Monday 15 September 2014

Nazi Key Figures

Adolf Eichmann 

Adolf Eichmann was in charge of the Final Solution. He had quite a difficult life as a young man and changed his job frequently. Being a member of the SS seemed to give him a purpose in life.
He had looked into deporting the German Jewish population to Madagascar but this was not viable in the end. In his defence Eichmann reported that he was merely obeying orders.  

Reinhardt Heydrich

He was nicknamed “the Hangman” and had a reputation even amongst other Nazis for having “a cruel, brave and cold intelligence”. He, along with his parents, blamed the Jews for the defeat of the Germans in World War I.
He was discharged from the navy in 1931 for having allegedly tried to seduce a girl.  He joined the Nazi party then and eventually became an SS officer. He was involved in the execution of the Final Solution. He created the master plan, organized the ghettos, trained and supervised the Einsatzgrouppen, He was in charge of the resettlement of the Jews to the gas chambers.
Heydrich was tall and blond, so very Aryan. Yet he was bullied at school for possibly having Jewish connections.   
He was assassinated on 29 May 1942. 


Baldur von Schirach

Baldur von Schirach rationalised all of the organisations for young people, streamlining them into the Hitler Jugend and Bund Deutscher Mädel.  


Horst Wessel

Horst Wessel is most well-knows for writing the song that became the Nazi anthem and later even the national anthem. The song is really a poem he wrote in 1929 and the music comes from an old folk tune.
He started a university course in law but abandoned it when he fell in love with a prostitute. 
Wessel was murdered in February 1939. His song was recognised as a national symbol by law on 19 May 1939.
The song and the tune are now banned in Germany and Austria except for educational purposes.    

What do you think may have motivated these men?  
Can you find their redeeming features? 
Why do you think ordinary people were influenced by them?

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