Reinhard Heydrich

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Heydrich, ca. 1940
A lunatic Chaplin imitator
and his greatest fans

Icon nazi.svg
First as tragedy
Then as farce

Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich (7 March 1904 – 4 June 1942) was a high-ranking Nazi who is among those most directly responsible for the Holocaust. Although he and his family were Catholics, he was alleged to have had Jewish ancestry, though despite Heinrich Himmler wanting him to be expelled from the Nazi Party, Adolf Hitler himself overruled the idea, remarking that Heydrich "was a highly gifted but also very dangerous man, whose gifts the movement had to retain. Such people could still be used so long as they were kept well in hand and for that purpose his non-Aryan origins were extremely useful; for he would be eternally grateful to us that we had kept him and not expelled him and would obey blindly."[1] He was so heartless that even Hitler thought he was bad, referring to him as "the man with the iron heart". Actor Kenneth Branagh, who won an Emmy for portraying Heydrich in the 2001 HBO film Conspiracy, concluded after doing research for the role that Heydrich was a highly intelligent sociopath who saw the Holocaust as nothing more than a means to secure more power for himself within the Nazi hierarchy.[2]

He was in charge of the Wannsee Conference, which planned out the Final Solution to the Jewish Question. The most brutal part of the Holocaust, Operation Reinhard, was named for him.

He was critically wounded in an assassination attempt by Czech and Slovak agents and died of his injuries a week later. Faulty Nazi intelligence led investigators to two villages (Lidice and Ležáky). Almost everyone in those two villages was either shot or deported to a concentration camp, where they were killed. Following his death, Ernst Kaltenbrunner succeeded him as head of SS Intelligence. The buildings of both villages were also completely destroyed in retaliation for the assassination.


  1. The Kersten Memoirs, 1940-1945, p. 96-97
  2. Conspiracy Kenneth Branagh