The History of the SS

I -1 y G.S.Graber G.S.Graber bfetom Never before has the history of the SS—the Nazi party's military a - pdf za darmo

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Story Transcript


-1

I

y

G.S.Graber

G.S.Graber

bfetom

Never before has the history of the

SS— the Nazi

party's

military

arm-

been given in such an easy-to-digest form, woven around the life and career of SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Avoiding the usual dry chronological recital of facts, G. S. Graber reveals

known how the

aspects of the SS not widely

before now: the SS rituals;

SS also functioned as a business

or-

and how the key SS men (Himmler, Heydrich, Eichmann and others) operated within the SS— and

ganization;

often against each other.

Throughout the narrative

the

main

historical points in the history of the

SS

stand

out:

the

occupation

Europe; the Kristallnacht; the

of

assassi-

nation of Heydrich; the suppression

(continued on back flap)

Book Club Edition

HISTORY OF THE SS G. S.

David

Graber

McKay Company, New York

Inc.

Copyright

©

1978 by G.

S.

Graber

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this

book, or parts thereof, in any form, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

Manufactured in the United States of America

To my wife Phyl,

in love

and gratitude

CONTENTS 1

The Man on

2

Consolidation, Growth, and Internal Strife

3

6

The The The The

7

Kristallnacht

8

The SS as a Business Corporation The SS Abroad before the War The Last Days of Reinhard Heydrich The Occupation of Europe Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto The SS after July 20, 1944 Adolf Eichmann the NCO as Visionary Heinrich Himmler— the End of the Road The SS and Human Behavior The SS in History The SS Since the War

4 5

9

10 11

12 13

14 15

16 17 18

the Motorcycle

Triumph

of Black over

1

Brown

Occupation of Germany Predators

Prey

:

Appendix: Organizational Structure of SS Index

24 45 59 74 88 96 104 116 129 135

154 162 175

188 195 201

204 213 219

At

the time of the capitulation of Germany there were half a million men, the greater part of them foreigners, wearing the insignia of the SS on their German uniforms. In addition to the Armed SS there were tens of thousands of office employees who belonged to the General SS and there were hundreds of high-placed German officials who belonged to the Honorary SS. Among the activities of the SS there were offices whose concern was Germanic archaeology and ancestral research, other offices devoted to forging foreign banknotes, collecting information on alchemy and astrology, institutes for the cultivation of medicinal herbs and wild rubber roots. The SS also controlled a mineral water and a porcelain factory, numerous .

.

.

nightclubs in foreign capitals and a publishing firm.

Gerald Reitlinger,

The SS:

Alibi of a Nation.

HISTORY OF THE SS

1

THE MAN ON THE MOTORCYCLE On

February 25, 1924, a man in his early twenties heavily muffled was to be seen roaring on a secondhand Swedish motorcycle from one village to another in Lower Bavaria. He had a against the cold,

slightly receding chin,

wore

spectacles,

was of medium

height, and,

apart from a slightly mongoloid quality about his features,

was

indis-

tinguishable from thousands of lower-middle-class officials you might

have come across in any German town of the time. He could have been standing behind a bank counter, he might have studied your income tax returns, or he could have been a teacher at the local school. His name was Heinrich Himmler, and he was to become the most notorious mass murderer of all time. Presently he was doing his bit

and taking himself very seriously indeed in the procnumber of institutions and people. He abhorred the Jews, he could not abide Freemasons, he conveyed a profound hatred for capitalism, almost matched by his intense aversion to Bolshevism. What he was for was not so easy to discern. One group which almost certainly captured his enthusiasm was the peasantry. He never really understood town life, and what he knew of it for his country ess.

He was

repelled him. timeless,

against a large

By

contrast, the picture of the noble peasant at his

simple work was irresistibly attractive to Himmler.

knew, from

his

agricultural studies,

He

something about herbs, and

learned things from their cultivation which were to influence him in his later theories

on human breeding.

When

he got home at the end of the day, he wrote in his diary: "23 February, speeches in Eggmuhl, Lanwaid, and Birnbach. 24 February, discussions in Kelheim and Saal followed by individual enlightenment. 25 February, lecture in Rohr, one and a half hours."

