationalist who instilled patriotic ideas in the minds of his three children, but was not affiliated with any political party until after World War I. The Reinhard Heydrich household was strict. As a youth, Reinhard Heydrich engaged his younger brother, Heinz, in mock fencing duels. Reinhard Heydrich was very intelligent and excelled in his schoolwork at the Reformgymnasium, especially in science. A talented athlete, he became an expert swimmer and fencer. He was shy, insecure, and was frequently bullied for his high-pitched voice. Reinhard Heydrich was often mocked in his youth, being nicknamed Moses Handel owing to rumours that he had Jewish ancestry. Years later, Wilhelm Canaris said he had obtained photocopies proving Reinhard Heydrich's Jewish ancestry, but these photocopies never surfaced. Rudolf Jordan also made the claim that Reinhard Heydrich was not a pure Aryan. Reinhard Heydrich ordered Schutzstaffel (SS) researchers to investigate the rumour. They established that he had no Jewish ancestors. Achim Gercke concluded that Reinhard Heydrich was a pure Aryan.
In 1918, World War I ended with Germany's defeat. In late February 1919, civil unrest took place in Reinhard Heydrich's home town of Halle, including strikes and clashes between communist and anti-communist groups. Under Defense Minister Gustav Noske's directives, a right-wing paramilitary unit was formed and ordered to recapture Halle. Reinhard Heydrich, then 15 years old, joined Maercker's Volunteer Rifles (the first Freikorps unit). After the end of the skirmishes, Reinhard Heydrich was part of the force assigned to protect private property. Little is known as to his role, but the events left a strong impression it was a political awakening for him. He joined the Deutschvölkischer Schutz und Trutzbund (The National German Protection and Shelter League), an anti-Semitic
As a result of the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, hyperinflation spread across Germany and many people lost their life savings. By 1921, these events greatly reduced the ability of the people of Halle to afford a musical education at Bruno Reinhard Heydrich's conservatory. This led to a financial crisis for the Reinhard Heydrich family.
In 1922 Reinhard Heydrich joined the Navy, taking advantage of the security, structure, and pension it offered. He became a naval cadet at Germany's chief naval base at Kiel. On 1 April 1924 he was promoted to senior midshipman and sent off to officer training at the Mürwik Naval College.In 1926 he advanced to the rank of ensign (Leutnant zur See) and was assigned as a signals officer on the battleship Schleswig-Holstein, the flagship of the German North Sea Fleet. With the promotion came greater recognition he received good evaluations from his superiors. He had fewer problems with other crewmen, but the increased rank drove his ambition and arrogance.
Reinhard Heydrich became a notorious womaniser, having countless affairs. In December 1930 he attended a rowing club ball and met Lina von Osten. The two became romantically involved and soon announced their engagement. Lina was already a National Socialist Party follower she had attended her first rally in 1929. Reinhard Heydrich was dismissed from the navy by Admiral Erich Raeder in April 1931 after being charged with conduct unbecoming to an officer and a gentleman for breaking an engagement promise to a woman he had known for six months prior to the engagement to Lina. Reinhard Heydrich was devastated, but he remained engaged to Lina von Osten. He found himself with no prospects for a career. Reinhard Heydrich and von Osten married in December 1931.
Career in the military and SS
In 1931, Heinrich Himmler began setting up a counterintelligence division of the SS. Acting on the advice of his associate Karl von Eberstein, who was a friend of Lina von Osten, Heinrich Himmler interviewed Reinhard Heydrich. Heinrich Himmler was impressed and hired him immediately. His pay was 180 reichsmarks per month (40 USD). His NSDAP number was 544,916 and his SS number was 10,120.Reinhard Heydrich later received a Totenkopfring from Heinrich Himmler for his service.
On 1 August 1931 Reinhard Heydrich began his job as chief of the new 'Ic Service' (intelligence service). He set up his office at the Brown House, the National Socialist Party headquarters in Munich. By October he had created a network of spies and informers for intelligence-gathering purposes and to obtain information to be used as blackmail to further political aims. Information on thousands of people was recorded on index cards stored at the Brown House. To mark the occasion of Reinhard Heydrich's December wedding, Heinrich Himmler promoted him to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer (major). In just over fifteen months, Reinhard Heydrich had surpassed his former navy rank and was making what was considered a comfortable salary.
