40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII

Khalid Elhassan - March 14, 2019

The children of Nazis who had some serious crosses to bear, growing up after Germany’s defeat. While they had it better than their parents’ victims – they got to live, after all – it was difficult growing up in the shadow of monsters. Many turned their backs upon their Nazi relatives, while others spent their lives defending their relatives and attempting to whitewash or downplay their crimes. Following are forty fascinating facts about the descendants and relatives of Nazis after WWII.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Joseph and Magda Goebbels and their children, including the eldest, Harald Quandt, in the background. Bundesarchiv Bild

40. The Goebbels’ Luckiest Child

Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister and devoted disciple, was a loving father. Until he wasn’t. As Germany crumbled and Hitler hunkered in a bunker in a besieged Berlin, Goebbels insisted that he share his master’s fate. So he joined the Fuhrer, along with his fanatical Nazi wife Magda and their six youngest children, ranging in age from 5 to 13. When Hitler committed suicide, Joseph and Magda Goebbels poisoned their children, then killed themselves. One child who survived was their eldest, Harald Quandt, a Luftwaffe lieutenant who caught a lucky break when he was captured by the Allies in 1944 and was thus safe in a POW camp when his parents carried out their familial murder-suicide pact.

Related: The Sad Story of Hitler’s Favorite Children.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
10-year-old Harald Quandt at his mother’s remarriage to Joseph Goebbels. Wikimedia

39. Harald Quandt Died a Billionaire

Harald Quandt was Magda Goebbels’ son from an earlier marriage to an industrialist before she met and married Joseph Goebbels. After the war, Harald went to work for his biological father’s business – a holding group of over 200 companies, including a 30% stake in BMW, and a 10% share of Daimler Benz. When his father died in 1954, Harald’s inheritance made him one of West Germany’s richest men. He proved himself a shrewd businessman, and when he died in a plane crash in 1967, he left his offspring a fortune of about 1.5 billion Deutsche Mark. Today, his descendants are worth an estimated U$6 billion.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Hans Frank with Hitler. Pinterest

38. Hans Frank, Family Man

Hans Frank was Hitler’s personal attorney, who was made Governor-General of occupied Poland in 1939. He instituted a reign of terror whose lowlights featured the segregation of Jews into ghettos, and the use of millions of Polish civilians as forced laborers. Frank had five children, but he reconciled affection towards his own kids with coldhearted indifference towards hundreds of thousands of other people’s children. In 1941, he instructed his subordinates: “Gentlemen, I must ask you to rid yourself of all feelings of pity. We must annihilate the Jews wherever we find them and whenever it is possible“. He was hanged as a war criminal after the war.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Hans Frank, left, and his son Niklas. SBS

37. Hans Frank’s Kids

Hans Frank’s children, the one who went the furthest in rejecting their father was the youngest, Niklas. Upon growing up, Niklas became a journalist for Stern magazine and West Germany’s Playboy. Over time, the more he learned of his father, the more he came to hate the man. In 1987, he published In the Shadow of the Reich, a book that stirred controversy in Germany for the unprecedented manner in which he savaged the memory of his father, whom he described as a “slime hole of a Hitler fanatic“.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
The hanging of Rudolf Hoess next to Auschwitz’s crematorium. Tops Images

36. Rudolf Hoess, History Greatest Mass Murderer

Rudolf Hoess might be history’s greatest individual mass murderer, having created and organized the biggest industrial-scale killing factory ever created: Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp, where over a million people were killed. A mild-mannered and happily married Catholic, Hoess enjoyed normal family life with his five children, notwithstanding the view of the Auschwitz crematoria’s smoke stacks from his bedroom window. After the war, he was tried and convicted and hanged next to Auschwitz’s crematorium.

Also Read: Auschwitz Inmate’s Hidden Testimony Finally Revealed in Messages Left Behind.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Rudolf Hoess’ grandson, Rainer, holding up a family photo. The Telegraph

35. Rainer Hoess

No grave marks Rudolph Hoess’ final resting place, but if there was one, his grandson Rainer Hoess has no doubt what he would do if he came across it: “I would spit on it“. Growing up, Rainer’s father and Rudolph Hoess’ son Hans-Jurgen had dismissed the allegations against the Auschwitz Kommandant as fake news and victor’s justice. Rainer became the only Hoess descendant to publicly denounce the family’s most infamous member. For that, he is viewed as a traitor by his relatives. Undaunted, Rainer speaks at dozens of schools each year, warning children about far-right parties and the kinds of people they produce – like his grandfather.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Dr. Josef Mengele, center, at Auschwitz. Wikimedia

34. Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death”

Josef Mengele, AKA the “Angel of Death“, was an SS doctor at Auschwitz, who greeted new arrivals at the camp, cursorily sorting out those who got to live as slave laborers from those to be sent immediately to the gas chambers. He was also a sadist who conducted deadly human experiments upon prisoners. He was captured after the war, but he hid his true identity with an assumed name and avoided prosecution. After his release, he moved to Argentina, where he resumed living under his real name. He was never brought to account for his crimes and died from a stroke in 1979. He was survived by a son, Rolf.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Rolf and Josef Mengele in 1977, in Brazil. The Daily Mail

33. Rolf Mengele Refused to Betray His Father

With his father on the lam, Rolf Mengele was raised by his grandparents, who told him that his father had died. He was shocked to discover, at age 16, that his father was not only still alive, but was a war criminal at large. While rejecting his father’s beliefs, Rolf nonetheless sought to know him better. After years of secret preparations, he finally met Josef Mengele in Brazil, in 1977. His father downplayed responsibility for his war crimes and even argued that his conduct at Auschwitz had saved the lives of thousands. Rolf, contending that it was impossible to betray his father, never revealed his location. He did, however, change his surname in the 1980s.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Edda Goering at her christening, with her parents and Hitler. FPP

32. Hermann Goering’s Daughter

Edda Goering was born in 1938 to Hitler’s chief deputy and second in command, Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering. She grew up as a veritable Nazi princess, and when she was baptized in her father’s opulent estate, Carinhall, Adolf Hitler was her godfather. Things came crashing down for her when the Third Reich came crashing down in 1945. She and her mother were interred by the Allies after Germany’s surrender but were allowed brief visits to her father, who was being tried as a war criminal at the Nuremberg Tribunal. Hermann Goering was convicted and sentenced to death but cheated the hangman by swallowing cyanide the night before his scheduled execution.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Edda Goering. Home Decoration

31. Edda Goering Never Denounced Her Father

As an adult, Edda Goering moved in far-right circles and remained active among the group of former prominent Nazis. She never criticized her father, of whom she said in a 1990 interview: “I loved him very much, and it was obvious how much he loved me. My only memories of him are such loving ones, I cannot see him any other way. I actually expect that most everybody has a favorable opinion of my father, except maybe in America“. In 2015, she unsuccessfully petitioned the authorities for compensation for the properties confiscated from her father after the war.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Bettina Goering. The Daily Mail

30. Goering’s Great Niece and Nephew Sterilized Themselves To End the Family Bloodline

Goering’s great-niece, Bettina Goering, moved to the US and settled in New Mexico, where she practiced herbal medicine. She revealed in an interview that both she and her brother Adi had voluntarily sterilized themselves “so that there won’t be any more Goerings“. As she put it: “I look like him, for a start – the eyes, the cheekbones, the profile. I look more like him than his own daughter. … I had my tubes tied at the age of 30 because I feared I would create another monster“. Adi Goering put it more succinctly: “I cut the line“.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
William Patrick Hitler and his uncle. The Irish Times

29. Hitler’s Nephew Tried to Blackmail the Fuhrer

Hitler’s half-brother, Alois Hitler, married an Irishwoman in London in 1910, and settled in Liverpool, where a son, William Patrick Hitler, was born a year later. Alois abandoned the family in 1914 and returned to Germany. William Patrick joined him in 1933, hoping to benefit from his uncle’s rise to power. Disappointed, he threatened to reveal embarrassing family secrets, unless his “personal circumstances” improved. Luckily for the oblivious William, the Fuhrer did not have him killed. Frustrated, he returned to Britain, where he wrote scathing magazine articles such as Why I Hate My Uncle. He was stranded in the US when WWII broke out, and joined the US Navy in 1944.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
William Patrick Stuart-Houston, ne Hitler. Geni

28. Hitler’s Last Surviving Relatives Settled in Long Island

After the war, William Patrick Hitler changed his last name to Stuart-Houston, married, and settled in Long Island, NY. There, he opened a medical laboratory, which analyzed blood samples for area hospitals. He strove for anonymity and avoided drawing attention to his family history. He died in 1987, survived by four sons. Three of his sons never married, and the one who did died in a car accident, leaving behind no children, giving rise to rumors of a pact to end the Hitler bloodline. However, as one of William Patrick’s sons put it, things just ended up that way, without any deliberate design.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Alexander Stuart-Houston in his youth. The Daily Mirror

