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SD Commandant Heydrich A popular and quite vicious Nazi
in charge of "Final Solution" efforts.

Protector of Czechoslovakia
In September of 1941, the ever-ambitious Heydrich had achieved favored status with Hitler and was thus appointed Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia in former Czechoslovakia and set up headquarters in Prague. Soon after his arrival, he established a Jewish ghetto at Theresienstadt.
He also established a successful policy of offering incentives to Czech workers, rewarding them with food and privileges if they filled Nazi production quotas and displayed loyalty to the Reich. At the same time, Heydrich's Gestapo and SD agents conducted a brutal crackdown of the Czech resistance movement. SS Obergruppenführer Heydrich was by now a supremely arrogant young man who liked to travel between his country home and headquarters in Prague in an open top green Mercedes car without an armed escort as a show of confidence in his intimidation of the resistance and successful pacification of the population.

Attacked by Czechs
On May 27, 1942, as his car slowed to round a sharp turn in the roadway it came under attack from Free Czech agents who had been trained in England and brought to Czechoslovakia to assassinate him. They shot at Heydrich then threw a bomb which exploded, wounding him. He managed to get out of the car, draw his pistol and shoot back at the assassins before collapsing in the street.
Himmler rushed his own private doctors to Prague to help Heydrich, who held on for several days, but died on June 4 from blood poisoning brought on by fragments of auto upholstery, steel, and his own uniform that had lodged in his spleen. In Berlin, the Nazis staged a highly elaborate funeral with Hitler calling Heydrich "the man with the iron heart." Meanwhile the Gestapo and SS hunted down and murdered the Czech agents, resistance members, and anyone suspected of being involved in Heydrich's death, totaling over 1000 persons. In addition, 3000 Jews were deported from the ghetto at Theresienstadt for extermination. In Berlin 500 Jews were arrested, with 152 executed as a reprisal on the day of Heydrich's death.

Liquidation of Lidice
As a further reprisal for the killing of Heydrich, Hitler ordered the small Czech mining village of Lidice to be liquidated on the fake charge that it had aided the assassins.
In one of the most infamous single acts of World War Two, all 172 men and boys over age 16 in the village were shot on June 10, 1942, while the women were deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died. Ninety young children were sent to the concentration camp at Gneisenau, with some taken later to Nazi orphanages if they were German looking. The village of Lidice was then destroyed building by building with explosives, then completely leveled until not a trace remained, with grain being planted over the flattened soil. The name was then removed from all German maps.

For months after Heydrich's death, Heinrich Himmler hesitated on appointing a successor, finally settling on Ernst Kaltenbrunner, a trained lawyer (and alcoholic) who possessed little of his predecessor's skills for intrigue. Thus after Heydrich's death, Himmler's personal power vastly increased as he took over many of Heydrich's duties. The Final Solution plans begun by Heydrich were further developed under Himmler, Kaltenbrunner, and Eichmann, with the help of SS subordinates, Nazi bureaucrats, industrialists, scientists, and people from occupied countries. Until the end of war in 1945, Jews were transported from all over Europe to killing centers such as Auschwitz where they were exterminated, along with gypsies, homosexuals, priests, prisoners of war, and ultimately persons of every nationality, religious faith, and political persuasion.


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