In 1932 a number of Reinhard Heydrich's enemies began to spread rumours of his possible Jewish ancestry. Within the Nazi organisation such innuendo could be deadly, even for the head of the Reich's counterintelligence service. An investigation was conducted by National Socialist Party racial expert Dr. Achim Gercke into Reinhard Heydrich's genealogy. Dr Gercke reported that Reinhard Heydrich was ... of German origin and free from any coloured and Jewish blood.
In the summer of 1932, Heinrich Himmler appointed Reinhard Heydrich chief of the renamed security service the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). Reinhard Heydrich's counterintelligence service grew into an effective machine of terror and intimidation. With Adolf Hitler striving for absolute power in Germany, Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich wished to control the political police forces of all 17 German states, and they began with the state of Bavaria. In 1933, Reinhard Heydrich gathered some of his men from the SD and together they stormed police headquarters in Munich and took over the police using intimidation tactics. Heinrich Himmler became the Munich police chief and Reinhard Heydrich became the commander of Department IV, which controlled the political police.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, and through a series of decrees became Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor) of Germany. Originally intended to house political opponents, the first concentration camps were set up in early 1933, and by the end of the year there were over fifty of them.
The Gestapo was originally founded in 1933 as a Prussian police force by Hermann Göring. When Hermann Göring transferred full authority over the Gestapo to Heinrich Himmler in April 1934, it immediately became an instrument of terror under the purview of the SS. Heinrich Himmler named Reinhard Heydrich the head of the Gestapo on 22 April 1934.
At this point, the SS was still part of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the early Nazi paramilitary organisation. Beginning in April 1934, and at Adolf Hitler's request, Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Himmler began building a dossier on SA leader Ernst Röhm in an effort to remove him as a rival for leadership of the party. At Adolf Hitler's direction, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Göring, and Viktor Lutze drew up lists of those who should be liquidated, starting with seven top SA officials and including many more. On 30 June 1934 the SS and Gestapo acted in coordinated mass arrests that continued throughout the weekend. Ernst Röhm was shot without trial, along with the leadership of the SA. This Nazi purge became known as the Night of the Long Knives. Up to 200 people were killed in the purge. Lutze was appointed new head of the SA, and it was converted into a sports and training organisation.
With the SA out of the way, Reinhard Heydrich began building the Gestapo into an instrument of fear. He improved his index card system, creating categories of offenders, and using color-coded cards. The Gestapo had the authority to arrest citizens on the suspicion that they might commit a crime, and the definition of a crime was at their discretion. The Gestapo Law, passed in 1936, gave the police force the right to act outside the law. This led to the sweeping use of Schutzhaft protective custody, a euphemism for the power to imprison people without judicial proceedings.The courts were not allowed to investigate or interfere. The Gestapo was considered to be acting legally as long as it was carrying out the will of the leadership. People were arrested arbitrarily, sent to concentration camps, or killed.
Heinrich Himmler began developing the notion of a Germanic religion and wanted SS members to leave the church. In early 1936, Reinhard Heydrich left the Catholic Church. His wife, Lina, had already done so the year before. Reinhard Heydrich not only felt he could no longer be a member, but came to consider the political power (and influence) of the church a danger to the state.
On 17 June 1936 all police forces throughout Germany were united, with Heinrich Himmler as the chief. On 26 June, Heinrich Himmler reorganised the police into two groups: the Ordnungspolizei (Orpo), which consisted of the national uniformed police and the municipal police, and the Sicherheitspolizei (SiPo), which consisted of the Gestapo and the Kripo or Kriminalpolizei (criminal police). At that point, Reinhard Heydrich was head of the SiPo and SD. Heinrich Müller was the chief of operations of the Gestapo.
