On this date, 4 June 1942, one of Adolf Hitler’s Henchmen, Reinhard Heydrich died of his injuries, after he was assassinated on 27 May 1942 in Prague. If he had live longer than that month, he could have caused more deaths to the Jews.
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich (German: [ˈʁaɪnhaʁt ˈtʁɪstan ˈɔʏɡn̩ ˈhaɪdʁɪç] (7 March 1904 – 4 June 1942) was a high-ranking German Nazi official during World War II, and one of the main architects of the Holocaust. He was SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei (Senior Group Leader and Chief of Police) as well as chief of the Reich Main Security Office (including the Gestapo, Kripo, and SD). He was also Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor (Deputy/Acting Reich-Protector) of Bohemia and Moravia, in what is now the Czech Republic. Heydrich served as president of the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC; later known as Interpol) and chaired the January 1942 Wannsee Conference, which formalised plans for the Final Solution to the Jewish Question—the deportation and genocide of all Jews in German-occupied Europe.
Many historians regard him as the darkest figure within the Nazi elite; Adolf Hitler described him as "the man with the iron heart". He was the founding head of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), an intelligence organisation charged with seeking out and neutralising resistance to the Nazi Party via arrests, deportations, and murders. He helped organise Kristallnacht, a series of co-ordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria on 9–10 November 1938. The attacks, carried out by SA stormtroopers and civilians, presaged the Holocaust. Upon his arrival in Prague, Heydrich sought to eliminate opposition to the Nazi occupation by suppressing Czech culture and deporting and executing members of the Czech resistance. He was directly responsible for the Einsatzgruppen, the special task forces which travelled in the wake of the German armies and murdered over two million people, including 1.3 million Jews, by mass shooting and gassing.
Heydrich was attacked in Prague on 27 May 1942 by a British-trained team of Czech and Slovak soldiers who had been sent by the Czechoslovak government-in-exile to kill him in Operation Anthropoid. He died from his injuries a week later. Intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the villages of Lidice and Ležáky. Lidice was razed to the ground; all men and boys over the age of 16 were shot, and all but a handful of its women and children were deported and killed in Nazi concentration camps.
Reinhard Heydrich on the Final Solution
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