The life span of Reinhard Heydrich represents, in its totality, one of the most terrible events in human history. I use the word “events” instead of “life” because this sociopath’s thoughts and deeds stand in opposition to the very concept of human life.
Adolf Hitler himself held Heydrich in the highest esteem, even thinking of him as a pretty decent successor. Not good.
Bullet Points (real bullets):
- Extermination of the Jews. Heydrich headed up the January 1942 Wannsee Conference near Berlin, an ongoing subject of numerous movies,books, and academic studies. It was there that the plans for the destruction of the 11 million Jews in German-occupied Europe were hatched. Not that it stopped these plans, but thankfully, Heydrich was ambushed and killed by two British-trained Czech partisans in Prague in May 1942.
- Mobile Killing Squads. Earlier, Heydrich formed and lead the horrific Einsatzgruppen, or mobile killing squads that trailed the 1941 Nazi invasion of Russia and murdered millions of Jews in Russia and Poland by shooting or gassing them to death.
- The Gestapo. And before that, Heydrich was the monster who developed the Gestapo into an instrument of torture, terror, and murder as early as 1934 under the aegis of friend / rival Himmler. The secret to his success? He began color-coding his infamous index card collection.
- Kristallnacht 1938. Heydrich was chief engineer of this charming event.