Newly discovered diaries of Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Nazi Gestapo and the SS, have highlighted the daily routine of one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany.
The diaries, which were discovered in the archives of the Russian Defense Ministry in Podolsk 2013, covers the years 1937, 1938, 1947, and 1948, according to DW. Entries in the 1,000-page document, indicating Himmler’s daily schedule, were reportedly typed by an adjutant daily.
The German Historical Institute (DHI) is set to publish the lost Himmler diaries in 2017. However, German newspaper Bild has published excerpts of the document.
The document shows how Himmler, who was in charge of Nazi concentration camps and oversaw mass extermination of Jews, carried out his daily activities in a seemingly mundane manner.
One of the entries in the lost diaries indicates that on a particular day, Himmler ordered the execution of 10 Polish people after getting a massage, the Daily Mail reported. The document further revealed that Himmler often toured concentration camps where he witnessed the mass murder of several people and sometimes had a banquet afterward.
The lost Himmler diaries also showed that the leading Nazi officer struggled to maintain his humanity. According to the Daily Mail, one entry in the document revealed that Himmler almost fainted when the brains of a Jew stained his coat after the victim was shot in the head. Another entry in the document highlights one of the rare occasions where Himmler talked about the mass extermination of the Jews and the effects of this on the minds of Nazi officers.
Dr. Matthias Uhl, a historian with the DHI, who has been studying the lost Himmler diaries, told Bild that Himmler was a “beast full of contradictions.”
“He was, on one hand, the unscrupulous executioner, who uttered death sentences in passing and who planned the Holocaust. On the other hand, he went to great lengths to please his SS elite, their families, friends, and acquaintances.”
The lost Himmler diaries also shed light on the personal relationships of Nazi officers. One entry talked about the wedding of SS General Major Hermann Fegelein. The document also contains references to Himmler’s daughter Gudrun, who he fondly referred to as Puppi (meaning doll).
Gudrun, who is now 86, has sought to preserve the memory of her father over 70 years after his death, according to the Mirror. She is said to be a high-ranking figure in the support group Stille Hilfe (Silent Help), which provides assistance to Nazi officers.
The lost Himmler diaries are not the first set of personal documents from Adolf Hitler’s former right-hand man to have made headlines in recent years. In 2014, German newspaper Welt am Sonntag published a series of Himmler’s documents, including personal letters and photographs. According to The Guardian, the documents were found in a property that belongs to the Himmler family in Gmund, near the Tergernsee Lake, Bavaria. The documents, which are now in a bank vault in Israel, revealed how Himmler maintained casual communication with his wife while orchestrating the mass murder of Jewish people.
Himmler committed suicide in May 1945 by biting a cyanide pill while he was in the custody of British soldiers in Luneburg. Before also committing suicide a month earlier, Adolf Hitler stripped Himmler of his post in the Nazi Party after news spread that the latter had attempted to negotiate with Western Allies in the face of several losses on the battlefield.
Gudrun has said that she does not believe her father committed suicide and contends that he was murdered by the British, the Mirror reported.
Historians have noted that the lost Himmler diaries would be of immense importance in understanding how the Nazis operated.
[Photo by AP]