From PRO file WO.208/4472
"Today at 15.32 in Prague an attempt on the life of the Deputy Reich Protector HEYDRICH was made..." (Radio Prague -- 27th May, 1942, 17.30)
HEYDRICH, Reinhard, SS.-Obergruppenführer, General der Polizei, Chef der deutschen Sicherheitspolizei, Chef des Sicherheitshauptamtes in der Reichsführung SS (Führer des S.D.), Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor in Böhmen und Mähren, Mitglied des Reichstags etc., etc. (Senior Group Leader SS, General of the Police, Chief of the German Security Police, Chief of the Central Security Department in the High Command of the SS (Leader of the Security Service of the SS.) Deputy Reich Protector in Bohemia and Moravia, Member of the Reichstag etc.
H. was born on the 7th March, 1904 in Halle (Province of Saxony) as son of the Director of a private musical academy. His mother also descends from a family of musicians. H. was educated at a Halle High School and at an early age (1918) became a member of some ultra-national youth organisation. Later in his life, H. used to brag about legendary feats of heroism (and terrorism) which he claimed to have performed at that time. -- In 1922 H. joined the German Navy, was commissioned as Sub-Lieutenant in 1926 and was posted to the ill-fated training ship "Niobe". During the last journey of this ship, from which it never returned he was, however, not on board. Later Heydrich, promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1928, became Intelligence Officer in the Baltic Command of the German Navy ("Admiralstabsleitung der Marinestation Ostsee"). It was probably in this position that Heydrich got into contact with Admiral Canaris, the famous Chief of German Military Intelligence, a connection which, rumours contend, has never been cut. In 1931, Heydrich left the Navy, apparently owing to some scandal, the most current rumor being that this scandal was a homosexual one. In the same year H. joined the Nazi Party in Hamburg and made a rapid career: The end of the same year saw him already as "Sturmführer" of the SS, attached to the SS High Command in Munich, and in 1932, after a short spell of duty in East Prussia, Heydrich rose to the rank of "Standartenführer" (approximately Regimental Commander). Heydrich's job in the SS was the re-organisation of the existing spying and information services of the SS (the so-called "S.D." = "Sicherheitsdienst" = Security Service of the SS) and he did this job so thoroughly that the mopping up of political opponents in 1933 was done with a thoroughness and swiftness which was decisive for the continuation of Hitler's regime.
In 1933, Heydrich, then SS-Oberführer, became first Chief of the Political Department of the Munich Police, later Chief of the Bavarian Police, and in 1935 -- having already been Berlin Gestapo Chief -- Heydrich assumed his present rank of Chief of the whole of the German Security Police (incorporating Gestapo and C.I.D.).- It was stated some time ago in the SS Weekly "Das Schwarze Korps" that Heydrich has also taken part in this war as an officer of the German Air Force and more recent photographs show him indeed with the ribbons of both Iron Crosses. His main activity, however, was certainly centered on the task of extending the police system, the spying apparatus and the terrorism which he had instituted in Nazi Germany over more than half of Europe. This task has not been a very easy one and Heydrich himself in a speech he made in 1941 on the "Day of the German Police" pointed out that the German police forces, large as they were, had not been sufficient to cover the whole of Hitler-owned and Hitler-occupied Europe with the usual thoroughness. The call-up of further men (Gestapo is not in every case a reserved occupation) and the particularly big demand for security forces which exists in the wide spaces of Russia have already contributed to increase these difficulties further, and the fresh unrest in Western Europe this spring and summer may well have caused something approaching a "security crisis". Such hard times have happened before, though not in the same degree, and it was usually Heydrich who was sent to the spot where trouble was brewing. He has visited almost every occupied territory, and his visits resulted without fail in mass executions and more terror. Thus in the second half of September 1914 special difficulties were encountered by the German authorities in Czecho-Slovakia. Apparently Neurath, the Reichsprotektor, was considered too weak or the trouble was too strong, anyway, Heydrich was kept on the spot as Deputy Reichsprotektor and the usual mass executions and phoney trials took place for several weeks.
His position as Deputy Reichsprotektor, however, did not prevent Heydrich from remaining Security Chief of German occupied Europe. Thus towards the middle of this month of May, Heydrich went again "on tour", this time to the Western occupied territories which had shown considerable unrest following upon British air and commando attacks. On the 7th May H. installed Oberg, the most "capable" of the terrorist SS, Police and Gestapo Leaders in Poland, as Senior SS & Police Leader for occupied France. On the 17th, H. was reported to be in The Hague (mass shootings of former Dutch officers) and on the 26th he was reported back in Prague and received the heads of the Czech puppet government and administration, announcing to them the measures to be taken for the "simplification" of administration in the Protectorate.
If Heydrich should not survive the attempt or if he is invalided for some appreciable time, the loss for the Nazi regime would be very serious indeed. It can safely be said that next to Himmler Heydrich is the soul of the terror machinery from which depends the fate of the inner front in Germany. The Gestapo machine, certainly exceedingly well organised, is already -- and admittedly -- heavily taxed by the lack of man-power and the rising unrest. The loss of the "master mind" will have serious consequences. -- Another point worth noting is that Heydrich was one of the most important members of the Himmler group within the Nazi Party, all the more important as he controlled the Gestapo, the most important instrument of power in Germany.
The following personalities in the Protectorate were among Heydrich' s closest collaborators and may be rather prominent in the coming days:
--- "The Führer has appointed Paul Wegener as successor to the late Gauleiter and Regent ROVER ..." (DNB, 26.5.42)
Wegener, born on the 1st October, 1908 in Varel (Oldenburg), was educated in Wilhelmshaven and later at the Colonial Academy at Witzenhausen. He was for a short time farmer, later a merchant and, after having joined the Nazi Party, he became a full-time politician. In 1933 he became a Member of the Reichstag, in August 1936 he was transferred from Bremen, where he had been active hitherto, to the Mark Brandenburg and became Deputy Gauleiter (after Kube and his staff had been cleared out). After the occupation of Norway Wegener, who had taken part in the Polish campaign as officer in the Waffen-SS became deputy to Reich Commissioner Terboven in Oslo.
© Focal Point 2003 write to David Irving