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

(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.)

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)
German Nazi party official and head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler at an unknown location in Germany.   (AP Photo/str/file)
The Jan 1, 1946 file photo shows Margarete Himmler, wife of the German SS chief who committed suicide, center, as she reads some papers with daughter Gudrun, right, as they are watched by Louise Cuyon-Witzschel.   (AP Photo,File)
The May 18, 1944 file photo shows Adolf Hitler, left, shaking hands with German Interior Minister and head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, in Germany.   (AP Photo/str,File)
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