Heydrich, Reinhard

Heydrich, Reinhard

(rīn`härt hī`drĭkh), 1904–42, German police official under the Nazi regime. Forced to resign (1931) from the navy for misconduct, Heydrich joined the SS (see National SocialismNational Socialism
or Nazism,
doctrines and policies of the National Socialist German Workers' party, which ruled Germany under Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945.
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). He soon won Heinrich HimmlerHimmler, Heinrich
, 1900–1945, German Nazi leader. An early member of the National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) party, Himmler took part in Adolf Hitler's "beer-hall putsch" of 1923, and in 1929 Hitler appointed him head of the SS, or Schutzstaffel,
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's confidence and in 1934 was appointed deputy chief of the Gestapo (see secret policesecret police,
policing organization operating in secrecy for the political purposes of its government, often with terroristic procedures. The Nature of a Secret Police
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). He was deeply involved in planning the extermination of the Jews. In 1941, Heydrich was appointed protector of Bohemia and Moravia. His ruthless methods there and elsewhere and his numerous executions earned him the name "the Hangman of Europe." In May, 1942, he was assassinated by Czech patriots. Several days later the entire male population of the village of LidiceLidice
, village, NW Czech Republic, in Bohemia. In reprisal for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Germans "liquidated" (1942) Lidice by killing all the men, deporting all women and children, and razing the village to the ground.
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 was murdered in retaliation.

Bibliography

See biography by R. Gerwarth (2011).

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