Reinhard Heydrich was assigned to help organise the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin. The games were used to promote the propaganda aims of the National Socialist Regime. Goodwill ambassadors were sent to countries that were considering a boycott. Anti-Jewish violence was forbidden for the duration, and news stands were required to stop displaying copies of Der Stuermer. For his part in the success of the Games, Reinhard Heydrich was awarded the Deutsches Olympiaehrenzeichen or German Olympic Games Decoration (First Class).
In mid-1939 Reinhard Heydrich created the Stiftung Nordhav Foundation to obtain real estate for use of the SS and Security Police as guest houses and vacation spots.The Wannsee Villa, which the Stiftung Nordhav acquired in November 1940, was the site of the Wannsee Conference (20 January 1942), a meeting Reinhard Heydrich held with senior officials of the National Socialist Regime to formalise plans for the deportation and extermination of all Jews in German-occupied territory, and in countries not yet conquered.This action was to be coordinated among the representatives from the Nazi state agencies present at the meeting.
On 27 September 1939 the SD and SiPo (made up of the Gestapo and the Kripo) were folded into the new Reich Main Security Office or SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA), which was placed under Reinhard Heydrich's control. The title of Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD (Chief of the Security Police and SD) or CSSD was conferred on Reinhard Heydrich on 1 October. Reinhard Heydrich became the President of Interpol on 24 August 1940, and its headquarters were transferred to Berlin. He was promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei on 24 September 1941.
In 1936, the SD received information that a top ranking Soviet officer was plotting to overthrow Joseph Stalin. Sensing an opportunity to strike a blow at both the Soviet Army as well as Admiral Wilhelm Canaris of the German Abwehr, Reinhard Heydrich decided the Russian officers should be unmasked. Reinhard Heydrich discussed the matter with Heinrich Himmler and both in turn brought it to Adolf Hitler's attention. Unknown to Reinhard Heydrich, the information that he received about the plot was actually misinformation planted by Stalin himself, in an attempt to make his purges of the Red Army high command believable. Stalin ordered one of his best NKVD agents, General Nikolai Skoblin, to pass Reinhard Heydrich the false information suggesting a plot against Stalin by Marshall Mikhail Tukhachevsky and other Soviet generals. Reinhard Heydrich received approval from Adolf Hitler to act immediately on the information. Reinhard Heydrich's SD forged a series of documents and correspondence implicating Tukhachevsky and other Red Army commanders. The material was delivered to the NKVD. The Great Purge of the Red Army followed upon orders of Stalin. While Reinhard Heydrich believed they had successfully deluded Stalin into executing or dismissing some 35,000 of his officer corps, the importance of Reinhard Heydrich's part is a matter of speculation and conjecture. The forged documents were not used by Soviet military prosecutors against the generals in their secret trial, which instead relied on false confessions extorted or beaten out of the defendants.
By late 1940, German armies had swept through most of Western Europe. In 1941, Reinhard Heydrich's SD was given the responsibility of carrying out the Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) decree, designed to seize persons endangering German security. According to the decree, suspects had to be arrested in a maximally discreet way under the cover of night and fog. People disappeared without a trace and no one was told of their whereabouts or their eventual fate. For each prisoner, the SD was required to fill out a questionnaire that listed their personal information, their country of origin, and the details of their crimes against the Reich. This questionnaire was to be put into an envelope inscribed with a seal that read Nacht und Nebel and submitted to the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA). In the WVHA Central Inmate File, as in many camp files, these prisoners would be given a special covert prisoner code, as opposed to the code for POW, Felon, Jew, Gypsy, etc. This decree remained in effect after Reinhard Heydrich's death. The exact number of people who vanished under this decree has never been positively established, but it is estimated to be 7,000.
On 27 September 1941 Reinhard Heydrich was appointed Deputy Reich Protector of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (the part of Czechoslovakia incorporated into the Reich on 15 March 1939). The Reich Protector, Konstantin von Neurath, remained titular Protector, but was sent on leave, and Reinhard Heydrich assumed effective government of the territory, as Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Reinhard Heydrich felt Konstantin von Neurath'ssoft approach to the Czechs had promoted anti-German sentiment and encouraged anti-German resistance via strikes and sabotage. Reinhard Heydrich told his aides upon his appointment, We will Germanize the Czech vermin.
