Heinrich Himmler

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The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don't ask for their love; only for their fear.
My honor is my loyalty.

Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (7 October 190023 May 1945) was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of the Holocaust.

From 1943 onwards, he was both Chief of German Police and Minister of the Interior, overseeing all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo (Secret State Police). He controlled the Waffen-SS, the military branch of the SS. Himmler held an interest in varieties of occultism and Völkisch topics, and he employed elements of these beliefs to develop the racial policy of Nazi Germany and incorporated esoteric symbolism and rituals into the SS.

As Reichsführer-SS he controlled the SS and the Gestapo. He was the founder and officer-in-charge of the Nazi concentration camps and the Einsatzgruppen death squads. As overseer of the Nazi genocidal programs, Himmler directed the killing of some six million Jews, between 200,000 and 500,000 Romani people, and other victims. The total number of civilians killed by the regime is estimated at eleven to fourteen million people. Most of them were Polish and Soviet citizens.

Most of you must know what it means when 100 corpses are lying side by side, or 500 or 1000. To have stuck it out and at the same time - apart from exceptions caused by human weakness - to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard.




  • I still lack to a considerable degree that naturally superior kind of manner that I would dearly like to possess.
    • Diary entry (November 1921), quoted in The Hidden Files (1992) by Derek Raymond
  • In the course of history periods of capitalism and socialism alternate with one another; capitalism is the unnatural, socialism the natural economic system.... The National Socialists and the Red Front have the same aspirations. The Jews falsified the Revolution in the form of Marxism and that failed to bring fulfilment.
    • Speech in Potsdam (13 October 1926), quoted in Peter Longerich, Heinrich Himmler (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 92-93.
  • Anyone who thinks of homosexual love is our enemy. We reject anything which emasculates our people and makes it a plaything for our enemies, for we know that life is fight, and it is madness to think that men will ever embrace fraternally.[citation needed]
    • 14 May 1928


  • I know there are some people in Germany who become sick when they see these black uniforms, we understand the reason for this, and do not expect we shall be loved by all that number of people; those who come to fear us in any way or at any time must have a bad conscience towards the Fuhrer and the nation. For these persons we have established an organisation called the Security Service.
    • From his treatise "The Security Squadron as an Anti-Bolshevik Battle Organisation", (1936)
  • We shall unremittingly fulfill our task, to be the guarantors of the internal security of Germany, just as the Wehrmacht guarantees the safety of the honor, the greatness, and the peace of the Reich from the outside. We shall take care that never more in Germany, the heart of Europe, can the Jewish-Bolshevistic revolution of subhumans be kindled internally or by emissaries from abroad. Pitilessly we shall be a merciless executioner's sword for all these forces whose existence and doings we know... whether it be today, or in decades, or in centuries.
    • "The Security Squadron as an Anti-Bolshevik Battle Organisation" (1936), p. 29
  • It is vital we rid ourselves of [homosexuals]; like weed we must pull them up, throw them on the fire and burn them. This is not out of a spirit of vengeance, but of necessity; these creatures must be exterminated.
    • (18 February 1937)
  • A consequence of the over-privileged woman is that in America no man any more dares to look at a girl, since otherwise he will be brought before the marriage court and made to pay for it.
    In America homosexuality is absolutely a defensive measure for the men because they have fallen into such slavery to the women. The women can behave like an axe there: she just starts hacking away on something. She is never rebuked: the best example of tyranny by women!
    There is no danger among us, however, that the chivalry of the man be overplayed and exploited by the other side, since the women in Germany by habit and education are not inclined to do that.
  • We won't waste much time on the Jews. It's great to get to grips with the Jewish race at last. The more that die the better; hitting them represents a victory for our Reich. The Jews should feel that we've arrived. We want to put half to three quarters of all Jews east of the Vistula. We will crush these Jews wherever we can. Everything is at stake. Get the Jews out of the Reich, Vienna, everywhere. We have no use for Jews in the Reich. Probably the line of the Vistula, behind this line no more. We are the most important people here.
    • (25 November 1939), as quoted in Ismail K Merchant, by Richard L. Rubenstein, John K. Roth Approaches to Auschwitz: The Holocaust and Its Legac (2003), p. 160


