Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich
(March 7, 1904 - June 4, 1942) was an obergruppenführer (general) in the
Nazi German paramilitary corps - the SS led by Heinrich Himmler. He had
nicknames The Blond Beast
and Der Henker
He was born in Halle, Germany.
Heydrich was one of the main architects of the Holocaust during the
first years of World War II and chaired the Wannsee conference at which
plans for the deportation of the Jews to extermination camps were discussed.
In September 1941 he was appointed Protector of Bohemia and Moravia,
replacing Konstantin von Neurath who Hitler considered not harsh enough.
On May 27, 1942 he was assassinated by a team of British-trained agents
of the Czech government in exile in London. The team was Adolf Opalka (the
leader), Josef Valcik, Jan Kubis and Josef Gabchik. Heydrich's car, driven
by SS-Oberscharfuhrer Klein, had to slow down to take a sharp bend where
the Czech team waited. As the car approached, Gabchik took aim and pulled
the trigger of his Sten, but the gun failed and did not fire. Klein, believing
the Gabchik to be alone, stopped to shoot at him. Kubis then threw an anti-tank
grenade at the car. This exploded and severely wounded Heydrich. Despite
Himmler sending his best doctors to Prague, Heydrich died a few days later
on June 4. A highly elaborate funeral was staged in Berlin.
The retaliation from the Nazis was savage, a stark warning to potential
copycats. On June 10 all males over the age of 16 in the village of Lidice,
22 km north-west of Prague, were murdered. Several hundred Jews were sent
to extermination camps. Heydrich's replacement was Colonel-General Kurt