Reinhard Heydrich came to Prague to enforce policy, fight resistance to the National Socialist Regime, and keep up production quotas of Czech motors and arms that were extremely important to the German war effort. Reinhard Heydrich viewed the area as a bulwark of Germandom and condemned the stabs in the back by the Czech resistance. To realise his goals Reinhard Heydrich demanded racial classification of those who could and could not be Germanized. He explained, ... making this Czech garbage into Germans must give way to methods based on racist thought.Reinhard Heydrich started his rule by terrorising the population: within three days of his arrival in Prague, 92 people were executed, with their names appearing on posters throughout the occupied region. Almost all avenues by which Czechs could act Czech in public were closed. According to Reinhard Heydrich's estimate between 4,000 and 5,000 people had been arrested by February 1942. Those who were not executed were sent to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, where only four per cent of Czech prisoners survived the war. In March 1942, further sweeps against Czech cultural and patriotic organisations, military, and intelligentsia resulted in the practical paralysis of Czech resistance. Although small disorganised cells of Central Leadership of Home Resistance (Ústrední vedení odboje domácího, ÚVOD) survived, only the communist resistance was able to function in a coordinated manner (although it also suffered arrests). The terror also served to paralyse resistance in society, with public and widespread reprisals against any action resisting the German rule. Reinhard Heydrich's brutal policies during that time quickly earned him the nickname the Butcher of Prague.
As the Acting Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich applied carrot-and-stick methods. Labour was reorganised on the basis of the German Labour Front. Reinhard Heydrich used equipment confiscated from the Czech organisation Sokol to organise events for workers. The black market was suppressed, with food given out in worker cafeterias. Food rations and free shoes were given out, pensions were increased, and (for some time) free Saturdays were introduced. Unemployment insurance was established for the first time. Those associated with the resistance movement or the black market were tortured or executed. Reinhard Heydrich described those harshly dealt with as economic criminals and enemies of the people in the press, which helped gain him support. Conditions in Prague and the rest of the Czech lands were relatively peaceful under Reinhard Heydrich, and industrial output increased. Still, those measures could not hide shortages and increasing inflation, and reports grew of growing discontent.
Despite public displays of goodwill towards the Czechs, privately Reinhard Heydrich made no illusions as to his eventual goal: This entire area will one day be definitely German, and the Czechs have nothing to expect here. Eventually up to two-thirds of Czechs were to be either be removed to regions of Russia or exterminated after Nazi Germany won the war. Bohemia and Moravia were to be annexed directly into the German Reich.
The Czech workforce was exploited as conscripted labour by the Nazis. More than 100,000 workers were removed from unsuitable jobs and conscripted by the Ministry of Labour by December 1941, Czechs could be called to work anywhere within the Reich. Between April and November 1942, 79,000 Czech workers were taken in this manner for work within Nazi Germany. Also in February 1942, the work day was increased from eight hours to twelve.
Reinhard Heydrich was, for all intents and purposes, military dictator of Bohemia and Moravia. His changes to the government's structure left President Emil Hacha and his cabinet virtually powerless. He often drove alone in a car with an open roof a show of his confidence in the occupation forces and in the effectiveness of his government.
Summary of career
Reinhard Heydrich's time in the SS was a mixture of rapid promotions, reserve commissions in the regular armed forces, and front-line combat service. During his 11 years with the SS, Reinhard Heydrich truly rose from the ranks, being appointed to every rank from private to full general. He was also a major in the Luftwaffe, flying nearly one hundred combat missions until 22 July 1941, when his plane was hit by Soviet anti-aircraft fire. Reinhard Heydrich made an emergency landing behind enemy lines. He evaded a Soviet patrol and met up with a forward German patrol. After this Reinhard Heydrich returned to Berlin and resumed his SS duties. His service record also gives him credit as a Reserve Lieutenant in the Navy, although during World War II Reinhard Heydrich had no contact at all with this military branch.