This is a page of glory in our history, which has never been written and is never to be written...
  • One rejects as un-German and impossible the Bolshevist method of physical extermination of a people.
    • The secret memorandum Reflections on the Treatment of Peoples of Alien Races in the East (25 May 1940)
  • I hope to see the very concept of Jewry completely obliterated.
    • (23 March 1941) Quoted in Benno Müller-Hill Murderous Science" (1998), p. 48
  • It is a war of ideologies and struggle races. On one side stands National Socialism: ideology, founded on the values of our Germanic, Nordic blood. It is worth the world as we want to see: beautiful, orderly, fair, socially, a world that may be, still suffers some flaws, but overall a happy, beautiful world filled with culture, which is precisely Germany. On the other side stands the 180 million people, a mixture of races and peoples, whose names are unpronounceable, and whose physical nature is such that the only thing that they can do - is to shoot without pity or mercy. These animals, which are subjected to torture and ill-treatment of each prisoner from our side, which do not have medical care they captured our wounded, as do the decent men, you will see them for yourself. These people have joined a Jewish religion, one ideology, called Bolshevism, with the task of having now Russian, half [located] in Asia, parts of Europe, crush Germany and the world. When you, my friends, are fighting in the East, you keep that same fight against the same subhumans, against the same inferior races that once appeared under the name of Huns, and later - 1,000 years ago during the time of King Henry and Otto I, - the name of the Hungarians, and later under the name of Tatars, and then they came again under the name of Genghis Khan and the Mongols. Today they are called Russian under the political banner of Bolshevism.
    • Heinrich Himmler speaking in Stettin to soldiers of the SS (13 July 1941)
  • ...the curse of the great to have to walk over corpses.
    • Also translated as: It is the curse of the great man to step over corpses. From the Memoirs of Felix Kersten sometime after the execution of 200 Jews near Minsk in August 1941, as quoted in The Face Of The 3rd Reich, Part 2, Chapter 9. Petty Bourgeois and Grand Inquisitor, by Joachim C. Fest (1999)
  • I don't want to hear anymore of your difficulties. For an SS officer there are no difficulties; his duty is always to remove difficulties himself as soon as they arise. How you do it is for you to figure out, not me.
    • Addressing Rudolf Höss (possibly in July 1942) during a visit to Birkenau prisoner-of-war camp (Kriegsgefangenenlager), where the inmates' and guards' deficient living conditions were pointed out, from Höss's autobiography written in a Polish prison, Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz (1996), pp. 286ff.
  • However, in their centuries-long history the Poles were never able to create such an organization that could be called a state.
    • A speech given to the rulers of the General Government in Cracow (18 November 1943), translated from Polish from Stanisław Płoski's Okupacja i ruch oporu w dzienniku Hansa Franka 1939-1945 Tom II (Warsaw, 1972), p. 322
  • I also want to talk to you, quite frankly, on a very grave matter. Among ourselves it should be mentioned quite frankly, and yet we will never speak of it publicly. Just as we did not hesitate on June 30th, 1934 to do the duty we were bidden, and stand comrades who had lapsed, up against the wall and shoot them, so we have never spoken about it and will never [p. 65] speak of it. It was that tact which is a matter of course and which I am glad to say, is inherent in us, that made us never discuss it among ourselves, never to speak of it. It appalled everyone, and yet everyone was certain that he would do it the next time if such orders are issued and if it is necessary. I mean the evacuation out of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish race. It's one of those things it is easy to talk about - "The Jewish race is being exterminated", says one party member, "that's quite clear, it's in our program - elimination  of the Jews, and we're doing it, exterminating them." And then they come, 80 million worthy Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. Of course the others are vermin, but this one is an A-1 Jew. Not one of all those who talk this way has witnessed it, not one of them has been through it. Most of you must know what it means when 100 corpses are lying side by side, or 500 or 1000. To have stuck it out and at the same time - apart from exceptions caused by human weakness - to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard. This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be [p. 66] written, for we know how difficult we should have made it for ourselves, if - with the bombing raids, the burdens and the deprivations of war - we still had Jews today in every town as secret saboteurs, agitators and trouble-mongers. We would now probably have reached the 1916/17 stage when the Jews were still in the German national body.
    • The Posen speech to SS officers (4 October 1943), original translation from "International Military Trials - Nurnberg Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV", US Govt Printing Offc 1946 pp. 563-4.[1]
