Tuesday, March 29, 2016




Dismissal from the Navy:
 Heydrich was one of the most feared men of the twentieth century an appalling figure even in the context of the NS leadership. Chief of the Criminal Police, the SS-Security Service and Reich's Protector of occupied Bohemia and Moravia as well as the leading planner of the 'Final Solution'.Heydrich played a central role in Hitler's Germany. He shouldered a major responsibility for some of the worst Nazi atrocities and up to his assassination in Prague in 1942 he was widely seem as one of the most dangerous man in Germany. Yet Heydrich has received remarkedly modest attention in the extensive literature of the Third Reich.
How did this happen? Following are some events in his life that took him  on the path to become one of Hitler's most efficient henchmen:

July 1941 letter from Göring to Heydrich concerning the Final Solution of the Jewish question

As a young Navy Lieutenant and an outstanding family background, mothers considered him a good catch for their daughters.
Heydrich was born into a family of social standing and substantial financial means. Music was a part of Heydrich's everyday life; his father founded the Halle Conservatory of Music, Theatre and Teaching and his mother taught piano there. Heydrich developed a passion for the violin and carried that interest into adulthood; he impressed listeners with his musical talent.

Heydrich as Reichsmarine cadet in 1922
He met, among others Lina von Osten in the early 1930,s and proposed to her, which was apparently welcomed by her family. The letter of thanks accepting him into their family circle as the future son-in-law still exists What Heydrich had conveniently omitted to mention to his future bride was that she was not the only women he was still seeing at that time, a detail that would shake the very foundation of his life.
The young couple's happiness was short lived. Heydrich sent the newspaper announcement of the engagement to several friends and acquaintances. One of the recipients was a young women in Berlin, whom Heydrich had met and befriended more than half a year earlier at a ball, the couple had enjoyed a sexual relationship over the following months and had visited each other either in Berlin or Kiel. The young women had assumed that she herself was engaged to Heydrich, who had continued to cultivate the relationship even after he had met Lina, he invited her to Kiel and, despite her request for a separate room in a hotel, he encouraged her to spend the night in his living quarters. Further rapprochements probably occurred on this occasion. In any case, the young women saw herself as compromised [only if he had taken her virginity, we don't know] and reacted to the receipt of Heydrich's engagement notice with a nervous breakdown.

Lina Heydrich, [nee von Osten] In Prague, the day before the attack that led to his death, Reinhard Heydrich and wife Lina attend a concert of Richard Bruno Heydrich's music in the Waldstein Palace, May 26, 1942. Lina was heavily pregnant.
Ever since the Second World War, there has been much speculation about the identity  of the young women in question, she could even have been a married women, but all that can be said with certainty is, that her father must have had close connections to the Navy's High Command and senior officer staff.
In response to his daughter's breakdown, he lodged an official complaint against Reinhard Heydrich with the Commander in Chief of the German Navy, Admiral Erich Reader. The complaint had serious consequences for Heydrich in early January 1931, he was summoned before the military court of honour [which is based on an ancient code of chivalry] under the chairmanship of Admiral Gottfried Hansen, Commander of the Baltic Fleet, and invited to explain himself.
A broken engagement promise was a clear violation of the officer corps of conduct, but it was not a major offence automatically warranting the immediate dismissal of the officer in question. The embarrassing episode would have been ended in little more than a reprimand for for what was, after all a 'girl's story', but Heydrich's arrogant attitude got him into trouble with the three members of the court, even his own instructing officer. Instead of accepting responsibility and settling for a minor punishment, Heydrich instead insisted that the women had herself initiated their sexual relationship. He also denied ever having promised her marriage in return, describing their liaison in dismissive terms which annoyed the members of the court. Although no records of the courts hearing have survived, having possible destroyed by the Gestapo in the 1930's, the proceedings were reconstructed by fellow officers after WW II.
Großadmiral Erich Raeder
Heydrich's room-mate in Kiel, Heinrich Beucke, recalled that Heydrich sought to wash his hands of the matter and to implicate the girl in question, [who's name was suppressed]. His attitude before the court of honour, his lacking the guts to tell the truth, to accept the blame and to defend the women, that was what led to his dismissal, not the actual offence itself.
One of the members of the court of honour, confirmed this version and testified that Heydrich's 'proven insincerity, aimed at whitewashing himself', irritated the court more than the actual offence. The most junior member of the court, [Hubert von Wangenstein] apparently pressed for Heydrich's dismissal, arguing that the behaviour had dishonoured  the German Officer Corps. [He would, belonging to nobility, that still challenged an opponent to a duel i those days]
The court concluded its deliberation by asking 'whether it was possible for an officer guilty of such unforgivable behaviour to remain in the Navy'. Although they avoided making any recommendation in itself. The matter was passed on to Admiral Reader, who decided that Heydrich was 'unworthy of being an officer and should be dismissed immediately. The Chairman of the court added emphatically: 'It was a decision winch, if harsh, was recognised by all as impartial and correct and to which there was no alternative for anybody familiar with the facts.
On the 30th April 1931 Heydrich's promising naval career came to an abrupt and unexpected end. 'Discharge from the Navy', Lina recalled after the war, 'was the heaviest blow of his life [...] It was not the lost earning capacity which weighed on him, but the fact that with every fibre of his being he had clung on to his career as an officer. At first he hoped for reinstatement, but an official appeal against the dismissal submitted to the Reichs President Paul von Hindenburg was turned down. Heydrich was suddenly confronted by the grim reality of being unemployed in the 1930's, in the midst of the Great Depression. Ejected from the navy less than a year before he would have secured his entitlement to a pension, the  future looked gloomy, even though he continued to receive a severance payment of 200 Reichsmark a month for the next two years. He locked himself in his room and cried for days in rage and self pity.
Reinhard Heydrich and Lina von Osten at their wedding reception, December 1931. Lina was already a member of the NSDAP (Heydrich was not) and she, and her Nazi connections, helped put Heydrich in the way of what turned out to be his spectacular Nazi career. 
Heydrich's dismissal indeed occurred at the worst possible moment. Following the crash of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street on 29 October 1929, the German economy situation had deteriorated dramatically. Millions of jobless workers were plunged into terrible suffering while German industry and trade experienced dramatic drops in turnover. The economic crises was further exacerbated by the collapse of the last Weimar coalition  government and its replacement by a minority cabinet under the authoritarian Centre Party politician Heinrich Brüning. Brüning's deflationary policies, designed to demonstrate Germany's inability to pay further reparations to the Western Allies, exacerbated  the already grim situation. By the spring of 1931, there were 4,5 million Germans unemployed, a figure that would to rise to more than 6 million by February 1932.
Shortly after his discharge Heydrich and his fiancée travelled to Halle in order to inform his family of his dismissal and ask for their financial support. But bad news awaited him there as well. The Conservatory, already under serious strain since the post-war hyperinflation and the invention of modern forms of musical entertainment such as radios and gramophones, was facing bankruptcy.