Reinhard Heydrich was the recipient of several high-ranking Nazi and military awards, including the German Order, Blood Order, Golden Party Badge, bronze and silver combat mission bars, and the Iron Cross First and Second Classes.
Role in the Holocaust
Historians regard Reinhard Heydrich as the most feared member of the National Socialist elite Adolf Hitler called him the man with the iron heart. He was one of the main architects of the Holocaust during the early years of the war, answering only to and taking orders from Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring, and Heinrich Himmler in all matters that pertained to the deportation, imprisonment, and extermination of Jews.
Reinhard Heydrich was one of the organisers of Kristallnacht, a pogrom against Jews throughout Germany on the night of 9-10 November 1938. Reinhard Heydrich sent a telegram that night to various SD and Gestapo offices, helping to coordinate the program with the SS, SD, Gestapo, uniformed police (Orpo), National Socialist Party officials, and even the fire departments. It talks about permitting arson and destruction of Jewish businesses and synagogues, and orders the taking of all archival material out of Jewish community centres and synagogues. The telegram ordered that as many Jews particularly affluent Jews are to be arrested in all districts as can be accommodated in existing detention facilities ... Immediately after the arrests have been carried out, the appropriate concentration camps should be contacted to place the Jews into camps as quickly as possible. Twenty thousand Jews were sent to concentration camps in the days immediately following Kristallnacht is considered as the beginning of the Holocaust by historians.
When Adolf Hitler required a pretext for the invasion of Poland in 1939, Reinhard Heydrich was placed in charge of the false flag plan code named Operation Himmler, a fake attack on the German radio station at Gleiwitz on 31 August 1939. Reinhard Heydrich worked out the plan of the operation and toured the site, which was about four miles from the border with Poland. Wearing Polish uniforms, 150 German troops carried out a group of attacks along the border that Adolf Hitler then used as an excuse to launch his planned invasion.
On 21 September 1939 Reinhard Heydrich sent out a teleprinter message to the chiefs of all Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police with a subject of Jewish question in the occupied territory. It contained instructions on how to round up Jewish people for placement into ghettos, called for the formation of Judenrat (Jewish councils), ordered a census, contained Aryanization plans for Jewish-owned businesses and farms, and discussed other measures. The Einsatzgruppen followed the army into Poland for this purpose. Later, in the Soviet Union, they were tasked with rounding up and killing Jews, by gunshot and using gas vans. By the end of the war, the Einsatzgruppen had murdered over one million people, including over 700,000 in Russia alone.
On 29 November 1939 he sent out a cable regarding the Evacuation of New Eastern Provinces, describing details of the deportation of people by railway to concentration camps, and giving guidance surrounding the December 1939 census, which would be the basis on which those deportations were formed. In May 1941, Heyrdrich drew up regulations with Quartermaster general Eduard Wagner for the upcoming invasion of the Soviet Union that ensured that the Einsatzgruppen and army would cooperate in murdering Soviet Jews.
On 10 October 1941 Reinhard Heydrich was the senior officer at a meeting in Prague that discussed deporting 50,000 Jewish people from the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia to ghettos in Minsk and Riga. Also discussed was the taking of 5,000 Jewish people from Prague in the next few weeks and handing them over to the Einsatzgruppen commanders Arthur Nebe and Otto Rasch. The creation of ghettos in the Protectorate was planned, which resulted in the construction of Theresienstadt, where 33,000 people would eventually die. Tens of thousands more would pass through the camp on their way to their deaths in the East. In 1941 Heinrich Himmler named Reinhard Heydrich as responsible for implementing the forced movement of 60,000 Jewish people from Germany and Czechoslovakia to the Lodz (Litzmannstadt) Ghetto in Poland.
On 20 January 1942 Reinhard Heydrich chaired the Wannsee Conference, at which he presented to the heads of a number of German Government departments a plan for the deportation and transporting of 11 million Jewish people from every country in Europe, to be worked to death or killed outright in extermination camps.
