Heinrich Luitpold Himmler
(7 October 1900 – 23 May 1945)
They say that Himmler’s father, Joseph Gebhard Himmler, was absolutely consumed by social-climbing. Joseph Himmler, who married Anna Maria Heyder, even named their young son after an aristocrat that he tutored – Prince Heinrich of Bavaria, who later became Heinrich Himmler’s godfather. The elder Himmler was a principal at a very affluent school and he is rumored to have written the profession of every student’s father next to their name so he could refer to it when Heinrich was making friends.
Heinrich Himmler appears to have had an interest in current events from a very young age, and he even kept a diary intermittently from the time he was 10 years old. Himmler joined the party early on and was there during the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. He would go on to marry Margarete Boden, which his family did not approve of because she was divorced; older than Himmler; and – worst of all – she was protestant. None of Himmler’s family went to the wedding.
On January 6, 1929, Adolf Hitler appointed Himmler Reichsführer SS, meaning that he was in charge of the young, new organization (which was still subordinate to Ernst Rohm and the SA.)
After Hitler took power in 1933, Himmler became a very important Nazi party functionary. He was appointed to be the head of the Secret Police in Munich and also started to establish various offices that were concerned with “racial purity.” By the time the war started, Himmler would essentially be the leader of all the police forces in the whole Third Reich. In April 1945, Himmler asked Count Folke Bernadotte, the Vice President of the Swedish Red Cross, to transmit an offer of surrender on the western front to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the commander-in-chief of the Allied forces. News of the offer reached Hitler in encircled Berlin on the night of April 28, 1945. In one of his last official acts, Adolf Hitler stripped Heinrich Himmler of all of his positions in the government; of course, none of that came to fruition when the war ended shortly after. Himmler tried to hide in the confusion of Germany’s capitulation, but he eventually came clean and was honest with his captors. He later bit down on a cyanide capsule and killed himself.