10 Facts About Reinhard Heydrich — The Butcher of Prague

Sometimes referred to as ‘the hangman’ or ‘the blond beast’, Reinhard Heydrich was a senior figure in the Nazi regime who will always be remembered for the heinous role he played in the Holocaust.

1. Heydrich was described by Adolf Hitler as ‘the man with the iron heart’.

Adolf Hitler and Heydrich

Heydrich stood behind and to the side of Hitler in this photo (Vienna, 1938).

Most historians agree that he was a dark and sinister figure amongst the ranks of the Nazi elite.

2. In 1922, Heydrich’s military career started as a Naval Cadet at Kiel

By 1928 he had been promoted to the rank of Sub-Lieutenant.

3. During 1932, Himmler appointed Heydrich as Chief of the SD (Sicherheitsdienst) which was the intelligence agency of the SS

Ken Oatley, as one of the people who took part in the bombing of Dresden, talks about what it was like, and what he feels about having done it.Listen Now

4. Heydrich was one of the organisers of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games

Berlin36-2

The Berlin Olympic Stadium in 1936.

Along with others he received an award to celebrate the role he played in making the games a success.

5. Heydrich was one of the organisers of the infamous Kristallnacht persecution

1389.8 Holocaust C

Damage to Jewish businesses following Kristallnacht.

It was targeted at Jewish people, property and business during November 1938.

6. During World War Two, Heydrich organised mass executions in newly occupied European countries

Getting to the moon was no easy feat, no matter how confident Kennedy may have sounded in his famous 1961 speech. Fong tells stories of just how close they came to failure, and how risky it was.Listen Now

7. During 1939, Heydrich established task forces (Einsatzgruppen) to round up Jewish people for placement into ghettos.

In this exclusive interview with Miroslaw Obstarczyk, a curator at Auschwitz, we hear about the horrors of the camp and the bravery of the people who died there.Watch Now

In doing so it is estimated that by the end of the war the soldiers involved in this process had killed around 1 million people (700,000 in Russia alone).

8. During 1941 Heydrich was appointed as Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia (Czechoslovakia).

In this role, he established a cruel dictatorship which resulted in a significant loss of life.

9. By 1942, under Heydrich’s leadership, it is estimated that around 4,500 Czech people had either been executed or arrested.

Mauthausen_survivors

The liberation of Mauthausen by American soldiers.

Those who were arrested were mainly sent to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp.

10. Heydrich died in 1942

He had sustained injuries during an assassination attempt by British trained operatives whilst he was travelling to Berlin for a meeting with Hitler.

Heydrichmarke

Postage stamp in commemoration of Reinhard Heydrich, released in 1943.