  • One basic principle must be the absolute rule for the S.S. men. We must be honest, decent, loyal, and comradely to members of our own blood and nobody else. What happens to a Russian and a Czech does not interest me in the least. What the nations can offer in the way of good blood of our type we will take, if necessary by kidnapping their children and raising them here with us. Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our culture: otherwise it is of no interest to me. Whether ten thousand Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an anti-tank ditch interests me only in so far as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished. We shall never be tough and heartless where it is not necessary, that is clear. We, Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals. But it is a crime against our blood to worry about them and give them ideals, thus causing our sons and grandsons to have a more difficult time with them. When somebody comes up to me and says: 'I cannot dig the anti-tank ditch with women and children, it is inhuman, for it would kill them,' then I have to say: 'You are the murderer of your own blood, because if the anti-tank ditch is not dug German soldiers will die, and they are the sons of German mothers. They are our own blood....' Our concern, our duty, is our people and our blood. We can be indifferent to everything else. I wish the S.S. to adopt this attitude towards the problem of all foreign, non-Germanic peoples, especially Russians....
    • The Posen speech to SS officers (6 October 1943)
Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our culture: otherwise it is of no interest to me.
  • The Slav is never able to build anything himself. In the long run, he's not capable of it. I'll come back to this later. With the exception of a few phenomena produced by Asia every couple of centuries, through that mixture of two heredities which may be fortunate for Asia but is unfortunate for us Europeans — with the exception, therefore, of an Attilla, a Ghenghis Khan, a Tamerlaine, a Lenin, a Stalin — the mixed race of the Slavs is based on a sub-race with a few drops of blood of our blood, blood of a leading race; the Slav is unable to control himself and create order. He is able to argue, able to debate, able to disintegrate, able to offer resistance against every authority and to revolt. But these human shoddy goods are just as incapable of maintaining order today as they were 700 or 800 years ago, when they called in the Varangians, when they called in the Ruriks.
    • The Posen speech to SS officers (6 October 1943)
  • Anti-Semitism is exactly the same as delousing. Getting rid of lice is not a question of ideology, it is a matter of cleanliness. In just this same way anti-Semitism for us has not been a question of ideology but a matter of cleanliness.
    • Quoted in Harold Kaplan Conscience and Memory: Meditations in a Museum of the Holocaust (1994), p. 29
I hope to see the very concept of Jewry completely obliterated.
  • Some information and observations of recent date have led me to draw up plans that I would like to bring to your attention. This concerns Jehovah’s Witnesses. . . . How are we going to govern and pacify Russia when . . . we will have conquered vast areas of its territory? . . . All forms of religion and the pacifist sects must be supported . . . , among all the others the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is well-known that the latter have characteristics incredibly positive for us: Apart from the fact that they refuse military service and anything to do with war . . . , they are incredibly reliable, do not drink, do not smoke; they are relentless workers and of rare honesty. For them the spoken word stands. These are ideal characteristics . . . , enviable qualities.
    • In one of his letters to Gestapo chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner (21 July 1944) cited in Awake! magazine, 1993, 4/22, article: What Hope for an End to War?
  • [T]o put an end to the epidemics, we were forced to burn the bodies of an incalculable number of people who were destroyed by the disease. So we were forced to build crematoria, and on this account they are loosing a bond for us. "He also stated that he punished the culprit if the atrocities occurred in the camps." On the Einsatzgruppen: "The war on the Eastern front made the demands more difficult for our soldiers. A terrible climate, never-ending distances, an enemy population and constantly apparent partisans. Just because it was difficult, the troops prevailed. So they were forced to destroy entire villages if there was resistance and gunfire from such a village. Russians are not ordinary enemies, we can not understand their mentality. In the most desperate situations, they would refuse to capitulate. If, because of these difficulties in the East, the Jewish people suffered large casualties, it must be remembered that the German people also suffered severely."
  • Ich bin Heinrich Himmler.
  • I am Heinrich Himmler.
    • Last words. Quoted in Willi Frischauer Himmler, the Evil Genius of the Third Reich (1953), p. 257


