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The Himmler Brothers Hardcover – Unabridged, 20 Jul 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; First Edition edition (20 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230529070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230529076
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

It took courage and imagination for Katrin to confront the assumptions and half-truths that had taken root in the family . . . You get a vivid sense of a particular kind of German conservatism and of how, weirdly, it found an outlet in the upstart, part-pagan thuggery of Nazisim . . . The Himmler Brothers raises more questions than it answers, but that doesn't lessen in the slightest my admiration of Katrin Himmler for having written it. --.

One can only admire the bravery of Katrin Himmler . . . In a way, Katrin Himmler's book is not a story about the past, but one about the present. The most interesting details are the ones she gives of her own quest. --.

Katrin Himmler's book is important: in its meticulous detail, we see the enduring truth of the phrase "the banality of evil". It shows how a family from a cultured Munich background could produce the greatest mass murderer in the history of the world and how its other members willingly followed him on a Faustian pact with evil. --Sunday Telegraph

Book Description

Heinrich Himmler's great-niece offers a unique account of one woman's attempt to deal with her chilling inheritance --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a most interesting piece of family history research into the background, upbringinging and subsequent fate, of the three Himmler brothers Gebhard, Heinrich and Ernst. It vividly portrays a picture of an industrious and clever middle class family with useful connections to the Bavarian royal family. The prevailing political views of the time and the profound effect of the First World War upon the family and their careers are carefully documented. This book gets away from the 'one-dimensional monster' descriptions of modern journalism and illustrates well the relationship with friends when the family is exalted and then in disgrace. This excellent translation is well written and faced paced throughout apart from a small section which illustrates the competition between the various Nazi agencies for control of the radio industry. I have no hestitation in commending this well balanced book to all those interested in the history of the Third Reich and the shaping of one of the main players.
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Format: Hardcover
Katrin Himmler is the granddaughter of Heinrich Himmler's younger brother Ernst. Growing up she was aware her great uncle was known as "the greatest murderer of the century". She studied German history but shied away from examining the history of her own family. Anyone familiar with Laurence Rees's "The Nazis : A Warning From History" will be aware of the way in which many who lived during the Nazi regime were relectant to talk about what they did. For them it was a time best forgotten, as was their role in what took place. In some cases they invented a fictional account of their personal history. According to family legend Ernst was a non political person who occupied the position of Chief Engineer of the Reich Broadcasting Company in Berlin. He left Hitler's bunker shortly after the Furher killed himself in a bid to reach the Allied lines. He stumbled, and bit into the cynanide capsule in his mouth and died immediately, leaving open the question of whether it was an accident or suicide.

When Katrin Himmler started her research she found that Ernst Himmler joined the Nazi Party in 1931, was a member of the SS from 1933 and "had been a convinced Nazi who, in return for a helping hand in his career from his brother Heinrich, the Reichfuhrer SS carried out dubious tasks for him." One such task was his written recommendation that the protection accorded to a Jewish engineer, Major Schmidt, be removed. Ernst did not need to make such a recommendation and, while it was obvious such action could lead to Schmidt's death, his comment, "irrespective of the way such cases will be dealt with later on" suggested support for the Nazis' programmes. The letter destroyed the cautious empathy which she had previously had for her unknown grandfather.
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Format: Hardcover
Katrin Himmler has had the unfortunate experience of having Adolf Hitler's second in command, Heinrich Himmler as her Great Uncle. Throughout her life, her family have down-played the role of her own grandfather, Himmler's brother Ernst, who she was told, "went along with things" and was a very minor Nazi. However, over the last few years she has conducted an in-depth investigation into her family history, and the result is this excellent book.

Katrin Himmler begins by describing the childhood and youth of the three Himmler brothers, and the home life they had with their parents. They were by any account a fine family, the parents strict, but involved in every aspect of their sons' lives, and the three boys being in turn respectful of their parents and working hard at the various activities around home and school. Their parents were proud, upper middle-class people who sought and found recognition from influential people in Munich society. The family were strong Catholics, and despite this, Katrin Himmler shows us the family's strong feelings of nationalism and ethnicity, and an unquestioning dislike for Slavs and Jews who were seen as "dirty" and primitive peoples. We read of family life in the Weimar Republic, with holidays and games, and a rich involvement with friends and relatives, but also increasing money and employment problems due to the rampant inflation which beleagured the nation during the 1920s.

Heinrich joins the emerging National Socialist movement and due to his great skills of organisation, rises up through the ranks until he achieves the terrifying position of Commander of the SS.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A superb book covering by necessity not just the Himmler brothers but the broader family. The Nazis are all-too-frequently portrayed as warped monsters, almost as if from some alien planet light years away, but this book highlights well how perfectly ordinary family people, often well educated, can be sucked into twisted ideology brought about by certain circumstances and ultimately become responsible for mass murder, racial and religious hatred and horrific levels of persecution whilst claiming that they believed what they were doing was right. In a nutshell, this book is one of those which shows all too well what human nature is potentially capable of. Above all, enormous credit must go to the author, a descendant of Heinrich Himmler, for retaining the family surname and delving deeply into her family history before making it available for the world to read. This and books like it should also serve as a warning to politicians and other bigots who to this day have not learned the lessons from history.
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