Hitler's Villainous SS Chief Revealed in Nazi Trove
Heinrich Himmler's personal papers give unprecedented glimpse of Nazi leadership
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2014 8:52 AM CST
The June 3, 1944 photo shows Heinrich Himmler, center, as he reviews troops of the Galician SS-Volunteer Infantry Division   (AP photo/ U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Atlantic Foto Verlag Berlin)

(Newser) – In history books, he was the chief architect of the systematic genocide of 6 million Jews. But in the pages of Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper, SS chief Heinrich Himmler is intimately depicted feeding a fawn or strolling with a daughter, and as the author of love letters to his wife, "my sweet, beloved little woman." It's part of an unprecedented trove of personal documents, photos, and even recipe books that belonged to Adolf Hitler's SS chief, being published now for the first time. "There is nothing like it for any other member of the Nazi leadership," says one Nazi expert.

Notably absent are the atrocities of the Holocaust, though there are allusions that the AP calls "often shocking in the banality of its evilness," such as a letter to his wife in which Himmler writes, "I'm going to Auschwitz, kisses, your Heinrich." US soldiers found the collection in a safe in Himmler's house at the end of World War II—Himmler himself committed suicide in 1945 after he was captured by the British—and it eventually ended up in the hands of Israeli film director Vanessa Lapa. Lapa will follow up next month with a documentary about the Himmler trove that will debut at the Berlin International Film Festival. (Click for a Nazi atrocity recently uncovered in Brazil.)

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Jan 28, 2014 10:07 AM CST
Everybody should know that it was the Einsatzgruppe A & B that did all of the "outside" killing of the Jews and Christians in Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and all of the other countries in Eastern Europe. These men were for the most part family men who loved their wives and children, yet still managed to carry out their heinous crimes. This is really a non story as we have known for years just how many Jews were killed in the Concentration Camps and how many were killed outside the Camps. Why this is a story today is mind boggling.
Jan 27, 2014 4:28 PM CST
"Times may change, but people don't" was what a Holocaust survivor - my mother - taught me many decades ago. Our species remains the same.
Jan 27, 2014 12:43 AM CST
The Nazis were so horrific not because they were pure evil but because they weren't--Himmler embodied many of the virtues of everyday life. He performed his job "conscientiously", paid his bills on time, was loyal to his wife and family, and never lied, cheated, or stole. The most evil governments are not run by purely evil people, but by people who can be convinced to put their virtue at the service of evil.