People standing in line for a soup kitchen to get something to eat. During this time people can barely afford and need help from these social programs to survive.
Bruno Heydrich, his father, who had suffered a debilitating stroke earlier that year, was no longer able to involve himself in the running of the family business and now left most of the teaching to his wife and daughter. Elisabeth Heydrich, his mother, who until recently had been able to afford a maid, had to do the housework herself when not teaching the piano. Besides her husband, she now had to feed her daughter Maria and her unemployed son-in-law Wolfgang Heindorf, as well as her youngest son Heinz-Siegfried, who had abandoned his studies in Dresden and his fiancée, Gertrud Werther. The failed navy career of their older son added to their own problems and Reinhard's parents accused him of foolishly ruining his future.  In desperation Elisabeth (Mrs. Heydrich) argued with her brothers Hans and Kurt, about selling the increasingly unprofitable Dresden Conservatory, which her father Eugen Krautz had bequeathed to his three children. After the war, Lina vividly remembered the depressing atmosphere in the Heydrich home, when the daily worries about bills contrasted sharply with the remnants of the old furniture, expensive china and silver cutlery that testified to the past affluence and social prestige.
Richard Bruno Heydrich
Worse was still to come. In May 1931, Bruno Heydrich was informed that, after a series of complaints about falling teaching standards, his Conservatory was to be examined by a government commission. The report submitted by the commission revealed that the Conservatory no longer provided the necessary teaching level required for state certification and that his pupils had demonstrated insufficient knowledge of their craft. Physically in incapacitated, financially ruined, and professionally a broken man, Heydrich responded to the school authorities by admitting 'that my seminar organisation and training, which I have tested for thirty years, no longer fulfils today's expectations'. He voluntarily renounced State Recognition for his Teaching Seminars.
Economic hardship also called into question Reinhard's marriage to Lina. Reinhard's mother blamed Lina for his dismissal and her own parents too, had second thoughts about their relationship. Marrying an unemployed ex-naval officer was a far less attractive prospect than a son-in-law with high social standing and a dependable salary and pension. [They were admittedly part of German nobility and would not accept ever to live like the 'lower classes'] Although Lina refused to break the engagement, marriage was possible until Reinhard found another job. Day after day, Lina urged her financee to find an appropriate career that would sustain their future life as a family. Over the following four weeks, Heydrich considered and dismissed different career options and sent his surprisingly positive discharge from the Navy to various potential employers.

 All superior officers state that Heydrich is a conscientious and reliable officer with serious approach to duty...who has undertaken zealously all duties required of him. Towards his superior officers he conducted himself openly and ib a proper military manner and is well liked by fellow officers. He has treated the soldiers under his command well and justly. Heydrich is physically very fit and he is a good fencer and sailor.

Heydrich did indeed receive several job offers, despite the economic crises. A friend from Kiel, Werner Mohr offered him an opportunity  to work as a sailing instructor at the Hanseatic Yachting School in the town of Neustadt on the Baltic coast of Holstein. Despite the relatively handsome salary of 380 Reichsmark, Heydrich rejected the offer from Neustadt, as well as similar offers from Kiel and Ratzenburg, he refused to become 'a sailing domestic for rich kids'. It is not known why he did not jump at this opportunity, but the decisive reason appears to be that he was unable to accept the loss of his social status as an officer, as he confessed to his fiancée.
In these circumstances, Reinhard's mother seized the initiative and told Heydrich's godmother,  Baroness von Eberstein, of her son's professional misfortune. A formidable lady in her early sixties, [Baroness Rathgundis von Eberstein apparently claimed the Ebersteins hid the Holy Grail in one of their castles, and that Eberstein's coat of arms depicts someone whose arms have been hacked off. On a website that sells her book, this Castle at Genshagen is pictured. Schloss Eberstein Genshagen] the Baroness and her husband, Major von Eberstein, had met the Heydrich's at a concert in Halle shortly after their arrival in the city and they became their closest family friends, supporting the activities  of the Conservatory through significant donations. The Baroness immediately contacted her son, Karl, who had joined the Nazi Party in the mid-1920's and had already acquired a senior position as leader of the Sturmabteilung (Stormtroopers-SA) in Munich, in order to seeif he knew of any suitable vacancies. Karl's response was cautiously optimistic. Under the capable leadership of Ernst Röhm, and benefiting from the rising number of unemployed men in Germany, the SA had grown from just over 60,000 members in 1930 to more than 150,000 men the following year.  In the civil-war like atmosphere of the early 1930's when armed supporters of the Nazis and their opponents clashed almost on a daily basis, former officers like Heydrich, trained in military tactics, were a welcome addition to the Nazi ranks. Yet while Heydrich's mother and his fiancée were excited by the prospect of a second career in uniform for Heydrich, he himself appears to have initial reservations, although Lina urged him to examine this career option carefully. It was not until Eberstein offered him the prospect of an 'elevated position' in the Nazi Party's headquarters in Munich that Heydrich agreed to take this path. What Eberstein had in mind was a position on the staff of Heinrich Himmler, the then still largely unknown head of the Schutzstaffel (Protection Squad)-SS), a tiny but elitist paramilitary formation in subordinate to the SA leadership of Ernst Röhm.
Heydrich and Himmler

Victims of the Night of the Long Knives,

In response to conservative pressure to constrain Röhm, Hitler left for Neudeck to meet with Hindenburg. Blomberg, who had been meeting with the President, uncharacteristically reproached Hitler for not having moved against Röhm earlier. He then told Hitler that Hindenburg was close to declaring martial law and turning the government over to the Reichswehr if Hitler did not take immediate steps against Röhm and his brownshirts. Hitler had hesitated for months in moving against Röhm, in part due to Röhm's visibility as the leader of a national militia with millions of members. However, the threat of a declaration of martial law from Hindenburg, the only person in Germany with the authority to potentially depose the Nazi regime, put Hitler under pressure to act. He left Neudeck with the intention of both destroying Röhm and settling scores with old enemies. Both Himmler and Göring welcomed Hitler's decision, since both had much to gain by Röhm's downfall – the independence of the SS for Himmler, and the removal of a rival for the future command of the army for Göring.