Himmler was born of 2

in

Munich

in

Hildegardstrasse on October

Himmler, made

an apartment on the second floor 7,

1900. His father, Gebhard

his living as a private tutor

and numbered among

his

students Prince Heinrich of Wittelsbach of the reigning Bavarian

HISTORY OF THE

2

SS

royal family. In a pedantic, self-effacing letter to the prince, the elder

Himmler announced among other things that his new son weighed The prince responded politely, gave permission for the baby to be named after him, and accepted the role of godfather. However trivial such a gesture may appear in retrospect, at the time there is no doubt that the young Heinrich had the Estabseven pounds, three ounces.

lishment very firmly on his side.

There

were

three

Himmler

sons.

Gebhard

junior

preceded

Heinrich by two years while, Ernst, the youngest, was born in 1905.

A

great deal of speculation has occurred about the nature of

Himmler's family conscious,

it

is

life.

In an age replete with investigation of the sub-

not surprising that any attempt to explain Heinrich

Himmler should be larded with psychological

conjecture. Unfortu-

amateur psychologists have been given very little to go on. There is nothing in Heinrich Himmler's background to explain why he should have developed into a monster. Almost out of pique, one biographer, Gerald Reitlinger, has described Himmler's family life as "depressingly normal." It was certainly normal, but why this should be depressing throws more light on the biographer than it does on Himmler.

nately,

In fact, such reports of Himmler's father that have been gathered

show

that he was a relatively genial man, something of a pedant who, most teachers of his time, spent considerable energy in relating to his students the benefits of hard work. He sported a small goatee beard, and surviving photographs display a definite twinkle in his eyes. His library contained a great number of works on German history—evidently a subject which absorbed him. No doubt he passed this interest on to his sons. Himmler's mother was a shadowy figure, devoutly Catholic and firmly entrenched in middle-class values. If you do not know that you are going to become famous or infamous, there is no reason to maintain a family record to lighten the work of future historians. Thus the only source material on the young Heinrich Himmler are the diaries he kept, and these do not create a continuous record. He started a diary on August 23, 1914, about six weeks before his fourteenth birthday. But intervals between entries became longer and longer. He would start again, usually announcing that it was typical of his inherent laziness and self-indulgence that he had permitted such long gaps to occur. It was only by accident that these diaries ever came to light. In the heyday of souvenir hunting which appears to have constituted the main activity of the American GFs at the cessation of hostilities in 1945, one soldier found them in Himmler's villa at Gmund on the like

The Man on

the Motorcycle

3

came to the attention of them home together with

Tegernsee, a lake in Bavaria. Their existence

an American intelligence

officer.

He

sent

mementos of his war career. There they sat until 1957, possibly shown with some pride to house guests after dinner. Then, in 1957, the ex-intelligence officer came into contact with an American historian who, not surprisingly, pounced on this "find" and persuaded the owner to deposit the diaries at the Hoover Institute. The historian has described the diaries in the following way: "They consist of six cheap, soft-covered notebooks of varying size. The first covers 23 August 1914 to 26 September 1915 and has some isolated shorthand notes for 1916. The second covers 1 August 1919 to 2 February 1920. It contains, in a rear pocket, a number of keepsakes: other

occasionally

girls, an ice-rink ticket, a guitar ribbon and an unused theater ticket. The third notebook covers 1 November 1921 to 12 December 1921. Other periods are 12 January 1922 to 6 July 1922 and 11 to 25 February 1925." The documents reveal some clues to Himmler's formative years. By the time the First World War broke out, the Himmler family had moved to Landshut, a town to the northeast of Munich. Heinrich's

snapshots of unidentified inscribed with a date,

diary of the period of the war.

is

understandably

full

of references to the progress

Sometimes he would simply copy down information gar-

nered from the official Army bulletins or the fuller reports in the newspaper to which the family subscribed, the Miinchner Neueste Nachrichten. Such personal asides as he would interpose consisted of passages condemning the local citizenry of Landshut for not showing sufficient enthusiasm for the war. He also repeatedly expressed profound regret that he was too young to join the Army. When his brother Gebhard, the elder by two years, enlisted in the Landsturm in 1915, Himmler wrote, "Oh, if only I were as old as that and could go

He nagged at his father. Surely he could pull some Court to expedite Heinrich's entry into the Army. The father succumbed to his son's entreaties, and in late 1917 Heinrich Himmler entered the Second Bavarian Infantry Regiment, the Von der Tann. Meanwhile Prince Heinrich had been killed in action and Himmler's father received a letter from the Court which informed him that "The J. N. Oberndorffer Bank, 18 Salvatorstrasse, Munich, has been instructed to send you 1000 5% Germa...

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