Known as the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany, Hermann Goring was known as Hitler’s right hand in many circles as he had helped him take power in 1933. After the formation of Nazi Germany and imposition of Draconian laws, Goring created the Gestapo, a special force that had unchecked control in crushing anti-Nazi powers.
Goring had served in the First World War as part of the air force and after he was relieved of his command of the Gestapo, he was put at the head of the Luftwaffe. By 1940, he was at the zenith of his power and was largely responsible for driving the German economy, preparing it for the jerks it was about to receive during the war.
Goring’s first evil intention was uncovered when he shared the idea of lack of natural resources within Germany. His plan was to invade Austria as a part of the country was rich in iron ore deposits. But that wasn’t the end game. Goring’s main target was capturing the skilled labor within Austria and using them to fuel Germany’s war effort.
As part of the senior leadership of the Nazi party, He was the one who turned Jewish extermination into official Nazi policy in occupied Europe and thus was indirectly responsible for the execution of almost 5,700,000 Jews. He was not just insensitive to human life but also planned & succeeded on making a profit out of it by stealing Jewish art and other valuables as he broke down Jewish way of living. He made up an immeasurable fortune while doing so.
Goring was officially tried at Nuremberg for several crimes, majorly the disappearance and killing of prisoners of war. His trial lasted more than 200 days and was finally sentenced to hanging. However, before this could happen he took a cyanide pill.
Joseph Goebbels is one of those Nazis, whose war crimes are known to almost anyone with a slight interest in humanity. He was one of Hitler’s closest associates, and became his second in command after Hitler lost faith in Hermann Goring. Just like Hitler, Goebbels was also known for his ability to motivate through public speaking, but under the cloud of charisma was a hidden hatred for all races other than German.
He had a deep hatred for Jews and one of the main characters who were responsible for formation of Concentration camps. As Propaganda Minister, Goebbels led a savage campaign against all ethnicities, primarily the Jews and the Soviets. He did an excellent job at filtering out Germany’s losses during the war and established Hitler’s image as that of a messiah in the eyes of the German people. For almost a decade before the war broke out he spread a negative and unjustified image of Jews through various media and publication outlets. By the time, the war broke out, the emotions he had instilled in the German army were ripe and mass executions were now common in occupied lands.
Later on, it was found that Goebbels was so afraid of losing the war that he forced Hitler to declare total war that would put all Germans at disposal of the state. His attempt to mobilize the German population was largely unsuccessful and led to further loss of life. During April 1945, when war was imminent, Hitler put Goebbels as his successor, a post at which he ruled for only one day before committing suicide along with his wife.
This was a man who referred to himself as the “Jewish Specialist”!
Adolf Eichman joined the Austrian Nazi party after a string of unsuccessful job ventures in Austria and was picked up by the SS for his like mindedness to their goal. Adolf Eichman was one of the most brutal Nazis to have been part of the regime and was assigned as a corporal in the Dachau concentration camp in 1934. Even though at that time German behavior towards minorities hadn’t completely materialized, Eichman proved himself as a valuable asset to the Reich.
Eichman was then assigned a clerical duty to collect information on prominent Jews. This was the time when his interest in Jewish activities across Europe reached its epitome and his thinking towards them became inhumane. He was part of the team assigned to investigate “solutions to the Jewish Question” and visited Palestine to study the feasibility of mass immigration to the middle east. The British however, kicked him out.
In 1939, Eichman was made the head of Gestapo Section B4 which specially dealt with the practical implementation of Nazi policy towards Jews. His jurisdiction was Germany in addition to all the occupied territories, thus making him one of the evilest man in the Reich. He was personally responsible for mass torture and execution campaigns. He singlehandedly decimated the Jewish population of Poland once the Nazis occupied the country. He ordered them to be restricted in congested ghettos and camps that later turned out to be the killing grounds of thousands either due to cold blooded murder or starvation.
It was due to Eichmann’s supervision that the Nazis succeeded in carrying out horrendous crimes against Jews. In the first year alone, 300000 Jews had been exterminated! He travelled throughout Europe to ensure the concentration camps kept getting a uniform supply of Jews on a regular basis and thus had a major role in carrying out Hitler’s orders. By the time the war ended, it was believed that he was responsible for the loss of almost 5 million lives, including Jews and other minorities!
As Germany surrendered, Eichmann made his way out of the country into Argentina but he could run for only so long and was captured by Israeli agents in 1960. He was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death. The hanging took place on May 31st, 1962.
Born in Austria, Franz Stangl developed a liking for criminal investigations at a very young age. When he became of age, he joined the Austrian police force and worked in a political division for the CID. By 1940, his ideals had been set and his mind was fixated on joining the Nazi party. He became the Police Superintendent of the Euthanaisa Institute, which was known for captivating the mentally & physical handicapped as well as political prisoners. The institute served as a buffer zone where people were on a waiting list for the gallows.
By 1942, Paul Stangl was put in charge of the Sobibor death camp and during his tenure, he was responsible for the killings of almost 100,000 Jews. This was a seriously sick individual who had been able to murder so many people in only 6 months. In September, he was transferred to Treblinka, another camp, where Stangl established his reputation as an anti-sematic fanatic. He even received recognition for his work as the “best camp commander in Poland”. He murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews while working at the camp.