                                        Hitler posing in Nuremberg with SA members in the late 1920s. Julius Streicher is                                         to Hitler's right, and Hermann Göring stands bedecked with medals beneath Hitler

In preparation for the purge both Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the SS Security Service, assembled a dossier of manufactured evidence to suggest that Röhm had been paid 12 million marks (EUR 48.2 million in 2016) by France to overthrow Hitler. Leading officers in the SS were shown falsified evidence on June 24 that Röhm planned to use the SA to launch a plot against the government (Röhm-Putsch). Göring, Himmler, Heydrich, and Victor Lutze (at Hitler's direction) drew up lists of people in and outside the SA to be killed. One of the men Göring recruited to assist him was Willi Lehmann, a Gestapo official and NKVD spy. On June 25, General Werner von Fritsch placed the Reichswehr on the highest level of alert] On June 27, Hitler moved to secure the army's cooperation] Blomberg and General Walther von Reichenau, the army's liaison to the party, gave it to him by expelling Röhm from the German Officers' League. On June 28 Hitler went to Essen to attend a wedding celebration and reception; from there he called Röhm's adjutant at Bad Wiessee and ordered SA leaders to meet with him on June 30 at 11h. On June 29, a signed article in Völkischer Beobachter by Blomberg appeared in which Blomberg stated with great fervour that the Reichswehr stood behind Hitler.
At about 04:30 on June 30, 1934, Hitler and his entourage flew into Munich. From the airport they drove to the Bavarian Interior Ministry, where they assembled the leaders of an SA rampage that had taken place in city streets the night before. Enraged, Hitler tore the epaulets off the shirt of Obergruppenführer August Schneidhuber, the chief of the Munich police, for failing to keep order in the city on the previous night. Hitler shouted at Schneidhuber that he would be shot. Schneidhuber was executed later that day. As the stormtroopers were hustled off to prison, Hitler assembled a large group of SS and regular police, and departed for the Hanselbauer Hotel in Bad Wiessee, where Ernst Röhm and his followers were staying.
With Hitler's arrival in Bad Wiessee between 06:00 and 07:00, the SA leadership, still in bed, were taken by surprise. SS men stormed the hotel and Hitler personally placed Röhm and other high-ranking SA leaders under arrest. According to Erich Kempka, Hitler turned Röhm over to "two detectives holding pistols with the safety catch removed", and the SS found Breslau SA leader Edmund Heines in bed with an unidentified eighteen-year-old male SA senior troop leader. Goebbels emphasised the latter in subsequent propaganda justifying the purge as a crackdown on moral turpitude (in this case meaning homosexuality). Both Heines and his partner were shot on the spot in the hotel grounds on the personal order of Hitler. Meanwhile, the SS arrested the other SA leaders as they left their train for the planned meeting with Röhm and Hitler.
Although Hitler presented no evidence of a plot by Röhm to overthrow the regime, he nevertheless denounced the leadership of the SA. Arriving back at party headquarters in Munich, Hitler addressed the assembled crowd. Consumed with rage, Hitler denounced "the worst treachery in world history". Hitler told the crowd that "undisciplined and disobedient characters and asocial or diseased elements" would be annihilated. The crowd, which included party members and many SA members fortunate enough to escape arrest, shouted its approval. Hess, present among the assembled, even volunteered to shoot the "traitors" himself. Joseph Goebbels, who had been with Hitler at Bad Wiessee, set the final phase of the plan in motion. Upon returning to Berlin, Goebbels telephoned Göring at 10:00 with the codeword Kolibri to let loose the execution squads on the rest of their unsuspecting victims.
Röhm was held briefly at Stadelheim Prison[i] in Munich, while Hitler considered his future. In the end, Hitler decided that Röhm had to die. On July 1, at Hitler's behest, Theodor Eicke, later Commandant of the Dachau concentration camp, and SS Officer Michel Lippert visited Röhm. Once inside Röhm's cell, they handed him a Browning pistol loaded with a single bullet and told him he had ten minutes to kill himself or they would do it for him. Röhm demurred, telling them, "If I am to be killed, let Adolf do it himself. Having heard nothing in the allotted time, they returned to Röhm's cell at 14:50 to find him standing, with his bare chest puffed out in a gesture of defiance. Lippert then shot Röhm three times, killing him. In 1957, the German authorities tried Lippert in Munich for Röhm's murder. Until then, Lippert had been one of the few executioners of the purge to evade trial. Lippert was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
 Hitler triumphant: The Führer reviewing the SA in 1935. In the car with Hitler: the Blutfahne, behind the car                                                              SS-man Jakob Grimminger.

SS-Brigadeführer Heydrich, head of the Bavarian police and SD, in Munich, 1934
Partly as a result of circumstances beyond his control, the military court's decision to dismiss him from the navy, his family's economic misfortune and the Great Depression more generally, and partly because of his family connection and Lina's firm commitment in the Nazi cause, the previously largely apolitical Heydrich who had never read Mein Kampf or even heard of the SS before, was about to enter the most extreme paramilitary formation within Hitler's movement. He followed that path not out of deep ideological conviction, but because Nazism offered him the opportunity to return to a structural life in uniform, providing with it a sense of purpose and a way of regaining confidence of Lina and her family of devoted Nazis.
As a precondition for the new job, Heydrich had to join the Nazi Party, which he he did an 1 June 1931. His membership number, 544,916, did not exactly made him an 'Old Fighter' of the Nazi movement, but he joined early enough to avoid the suspicion of careerism with which post 1933  members were usually confronted. Heydrich urgently requested the two letters of recommendation required for the vacancy. The first reference came from Eberstein, who assured Himmler of Heydrich's suitability. 'Very good qualifications, extended overseas commands...Heydrich has been dismissed from the navy due to a minor personal differences. He will receive the salary for two more years, so, for the time being, he could work for the movement without pay'. Either out of ignorance or to boost Heydrich's chances of securing the job, Eberstein added that 'Heydrich had worked for three years as an intelligence expert at the Admiral,s Staff Division of the North Sea and Baltic Fleet'. A second letter of recommendation was submitted by Heydrich's former commanding officer, Captain Warzecha:

 I have known naval lieutenant Heydrich from the beginning of his service with the Reichsmarine. I was the training officer for two years during his cadet period and have had other opportunities to observe his development as an officer. I am closely acquainted with the reasons for his dismissal from the Navy. They do not prevent me from wholeheartedly recommending Lieutenant Heydrich for any position that may arise.

