The cache of recently discovered unpublished letters, photos and diaries of Heinrich Himmler – a top Nazi official who played a critical role in the obliteration of European Jewry – triggered warnings on Sunday from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Efraim Zuroff, the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and director of its Israel office, told The Jerusalem Post by phone on Sunday that, “It is very important that this semblance of normalcy does not diminish the cognizance of the horrific crimes committed by this monster.”
In one telling letter, Himmler wrote his wife Margarethe, “I am traveling to Auschwitz. Kisses, your Heini.” The German death camp Auschwitz in Poland was the site of the murders of 1.5 million people, most of them Jews.
“This is yet another powerful reminder of the dichotomy between the ostensible personal lives led by leading Nazis and their roles in the implementation of the Final Solution, ” said Zuroff.
The material, which was found in a private archive in Israel and is now stored in a bank vault in Tel Aviv, is slated to be published as an eight-part series in the German paper Die Welt. On Sunday the paper published Himmler’s letter to his wife Margarethe.
Die Welt reported that the father of Israeli filmmaker Vanessa Lapa owns the private archive of Himmler’s personal correspondence.
She made a documentary, Der Anständige (The Decent) on personal material about Himmler’s life. Die Welt helped finance Lapa’s film.
The Himmler film is slated to premier at the Berlinale on the ninth of February.
Berlin historian and Nazi expert Michael Wildt told the German paper that, “There is nothing like it for any other member of the Nazi leadership.”
There are scarcely any personal documents of a comparable magnitude for Adolf Hitler and his deputy Hermann Göring.
The letters show that Himmler’s wife “shared the radical anti-Semitism” of his world view : “All this Jew business, when will this pack leave us so that we can enjoy our lives?” wrote Marga (her nickname) in her diary.
Himmler wrote his wife in 1928, “Poor sweetie has to tussle with those wretched Jews over money.”
In addition to virulent anti-Semitism, the hundreds of pages of private communication between Himmler and Marga reveal run-of-the-mill affairs and “many seemingly ordinary love letters,” according to Die Welt am Sonntag.
Responding to the mundane personal and love correspondence, Zuroff told The Post that, “Reading these letters, one would never think that Heinrich Himmler was the principal architect of the largest mass murder in human history.”
Himmler committed suicide as a prisoner of war in 1945.