He had devoid himself of all emotions when dealing with camps and referred to inmates as “cargo to be dispatched”. In 1943, he was sent to Italy to oversee the construction of a project that involved almost half million Italian workers. The project was still underway when Germany surrendered and Stangl was captured by the Americans. He managed to get away from captivity as he was switched between different authorities and it wasn’t until 1967 that he was captured by a Nazi-hunter in Brazil. He was extradited to Germany for the murder of over 900,00 Jews at Treblinka, sentenced to life in prison on 22nd October 1970.
Nazism wasn’t something solely linked to a physical war effort; it was an ideology, which attracted the worst of people from all corners of Germany.
Aribert Heim is a prime example of the Nazi ideology. Dr. Aribert Heim was physician who joined the SS with the intent of carrying out medical experiments on captives in labor camps. He was so notorious for his actions that he was called “Dr. Death” by inmates. He operated without using anesthesia let alone pain killers and practiced his injections to see their reactions. Many of his patients remained in agony for days as he removed their organs and left them for dead.
He worked in the Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration camp as part of the 6th SS Mountain Division. Many of his experiments are well documented including the use of different compounds to bring death. He chose Jewish prisoners for such experiments and injected petrol, poisons and other materials directly into the prisoners’ hearts. It is reported that Heim once cut open a prisoner, stripped his flesh off and then used his head as paper weight in his office.
On 15th March, 1945 Dr. Death was captured by US soldiers and sent to a camp as POW. He mysteriously disappeared in 1962 from the authorities’ radar. He was later found living in Egypt through various sightings but by the time the authorities discovered him he had died. It was revealed by his son that Heim had simply driven through France, Spain and ferried into Africa from where he finally settled in Egypt.
A World War Two era evil genius, Reinhard Heydrich was one of the most ferocious man in Nazi Germany, not by looks, but by brains. A skilled musician and an expert fencer, Heydrich’s political understanding of Germany made him a “natural successor” to Hitler, as seen by many.
But the music didn’t stop here. In addition to being the supreme commander of the Political Police, he was one of the main characters behind institutionalizing the Holocaust. Heydrich was the person who led the despised Nazi meeting where the decision to eliminate Jews from Europe was taken. Antisemitism ran in his blood and from the very beginning he tried his best to ensure swift action against the Jews. He was the a staunch ally of Himmler as both shared similar thinking.
Some people think that the reason Heydrich was so committed to eradicating Jews was his ancestry, which may have been Jewish on his mother’s side. He was part of the German navy prior to joining the SS in 1932 as an unemployed person. However, his effectiveness in the malicious organization was soon noted and he was made the head of the intelligence unit.
As he showed his evil capabilities, he was made the head of the Gestapo division as well as the “Kripo”, criminal police. Heydrich repeatedly stated that simply expelling the Jews and clearing off Europe wasn’t enough and only getting rid of them was the ultimate solution. In 1941, Heydrich was made the Reich Protector of Bohemia giving him unprecedented excess to crush any Czech resistance and deport as many Jews as possible.
Little did he know that he was also being scouted by British trained Czech patriots. On 27th May, 1942 his convoy was ambushed and a bomb was thrown in the front seat. Heydrich was severely injured but even this didn’t bring a moment of peace for the Jews. Joseph Goebbels, the Propaganda Minister blamed Jewish terrorists for the attack and kicked off a violent wave of executions throughout the occupied territories. Meanwhile, Heydrich’s condition worsened and he finally gave up on June 4th.
Eventually, the sudden grip against Jews was loosened and a statue of Heydrich’s assassins was built for the heroes who saved God knows, how many people from being imprisoned and sent off to camps.
He was the “worst of the worst” and a truly robotic human being. It seemed as if he had willfully removed both logic and emotions out of his head to justify the killings of millions. Even though, Heinrich Himmler wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger, his mass murder schemes and deep hatred for Jews was the main reason behind their extermination.
Born in 1900, Heinrich Himmler was one of Hitler’s closest confidantes and was in on each and every state policy. Himmler served as the founder & head of SS, Hitler’s personal bodyguards and can be thought of as a pillar of Nazism. From the very beginning, Himmler was interested in creating the master race and preserving its racial integrity. He was appointed as the head of the Gestapo on 1934 and thus became the most feared man in Germany. He was tasked with a simple job: to eliminate all threats to the Nazi party. He succeeded in doing so by successfully implementing the “Night of the Lon Knives” plan, which neutralized all threats to Hitler within the party.
After this operation, Himmler was considered untouchable and given charge of cleansing Germany of any opposition. He set up the first concentration camp in 1933 at Dachau, which spelled doom for the Jews. As evil he was, he brilliantly organized these camps and each year, came up with some new scheme to quicken the gassings. By the time the war broke out, he became the most dangerous man in Germany and occupied Europe as it was he who had final judgement.
He was the prime facilitator for all anti-Jewish activities in Europe from the Auschwitz Death Camp to the uprooting of settlements. All in all, he was responsible for killing almost 6 million Jews and 700,000 people of other cultures. By the time Himmler was captured, it was found that he had directed the killings of almost 11 – 14 million civilians! He tried to make his way out of imprisonment, surprised that he was being tried for war crimes and committed suicide like many other Nazi leaders by ingesting cyanide.