Historical story

Influential and unknown Nazis (1)

The general public knows the names of the most important Nazis in Nazi Germany. From the information that appears in the documentaries and films about the National Socialist period in Germany, it might seem that the regime was sustained by those few great leaders. Between 1933 and 1945 thousands of officials of different ranks led the German Reich.

Officials were the key to the efficiency of the Nazi regime. Diligent, calculating and fanatical, they carried out all kinds of heinous acts against humanity. Most of them did not suffer any type of retaliation after the overthrow of Hitler and were even important figures in West Germany or the United States after the war.

Here we reveal the crucial role of some of them, but in reality, hundreds of officials are guilty of what happened in the world during this dark period of its history.

Reinhard Heydrich

Heydrich was the perfect Nazi. Tall, blond, intelligent and fanatical. He really believed himself to be a superman, which led to his death in 1942. Although he reached his full power in the SS, his career began in the German navy. Due to a personal problem he was expelled from the German naval forces in 1932.

Reinhard Heydrich had a very high intelligence and sagacity. Thanks to them he managed to enter the SS in 1934 and reach high positions in a very short time. Thanks to his fondness for crime novels, he managed to convince Himmler of his suitability to lead the newly created Gestapo. His career was meteoric. Shortly after, he became head of the SD or Security Service, the most radical people in the regime as they were in charge of monitoring the SS itself.

He was eventually promoted to Chief of the Reich Security Office, tasked with supervising the SD, the Gestapo and the Criminal Police.

His most notable act was to preside over the Wansee meeting in January 1942. On January 28, a document entitled The Final Solution to the Jewish Question was promulgated in a villa on the shore of Lake Wansee. , which approved the creation of extermination camps and the systematic and industrialized elimination of 11 million people.

Heydrich died a victim of his own ego and fanaticism. Since September 1941 Heydrich had added to his list of positions that of Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, which meant their total control of the two Czech provinces. His belief in racial superiority over the dominated Czechs made him believe that no one would dare to attack him. Heydrich was traveling around Prague in a convertible vehicle without an escort. Finally, in June 1942, the Czechoslovak resistance perpetrated an attack that ended his life.

Heinrich Mülller

Müller was one of the most efficient officials of the German Third Reich. His career was circumscribed to the police field. Müller joined the Munich local police in the interwar period. Eager to rise, he enlisted in the SS in 1934, where he gradually made a name for himself. When Heydrich was promoted to Chief of the Reich Security Office, Müller took over his position as head of the Gestapo. As head of the German secret police, he participated in the Wansee Conference alongside Heydrich.

Despite his efficiency as a bureaucrat, the Gestapo never became an infallible police force. His intelligence service used tips between Germans, but this was not enough to control the elites or the occupied countries. Among the great failures of Müller were the various attacks against Hitler and the death of Reinhard Heydrich himself.

Müller's end is unknown. It is generally believed that the head of the Gestapo died during the Battle of Berlin, but this theory has not been confirmed to this day.

Hjalmar Schacht

Hjalmar Schacht was one of those responsible for the economic miracle of Nazi Germany. Involved in financial endeavors since World War I, Hjalmar Schacht was one of Germany's influential financiers who helped bring the Nazis to power.

Appointed Director of the Reichsbank first and Minister of Economy later, he applied an economic policy destined to the rearmament and the industrial development of the country. In 1935 he was appointed Plenipotentiary for the War Economy, so he was directly responsible for armament production from then on.

Despite his important role during the early years of the regime, Hjalmar Schacht fell from grace. He resigned as Minister in 1937 due to the possibility of bankruptcy of the country due to high military spending and was dismissed as Director of the Reichsbank in 1939. In 1944 he was imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp for his alleged collaboration in Operation Valkyria.

Upon his release in 1945, he was tried at Nürenberg, where he was cleared of all responsibility. A denacification court later sentenced him to 8 years hard labor, a sentence he would never serve. Hjalmar Schacht passed away in Munich in 1970.

Werner Best

Werner Best is a great unknown to the general public. Originally from the city of Darmstadt, Best joined the Nazi party in 1930 and in 1931 entered the SS organization. Best was an expert in legal matters and it was in the field of law that he developed his entire professional career until his death.

In 1933 he was appointed personal assistant to Reinhard Heydrich. In that position he helped the head of the Gestapo and the SD to develop legal mechanisms to perpetrate all kinds of crimes in Germany first and in occupied Europe later.

His most outstanding work was done in 1939, when he was in charge of designing the Einsatzkommando system, the SS death squads that should operate first in Poland and later in the Soviet Union to eliminate Jews and opponents. to the regimen. His faithful and effective service was rewarded when he was appointed governor of occupied Denmark in 1940.

Werner Best was one of the top Nazi officials who never went to jail. Although he was tried on different occasions, he lived in freedom in West Germany until his death in 1989. He never repented of his crimes.