Igor KOZLOV, “the FACTS”
The second world war after 75 years after its completion still keeps many of its secrets. One of them is the fate of Heinrich Himmler, who held the post of Reich Minister of internal Affairs of Germany, one of the closest aides of Adolf Hitler. Himmler managed to escape from the besieged Berlin, which gave rise to many legends. Many believe that he left not only the capital of the Third Reich but also the country itself. Like several other Nazi war criminals, Himmler supposedly got to South America and for many years was hiding there.
In late may, the German magazine Focus has published several articles about the last days of world war II in Europe. One of these materials is concerned with what actually happened to Himmler. “FACTS” have prepared a full translation of this exciting publication.
“Heinrich Himmler was probably the worst armchair criminal Third Reich. But for his actions he did not want to take responsibility. To avoid this, during interrogation by British soldiers on 23 may 1945 he committed suicide.
The last weeks of the Nazi rule in Germany was not the best time to Heinrich Himmler. “Thousand-year Reich” of Adolf Hitler 12 years after it lay in ruins, the country is mostly occupied by hostile troops, and its future looked very uncertain. However, the worst for Heinrich Himmler was the fact that he fell out of favor with his Fuhrer.
The dreaded world reichfurer the SS, Reich Minister of the interior, the chief of police and the army reserve, head of the concentration camps and death camps in the last hours before the final defeat tried behind Hitler to test the waters about a possible peace with the Western powers. When Hitler learned this, by the way, radioveduschy news the British BBC, he was furious in his bunker under the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. Surrender was not discussed at all — better to die dozens, even hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers.
Himmler looked at it differently. He wanted to make peace with the Western allies not for humanitarian reasons, but only in order to save his life. He knew that his name heads the list of war criminals who were wanted and must be brought before the Tribunal.
He seriously believed that the Supreme commander of the Western allies, General Dwight D. Eisenhower would agree to negotiate with him on equal terms, so that the Germans together with the Americans and the British opposed the red Army. Of course, Eisenhower did not think about it. Why, exactly, he had to consider such an option? Germany irrevocably lost the war. Himmler had nothing to offer.
The main shock to Himmler, probably, was that once it became known that he offered the West the talks, Hitler removed him from all posts. Himmler had always expected that in case of death of Hitler he will lead the Third Reich. However, this place is now occupied by grossadmiral Karl Doenitz, whom Hitler the day before his suicide on 30 April appointed in his “political will” of the Reich President.
And Himmler knew that now he can save only one life.
For several weeks he did not appear in Berlin. Some time of rest with a cold in his headquarters at the sanatorium in Lichen. In the meantime, thousands of people were dying daily. The day before the death of the Fuhrer, on 29 April, he went to Dönitz in plön in Schleswig-Holstein. It was there that he learned about the “political Testament” of Hitler and, having gone through a short shock, offered his candidacy as Minister of the interior.
He tried several times to meet with Danicom, but he didn’t want to hear about cooperation with Himmler discredited, and finally gave him to understand that there is no post. Doenitz expelled him with the words: “Everyone who was once a traitor will always be ready for betrayal”.
The new Minister of foreign Affairs Ludwig Schwerin von Krosigk, advised him to go directly into the headquarters of the British commander, General Montgomery and surrender to stand trial. But Himmler did not want to know anything about it. He saw the only chance to escape — to escape.
Unlike other Nazi leaders, he, apparently, was not prepared to escape. The main problem was that his face was known to all. He knew every German, as well as a placed in the region of foreign soldiers. Heinrich Himmler was known as the most brutal executioner of Nazi Germany, missing only one of the concentration camps and death camps, the horrors of which it was already known after the release of their prisoners.
He obtained for himself the form of a Sergeant of the secret field police and the relevant documents in the name of Henry Gittinger. He has shaved his whiskers, closed his left eye with bandages, but did not care even about the new glasses. The new documents was a mistake because the British were automatically arrested all members of the secret field police.
Accompanied by at least seven people, he started to run. This support included a personal adviser to Himmler, Rudolf Brandt, his personal physician, an SS officer Karl Gebhardt, its Secretary Werner Grothmann and the security chief Himmler, the commander of the assault detachment of the SS Heinz Maher.
