A German newspaper has published contents of letters from one of Adolf Hitler’s top deputies, in which he expressed a soft and romantic side to his wife, even as he was busy overseeing the extermination of Europe’s Jews, Roma and homosexuals.
Hundreds of letters written by Heinrich Himmler, one of the chief organizers of the Holocaust who set up concentration camps and his wife, Marga were discovered in an apartment in Tel Aviv and have now been authenticated by the German national archives.
According a translation published in the Jerusalem Post Sunday, Himmler wrote as he was on his way to what later became known as a notorious death camp, “I’m heading to Auschwitz. Sending you kisses. Your Heini.”
In another letter, Mrs. Himmler appeared concerned about her husband’s welfare, suggesting as he was leaving for the front, “there’s a can of caviar in the refrigerator. Take it.”
Quotes from the letters translated by the Israeli website Ynet include, “From Saturday until Tuesday I’ll be in a killing field to test new and interesting methods of shooting.”
In a 1942 letter as he was embarking on a tour of death camps, he wrote to his wife, “In the coming days I’ll be in Lublin, Auschwitz and Lvov. All the best, have a good trip, and have a good time with our little daughter. Lots of warm wishes and kisses.”
According to Ynet, Himmler’s daughter Gudrun as a child described her visit to a concentration camp in a letter. “Today, Mama, Aunt Lydia, Aunt Frieda and I visited an SS camp in Dachau,” she wrote. “We had a big meal there. It was a great day. What a grand project the concentration camps are.”
The letters were first published this weekend by the German newspaper Die Welt. In a video posted on the site, journalist and author Sven Felix Kellerhoff described Himmler as a sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type figure, as the letters reveal Himmler the man, and Himmler the “monster.”
The letters also showed that Himmler’s wife shared her husband’s anti-Semitic streak. The day before the notorious pogrom of looting, book burning, and killing of Jews known as Kristallnacht, Marga wrote, “This issue with the Jews – when will these scum leave us so we can live a happy life.”
The couple’s hatred of Jews was discussed in a letter as early as 1928.
“The Jew pack has much dread of you,” Marga wrote. “The Jew remains the Jew!”
“Don’t get angry about the Jews, good woman, I can help you,” Himmler said.
Marga once wrote to him playfully, “I’m so lucky to have such a bad husband who loves his bad wife just like she loves him.”
In another letter, Himmler apologized to his wife for not calling her on their wedding anniversary. He wrote on July 7, 1941 shortly after the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, “I apologize that I forgot our wedding anniversary…A lot of things have been happening these past few days.”
He also admitted in a letter that he couldn’t stop throwing up after he saw his soldiers executing Jews by gunfire.
“If Hitler would tell me to shoot my mother – I would do it,” he wrote in yet another letter.
Ynet described several theories as to how the letters ended up in Tel Aviv.
“The leading theory is that Chaim Rosenthal – an Israeli artist and historical memorabilia collector interested in the Second World War – purchased the letters, probably in a Brussels’ flea market,” Ynet wrote.
“According to another possible version of the events, the documents were found in the home of Karl Wolf, Himmler’s personal assistant who fled to Italy at the end of the war and hoped to use the letters as a bargaining chip,” Ynet reported.
“It is unclear which of the two versions are correct, but what is known is that Rosenthal brought the letters to Israel in the ’70s and hid the collection under his bed,” Ynet added.