Under suitable direction, the Jews should be brought to the East in the course of the Final Solution, for use as labour. In large labour gangs, with the sexes separated, the Jews capable of work will be transported to those areas and set to road-building, in the course of which, without doubt, a large part of them (ein großteil) will fall away through natural losses. The surviving remnant, surely those with the greatest powers of resistance, will be given special treatment, since, if freed, they would constitute the germinal cell for the re-creation of Jewry.
from Reinhard Heydrich's speech at the Wannsee Conference, January 1942
Death in Prague
In London, the Czechoslovak government-in-exile resolved to kill Reinhard Heydrich. Jan Kubi and Jozef Gabcík headed the team chosen for the operation. After receiving training from the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), they returned to the Protectorate by parachute on 28 December 1941, dropped from a Handley Page Halifax. They lived in hiding, preparing for the assassination attempt.
On 27 May 1942 Reinhard Heydrich was scheduled to attend a meeting with Adolf Hitler in Berlin. German documents suggest that Adolf Hitler intended to transfer Reinhard Heydrich to German-occupied France, where the French resistance had started to gain ground. Reinhard Heydrich would have to pass a section where the Dresden-Prague road merged with a road to the Troja Bridge. The intersection, in the Prague suburb of Liben, was well-suited for the attack because Reinhard Heydrich's car would have to slow to negotiate a hairpin turn. As the car slowed to take the turn, Gabcík took aim with a Sten sub-machine gun, but it jammed and failed to fire. Instead of ordering his driver to speed away, Reinhard Heydrich called his car to a halt in an attempt to take on the attackers. Kubi then threw a bomb (a converted anti-tank mine) at the rear of the car as it was coming to a halt. The explosion wounded Reinhard Heydrich and Kubi.
When the smoke cleared, Reinhard Heydrich emerged from the wreckage with his gun in his hand he chased Kubi and tried to return fire. Kubi jumped on his bicycle and pedalled away. Reinhard Heydrich ran after him for half a block but became weak from shock. He sent his driver, Klein, to chase Gabcík on foot. In the ensuing firefight, Gabcík shot Klein in the leg and escaped to a safe house. Reinhard Heydrich, still with pistol in hand, gripped the left side of his back, which was bleeding profusely.
A Czech woman went to Reinhard Heydrich's aid and flagged down a delivery van. Reinhard Heydrich was first placed in the driver's cab, but after complaining that the movement of the truck was causing him pain, he was placed in the back of the truck, lying on his stomach, and taken to the emergency room at Na Bulovce Hospital. He had suffered severe injuries to his left side, with major damage to his diaphragm, spleen, and lung, as well as a broken rib. Dr. Slanina packed the chest wound, while Dr. Walter Diek tried unsuccessfully to remove the splinters. He immediately decided to operate. This was carried out by Drs. Diek, Slanina, and Hohlbaum. Reinhard Heydrich was given several blood transfusions. A splenectomy was performed. The chest wound, left lung, and diaphragm were all debrided and the wounds closed.Heinrich Himmler ordered Dr. Karl Gebhardt to fly to Prague to take over Reinhard Heydrich's care. Despite a fever, his recovery appeared to progress well. Dr. Theodor Morell, Adolf Hitler's personal doctor, suggested the use of Sulfonamide a new antibiotic, but Dr. Gebhardt refused, as he thought Reinhard Heydrich would recover.On 2 June, during a visit by Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich reconciled himself to his fate by reciting a part of one of his father's operas:
The world is just a barrel-organ which the Lord God turns Himself.
We all have to dance to the tune which is already on the drum.
Reinhard Heydrich slipped into a coma after Heinrich Himmler's visit, and never regained consciousness. He died on 4 June, probably around 4:30 am, at the age of 38. The autopsy states that he died of sepsis. Reinhard Heydrich's facial expression as he died betrayed an uncanny spirituality and entirely perverted beauty, like a renaissance Cardinal, according to Dr. Bernhard Wehner, a police official who investigated the assassination.