27. One of Hitler’s Grandnephews Was Engaged to a Jew

In 2018, William Patrick Hitler’s son, Alexander Stuart-Houston, revealed in an interview with the German magazine Bild, that one of his brothers had once been engaged to a Jewish woman. Alexander did not disclose which one of his siblings he was talking about, nor did he identify the Jewish woman whom he had planned to marry. The marital plans came to naught, however, when the woman discovered the family’s dark history. Understandably, she decided against marrying into Hitler’s family.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Otto von Wachter. Opera Mundi

26. Baron Otto Gustav von Wachter

Otto von Wachter was an Austrian aristocratic and fervent Nazi, who fled to Germany in 1932 after participating in a failed coup, and joined the SS. After Germany’s conquest of Poland, he was made governor of Krakow and Galicia, where he committed war crimes and crimes against humanity that claimed the lives of over 100,000 civilians. He evaded capture after the war, thanks to the help of a pro-Nazi Austrian bishop who hid Wachter in the Vatican until his death in 1949 of kidney failure.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Horst von Wachter. Krakow

25. Wachter’s Son Spent His Life Trying to Paint Him as a ‘Good Nazi’

Otto von Wachter was a monster, but at home, he had been a loving parent. His son Horst von Wachter had fond memories of his childhood and father, and spent much of his life trying to clear his name. In interviews with a variety of media sources, Horst claimed his father was an unwilling cog in the Nazi machine, that he had never been an antisemite, and that he had opposed the Nazis’ racial beliefs of Aryan supremacy. Documentary evidence debunked all of Horst’s claims, but he continues to believe that his father was a “Good Nazi”.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Horst von Wachter handing over stolen art to Polish officials. The Guardian

24. Horst von Wachter Returned Art Looted by His Family During the War

In December of 1939, the wife of Baron Otto von Wachter, the recently appointed German governor of the Polish city of Krakow, walked into that city’s National Museum, and methodically looted it of every item that caught her fancy. In 2017, her son Horst von Wachter, who had spent his life trying to clear his father’s name, returned three of the stolen paintings that his mother had taken back home to Austria when the Germans were forced out of Poland.

Related:

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
The suitcase discovered by Pasternak in his childhood. The Telegraph

23. Simon Pasternak’s Surprise Discovery

Danish author Simon Pasternak recalls rooting through his parents’ basement as a child, when he came across a rusty suitcase belonging to his maternal uncle Dirck, who had died in the Ukraine during WWII. When he opened the suitcase, he found some unexpected items: dusty SS documents, an SS dagger, and an Iron Cross. As he put it years later: “I knew that the Nazis were the worst kind of bogeymen. My Danish grandmother married a Russian Jew, my grandfather, and half my family is Jewish. So, how could this suitcase be in our basement?

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Simon Pasternak. Alchetron

22. Executioners and Victims in the Same Family

Simon Pasternak’s Jewish grandfather had moved from Latvia to Denmark in the 1930s, leaving his family behind, where many were killed by the SS during WWII. When Simon asked his grandmother how executioners and victims could live in the same family, she told him that his uncle Dirck hadn’t really been a Nazi. He had just gone to the USSR to fight the communists, but when he saw what the Nazis were up to there, he wanted out, but by then it was too late. That seemed plausible to Simon, and the suitcase was soon forgotten.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Himmler, surrounded by SS officers. Pinterest

21. Pasternak’s Research Into Uncle Dirck

Years later, as an adult, Pasternak recalled the suit and decided to do some research into uncle Dirck. Contra what his grandmother had told him, Dirck had been a Danish Navy officer, and after Denmark was conquered by the Germans, he requested and was granted leave by the king to join the SS. Far from a reluctant Nazi, uncle Dirck had received top marks in Nazi ideology from the SS School in Bavaria. He was commissioned as an SS-Hauptsturmführer and sent to the Eastern Front, where he went missing in action in 1943.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Danish Jews being spirited to safety in Sweden. ABC News

20. Troubling Questions About Uncle Dirk

In 1943 Denmark’s German occupiers set out to round up the country’s Jews, but the Danes, in an act of widespread civil disobedience, managed to spirit most of Denmark’s Jews to safety in Sweden. Pasternak was left to wonder: if his uncle Dirck had been alive and in Denmark back then, would he have arrested and turned in the Danish author’s father? While on the Eastern Front, had uncle Dirck participated in murdering the family of Pasternak’s grandfather?