Heydrich;s application, embellished by Eberstein's insistence that his childhood friend was an expert in espionage, arrived at a good time as Himmler was in in the midst of setting up an SS intelligence service. In the summer of 1931 prompted by the Nazi Party's electoral successes and a parallel influx of new members of often questionable loyalty to the cause, Himmler felt an urgent need for the creation of such service. He rightly feared that some of the new SA and SS members stood in the paid service of either the police or political opponents to act as spies or agent provocateurs. He realised that he needed a suitable trained officer on his Munich staff to address this problem. Having heard from Eberstein of an ex-naval 'intelligence' officer who was offering his services to the Nazi movement, he invited Heydrich for an interview.
Heydrich's appointment with Himmler had already been set when Eberstein telegraphed Heydrich from Munich to tell him that the SS was ill. Heydrich was prepared to reschedule the appointment, but Lina urged him to travel to Munich and meet with Himmler anyway. How much this opportunity meant for Lina is clear from her memoirs, in which thirty-five years years later, she described the day of the first meeting between Heydrich and Himmler, 14 June 1931, as the 'greatest moment in my life, of our life.
 On 1 August 1931 Heydrich began his job as chief of the new 'Ic Service' (intelligence service). He set up office at the Brown House, the Nazi Party headquarters in Munich. [This was completely destoyed during an air raid] By October he had created a network of spies and informers for intelligence-gathering purposes and to obtain information to be used as blackmail to further political aims. Information on thousands of people was recorded on index cards and stored at the Brown House. To mark the occasion of Heydrich's December wedding, Himmler promoted him to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer (major).
Service as fighter pilot
Reinhard Heydrich served as Reserve Hauptmann, then as amajor in the Luftwaffe. He served in the Invasion of Poland as a turret gunner. After that, despite his age, he completed a fighter pilot course in 1940. Heydrich wanted to set an example and show that the SS were not "asphalt" soldiers behind the front lines, but the elite of the Third Reich. In April 1940 he flew a Bf 110 in the Fighter Group II./JG 77 "Herz As" in Norway. The planes flown by Heydrich had an ancient Germanic runic character S for Sieg -- "victory" painted on the side of the fuselage. On May 13, 1940 his plane crashed during take-off and Heydrich was injured. For a short time in May, he flew patrol flights over North Germany and the Netherlands. Then, after another accident, he returned to Berlin. In mid-June 1941, before the German attack on the USSR, he resumed flying, ignoring Himmler's orders.
Bf 110 of Nachtjagdgeschwader 4 (1943)
He flew his personal Bf 109 again with Group II./JG 77 from Bălţi, Romania on the southern Eastern Front, which put the wing commander under pressure due to Heydrich's position and lack of experience. On 22 July 1941, while on a combat mission, his plane was badly damaged over Yampil by Soviet anti-aircraft fire. Heydrich made an emergency landing in no-man's land, evaded a Soviet patrol and made his way back to German lines. After this, Hitler forbade him to fly in combat, as it was realized that his capture as a POW would be a major security breach for Germany. He never flew another operational sortie.

Heydrich in his Luftwaffe uniform
Heydrich was decorated with the Iron Cross Second Class (1940) and First Class (1941). The number of missions he flew is not known, but he was awarded the Frontflugspange (Front Pilot Badge) in silver, which usually was awarded after 60 combat missions. According to Ballantine Books' Illustrated History of the Violent Century (1973), Heydrich flew 97 missions in a Bf-110 twin engine fighte

In 1932 Heydrich's enemies began to spread rumours of his alleged Jewish ancestry. Wilhelm Canaris said he had obtained photocopies proving Heydrich's Jewish ancestry, but these photocopies never surfaced. Nazi Gauleiter Rudolf Jordan also claimed that Heydrich was not a pure Aryan. Within the Nazi organisation such innuendo could be damning, even for the head of the Reich's counter-intelligence service. Gregor Strasser passed the allegations on to the Nazi Party's racial expert Dr. Achim Gercke who investigated Heydrich's genealogy. Gercke reported that Heydrich was "... of German origin and free from any coloured and Jewish blood". He insisted that the rumours were baseless. Even with this report, Heydrich privately engaged SD member Ernst Hoffman to further investigate and dispel the rumours.
[In fact Heydrich's grand mother was most likely a Jewess, which can not be ascertained with certainty. What is certain that she had married for a second time to a man with a Jewish name of Süß.  He had her gravestone removed and destroyed, it may have had the Star of David on the headstone, a give-away sign. At this time to provide a 'Taufschein' Certificate of baptism as a Christian,  was not in force until 1936]

In London, the Czechoslovak government-in-exile resolved to kill Heydrich. Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík headed the team chosen for the operation. Trained by the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), the pair returned to the Protectorate, parachuting from a Handley Page Halifax, on 28 December 1941. They lived in hiding, preparing for the assassination attempt.

On 27 May 1942, Heydrich planned to meet Hitler in Berlin. German documents suggest that Hitler intended to transfer Heydrich to German-occupied France, where the French resistance was gaining ground. Heydrich would have to pass a section where the Dresden-Prague road merged with a road to the Troja Bridge. The junction, in the Prague suburb of Libeň, was well-suited for the attack because motorists have to slow for a hairpin bend. As Heydrich's car slowed, Gabčík took aim with a Sten sub-machine gun, but it jammed and failed to fire. Instead of ordering his driver to speed away, Heydrich called his car to halt and attempted to confront the attackers. Kubiš then threw a bomb (a converted anti-tank mine) at the rear of the car as it stopped. The explosion wounded Heydrich and Kubiš.
The open-top Mercedes-Benz in which Heydrich was mortally wounded
When the smoke cleared, Heydrich emerged from the wreckage with his gun in his hand; he chased Kubiš and tried to return fire. Kubiš jumped on his bicycle and pedalled away. Heydrich ran after him for half a block but became weak from shock and collapsed. He sent his driver, Klein, to chase Gabčík on foot. In the ensuing firefight, Gabčík shot Klein in the leg and escaped to a local safe house. Heydrich, still with pistol in hand, gripped his left flank, which was bleeding profusely.

A Czech woman went to Heydrich's aid and flagged down a delivery van. Heydrich was first placed in the driver's cab, but complained that the van's movement was causing him pain. He was placed in the back of the van, on his stomach, and taken to the emergency room at Na Bulovce Hospital. Heydrich had suffered severe injuries to his left side, with major damage to his diaphragm, spleen, and lung. He had also fractured a rib. A physician, Slanina, packed the chest wound, while another doctor, Walter Diek, tried unsuccessfully to remove the splinters. He immediately decided to operate. This was carried out by Diek, Slanina, and Hohlbaum. Heydrich was given several blood transfusions. A splenectomy was performed. The chest wound, left lung, and diaphragm were all debrided and the wounds closed. Himmler ordered another physician, Karl Gebhardt, to fly to Prague to assume care. Despite a fever, Heydrich's recovery appeared to progress well. Theodor Morell, Hitler's personal physician, suggested the use of sulfonamide (a new antibacterial drug), but Gebhardt, thinking Heydrich would recover, refused. [with Penicillin, which Germany did not have, he could probably been saved]  On 2 June, during a visit by Himmler, Heydrich reconciled himself to his fate by reciting a part of one of his father's operas:

    The world is just a barrel-organ which the Lord God turns Himself.
    We all have to dance to the tune which is already on the drum.

Heydrich slipped into a coma after Himmler's visit and never regained consciousness. He died on 4 June, probably around 04:30. He was 38. The autopsy concluded that he died of sepsis. Heydrich's facial expression as he died betrayed an "uncanny spirituality and entirely perverted beauty, like a renaissance Cardinal," according to Bernhard Wehner, a Kripo police official who investigated the assassination.

After an elaborate funeral held in Prague on 7 June 1942, Heydrich's coffin was placed on a train to Berlin, where a second ceremony was held in the new Reich Chancellery on 9 June. Himmler gave the eulogy. Hitler attended and placed Heydrich's decorations—including the highest grade of the German Order, the Blood Order Medal, the Wound Badge in Gold and the War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords—on his funeral pillow. Although Heydrich's death was employed for pro-Reich propaganda, Hitler privately blamed Heydrich for his own death, through carelessness:

1942 - Reinhard Heydrich, brutal Nazi governor, has died of his infected wounds 6 days after Czech assassins blew up his car. Good - hope the bastard suffered!:

                    Reinhard Heydrich, his coffin with honour guards on the way to Berlin.

