The man behind the Wannsee conference: Reinhard Heydrich | History

With this official formulation, 15 Nazi leaders decided to murder 11 million European Jews. This infamous meeting in a manor on a lake in South West Berlin on January 20, 1942 was filmed last week. ‘The Wannsee Conference’ in premiere.

The meeting was chaired by police and intelligence chief Reinhard Heydrich. This 38-year-old Nazi was born in Halle in 1904 to the family of opera singer Bruno Heydrich and Elisabeth Kranz, director of the Royal Conservatory in Dresden.

The German defeat in the First World War had hit the imperialist and nationalist family hard. The myth that the army had been betrayed by politics, the Stinger legend, was taught to young Reinhard from an early age. At the age of 18 he started officer training in the navy. There, however, he was thrown out for dishonorable conduct. He had in fact courted a young woman, only to be engaged at the very last minute to another, 19-year-old Lisa von Osten.

Frustrated, the young lieutenant reported to Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP, who added him to his elite corps, the SS. After the seizure of power in 1933, he became head of the Sicherheitsdienst and the Gestapo. A year later, together with SS boss Heinrich Himmler, he had the top of the competing party army SA exterminated in the ‘Night of the Long Knives’. During the Second World War he also became deputy governor of Bohemia and Moravia where he liquidated the entire resistance. This cost him dearly, because on 27 May 1942 he was murdered in his open car with an anti-tank grenade. (M.Wi.)

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Source: De Telegraaf by

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