  • The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don't ask for their love; only for their fear.
    • Quoted in Alberto Rivas Visions of Reality - A Study of Abnormal Perception and Behavior (2007), p. 162
  • In the brief monthly reports of the Security Police, I only want figures on how many Jews have been shipped off and how many are currently left.
    • To Ernst Kaltenbrunner, as quoted in Gerald Fleming Hitler and the Final Solution (1987), p. 137
  • [T]he curse of the great to have to walk over corpses.
    • As cited in Joachim Fest The Face Of The Third Reich (1999), Part 2
  • I must really say that he is a veteran Communist, this Herr Josip Broz, a consistent man. Unfortunately he is our enemy. He really has earned his title of Marshal. When we catch him we shall do him in at once; you can be sure of that; he is our enemy. But I wish we had a dozen Titos in Germany... The man had nothing at all. He was between the Russians, the British and Americans for a ride and to shit on them in the most comical way. He is a Moscow man … He has never capitulated.
    • As cited in Jasper Ridley Tito: A Biography (Constable and Company Ltd., 1994).
  • My honor is my loyalty.
    • Himmler formulated this as the watchword of the Schultzstaffel (SS), an organization that eventually became a vast organization ranging from the staff of the concentration camps to the Gestapo and SD, to the Waffen-SS, Hitler's personal soldiers. Above all else, Himmler and the rest of the Nazi leadership stressed the importance of loyalty to the Reich and the Fuehrer. As translated in Hannah Arendt The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), Ch. 10


  • Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA — ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State.
    • This quotation has not been confirmed to come from Himmler, its attribution to him on the Internet coming from some point before 2000, as in the Site of the Sentient quotelist

Quotes about Himmler

In alphabetical order by author
"This is a hard job, but if the act is not carried out at once, instead of us exterminating the Jews, the Jews will exterminate the Germans at a later date."
Himmler was not personally charismatic, but his enormous power and access to Hitler caused ambitious men to flock to him. He had a knack for identifying highly capable, driven individuals who would prove ruthless in pursuit of their goals... Together they were responsible for the murder of literally millions of people. ~ Doris L. Bergen
The most impenetrable of all Hitler's disciples was the National Leader of the SS, Heinrich Himmler. An inconspicuous man with all the marks of racial inferiority, the impression he made was one of simplicity. He went out of his way to be polite. In contrast to that of Goering his private life might be described as positively Spartan in its austerity. His imagination was all the more vivid, and even fantastic. He seemed like a man from some other planet. ~ Heinz Guderian
  • It was not Goebbels but his rival Heinrich Himmler (1900–1945) who would become, next to Hitler, the most powerful man in the Third Reich. Head of the elite Nazi guard known as the Schutzstaffel (SS) from 1929 to 1945, by 1936 Himmler had become chief of all German police. In these positions he presided over a vast network of offices and agencies that implemented terror and mass murder all over German-occupied Europe.
    • Doris L. Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (2016), p. 60
  • Himmler was neither flashy like Göring nor educated like Goebbels. Mousy and awkward as a young man, he read voraciously and had developed his own conspiratorial view of the world even before he met Hitler in 1926. Like Hitler, Himmler feared and hated Jews and believed in the superiority of the so-called Aryan race. Himmler too was convinced that Germany had to expand to the east. Dogged and capable of meticulous attention to detail, Himmler involved himself directly in projects that targeted homosexual men and Roma as well as Poles and Jews. With justification the historians Richard Breitman and Peter Longerich consider Himmler the "architect" of the Nazi genocide.
    • Doris L. Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (2016), p. 60
  • Himmler was not personally charismatic, but his enormous power and access to Hitler caused ambitious men to flock to him. He had a knack for identifying highly capable, driven individuals who would prove ruthless in pursuit of their goals. Some, like Reinhard Heydrich (1904-1942), whom Himmler personally recruited for the SS and named chief of its Security Service, became almost as famous as their boss. Others, with Himmler's help, made tremendously successful careers, particularly during the war, but are no longer household names. For example, Odilo Globocnik, Friedrich Jeckeln, and Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, three of Himmler's trusted associates, achieved positions of almost unbounded power in the occupied east. Together they were responsible for the murder of literally millions of people.
    • Doris L. Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (2016), p. 60
  • There was also Himmler the crusader and visionary, the man who built a romantic castle in a German forest where the knights of the S.S., many of whom could hardly read or write, were required to repair at intervals to contemplate the glory of their order and establish spiritual contact with the heroes of mediaeval Germany.
  • For him the Russian war offered a glorious opportunity for comparative anatomy: while immense armies were manoeuvring over the frozen plains and smashing each other to pieces, Himmler set himself the urgent task of building up a collection of skulls of Jewish-Bolshevik Commissars: such things were impossible to come by in Germany.
    • Edward Crankshaw in Gestapo: Instrument of Tyranny (1956)
  • The SS came into being in early 1925, by Hitler's order, as a select corps drawn from SA membership to serve as an efficient, elite, and completely dependable bodyguard for the party's leadership. The emphasis from the start was on loyalty, obedience, and discipline, but the SS remained insignificant in size and undistinguished in function until Hitler appointed Heinrich Himmler to head it and conferred upon him, in January 1929, the grandiose title of Reichsführer-SS. Himmler soon transformed the SS into an organized guided solely by the will of the Führer and that became, in Hans Buchheim's words, "the real and essential instrument of the Führer's authority." Indeed, Himmler came to regard himself as an instrument of Hitler's will.
  • Himmler's name and title have come to evoke images of a demonic evil contained within a frame of steely iciness, rigor, and discipline, unloosed not in the passion of rage or hate, but on calculation. Yet his early life, shaped by familial authoritarianism, seemed ordinary and dull, never suggestive of the sinister role he would later assume. Born in 1900 in Munich, the second son of middle-class Catholic parents, Himmler had an unexceptional youth. The diary that he started to keep in 1914 shows him as pedantic, pedestrian, and unimaginative, already molded according to the parental tradition of rigid self-discipline. When war broke out, he was stricken with patriotic passion. At seventeen, when he reached the age of eligibility, he applied to an officer training program and was eventually admitted, but while he was still in training the armistice was signed. However, the cadets in training were not discharged until after the military had suppressed the revolution, dissolved its institutions, and regained political control. Here the young Himmler may have had his first lessons in the uses of the military for political suppression.
    • Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews (1975), p. 71
  • In June 1924 Himmler finally found a job he wanted, one that would satisfy him ideologically and provide him with the political environment he had come to need. He became secretary and general assistant to Strasser, who was the NSFB Gauleiter for Lower Bavaria. Early in May 1925 the whole Strasser organization, lock, stock, and barrel, went over to the NSDAP, which Hitler had begun to rebuild after his release from Landsberg. Thus Himmler automatically became the NSDAP Party Gauleiter of Bavaria. A year later, when Strasser became the party's propaganda leader, Himmler was once again made his deputy. In 1927 Himmler was appointed deputy leader of the SS, and finally, in 1929, at the age of twenty-nine, with the appointment as Reichsführer-SS, he emerged at the top of the field in his chosen career- the professional Nazi. As Reichsführer-SS Himmler was able to integrate his diverse compulsions and obsessions- with the military, the occult, racial nationalism, and anti-Semitism- and give them form and substance. The SS became a proving ground for Himmler's romantic, grandiose, and sinister ideas and offered scope for him to exercise his pedantry and his proclivities for spying and informing. It became the vehicle through which his meanness, hardness, and vindictiveness found deadly expression. His rigid sense of duty and obedience turned him into a zealot carrying out Hitler's murderous ideology with fanatical "idealism." No wonder the SS's most distinctive insignia was to become the death's-head.
    • Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews (1975), p. 73
  • Himmler, too, was developing the idea of the Jew as an enemy of the state, less in a legal sense than in a combative sense. Early in 1937, in a lecture to the Wehrmacht on the nature and purpose of the SS, he spelled out the idea that "the enemy in a war is an enemy not only in the military sense, but also an ideological enemy."... Thus, at a time when talk of war was becoming the everyday rhetoric of National Socialist Germany, the SS, too, despite the careful paperwork of the SD, began increasingly to talk of war against an ideological enemy.
    • Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews (1975), p. 86-87
  • Although at the time I knew but little of the crimes he had committed, it was obvious to me that Himmler, as far as I was concerned, was intolerable. This I had to make quite clear to him, and one way or the other, I had to have a swift and final showdown with him. On the evening of April 30, shortly after the receipt of the telegram I told my ADC to telephone to Himmler, from whom I had parted in Luebeck only a few hours before, and ask him to come to Ploen forthwith. To my ADC he retorted with a blunt refusal, but when I myself spoke to him and told him that his presence was essential, he eventually consented to come.
    • Karl Dönitz, Memoirs: Ten Years and Twenty Days (1959), p. 443
  • At about midnight he arrived, accompanied by six armed SS officers, and was received by my aide-de-camp, Ludde-Neurath. I offered Himmler a chair and myself sat down behind my writing desk, upon which lay, hidden behind some papers, a pistol with the safety catch off. I had never done anything of this sort in my life before, but I did not know what the outcome of this meeting might be. I handed Himmler the telegraph containing my appointment. 'Please read this,' I said. I watched him closely. As he read, an expression of astonishment, indeed, of consternation spread over his face. All hope seemed to collapse within him. He went very pale. Finally he stood up and bowed. 'Allow me,' he said, 'to become the second man in your state.' I replied that that was out of the question and that there was no way in which I could make use of his services. Thus advised, he left me at about one o'clock in the morning. The showdown had taken place without force, and I felt relieved.
    • Karl Dönitz, Memoirs: Ten Years and Twenty Days (1959), 443-444
  • The most impenetrable of all Hitler's disciples was the National Leader of the SS, Heinrich Himmler. An inconspicuous man with all the marks of racial inferiority, the impression he made was one of simplicity. He went out of his way to be polite. In contrast to that of Goering his private life might be described as positively Spartan in its austerity. His imagination was all the more vivid, and even fantastic. He seemed like a man from some other planet. His racial doctrine was fallacious and led him to commit terrible crimes. His attempt to educate the German people in National-Socialism resulted only in concentration camps. As late as 1943, long after Stalingrad, he still believed that Russia should be colonised by Germans as far as the Urals. On one occasion, when I said to him that it was already impossible to find volunteer colonists for the east, he insisted that the land as far as the Urals must be Germanised by compulsory colonisation if necessary and by planting the land with German peasants conscripted for that purpose.
  • As far as the consequences of Himmler's racial theories, I have, from personal observation and experience, nothing to say. Hitler and Himmler succeeded in keeping this part of their programme strictly secret. Himmler's 'methods of education,' as practised in the concentration camps, have meanwhile become sufficiently well known. During his lifetime the general public knew only a little about this. The atrocities carried out in those camps were made known to most people, as to myself, only after the collapse. The way the concentration camp methods were kept secret can only be described as masterly.
