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Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (Munich, October 7, 1900 – Lüneburg, May 23, 1945) was a senior Nazi officer, Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (SS), and one of the main leaders of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) during the National Socialist regime. The Nazi leader Adolf Hitler appointed him for a brief period military commander of the Army of replacements and general plenipotentiary of the administration of the entire Third Reich. Himmler was one of the most powerful people in Nazi Germany, and also one of the main people responsible for the Holocaust and many other Nazi crimes.
A member of a reserve battalion during the First World War, Himmler did not get into combat. He studied agronomy at the university, and joined the Nazi Party in 1923 and the SS in 1925. In 1929, he was appointed Reichsführer-SS by Hitler. For the next sixteen years he developed the SS from a small battalion of 290 troops to a large paramilitary group of about one million men; under Hitler’s orders, he established and controlled the Nazi concentration camps. He was known for his good organizational skills and for selecting highly trained subordinates, such as Reinhard Heydrich in 1931. From 1943 on, he was Interior Minister of the Reich and head of the German Police, supervising all internal and external forces of police and Security agencies, including the Gestapo (Secret State Police).
In the name of Hitler, Himmler formed the so-called Einsatzgruppen and built the extermination camps. As a supervisor of the concentration camps, Himmler led the massacre of some six million Jews, between 200,000 and 500,000 Roma, and also several million Soviet, Polish and / or Yugoslav civilians, among other nationalities; the total number of civilians killed by the Nazi regime ranges from eleven to fourteen million dead.
Towards the end of the Second World War, Hitler appointed Himmler as commander of the Army Group Alto Rín and, later, of the Vistula Army Group; Despite what Hitler expected, Himmler failed miserably in the direction of military operations and the Fuehrer had to replace him. Realizing that the war was lost, shortly before the end of the war he tried to start peace talks with the Western allies without Hitler’s knowledge. When Hitler found out, he dismissed him from all positions in April 1945 and ordered him arrested. Himmler tried to hide, but was arrested and then put under arrest by British forces once his identity was discovered. While in British custody, he committed suicide on May 23, 1945.
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