About the last days of one of the main members of the national-socialist dictatorship, there is surprisingly little reliable information. For example, in his biography of Himmler, written by historian Peter Longaria, which is over a thousand pages, this devoted to just one page.
According to the portal deathcamps.org having studied the available sources, in particular the memories of the English soldiers, it was found that from 7 to 11 may, Himmler with his escort was on a farm in Satrupa near Flensburg, where Doenitz, meanwhile, had established his headquarters.
The further route of the group looked obviously so: in the Delval and the Friedrichstadt on the Elbe, as well as the Marne, brunsbüttel and Neuhaus. The group is clearly headed to Bavaria, they proceeded very carefully and slowly further to the South of the country. There was a real chaos. The region was occupied by the British, but there were a lot of German soldiers.
18 may the group reached Bremervörde where he was hiding on the farm until may 22. That day, obviously, Himmler and his companions faced three Russian soldiers liberated from the pow camp and was on duty at the bridge in Minstate, about 20 km South of Bremervörde.
Himmler and two others were arrested and held overnight at the mill in Bremervörde. The next day they gave the British. They were taken by truck to the camp of Kolchugin near the village of Barnstedt South of lüneburg. After a short stop at the headquarters of the 45th of the Department for field police in Cevene, the truck arrived in Kolchugin at 18:30.
About a half hour later, three people were led to the camp commandant, captain Thomas Selvester. And they asked for it. Up to this point none of the British soldiers had no idea what big fish they caught in the net.
Selvester later described the events: “the First man who entered my office was a little painful to look at, dressed in a ragged uniform, but he was accompanied by two men. Selvester ordered to get these two to talk with the third one on one. When he removed the blindfold and put on his glasses, the captain was surprised to find out who is in front of him. Himmler very quietly called his name.
In order to properly confirm the identity of the prisoner, he was asked to sign. It was a test of handwriting. Followed by personal inspection, during which it was discovered that Himmler was carrying poison. Silvester described it like this: “In his jacket I found a small brass capsule-like cartridge case, which was a small glass vial. I understand its purpose, but still asked Himmler what’s in it.”
Himmler claimed that this cure for stomach cramps, but Sylvester knew that really it was poison. He continued his inspection and found another capsule, but no vials inside. He decided that the vial is hidden somewhere on the body of Himmler.
Sylvester recalled: “After all the clothes Himmler was taken from him and examined, were examined, all natural openings, combed hair. We looked in every hiding place, but the vial is not found.” Then he ordered the prisoner to open his mouth. “I thought that the amp might be hidden there, and he’ll spot it immediately as soon as we try to remove it”, — told Selvester.
But found nothing, and Himmler was given a cheese sandwich and tea. Attending the British did not see anything suspicious in how he ate. The next day, 23 may, Himmler was taken to the headquarters of British intelligence in lüneburg. It was located in the building on UELZENER-strass, 31A. There it is again thoroughly searched, for which he had to strip naked.
This time the search conducted by a military doctor, captain S. J. Wells, assisted by three soldiers. During the examination of the mouth Himmler’s doctor found in the lower jaw glass capsule and ordered Himmler to turn closer to the light to examine it. Suddenly Himmler closed his mouth and bit into the capsule filled with potassium cyanide.
Himmler fell or was thrown to the floor. Someone shouted: “This bitch bites!”. In the room immediately spread the smell of hydrocyanic acid.
One of those present of the military, major Norman Whittaker, later described the scene in his diary: “We immediately lifted the old bastard and dunked his face in a bowl of water to wash off the poison. Scary pig groaned and groaned”.
The language of Himmler’s recorded with a thread and needle that he had not swallowed the poison. He tried to bring to life. But it was too late, he was already dead. Whittaker wrote: “It was a losing battle, and 23:14 the devil has issued his last breath.”
The body of Himmler after suicide
With Himmler took the death mask, the next day held an autopsy. Said to have been taken the brain and some parts of the skeleton. Early on the morning of 26 may 1945, four British soldiers took his remains to the woods and buried them in an unknown location. So Himmler, in contrast to Adolf Hitler, immediately found his last rest.”
Translation of Igor KOZLOV, “FACTS” (original Armin Fuhrer / Focus)
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