Video is embedded from Mark Felton’s Youtube channel – exceptional historian covering lots of WWII topics. Check out his work!
Heinrich Himmler, one of the most influential figures in Nazi Germany, played a pivotal role in implementing the Holocaust and establishing the SS. As the Allies closed in on Germany towards the end of World War II, Himmler attempted to negotiate a separate peace with the Western Allies, hoping to avoid capture by the Soviets. However, his overtures were rejected, and he found himself in the crosshairs of the advancing Allied forces.
On May 22, 1945, Himmler was apprehended by British soldiers near Bremervörde in northern Germany. Seeking to conceal his identity, he initially posed as a low-ranking SS soldier named Heinrich Hitzinger. However, the British authorities soon discovered his true identity through a dental examination.
Facing the prospect of being held accountable for war crimes and atrocities committed under his leadership, Himmler chose to take matters into his own hands. On May 23, 1945, while in British custody, he bit into a cyanide capsule concealed in his mouth and succumbed to its effects. His death was officially announced by the British, and his body was buried in an unmarked grave to prevent it from becoming a symbolic site for neo-Nazis.
The circumstances surrounding Himmler’s suicide remain a subject of historical debate and speculation. Some argue that he committed suicide to avoid the inevitable prosecution and execution that awaited him for his role in the Holocaust. Others suggest the possibility of a prearranged plan, possibly to prevent Himmler from revealing sensitive information during interrogations or to evade a public trial that could expose the inner workings of the Nazi regime.
In any case, Heinrich Himmler’s death marked the end of one of the darkest chapters in history, and his actions continue to be scrutinized as part of the broader understanding of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust and World War II.