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Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (pronounced   ( listen) 7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945) was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and later the Minister of the Interior, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo (Secret State Police). Serving as Reichsführer and later as Commander of the Replacement (Home) Army and General Plenipotentiary for the entire Reich's administration (Generalbevollmächtigter für die Verwaltung), Himmler rose to become the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany.

As overseer of the concentration camps, extermination camps, and Einsatzgruppen (literally: task forces, often used as killing squads), Himmler coordinated the killing of some six million Jews, between 200,000 and 500,000 Roma, many prisoners of war, and possibly another three to four million Poles, communists, or other groups whom the Nazis deemed unworthy to live or simply "in the way", including homosexuals, people with physical and mental disabilities, Jehovah's Witnesses and members of the Confessing Church. Shortly before the end of the war, he offered to surrender both Germany and himself to the Western Allies if he were spared prosecution. After being arrested by British forces, he committed suicide before he could be questioned.

Heinrich Himmler was born in Munich to a Roman Catholic Bavarian middle-class family. His father was Joseph Gebhard Himmler, a secondary-school teacher and principal of the prestigious Wittelsbacher Gymnasium. His mother was Anna Maria Himmler (maiden name Heyder), a devout Roman Catholic. He had an older brother, Gebhard Ludwig Himmler, who was born on 29 July 1898, and a younger brother, Ernst Hermann Himmler, born on 23 December 1905.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Heinrich Himmler."
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