    'Since it is opportunity which makes not only the thief but also the assassin, such heroic gestures as driving in an open, unarmoured vehicle or walking about the streets unguarded are just damned stupidity, which serves the Fatherland not one whit. That a man as irreplaceable as Heydrich should expose himself to unnecessary danger, I can only condemn as stupid and idiotic'.

Heydrich's coffin in Berlin:
                                                      Heydrich's coffin in Berlin

Heydrich was interred in Berlin's Invalidenfriedhof, a military cemetery. The exact burial spot is not known—a temporary wooden marker that disappeared when the Red Army overran the city in 1945 was never replaced, so that Heydrich's grave could not become a rallying point for Neo-Nazis. A photograph of Heydrich's burial shows the wreaths and mourners to be in section A, which abuts the north wall of the Invalidenfriedhof and Scharnhorststraße, at the front of the cemetery. A recent biography of Heydrich also places the grave in Section A. Hitler planned for Heydrich to have a monumental tomb (designed by sculptor Arno Breker and architect Wilhelm Kreis), but due to Germany's declining fortunes, it was never built.

View: https://www.ushmm.org/online/film/display/detail.php?file_num=866 Heydrichs Funeral

Heydrich's widow won the right to receive a pension as the result of a series of court cases against the West German government in 1956 and 1959. She was entitled to a substantial pension because her husband was a German general killed in action. The government had previously declined to pay because of Heydrich's role in the Holocaust. The couple had four children: Klaus, born in 1933, killed in a traffic accident in 1943; Heider, born in 1934; Silke, born in 1939; and Marte, born shortly after her father's death in 1942. Lina wrote a memoir, Leben mit einem Kriegsverbrecher (Living With a War Criminal), which was published in 1976. She remarried once and died in 1985.

The Check government IN EXILE, were fully aware that German retaliation would be be brutal and swift.
Heydrich's assailants hid in safe houses and eventually took refuge in St. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, an Orthodox church in Prague. After a traitor in the Czech resistance betrayed their location, the church was surrounded by 800 members of the SS and Gestapo. Several Czechs were killed, and the remainder hid in the church's crypt. The Germans attempted to flush the men out with gunfire, tear gas, and by flooding the crypt. Eventually an entrance was made using explosives. Rather than surrender, the soldiers killed themselves. Supporters of the assassins who were killed in the wake of these events included the church's leader, Bishop Gorazd, who is now revered as a martyrs.  [They were betrayed]

Infuriated by Heydrich's death, Hitler ordered the arrest and execution of 10,000 randomly selected Czechs. But after consultations with Karl Hermann Frank, he tempered his response. The Czech lands were an important industrial zone for the German military, and indiscriminate killing could reduce the region's productivity. Hitler ordered a quick investigation. Intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the towns of Lidice and Ležáky. A Gestapo report stated that Lidice, 22 kilometres (14 mi) north-west of Prague, was suspected as the assailants' hiding place because several Czech army officers, then in England, had come from there and the Gestapo found a resistance radio transmitter in Ležáky. On 9 June, after discussions with Himmler and Karl Hermann Frank, Hitler ordered brutal reprisals.
The massacre at Lidice
Over 13,000 people were arrested, deported, and imprisoned. Beginning on 10 June, all males over the age of 16 in the villages of Lidice and Ležáky were murdered. All the women in Ležáky were also murdered. All but four of the women from Lidice were deported immediately to Ravensbrück concentration camp (four were pregnant – they were forcibly aborted at the same hospital where Heydrich had died and then sent to the concentration camp). Some children were chosen for Germanization, and 81 were killed in gas vans at the Chełmno extermination camp. Both towns were burned and Lidice's ruins were levelled. At least 1,300 people were massacred after Heydrich's death.
Bullet-scarred window in the Church of St. Cyril and St. Methodius in Prague, where Kubiš and his compatriots were cornered
Heydrich's replacements were Ernst Kaltenbrunner as the chief of RSHA, and Karl Hermann Frank (27–28 May 1942) and Kurt Daluege (28 May 1942 – 14 October 1943) as the new acting Reichsprotektors.

After Heydrich's death, the policies formalised at the Wannsee conference he chaired were carried out. The first three true death camps, designed for mass killing with no legal process or pretext, were built and operated at Treblinka, Sobibór, and Bełżec. The project was named Operation Reinhard after Heydrich.

Beginning in April 1934, and at Hitler's request, Heydrich and Himmler began building a dossier on Sturmabteilung (SA) leader Ernst Röhm in an effort to remove him as a rival for party leadership. [This was not the only reason, Röhm was openly homosexual}] At this point, the SS was still part of the SA, the early Nazi paramilitary organisation which now numbered over 3 million men. At Hitler's direction, Heydrich, Himmler, Göring, and Viktor Lutze drew up lists of those who should be liquidated, starting with seven top SA officials and including many more. On 30 June 1934 the SS and Gestapo acted in coordinated mass arrests that continued for two days. Röhm was shot without trial, [He was given a pistol at Stadelheim jail to commit suicide, but refused, Theodor Eicke shot him] along with the leadership of the SA. The purge became known as the Night of the Long Knives. Up to 200 people were killed in the action. Lutze was appointed SA's new head and it was converted into a sports and training organisation.
With the SA out of the way, Heydrich began building the Gestapo into an instrument of fear. He improved his index-card system, creating categories of offenders with colour-coded cards. The Gestapo had the authority to arrest citizens on the suspicion that they might commit a crime, and the definition of a crime was at their discretion. The Gestapo Law, passed in 1936, gave police the right to act extra-legally. This led to the sweeping use of Schutzhaft—"protective custody", a euphemism for the power to imprison people without judicial proceedings. The courts were not allowed to investigate or interfere. The Gestapo was considered to be acting legally as long as it was carrying out the leadership's will. People were arrested arbitrarily, sent to concentration camps, or killed.[Newspapers would announce the names, under the heading"Killed resisting arrest"]
Himmler began developing the notion of a Germanic religion and wanted SS members to leave the church. In early 1936, Heydrich left the Catholic Church. His wife, Lina, had already done so the year before. Heydrich not only felt he could no longer be a member, but came to consider the church's political power and influence a danger to the state.
Documents recovered from Heinrich Himmler's personal journals, as well as draft orders from the SS-Hauptamt, indicate that in early 1942 Heydrich was under consideration for appointment as the Military Governor of France, in an effort to supplant the army control of that positing which was by 1942 already heavily suspected of involvement in anti-Hitler conspiracies (Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel, who held the position of Military Governor, was later executed for participation in the 20 July Plot). Both Himmler and Hitler further had plans to create a supreme security posting, possibly known as "Commander Security Forces Europe" (Oberbefelshaber des Sicherheitsdienstleistung Europa) for which Heydrich was the natural candidate. Had Heydrich lived, he almost certainly would have been granted Waffen-SS general rank in 1944; however, a promotion to SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer and assumption to the position of Colonel General of Police is debatable, given that no other SS security officer was promoted to SS-Colonel General during the Second World War (Kurt Daluege was the only police officer to hold this position). Heydrich was also known to have stated that he had no desire to become the Reichsführer-SS, leaving the question open as to who would have succeeded Himmler had the SS Chief been killed or relieved of his position during the course of the Second World War (Hitler appointed Karl Hanke to the position in the last days of World War II).