    • Heinz Guderian, Panzer Leader (1990), p. 446
  • After 20th July Himmler became filled with military ambition: this led him to have himself appointed commander of the Training Army and even commander of an army group. In military matters Himmler proved an immediate and total failure. His appreciation of our enemies was positively childish. His decisions when in command of Army Group Vistula, in 1945, were dictated by fear. Despite this he retained Hitler's confidence almost up to the end. All the same even this paladin bowed down before the dictator. I was in a position on several occasions to observe his lack of self-assurance and of civil courage in Hitler's presence.
    • Heinz Guderian, Panzer Leader (1990), p. 446
  • Himmler ended his life by committing suicide though he had previously consistently condemned such an action, which he had claimed to regard as contemptible and which he had forbidden the SS. He therefore escaped his judges here below and left behind less responsible men to carry on the burden of his great guilt.
    • Heinz Guderian, Panzer Leader (1990), p. 448
  • He had a pale, round, expressionless face, almost Mongolian, and a completely inoffensive air. Nor in his early years did I ever hear him advocate the race theories of what he was to become the most notorious executive.
  • In the summer of 1941, I was called to Berlin to see Himmler. I was given the order to erect extermination camps. I can almost give you Himmler's actual words, which were to the effect: "The Fuhrer has ordered the final solution to the Jewish problem. Those of us in the SS must execute these plans. This is a hard job, but if the act is not carried out at once, instead of us exterminating the Jews, the Jews will exterminate the Germans at a later date."
  • No doubt the bespectacled S.S. Fuehrer, who had almost fainted at the sight of a hundred Eastern Jews, including women, being executed for his own delectation, would have seen in the efficient working by S.S. officers of the gas chambers in the extermination camps an even more glorious page in German history. For it was in these death camps that the "final solution" achieved its most ghastly success.
  • Because the SS was the chosen instrument of the murder campaign, Himmler moved closer to the center of power. The SS, now separated institutionally from the SA, became the most powerful institution within the National Socialist party. After the Night of the Long Knives, its task would be to subordinate the many German police institutions to Nazi ideology. Himmler would seek to merge his SS with Germany’s established police forces by way of rotation of personnel and institutional centralization under his personal command. In 1936 Hitler named Himmler the Chief of German Police. This placed him in charge of the uniformed men of the Order Police, the detectives of the Criminal Police, and the operatives of the Secret State Police (Gestapo). The police was a state institution (or rather comprised a number of different state institutions) and the SS was a Nazi party institution; Himmler sought to bring the two together. In 1937, Himmler established the office of Higher SS and Police Leaders, regional chiefs who in theory commanded both SS and police forces, and unified the hierarchy of command.
  • At this time a high-ranking SS leader hinted to me that Himmler was preparing decisive steps. In February 1945, the Reichsführer-SS had assumed command of the Vistula Army Group, but he was no better than his successor at stopping the Russian advance. Hitler was now berating him also. Thus what personal prestige Himmler had retained was used up by a few weeks of commanding frontline troops. Nevertheless, everyone still feared Himmler, and I felt distinctly shaky one day on learning that Himmler was coming to see me about something that evening. This, incidentally, was the only time he ever called on me. My nervousness grew when Theodor Hupfauer, the new chief of our Central Office- with whom I had several times spoken rather candidly- told me in some trepidation that Gestapo chief Kaltenbrunner would be calling on him at the same hour. Before Himmler entered, by adjutant whispered to me: "He's alone." My office was without window panes; we no longer bothered replacing them since they were blasted out by bombs every few days. A wretched candle stood at the center of the table; the electricity was out again. Wrapped in our coats, we sat facing one another. Himmler talked about minor matters, asked about pointless details, and finally made the witless observation: "When the course is downhill there's always a floor to the valley, and once it is reached, Herr Speer, the ascent begins again." Since I expressed neither agreement nor disagreement with this proverbial wisdom and remained virtually monosyllabic throughout the conversation, he soon took his leave. I never found out what he wanted of it, or why Kaltenbrunner called on Hupfauer at the same time. Perhaps they had heard about my critical attitude and were seeking allies; perhaps they merely wanted to sound us out.
    • Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs (1970), p. 427-428


  1. Office of the United States Chief of Counsel For Prosecution of Axis Criminality, ed (1946). "Partial Translation Of Document 1919-PS Speech of the Reichsfuehrer&emdash;SS at the Meeting of SS Major-Generals at Posen, October 4th, 1943" (in English). International Military Trials - Nurnberg - Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV. 4. Washington D.C.: US Government Printing Office. p. 563-564. Retrieved on 2016-08-28. 
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