Reinhard Heydrich: Childhood (Germany, United States, 1863-1951)

Figure 1.--These are the children of Richard Bruno Heydrich: Heinz Heydrich (seated), Reinhard Heydrich (centre), and Maria Heydrich. Notice Reinhard's Little Lord Fauntkleroy suit. It is difficult to believe that this intlligent, talented boy would become one of the most vil men of the 20th century.

Reinhard Tristan Heydrich was born in Halle an der Salle, a town in central Germany (1904). Coming from a musical family, Reynard was giving musical names. Reyhard was an opera hero, Tristan from a Wagner opera, and Jugen the fouder of a consevatory. The family had social standing. Reinhard had a privlidged middle-class boyhood. [Gerwarth] How this boy went from his privlidgd boyhood to become once of the most evulindividuals of the 20th century is an important question. We notice hiim with his two siblings at about 6 years of age wearing a Little Lord Fauntlroy suit (figure 1). Indeed, the young Reinhard showed some promise with the violin. He was rather frail as a boy and teased by boys at school. His high-pitched voice was another factor. Despite the fact that he was blond, some children taunted him for being Jewish. It is not clear why this began. Perhaps it was his father's dark hair and willingness to teach many Jewish students in the conservatory. Reinhard's reaction was to become a loner, he withdraw from personal relationships and became very competitive in both academics and athletics. The experience alos seems to have itensified his anti-Semitism. Here it might seem strange to the modern reader that Heydrich would hate the Jews when his tormentors were non-Jewish boys. But the workings of hate are not logical. (Goering had a similar experience as a boy.) Rumors of Jewish ancenstry continued even during his SS careeer. His father, as was the case of many committed NAZIs, was an ardent German nationalist. He suceeded in instilling patriotic ideas in his three children. The father was, however, largely apolitical until after World war I. Their father ran a very strict household. As youths, their father had Reinhard and his younger brother, Heinz, engage in mock fencing duels.


Gerwarth, Robert. Hitler's Hngman: The Life of Heydruch (2012), 336p.


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Created: 12:19 PM 10/28/2012
Last edited: 8:37 AM 12/7/2012