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Latvian Jewish women, assembled preparatory to their murder in 1941. Wikimedia

19. Understanding Uncle Dirck’s Crimes

Wondering “Could my mysterious Uncle Dirck have participated in the killing of my grandfather’s family?” gnawed at Simon Pasternak. He was relieved when research showed that the dates did not fit for uncle Dirck to have been present during the killing of the author’s Jewish relatives in Latvia. However, that same research showed that Danish SS members had participated in the mass killing of Jews and other atrocities, elsewhere. As Pasternak put it: “He didn’t do it to my grandfather’s family, but he could have done it to someone else’s“.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Danish SS volunteers. Helion

18. Pasternak’s Frustration With His Countrymen’s Refusal to Address Their Nazi Past

If Pasternak’s uncle Dirck had survived the war, he would probably have denied having participated in war crimes, and those around him would have probably leaned over backward to believe him. As Pasternak discovered during his research, people had no interest in closely examining sensitive questions. Especially questions concerning their own relatives, as Pasternak had experienced with his own grandmother, who paradoxically defended her brother, Dirck, even though he probably would have killed her Jewish husband if given a chance.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Simon Pasternak’s ‘Death Zones’. Pinterest

17. Coming to Terms With Uncle Dirck

Pasternak’s research of uncle Dirck left him with more questions than answers, so in an attempt to find some closure, the Danish author turned to his stock in trade, and decided to write a novel. In Death Zones, Pasternak pictured a German police detective operating behind the lines on the Eastern Front, where, absurdly, the German criminal code was in force. It took him three years to finish the story, which began with a rusty old suitcase, just like the one Pasternak had discovered as a child.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Karl Niemann, tending his garden. BBC

16. Derek Niemann’s Shocking Discovery

Derek Niemann, a British author who writes gentle books about nature, received a shock when he discovered a family secret during a trip to Germany. While visiting Berlin with his wife, he decided to look up the house where his German-born father had grown up during WWII. When he Googled the address, he came across a page with information such as “SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Niemann… crimes against humanity… use of slave labour“. As he told a BBC interviewer: “I can remember falling back in my chair, going next door, and saying to [my wife] – I’ve just found my grandfather“.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Karl Niemann’s family. BBC

15. Niemann’s Grandfather

At first, Derek Niemann tried to convince himself that his grandfather had been a lowly pen pusher, but subsequent research revealed a more sinister picture. Karl Niemann had been an SS officer, who had organized slave laborers in Nazi concentration camps such as Dachau and Auschwitz. He made the rounds of all the concentration camps to inspect their finances and oversaw an SS commercial enterprise that used a slave workforce, toiling in horrific conditions, to produce furniture and war supplies.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Derek Niemann at Dachau. Sarah Niemann

14. Luck Spared Derek Niemann’s Grandfather From Accountability

After the war, Karl Niemann was arrested and charged with crimes against humanity, but he caught a lucky break when the evidence against him was misplaced. In a bureaucratic screwup, the incriminating evidence was sent to the Nuremberg Tribunal to use against a bigger criminal fish, Niemann’s boss, who was convicted and executed. However, the evidence was not returned from the Nuremberg Tribunal to the investigators looking into Karl Niemann’s actions, and he was eventually freed for lack of evidence.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Hess and Hitler in 1936. New Scientist

13. Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s Deputy

Rudolf Hess was at Hitler’s side during the failed 1923 Beer Hall Putsch and joined him in prison, where he helped him write Mein Kampf. For his loyalty, Hess was made Hitler’s deputy Fuhrer after the Nazis came to power in 1933, and he played an instrumental role in drafting the Nuremberg Laws that stripped Germany’s Jews of citizenship and civil rights. In 1941, Hess sensed that his influence over Hitler was waning, so he hatched a harebrained scheme to fly solo to Britain, and try to broker a peace. It came to nothing, and after the war, he was tried and convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life in prison, which lasted until he committed suicide in 1987.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Wolf Rudiger Hess. Pinterest

12. Wolf Rudiger Hess Spent His Life Trying to Prove His Father’s Innocence

When Hess flew to Britain, he left behind a 3-year-old son, Wolf Rudiger, who grew up believing his father was innocent and dedicated his life to trying to free him. He created the Committee to Free Rudolf Hess, and wrote multiple books trying to clear his father’s name, including My Father Rudolf Hess, and Rudolf Hess: No Regrets. Before his death in 2001, Wolf Rudiger remarked on his life: “I never had time for myself: I spent all my free time on my father“.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Martin Bormann and his son, Martin Adolf. New York Post