Lina Heydrich was cleared during the de-Nazification proceedings after the war's end. She further won the right to receive a pension as the result of a series of court cases against the West German government in 1956 and 1959. She was entitled to a substantial pension because her husband was a German general killed in action. The government had previously declined to pay because of Heydrich's role in the Holocaust. In 1965 she met Finnish theatre director Mauno Manninen while she was on a holiday trip to Finland. Eventually they married for the purpose of changing her last name. She ran Reinhard Heydrich’s former summer house on Fehmarn as a restaurant and inn until it burned down in February 1969. She wrote a memoir, Leben mit einem Kriegsverbrecher (Life with a War Criminal) (1976). She spoke with several authors, sent in letters of correction to many newspapers, and defended her late husband, Reinhard Heydrich, until her death in Fehmarn at the age of 74 on August 14, 1985
After a series of failed operations, especially the Battle of the Barents Sea, Raeder was demoted to Admiral Inspector, a ceremonial office. Raeder had intended to inform Hitler of the failure of the Barents Sea and explain it as a series of misunderstandings. However, the message was not passed on, and Hitler, believing that the battle had been a success, announced a victory. When Hitler learned the truth, he summoned Raeder to explain himself. Upon Raeder's arrival, Hitler scolded him and decided he would scrap the German surface fleet. On 30 January 1943 Raeder resigned.
After the 20 July plot, Raeder assured Hitler of his loyalty.
As Hitler stated he would stay in Berlin until the end of the war, Raeder followed and was captured by the Soviets who later took him to Moscow. Following the war, Raeder offered technical assistance regarding Soviet naval affairs.
Raeder was indicted on war crimes in October 1945. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Nuremberg trials. He was surprised as he had expected to be sentenced to death. Whilst in prison, Raeder conducted a feud with Dönitz.[Who was his sucssesor] There were several campaigns to free Raeder, by his wife and German veterans. Due to ill health, Raeder was released on 26 September 1955.
He wrote his autobiography using ghost writers. Raeder wanted to continue his feud with Dönitz, but the ghost writers would not allow it for the sake of the navy. Raeder enjoyed attending and speaking at veteran meetings.
[He had a Ph D h c] (hounory causes)
Erich Raeder died in Kiel on 6 November 1960. His wife had died in 1959. He is buried in the Nordfriedhof (North Cemetery).
He was born in Leuben, the son of Karl Julius Reinhold Heydrich, a piano builder. He was a contrabassist in the Meiningen Court Orchestra and Dresden. In Weimar, he began his career as a singer. He was also a member of the Men's Association Schlaraffia. In 1895, he sang the title role in the premiere of Hans Pfitzner's first opera Der Arme Heinrich. The young Pfitzner could find no one for the role. Heydrich made the offer to perform free of charge once a stage had been found.
Heydrich composed choral works, songs, orchestral works and operas in the style of Richard Wagner, which were performed in Cologne and Leipzig. These works never entered the standard repertoire. Heydrich left behind about 83 compositions. In 1899, he founded in a music conservatory Halle an der Saale which bore his name.
Heydrich's wife Elisabeth, née Krantz, came from a wealthy family and was the daughter of the head of the Royal Conservatory of Dresden, Eugen Krantz. She met Richard Bruno Heydrich when he was a student at the conservatory. In Halle an der Saale, Richard Bruno Heydrich, Elisabeth, and their children lived in a second floor apartment, Gütchenstraße 20. Richard Bruno Heydrich’s eldest son, SS General Reinhard Heydrich (1904–1942), was named after the hero of his first opera, Amen. Heinz Heydrich, Reinhard's younger brother, committed suicide in 1944.
Bruno Heydrich died at a spa near Dresden, where his death certificate was issued. His crypt is in the Stadtgottesacker, Halle an der Saale.
Works. In Prague, the day before his assassination, Reinhard Heydrich and wife Lina Heydrich attend a concert of Richard Bruno Heydrich's music in the Wallenstein Palace, 26 May 1942.
Chamber music.
Friedrich Karl Freiherr von Eberstein (14 January 1894 – 10 February 1979) was a member of the German nobility, early member of the Nazi Party, the SA, and the SS (introducing Reinhard Heydrich to Heinrich Himmler in July 1931). Further, he rose to become a Reichstag delegate, an HSSPF and SS-Oberabschnitt Führer (chief of the Munich Police in World War II), and was a witness at the Nuremberg Trials.
Eberstein played a part in the first meeting of two of the major leaders of both the SS and later the Holocaust: Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Himmler. Eberstein and Heydrich's families were both from Halle on the Saale. His mother was Heydrich's godmother.[3] He was also a friend of Lina Heydrich, Reinhard Heydrich's wife. Acting on the advice of Karl von Eberstein, Himmler agreed to interview Heydrich.[8] When Himmler cancelled Heydrich's interview in Munich due to alleged illness, Lina ignored the message, and sent Heydrich on a Munich bound train. Karl met Heydrich at the station and drove him to meet Himmler. Himmler received Heydrich and hired him as the chief of the new SS 'Ic Service' or Intelligence Service (which would later become known as the Sicherheitsdienst (SD)

Karl von Eberstein, 1938

On 12 March 1938, Eberstein was appointed Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF) for military district VII in Munich. In addition, on 17 December 1942 he was appointed HSSPF for the military district XIII in Nuremberg. Dachau concentration camp fell under Eberstein's authority as HSSPF.
Karl von Eberstein was dismissed from all posts on 20 April 1945 for "defeatism", by Gauleiter Paul Giesler, on orders from Martin Bormann.[17] The charge of "defeatism", was made against Karl von Eberstein because he refused to support orders from high command that prisoners held in camps within his administrative command be eliminated.
When Heydrich was assassinated in May 1942, Frank was once again passed over for promotion to Deputy Protector; Kurt Daluege was chosen instead. Daluege and Frank were instrumental in initiating the destruction of the Czech villages of Lidice and Ležáky in order to take revenge on the Czech populace for Heydrich's death. Under Daluege, Frank continued to consolidate his power and by the time Wilhelm Frick was appointed Reich Protector in 1943, Frank was the most powerful official in Bohemia and Moravia. In August 1942, he was made a Minister of State as Reich Minister for Bohemia and Moravia. In June 1943, he was promoted to SS-Obergruppenführer and General of Police in Prague. Frank was also made a General of the Waffen-SS.

