Thursday, February 23, 2012

Reinhard Heydrich

Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich (7 March 1904 – 4 June 1942) was a high-ranking German Nazi official during World War II, and one of the main architects of The Holocaust. He was SS-Obergruppenführer (Lieutenant-general) and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office (including the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), Gestapo, and Kripo) and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor (Deputy Reich-Protector) of Bohemian and Moravia. In August 1940 he was appointed and served as President of Interpol (the international law enforcement agency). Heydrich chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, which laid out plans for the final solution to the Jewish Question—the deportation and extermination of all Jews in German-occupied territory.

Historians regard him as the darkest figure within the Nazi elite, and Hitler christened him "the man with the iron heart". He was the founding head of the SD, an intelligence organisation tasked with seeking out and neutralising resistance to the Nazi Party via arrests, deportations, and murder. He was an organiser of Kristallnacht, one of the early events of the Holocaust. Upon his arrival in Prague, Heydrich sought to eliminate opposition to the occupation through the suppression of the Czech culture and the deportation and execution of members of the Czech resistance.

He was attacked in Prague on 27 May 1942 by a British-trained team of Czech and Slovak soldiers who had been sent on behalf of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile to kill him in an operation named Operation Anthropoid. He died from his injuries a week later. Intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the towns of Lidice and Ležáky. Lidice was razed to the ground; all adult males were executed, and all but a handful of its women and children were deported and killed in Nazi concentration camps

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