11. Martin Adolf Bormann

Martin Adolf Bormann was the eldest of ten children born to Martin Bormann, Adolf Hitler’s private secretary and the head of the Nazi Party’s Chancellery. Martin Adolf was Hitler’s first godson, and he grew up as an ardent Nazi, while his father’s power steadily grew within the Nazi hierarchy. Unfortunately for Bormann, Sr., he reached the pinnacle of power just as Nazi Germany came crashing down, and he disappeared in the war’s closing days while trying to escape from a besieged Berlin. His corpse was recovered and identified in 1972.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Martin Adolf Bormann. The Independent

10. Martin Adolf Bormann Became a Catholic Priest

After the war, Bormann’s eldest son went on the lam, and was taken in by a devoutly Catholic Austrian farmer. Martin Adolf got religion, and his newfound faith opened his eyes to the horrors of the Third Reich. He entered a Jesuit seminary in 1948, and was ordained as a priest in 1958. After years of missionary work in the Congo, he left the priesthood in the 1970s, and married a former nun who had similarly renounced her vows. He became a theology teacher, and toured schools in Germany and Austria, lecturing about the evils of Nazism. In 2011, various former students accused him of having sexually and physically abused them in the 1960s. He denied it and died two years later.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Hans Ludin. Pinterest

9. Hans Ludin Deported Thousands of Jews to Their Deaths

Hans Ludin was a Brown Shirt who joined Germany’s Foreign Office. In 1941, he was appointed ambassador to the Slovak Republic – a German client state carved out of a dismembered Czechoslovakia. Ludin wielded great influence, which he used to convince the Slovak government to deport the country’s Jews and hand them over to the machinery of the Holocaust. After the war, he was tried and convicted in Czechoslovakia as a war criminal, and was sentenced to hang. It took him twenty minutes, dangling from a rope, to die. He was survived by six children.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Alexandra Senfft. Flickr

8. Ludin’s Descendants

Ludin’s family preferred to remember him as an innocent Nazi, who was ignorant of the fate awaiting the thousands of Jews he got deported. They dismissed evidence to the contrary as fake news, and described Ludin and his place in the grand scheme of things as “Small fry – who cares?“. It was only in the generation of his grandchildren that Ludin’s descendants began coming to terms with the legacy of their ancestor, who might have been small fry compared to better-known Nazis, but who was nonetheless responsible for the deaths of thousands. Today, his granddaughter Alexandra Sennft, is a journalist and writer, active in fighting political extremists.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Amon Goeth during his trial in 1946. Rare Historical Photos

7. Amon Goeth, of Schindler’s List Fame

Amon Goeth is perhaps best known today as Oskar Schindler’s foe, having been portrayed by Ralph Fiennes as the camp commandant in 1993’s Schindler’s List. The real-life Amon Goeth, who ran the Krakow-Plaszow concentration camp in Poland, was a sadist who trained his dogs to tear people apart and got a kick out of watching them savage prisoners. After the war, he was convicted of ordering the torture, murder, and imprisonment of thousands, and for personally killing, torturing, and maiming an indeterminate number of people. He was hanged near his personal killing field.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Monika Hertwig. Fallen

6. Goeth’s Daughter

Amon Goethe had an affair with an aspiring actress named Ruth Irene Kalder, that produced a daughter, Monika Hertwig. Kalder presented Monika with a rose-tinted view of her father, and it was only after confronting her mother as a teenager that Kalder admitted that Goeth “may have killed a few Jews“. When a shocked Monika demanded to know how many, her mother grew enraged and whipped her. She struggled to come to terms with her father’s legacy ever since, but it was only after watching Schindler’s List as a middle-aged woman that Monika finally grasped the true extent of her father’s crimes. In 2002, she described that struggle in her memoirs, titled I Have to Love My Father, Don’t I?