Karl Herman Frank hanging from the neck in Prague, 1946, for his role in organizing the massacres of the people of the Czech villages of Lidice and Ležáky. He was the Higher SS and Police Leader and Secretary of State of the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
From 30 April to 1 May 1945, before the Prague Uprising, Frank announced over the radio that he would drown any uprising in a "sea of blood". Later, as rumors of an impending Allied approach reached the city, the people of Prague streamed into the streets to welcome the victors. Frank ordered the streets to be cleared and instructed the German army and police forces in Prague to fire at anyone who disobeyed.
Frank surrendered to the U.S. Army in Pilsen on 9 May 1945. He was extradited to the People's Court in Prague and tried during March and April 1946. After being convicted of war crimes and the obliteration of Lidice, Frank was sentenced to death. He was hanged on 22 May 1946 with the Austro-Hungarian pole method in the courtyard of the Pankrác Prison in Prague, before 5,000 onlookers.  He was buried in an anonymous pit at Prague's Ďáblice cemetery.
Having been tipped off that he was about to be arrested, Brüning fled Germany in 1934 via the Netherlands and settled first in the United Kingdom, and in 1935 in the United States. In 1937 he became a visiting professor at Harvard University, and he was the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Government at Harvard from 1939 to 1952. He warned the American public about Hitler's plans for war, and later about Soviet aggression and plans for expansion, but in both cases his advice went largely unheeded.
In 1951 he returned to Germany, settling in Cologne in West Germany, where he taught as a professor of political science at the University of Cologne until he retired in 1953. Partly because of his dissatisfaction with chancellor Konrad Adenauer's politics he returned to the U.S. in 1955 where he revised the manuscript of his Memoirs 1918–1934 which was edited by his lifelong assistant, Claire Nix.
Due to the memoirs' highly controversial content they were not published until after his death in 1970. Parts of the memoirs are considered unreliable, not based on historical records, and a self-justification for his politics during the Weimar Republic. Brüning died 30 March 1970 in Norwich, Vermont, and was buried in his home town of Münster.

The operation was given the codename Anthropoid, Greek for "having the form of a human", a term usually used in zoology. With the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), preparation began on 20 October 1941. Warrant Officer Jozef Gabčík (Slovak) and Staff Sergeant Karel Svoboda (Czech) were chosen to carry out the operation on 28 October 1941 (Czechoslovakia's Independence Day). Svoboda was replaced with Jan Kubiš (Czech) after a head injury during training, causing delays in the mission, as Kubiš had not completed training nor had the necessary false documents been prepared for him.

                                                               Jozef Gabčík
 Gabčík and Kubiš airlifted by a Royal Air Force Halifax of No. 138 Squadron into Czechoslovakia at 10 pm on 28 December 1941 and landed near Nehvizdy east of Prague; although the plan was to land near Pilsen, the pilots had problems with orientation. The soldiers then moved to Pilsen to contact their allies, and from there on to Prague, where the attack was planned.
In the days following Lidice, no leads on those responsible for Heydrich's death were found despite the Nazis' zealous impatience to find them. During that time, a deadline set for the assassins to be apprehended by 18 June 1942 was publicly issued to the military and the people of Czechoslovakia. If they were not caught by then, the Germans threatened to spill far more blood as a consequence, believing that this threat would be enough to force a potential informant to sell out the culprits. Many civilians were indeed weary and fearful of further retaliations, making it increasingly difficult to hide information much longer.
                                                              Jan Kubiš
The assailants initially hid with two Prague families and later took refuge in Karel Boromejsky Church, an Eastern Orthodox church dedicated to Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Prague. The Germans were unable to locate the attackers until Karel Čurda of the "Out Distance" sabotage group was arrested and questioned by the Gestapo and gave them the names of the team’s local contacts for the bounty of one million Reichsmarks.

KAREL ČURDA  was an active Czech nazi collaborator during World War II. A soldier from the Czechoslovak army in exile, he was parachuted into the protectorate in 1942 as a member of the sabotage group 'Out Distance'. He is known for his betrayal of the Anglo-Czech and Slovak army agents responsible for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague known as Operation Anthropoid.
His rewards were 1,000,000 Reichsmarks and a new identity, as "Karl Jerhot". He married a German woman and spent the rest of the war as a Gestapo collaborator.
After the war, Čurda was tracked down and arrested. When asked in court how he could betray his comrades, Čurda answered, "I think you would have done the same for 1 million marks." Karel Čurda was found guilty of treason, although his attempted suicide failed, and was hanged on April 29, 1947..

                                                                  Karel Čurda

Čurda betrayed several safe houses provided by the Jindra group, including that of the Moravec family in Žižkov. At 05:00 on 17 June, the Moravec flat was raided. The family was made to stand in the hallway while the Gestapo searched their flat. Mrs. Marie Moravec, after being allowed to go to the toilet, bit into a cyanide capsule and thereby killed herself. Mr. Alois Moravec, unaware of his family's involvement with the resistance, was taken to the Peček Palác together with his 17-year-old son Ata, who though interrogated with torture throughout the day, refused to talk. The youth was stupefied with brandy, shown his mother's severed head in a fish tank and warned that if he did not reveal the information they were looking for, his father would be next. Ata's strong willpower finally snapped and he told the Gestapo what they wanted to know. Vlastimil "Ata" Moravec was executed by the Nazis in Mauthausen on 24 October 1942, the same day as his father and his fiancé with her mother and brother were executed.
Waffen-SS troops laid siege to the church the following day but, despite the best efforts of 750 SS soldiers under the command of Generalleutnant Karl Fischer von Treuenfeld, they were unable to take the paratroopers alive; Kubiš, Adolf Opálka, and Jaroslav Svarc were killed in the prayer loft (although Kubiš was said to have survived the battle, he died shortly afterward from his injuries) after a two-hour gun battle. The other four, Gabčík, Josef Valcik, Josef Bublik and Jan Hruby committed suicide in the crypt after repeated SS attacks, attempts to smoke them out with tear gas, and Prague fire brigade trucks brought in to try to flood the crypt. The Germans (SS and police) suffered casualties as well, 14 SS allegedly killed and 21 wounded according to one report although the official SS report about the fight mentioned only five wounded SS soldiers. The men in the church had only small-caliber pistols, while the attackers had machine guns, submachine guns and hand grenades. After the battle, Čurda confirmed the identity of the dead Czech resistance fighters, including Kubiš and Gabčík.

