Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich (The Hangman)

Germany Nazi Official

Key Nazi follower of Hitler. He was second in importance to Heinrich Himmler in the Nazi SS. Heydrich was the leading planner of Hitler's Final Solution in which the Nazis attempted to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe. Reinhard Heydrich was born in Halle, near Leipzig on March 7, 1904. He joined the navy in 1922 and he was discharged for illicit behavior in 1931. Heydrich joined the Nazi party and the SS in 1931. Over the next few years, he became Heinrich Himmler's prime lieutenant. In 1932, he established the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the intelligence section of the SS. Two years later he took control of the Gestapo, the State Secret Police. As World War II unfolded, Heydrich became the leading planner for the "Final Solution", the Nazi attempt to destroy the Jewish people. The first stages of the Final Solution included the creation of the Polish ghettos and the deportation east of the German and Austrian Jews. Heydrich's role as organizer of the destruction of the Jewish people was formalized in July 1941 when Hermann Göring ordered him to "find a total solution to the Jewish question." This led to the creation of the extermination camps. Heydrich held a conference at Wannsee in January 1942 to map out the end stages the Final Solution. On May 27, 1942, Free Czech agents trained by the British SOE fatally wounded Heydrich. He died a week later in Prague. After his death, a Gestapo-led reprisal killed hundreds of Czechs and destroyed the town of Lidice.

Birth Location: 
Halle, Germany
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Death Location: 
Prague, (Czech Republic)
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