"The unit selected would enter a village or city and order the prominent Jewish citizens to call together all Jews for the purpose of resettlement. They were requested to hand over their valuables and shortly before execution, to surrender their outer clothing. The men, women, and children were led to a place of execution, which in most cases was located next to a more deeply excavated antitank ditch. Then they were shot, kneeling or standing, and the corpses thrown into the ditch."
With Heydrich’s death the SS went into mourning. At his funeral both Hitler and Himmler eulogized him with great praise. He was to have a monumental tomb at the Invaliden cemetery in Berlin but the construction failed to commence as the war took higher priority over memorials.
In 1942 Heydrich was assassinated in Prague, and so the Czechs saved their nation, but thousands of innocent Czech lives had been lost in executions.
Heydrich’s schemes also helped to guide his meteoric rise to power. Requiring little prompting from Himmler, he took the offensive against anyone deemed in opposition to the SS, both real and assumed.
Heydrich was the speaker at this Wannsee Conference January 20, 1942 and admitted received order for Final solution from Adolf Hitler. Heydrich presided over the conference with the aid of Adolf Eichmann. The conference was attended by all high ranking officials. It began the immediate starting of the overall European Genocide.
Driven as he was to serve the Nazi cause, Heydrich was tormented by personal insecurities for which both his ambition and some of his reckless extra-curricular activities compensated. Unlike so many of the top Nazi leaders, Heydrich fit the “Aryan” stereotype in physical appearance: tall, blond, slender, and athletic. To the end of his life, he remained a gifted musician with the ability to bring rivals to tears with his cello.
While still chief of the RSHA, Heydrich served as Acting Reich Protector of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia from 1941 until 1942. The RSHA was the SS and police agency most directly concerned with implementing the Nazi plan to murder the European Jews during World War II.
In 1936 Heydrich became chief of the SIPO, which included the criminal police, the security service, and the Gestapo. In 1938 he concocted the idea of the Einsatzgruppen, whose business it was to murder Jews. The results were brilliant. In two years these 3,000 men slaughtered at least a million persons. In November of that year he was involved in an event that in some inverted fashion presaged his own death. The son of a Jew whom he had deported from Germany assassinated Ernst von Rath in Paris. In reprisal Heydrich ordered a pogrom, and on the night of November ninth 20,000 Jews were arrested in Germany.
In a time of barbarity, Reinhard Tristan Heydrich, “the Hangman,” stood out as one of the cruelest and most brutal mass murderers in Nazi Germany. Those who worked Heydrich feared him, as did those who were unfortunate enough to be under his control. Heydrich's own protégé, Walter Schellenberg, described him as a man with "a cruel, brave and cold intelligence" for whom "truth and goodness had no intrinsic meaning." (1) On the side, Heydrich was a fencer, a musician and a pilot. As his main job, Heydrich murdered thousands of Jews and other "enemies" of the Reich.
Heydrich was born on March 7, 1904, in Halle an der Salle, Germany. His father, Bruno, was a non-religious singer and composer who was kept out of the upper echelons of German society due to a humble background and a persistent, though false, rumor that he was Jewish. Reinhard's mother, Elizabeth Kranz, was a practicing Catholic from a rich musical family in Dresden. As Reinhard grew up, both his father and his classmates inculcated him with a virulent anti-Semitism. He was a loner who tried to prove his superiority through his studies and through sports.