Bishop Gorazd, in an attempt to minimize the reprisals among his flock, took the blame for the actions in the church and even wrote letters to the Nazi authorities, who arrested him on 27 June 1942 and tortured him. On 4 September 1942 the bishop, the church's priests and senior lay leaders were taken to Kobylisy Shooting Range in a northern suburb of Prague and shot by Nazi firing squads. For his actions,

                                                   Gorazd (Matěj Pavlík).jpg
                                                             Bishop Gorazd

BISHOP GORAZD, in an attempt to minimize the reprisals among his flock, took the blame for the actions in the church and even wrote letters to the German authorities, who arrested him on 27 June 1942 and tortured him. On 4 September 1942 the bishop, the church's priests and senior lay leaders were taken to Kobylisy Shooting Range in a northern suburb of Prague and were shot by a firing squads. For his actions, Bishop Gorazd was later glorified as a martyr by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

wikipedia new zealand
Breitman, Richard. The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.
Fleming, Gerald. Hitler and the Final Solution. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984.
Gilbert, Martin. The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1985.
Robert Gerwarth Hitler's Hangman
MacDonald, Callum. The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich. New York: The Free Press, 1989.
Toland, John. The Last 100 Days. New York: Random House, 1966.
The World Book Encyclopedia. "Heydrich, Reinhard". 1988 Edition.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Barbarossa The Waffen SS on the Eastern Front Part 6

Barbarossa The Waffen SS on the Eastern Front Part 8

Totenkopf troops rest in a copse during a lill in the fighting. September 1941. They were attached to Army Group North who advanced through the Baltic States on to Leningrad

Supplies are brought to the front by horses at dusk. Infantry and horse drawn artillery still formed the bulk of three German army groups attacking Russia. There were 750,000 horses in the German Army at the start of Barbarossa.

Waffen-SS from the Leibstandarte Division watches a village burn. As the campaign progressed many Soviet fighters rather than surrender went into hiding and formed partisan units who operated behind German lines. (Note; These are Wehrmacht soldiers, see eagle insignia on the breast, sic)

Mariupol burns. The Germans were to lose control of the city two years later as they retreated from the advancing Soviet army.

By late 1941 the Russians winter ferocity of the fighting and the large distances involved in Barbarossa were beginning to affect morale among the German troops who realised that they were in for a long battle of attrition.

German soldier sort out ammunition for their unit. the sheer speed of the advance during the early months of Barbarossa meant that providing enough ammunition for the troops was a costant logistical challenge.

A gun tractor with light field howitzer gets stuck in a snow drift. The Germans often had to resort to horses to pull their equipment out of deep snow as animals proved much more suited to the freezung temperatures.

Waffen-SS troops put togetjer a 'Panzer Cocktail', an improvised Molotov cocktail used against Russian T34 tanks. Due to its sloping armour the German 3.7cm anti tank gun proved ineffective against it.
German troops shovel snow to keep their lines of communication open. It often proved a futile task and during the winter 1941 some Units were cut off for weeks.

German soldiers try to pull a lorry of the snow. The sub zero temperatures which often reached minus 20 degree Fahrenheit and deep snow suited the Russians who were used to such conditions and were fighting on home territory.

Trapped in the Demyansk pocket was the SS Totenkopf Division, part of 100,000 men surrounded by the Soviets.

The 8th SS-Calvary Division was named after Florian Geyer, a sixteenth century nobleman who was famous for leading peasants during the German Peasant War.

A lone sentry stands guard on Hill 252 near Zdenac. German forces were frequently subjected to attack by Russian partisans who operated behind enemy lines.

The Leibstandarte fought alondside 'Das Reich' under the command of Paul 'Papa' Hausser, third from right, who was known as the father of the Waffen-SS. For his services in Russia he was awarded the Knights Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak Lwaves.

The 'Feldpost' or field post with news from Germaany was greatly looked forward to by the front line troops. It was subject to heavy censorship, particulary during retreat from Russia in latter years of the war.

The German Army also made regular use of inflatable boats or dinghys during operation Barbarossa. While they were capable of transporting men quickly across water, they were particularly vulnerable to enemy attack

Waffen-SS men relax prior to battle. The wore a wide range of uniforms from the 'fedgrau' or field grey similar to the regular army to the mottled camouflage which was their hallmark.

Lorries make their way gingerly through swollen river after the big thaw following the Soviet winter of 1941/42. The thaw could turn a ford into a raging torrent.

A Sttug III tank makes its way upstream. Tanks coped better with the adverse conditions than many other types of armoured military vehicles, but often proved difficult to repar when they did break down.

A Tiger tank commander with the third SS Division Totenkopf. The division suffered heavy casulties during the battle of Demlansk Pocket but went on to fight with distinction at the battle of Kursk in 1943

Horses and tanks both played a pivotal role in the Operation Barbarossa. While the Panzer tanks were mechanically complex and prone to breakdown, many horses were simply worked until they dropped from exhaustion, hunger or disease.

A wounded soldier from the 4th SS division Polizei, The division was officially formed in 1942 from its origins as a German Police Organisation, They took part i heavy fighting between January and March which resulted in the destruction of the Soviet 2nd Shock Army.
Waffen-SS forces advance as part of Operation Blue in 1942, Overstretched by the vast area they had  overrun, German forces would go on to fight an epic battle at Stalingrad which resulted in the destruction of the Sixth  Army.

A Waffen-SS motorcyclist stops to get his bearings, June 1942. Mtorcyclists were crucial to the German offensive being more mobile and able to cover large distances much more quickly than other motorised vehicles.

Waffen-Ss troops inspect an unexploded rocket. The Soviet Katyusha rocket launcher took a heavy toll of both German troops and equipment. Compared to other artillery, multiple rocket launchers could deliver a devastating amount of explosives to a target area quickly. However, they had lower accuracy and required a longer time to reload than conventional artillery.

A German Panzerabwehrkanone 7.5 cm anti-tank gun with 22 rings of hits to its credit. This versatile gun with a range of over 700 metres was the backbone of German anti-tank artillery during Operation Barbarossa, but it was heavy and often got bogged down in the mud.

A Soviet prisoner with a cigarette offers another a light watched by guards in a German propaganda photograph. News of the barbaric treatment of Soviet p[prisoners of war, who the Waffen-SS claimed had not signed the Geneva Convention (which is a fact,sic.) soon spread among the Soviet Army. (The treatment of German SS-prisoners, or Wehrmacht, in Soviet hands was not any better,sic)

A Waffen-SS soldier shows the fatigue of battle. They earned a fearsome reputation for fighting and cosequently were often the first choice of many young recruits over other other military services.

A wounded soldier of the '8th SS Cavalry Division the Florian Geyer' receives help from the Units doctor. The Waffen-SS were feared and loathed in equal measure by the Russians for their fanatical fighting and consequently suffered high casualties.

Waffen-SS troops advance cautiously in an armoured vehicle. Soviet troops had learnt from the opening months of the campaign when they had often been caught and destroyed out in the open. Consequently they became experts at using the terrain to ambush German patrols.

A German Panzer III Tank crew rests and watch the Units mascot, a German Alsation dog. German officers were allowed to keep dogs which were not meant to be pets but working dogs designed to boost morale.

Reconnaissance attached to the Waffen-SS played a vital part in the German advance and later the retreat from Russia, pinpointing enemy positions and searching for cover. Reconnaissance units were responsible for scouting ahead as SS Divisions were often in the vanguard of the fighting in Russia. The soldier on top, is using a scissors periscope.