Letters, photos and diaries belonging to Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler have been discovered in Israel, revealing greater detail about one of the men who was directly responsible for the Holocaust.
The stash of documents from the Nazi era is currently held in a bank vault in Tel Aviv, but has been authenticated by the German federal archive, considered the world’s leading authority on material from the period. Its contents are to be published over eight days in the newspaper Welt am Sonntag, starting on Sunday with Himmler’s letters to his wife Margarete.
The letters portray a man whose cheerful mood is often at odds with the historical crime he helped to orchestrate. “I am travelling to Auschwitz. Kisses, your Heini,” he wrote to his wife before setting off to inspect the concentration camp where he directed the killing of some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews.
Himmler and his wife shared antisemitic feelings, as well as a joint dislike of Weimar-era Berlin. “Poor sweetie, has to tussle with those wretched Jews over money,” the SS leader wrote to his spouse on 16 April 1928.
In November 1938, after the Reichskristallnacht pogroms that her husband had directed, Margarete Himmler wrote in her diary: “All this Jew business, when will this pack leave us so that we can enjoy our lives?”
“I hate and will always hate the Berlin system, which will never latch on to you, you virtuous and pure woman,” Himmler wrote in December 1927. “Berlin is contaminated. Everyone only speaks of money,” “Marga” wrote a year later.