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Amon Goeth and his granddaughter, Jennifer Teege. The Telegraph

5. Jennifer Teege’s Shocking Discovery

Jennifer Teege was born in 1970 to a German mother who’d had a brief affair with a Nigerian man. When she was 4 weeks old, she was sent to an orphanage and grew up with limited contact with her biological mother and grandmother. 38 years later, the mixed-race Teege discovered that her biological grandmother had been Amon Goeth’s live-in mistress, her mother Monika was Goethe’s biological daughter, and Jennifer Teege was thus Goethe’s granddaughter. The shock leveled her for weeks, and she spent much of her life since trying to come to terms with the fact that a monster’s blood flowed through her veins – a monster who would probably have cheerfully killed her on racial grounds.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Heinrich Himmler. Wikimedia

4. Himmler, the Most Horrible Nazi Next to Hitler

With his common everyday man looks, receding chin, and office clerk glasses, Heinrich Himmler could have modeled for a stock image of the innocuous bureaucrat. Yet, Himmler was probably the most feared man in Germany, and second only to Hitler in responsibility for Germany’s wartime atrocities. Indeed, in his capacity as Reichsfuhrer-SS, Himmler was the man in charge of overseeing and carrying out the Holocaust. Captured after the war, he escaped trial and certain execution by swallowing cyanide.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Concentration camp children. Aleteia

3. Himmler Was a Loving and Doting Father to His Own Children

Himmler was a monster capable of carrying out a genocide whose victims included millions of children, but that did not keep him from being a loving father to his own offspring. They included a daughter, Gudrun, a foster son whose SS father had died, and two illegitimate children, Helge and Nanette, whom he fathered upon his personal secretary. Himmler was particularly close to his daughter Gudrun, whom he nicknamed Puppi (“dolly”). His official responsibilities kept him away for long stretches, but he made sure to phone her every few days and see her as frequently as he could.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Gudrun Burwitz, ne Himmler, in old age, and with her father. The Daily Mirror

2. Gudrun Himmler Went to Her Grave Believing Her Father Was a Good and Misunderstood Man

Gudrun Himmler never turned her back on her father. After the war, she married a far-right extremist and official of a neo-Nazi party, and became Gudrun Burwitz. She became an active participant in Stille Hilfe (“Silent Assistance”), an organization dedicated to helping fugitive former SS members. Among those helped by Gudrun were Martin Sommer, AKA “The Hangman of Buchenwald”, Klaus Barbie, AKA “The Butcher of Lyon”, and Anton Malloth, a concentration camp guard convicted in 2001 of beating over 100 prisoners to death. She died at age 88 in 2018, an unrepentant apologist for her father and the regime he served.

Related: The Nazi Klaus Barbie Is Arrested.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Relatives of Nazis After WWII
Katrin Himmler. Listal

1. Himmler’s Grandniece Struggled With Her Uncle’s Legacy

While Himmler’s daughter never renounced her father, his grandniece Katrin Himmler, granddaughter of the Reichsfuhrer-SS’ younger brother, spent her life trying to distance herself from her family’s Nazi legacy. That struggle found expression in her 2005 book, The Himmler Brothers: A German Family History, tracing the lives of Heinrich Himmler and his two brothers. She credits researching the book, which won acclaim, with helping her to finally come to terms with her family’s Nazi past.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Atlantic, The, October 16th, 2013 – An Interview With Nazi Leader Hermann Goering’s Great Niece

BBC – Holocaust Memorial Day: A Nazi in the Family

BBC – Nazi Relatives: The Troubled Descendants

BBC Culture – How the Children of Nazi Germany Remember World War Two

Daily Mirror, May 22nd, 2015 – ‘My Father Heinrich Himmler Was Not a Monster’, Insists Daughter of Nazi Chief on 70th Anniversary of His Death

Ha’aretz, March 7th, 2018 – My Grandfather Was Executed as a WWII War Criminal. I Know Why Germany Still Has a Nazi Problem

Independent, July 5th, 2018 – Gudrun Burwitz: Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter Who Supported Nazi War Criminals For Decades

Jerusalem Post, August 27th, 2017 – Nazi Goebbels’ Descendants Are Hidden Billionaires

New York Post, February 3rd, 2018 – How Nazi Offspring Dealt With Their Families’ Hellish Histories

Ranker – True Stories From Relatives of SS Officers

Telegraph, The, November 3rd, 2015 – Sons suffering the sins of their Nazi fathers

Telegraph, The, November 20th, 2014 – Auschwitz Commander’s Grandson: Why My Family Call Me a Traitor

Telegraph, The, April 13th, 2015 – My Grandfather Would Have Murdered Me

Telegraph, The, May 4th, 2016 – What Happens When You Discover a Nazi in Your Family?

Times of Israel, October 9th, 2018 – One of the Last Living Relatives of Adolf Hitler Was Engaged to a Jew

Wikipedia – Gudrun Burwitz

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