“I was following orders.” The answer most commonly quoted by SS men accused of atrocious crimes after Germany had surrendered in 1945. But who gave those orders? Who was the mastermind behind the sophisticated machinery which allowed men from normal family backgrounds to kill on such a scale? The right man at the right time, fate steered Heinrich Himmler to take control of an organization destined to carry out Hitler’s racial policies. This study not only sets out in detail how Heinrich Himmler’s daily routine allowed him to implement Nazi strategy, but it also provides illustrations of the man behind much of it, both at work and at home.
Of all the personalities of history demonized by postwar writers, Heinrich Himmler ranks among the most reviled. His legacy is one of hatred, violence and cold blooded murder on a vast scale. A Jekyll and Hyde character, variously described by his generation and those who followed as charming, loyal, polite, a pedant, an eccentric, an organizational genius, a fool, a desk killer and a loving father. The camera allows us into his world, albeit temporarily, and we can equate his busy, but mostly mundane schedule with contemporary images frozen in time.