After an elaborate funeral in Prague, Reinhard Heydrich's coffin was placed on a train to Berlin, where a second ceremony was held in the new Reich Chancellery. Adolf Hitler attended, and placed Reinhard Heydrich's decorations on his funeral pillow, including the highest grade of the German Order and the Blood Order Medal. Although Reinhard Heydrich's death was employed as pro-Reich propaganda, Adolf Hitler seemed privately to blame Reinhard Heydrich for his own death, through carelessness:
Since it is opportunity which makes not only the thief but also the assassin, such heroic gestures as driving in an open, unarmoured vehicle or walking about the streets unguarded are just damned stupidity, which serves the Fatherland not one whit. That a man as irreplaceable as Reinhard Heydrich should expose himself to unnecessary danger, I can only condemn as stupid and idiotic.
Reinhard Heydrich was buried in Berlin's Invalidenfriedhof, a military cemetery. The location of the grave in the Invalidenfriedhof is not entirely certain, as the temporary wooden grave marker disappeared when the Red Army overran the city in 1945. The marker was never replaced, because the Allies and Berlin authorities feared Reinhard Heydrich's grave would become a rallying point for Neo-Nazis. A photograph of Reinhard Heydrich's burial shows the wreaths and mourners to be in section A, which abuts the north wall of the Invalidenfriedhof and Scharnhorststraße, at the front of the cemetery. A recent biography of Reinhard Heydrich also places the grave in Section A. Adolf Hitler wanted Reinhard Heydrich to have a monumental tomb, but as a result of the downhill course of the war, it was never built.
After the war the judicial system of West Germany awarded Reinhard Heydrich's widow a federal pension. The couple had four children: Klaus, born in 1933 Heider, born in 1934 Silke, born in 1939 and Marte, born shortly after her father's death in 1942. Klaus was killed in a traffic accident in 1943. Lina wrote a memoir, Leben mit einem Kriegsverbrecher (Living With a War Criminal), which was published in 1976. She remarried once and died in 1985.
Reinhard Heydrich's assailants hid in safe houses, and eventually took refuge in Ss. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, an Orthodox church in Prague. Their location was betrayed by a traitor in the Czech resistance. The church was surrounded by eight hundred members of the SS and Gestapo. Several Czechs were killed, and the remainder hid in the crypt of the church. The Germans attempted to flush the men out with gunfire, tear gas, and by flooding the crypt. Eventually an entrance was created with explosives. Rather than surrender, the soldiers took their own lives. Supporters of the assassins who were killed in the wake of these events included the church's leader, Bishop Gorazd, who is now revered as a martyr of the Orthodox Church.
Infuriated by Reinhard Heydrich's death, Adolf Hitler ordered the arrest and execution of 10,000 randomly selected Czechs, but after consultations with Karl Hermann Frank, he reduced his response, because the Czech lands were an important industrial zone for the German military, and indiscriminate killing could reduce the productivity of the region. Adolf Hitler ordered a quick investigation. Intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the towns of Lidice and Leáky. Upon Heinrich Himmler's orders, the Nazi retaliation was brutal. Over 13,000 people were arrested, deported, and imprisoned. Beginning on 10 June, all males over the age of 16 in the village of Lidice, 22 km north-west of Prague, and the village of Leáky, were murdered. All but four of the women were deported immediately to Ravensbrück concentration camp four were pregnant they were forcibly aborted at the same hospital where Reinhard Heydrich had died and then sent to the concentration camp. A number of children were chosen for Germanization. However, 81 children were killed in gas vans at the Chelmno extermination camp. The towns were burned and the ruins of Lidice were levelled. At least 1,300 people were massacred after Reinhard Heydrich's death.
Reinhard Heydrich's replacements were Ernst Kaltenbrunner as the chief of RSHA, and Karl Hermann Frank 27-28 May 1942 and Kurt Daluege 28 May 1942 to 14 October 1943 as the new acting Reichsprotektors.
After Reinhard Heydrich's death, his legacy lived on the first three death camps were constructed and put into operation at Treblinka, Sobibór, and Belzec. The project was named Operation Reinhard in Reinhard Heydrich's honour.
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