A German newspaper has published excerpts from the private letters of one of the most reviled Nazi masterminds, Heinrich Himmler, and says that although many of the writings “revolve around mundane things,” they show Himmler as an “apparently unfeeling, self-righteous bureaucrat who became the pioneer and chief organizer of humanity’s greatest crime — the Holocaust.”
The letters, which were discovered in Tel Aviv, arrived in the nascent Jewish state by way of two American soldiers, who had found them in Himmler’s Bavaria home after the war.
Himmler, a visceral anti-Semite who was chief of the SS and German police, played a key role in the elimination of all opposition to Hitler and implementation of the Holocaust: the concentration camps were under his authority.
The collection mainly consists of letters to Himmler’s wife, Marga, which date from 1927 — six years before Hitler came to power — to 1945, the last written five weeks before he committed suicide on May 23 to avoid trial.
Germany’s national archives authenticated the documents.
The documents “change nothing about the general image of the horrible Nazi dictatorship,” said the German newspaper Die Welt, which has financed a documentary using the material to show Himmler’s private life.
In one letter, written on the eve of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Himmler wrote to Marga: “Now it is war again. I knew it — I slept so badly.”
“There is a box of caviar in the fridge. Take that with you,” Marga responded, according to the Daily Mail’s translation of Die Welt’s excerpts.
A few weeks after that, Himmler wrote again, this time to apologize for having missed the couple’s wedding anniversary.
“I am so sorry I missed our anniversary for the first time,” he wrote. “There was lots going on in these days. The fighting is very hard for the SS.”
In early letters dating to 1928, the young couple discussed their mutual distaste for the Jewish people. “The Jew pack has much dread of you,” Marga wrote, and again: “The Jew remains the Jew!”
“Don’t get angry about the Jews, good woman, I can help you,” Himmler replied.
Reportedly, the closest Himmler came to mentioning the Final Solution for the extermination of Europe’s Jews was an offhand comment: “I’m going to Auschwitz. Kisses, your Heini.”
AFP contributed to this report.