Heinrich Himmler: Family



Figure 1.--Here the adoring father is pictured with his daughter Gudrun at a sportsfestival in 1938. One of the most perplexing questions about the perpetrators of NAZI attroicities is the tenderness they often showed for their own children. Click on the image for a discussion.

Himmler met Margarete Boden for the first time in Bad Reichenhall (1926). They married July 3, 1928. He returned to poultry farming to support his new family, but failed. The increasing success of the NAZIs brought him back to the movement. The Himmlers had one child--a daughter Gudrun (Burwitz) (1929- ). We do not know how much his wife knew about his work and to what degree he confided in her. She seems to have viewed him essentially as a policeman. We do know that Himmler adored Gudrun and the two were very close. He called her Püppi (Dolly). Margarete adopted a son, but her husband showed no particular interestin him. The Himmler's separated (1940). They did not, however, obtain a divorce. Hitler would not approved of a divorce. The reasons for the separation are unclear, but are probably related to his frierndship with a secretary--Hedwig Potthast. She left her job and became his mistress (1941). Himmler had two children with her. There was a son, Helge (1942- ) and a daughter, Nanette Dorothea (1944- ). We are not sure if Hitler was aware of the family problems. He was very prudish about just matters and actually intervened when Propaganda Mimnister Goebels nearly split with his wife. Press reports have suggested that Gudrun as an adult after the War became involved with Neo-NAZI groups. She is very reclusive and avoids the press. It is known that she playa an important role in Stille Hilfe (Silent Help), a charity which aids Germans charged with war crimes. This has included men like Klaus Barbie -- "the Butcher of Lyons" and Erich Priebke who killed Italian civilians. [Hall]

Sources

Hall, Allan. "How Himmler's daughter helps Nazi death-camp guard beat justice," Scottsman.com (November 2, 2007).






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Created: 10:06 AM 4/28/2010
Last edited: 3:20 PM 3/15/2012