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Heinrich Himmler: 7 Least-Known Facts About the Architect of Terror

Heinrich Himmler was an important figure in the history of WWII but some details about him are overlooked: 

Although we wrote a lot of articles about WWII in the past, surprisingly there are some topics we haven’t written about yet. But thanks to you and your avid interest in them, today we continue our series with an article about Heinrich Himmler, also known as “the architect of terror” for Nazi Germany.

Maybe these details won’t be new for some readers, but after all, history is always interesting to read about. So, without further ado, let’s begin to story of Himmler from when he was just a kid to the last hours of his life in 1945 when he committed suicide.

Heinrich Himmler
Photo by meunierd from Shutterstock

1. Since childhood he was inclined to join the military

Heinrich Himmler was born in Munich, Germany on October 7, 1900, into a middle-class family. He had a great urge to enlist in the army when he was younger. Unfortunately, the Treaty of Versailles’ limitations on the German army eliminated any prospect of a military career, and the Great War ended shortly after he reached the legal age to enlist.

At that point, he decided not to pursue a career in the military and chose to attend classes at the Technical University of Munich. He gradually became part of a group of university students who were enthusiastic about nationalist literature throughout his stay there, and by the time he graduated, he was a proud and devoted nationalist. Just in time when the Right Wing Party was in full swing.

2. He wasn’t exactly the typical child

As a kid, Himmler was shunned. He frequently carried out his father’s instructions because his father was the school’s administrator. He would observe other kids and denounce them for breaking any laws or norms.

3. In 1923, Heinrich Himmler joined the Nazi Party idolizing Hitler beyond words

Himmler became a member of the Nazi Party in August 1923. Himmler gave up his work and committed his entire life to the party, idolizing Adolph Hitler, the head of the organization. Himmler participated in the Beer Hall Putsch on November 9, 1923, marching with Hitler, Ernst Röhm, Hermann Göring, and other Nazi leaders.

When Hitler was briefly imprisoned after the attempted revolt, Himmler was able to establish his image inside the Nazi Party by finding employment. He frequently addressed the German race, the necessity of German expansion, and Germany’s fight against its adversaries.

With 280 members, the SS was the highest level of the Nazi Party, which Himmler aimed to establish. Himmler had increased the number of SS members to 52,000 by the time the Nazis took office in 1933. This was just the beginning of a new era full of hatred and other horrors.

 4. He is the “father” of the first concentration camp

This is probably one of the most shocking facts about Himmler even if it can’t surprise you especially now that you already know so many details about him and his life. He was the one who had the idea of letting live only the pure-breed Germans and the “compromised” ones must be eliminated.

Hitler designated Himmler as the Reich Commissar for the Strengthening of the German Ethnic Stock in 1939, following the Nazi invasion of Poland. Himmler and the SS were given full authority for German resettlement in seized Poland and, subsequently, the Soviet Union in 1941.

Heinrich Himmler was the one who established the first formal concentration camp at Dachau on Hitler’s instructions. He sent a devout Nazi named Theodor Eicke to command the aforementioned camp. He ultimately devised a method that was applied to all future concentration camps in Germany.

Interesting to point out is that the mass killing, besides Jews, also applied to people (even Germans) who had physical deformities or other un-treatable conditions.

He was directly in charge of implementing the use of gas chambers in the concentration camps. He insisted that each concentration camp fulfill its limit, which involved the murder of a specific amount of civilians, including Jews.

5. He had a diary that started when he was just 10 years old

His worldview and philosophy were developed through the entries in his journal. Himmler first showed an interest in politics and intellectual debates about intimacy and religion. His journal notes from when he met Ernst Röhm, one of the Nazi Party’s founders, show his concerns about the “Jewish question.”

His diaries eventually became an abundance of antisemitic statements and documentation of his discussions on the Jews. Himmler’s journal documents his ideological development from a critical youngster to one of the most influential individuals in Nazi Germany.

6. He had an interest in the occult

It’s interesting to note that Heinrich Himmler’s lifelong love of mysticism and the occult never wavered. His diary was rumored to have a lengthy list of books regarding esoteric teachings and German mythology as early as 1922.

Himmler began to discover his perspectives through Germanic mythology and other occult concepts when he decided to leave Catholicism. These ideas eventually turned into his religion.

He exploited this fascination as justification for his racist beliefs, which hold that the Nordic and Aryan races are better. Things that will reflect in his future actions very well.

We all know that Germany was on the verge of poverty before the entire Nazi regimen. To help it go on like a proud country, Hitler and his allies did everything to make it happen. With all these atrocities that happened for 25 years, people had to live their day-to-day lives.

Are you curious to find more details about it and not only? We recommend you check out this amazingly written book Life in the Third Reich: Daily Life in Nazi Germany available on Amazon in Kindle format for just $4.19. 

Heinrich Himmler
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

7. When there was no “light at the end of the tunnel”, he betrayed Hitler

Who would have suspected that? He was so involved in the party especially worshipping Hitler and being loyal to him, that nobody would have thought he would betray him in the end. Or maybe he realized that the Nazi regime was doomed and there was no way out?

Anyway, he left his Berlin office and said in a letter that he was trying to get the Soviet Union to agree to a negotiation. Himmler fled to his home state of Bavaria, where he was eventually taken into custody by the Allies. Because Nazis had this sort of agreement to not let themselves be caught, he swallowed a cyanide tablet and passed away in his cell before they could try him. His final resting location remains a mystery.

Even though he was a terrible person, with an unusual childhood because of his immense self-trust, Heinrich Himmler managed to get “on top” of a party on his own. He believed so hard that the Nazi party could help Germany rise from poverty and some bad years that nothing and nobody will stand in their way.

Looking forward to discover other facts about the WWII or the Nazi Germany? We got you covered. Here are some of the best articles from our page, related to this historical period: 


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