Caviar, Auschwitz, love - Himmler's letters to wife

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Caviar, Auschwitz, love - Himmler's letters to wife

The hundreds of private letters belonging to Heinrich Himmler, which are being published by a newspaper this week, mix domestic concerns with Nazi politics. In one his 12-year-old daughter warns him about the invasion of Russia.


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Himmler, a visceral anti-Semite who was chief of the SS and police in Nazi Germany, played a key role in the elimination of all opposition to Hitler and the implementation of the Holocaust.

The personal documents, which belong to a private collection in Tel Aviv, show a very different side of Himmler than that of him as a Nazi leader and are being published by Die Welt newspaper for the first time.

They include around 700 letters from Himmler to his wife Marga, which date from 1927 - six years before Hitler came to power - to 1945, with the last written five weeks before he committed suicide on May 23rd 1945.

Seven years his senior, Marga and Heinrich Himmler met on a train in September 1927 and were a couple by the winter. They bonded over their dislike of Jews. He would call her his “good, pure women,” while she would call him her “bad man with a hard, rugged heart.”

In January 1928 she wrote to him: "My black soul is thinking up the most impossible things."

'Russia is sooo big'

The pair and their daughter, Gudrun, went on a trip to the Bavarian countryside on June 19th 1941 – days before Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union. Yet Himmler did not mention the planned invasion to his wife. After he left for Berlin she wrote to him to tell him she had heard it on the radio.

“We're at war again. I knew it, I slept so badly,” Margo wrote after the invasion was launched. “There's still a tin of caviar left in the fridge. Take it.”

And in one letter 12-year-old Gudrun warned him about the invasion - Operation Barbarossa. "Russia is sooo big, if we want to take all of Russia the fight will be really hard.”

As the war intensified, the couple saw each other less. He wrote to her a month later – days after their wedding anniversary. “It really pains me that I had to miss our wedding anniversary for the first time.” The letter arrived June 7th, four days late.

Another said “I'm going to Auschwitz. Kisses, your Heini.” It was one of the only mentions, in reams of letters, of anything to do with the Holocaust which he was helping to execute. 

“In the next few days I will be in Lublin, Zamosch, Auschwitz, Lemberg…. I wonder if and how we will be able to talk on the phone,” another said.

As the the “Final Solution” was being settled in January 1942 at the Wannsee Conference, he sent her an amber chest as a “delayed Christmas present".

But their relationship deteriorated and Himmler had an affair with his long-term secretary, with whom he had two more children.

He would send his family food and money, seeing them less and less. Both of them hated the “squalor” of Berlin, so Marga lived in Bavaria, while Himmler had to be in the capital.

In his final letter before his suicide in 1945 he wrote: “Times are very hard for us all. And yet I have a firm belief that all will turn out well in the end. But times are difficult.” He was found dead shortly after writing the letter. 

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