The following introduction is as provided by Pen and Sword:
Reinhard Heydrich along with Heinrich Himmler, whose deputy he was, will always be regarded as one of the most ruthless of the Nazi elite. Even Hitler described him as ‘a man with an iron heart’.
He established his fearsome reputation in the 1930s, as head of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the intelligence organisation which neutralised opposition to the Nazi Party by murder and deportation. He organised Kristalnacht and played a leading role in the Holocaust, chairing the 1942 Wannsee Conference which formalised plans for the ‘Final Solution’. In addition, as head of the Einsatzgruppen murder squads in Eastern Europe he was responsible for countless murders.
Appointed Deputy Reich-Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, he died of wounds inflicted by British trained SOE operatives in Prague in May 1942. The reprisals that followed his assassination were extreme by even the terrible standards of Nazi ruthlessness.
Heydrich’s shocking and leading role in the Nazi regime is graphically portrayed in this Images of War book.
This offering from Pen and Sword, is a soft backed offering from their Images of War series. The author of this release is Ian Baxter and is well known for his contribution to this series of titles. The card cover does a reasonable job of protecting the 144 pages within against reasonable handling and damage. The contents of the book are laid out as follows:
Chapter 1 Early Years
Chapter 2 Tannenburg
Chapter 3 Genocide
Chapter 4 Death and Retaliation
Chapter 5 In Memory
Appendix I Order from Hermann Goring to Reinhard Heydrich
Appendix II Wannsee Conference Minutes
Despite his death in 1942, Heydrich is arguably one of the most brutal members of the German heirachy prior to and during World War II. This particular SS Officer organised and oversaw the steps that were needed to deal with the Jewish problem as it was referred to during the Wannsee conference. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities during World War II this book looks at the beginning of Reinhard Heydrich’s climb in the Nazi hierarchy where he became head of the Gestapo which prior to hostilities were utilised to seek out opponents of the Nazi party and to make them disappear. It can be said that the only people higher in the party were Himmler and Hitler himself. The man himself is indicated as single minded to the detriment of everything else, his single mindedness would have been of a great asset to any country in peacetime, but instead his organisational skills saw the early stages of the final solution.
The book continues to tell the story of his demise at the hands of Czechoslovakian paratroopers trained by the British specifically for the task of removing Heydrich. The operation to kill Heydrich receives reasonable coverage in this title, along with the subsequent funerals both in Czech and Berlin. Images of the funeral are particularly well covered in this title due to the sheer number of photographs of the events. My main reason for covering this title is due to one of our members slowly but surely building a diorama of the assassination of the Butcher of Prague. Also covered in this title is the retribution one the population of Lidice where every male over the age of 15 was executed, and the buildings set on fire and finally flattened with explosives. The Germans not only took out the retribution on the populous of the town, but they also shot all of the pets and live stock. The publication is finished with a series of photographs taken after the war by Michal Bybrony who shares images of the area where Heydrich was assassinated, the church where the persons who assassinated Heydrich went to ground and eventually committed suicide rather than being captured, and the monument to the town of Lidice. All of the photographs included in the title are black and white and the photographs are all of a good quality with well written captions for each image.
The offering from Pen and Sword will be of limited interest to many modellers, but is covered here with a specific member in mind, who is replicating the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1/35th scale. The content has been covered to tell the story of the man, rather than in an attempt to shock the reader, and the result in an interesting photographic record of the Butcher of Prague.