SS1: The Unlikely Death of Heinrich Himmler Hardcover – 12 Feb 2001
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Hugh Thomas paints a vivid picture of the Nuremberg trial of the leading Nazis. The court's heating system had not been repaired by the time it started its sessions, in the winter of 1945-1946. As a consequence, learned lawyers traipsed the aisles in ski boots, and one of the British counsel for the prosecution, Anthony Marecco, wore mittens as well as two pairs of tights. It is this kind of detail that brings history to life. However, most of this book about that most monstrous of the Nazis, Heinrich Himmler, is inevitably short of amusing details. It is a grim read but a fascinating one. The key question that Hugh Thomas asks from the outset, is how could an inveterate plotter and schemer, an evil intelligence, an organisational genius like Himmler, allow himself to be captured so easily by the Allies at the end of the war? Was it really Himmler who was captured? Was it really him who took the poison capsule to evade questioning, and was later buried in mysterious secrecy on the Luneberg Heath? Among the first doubters of the official account of Himmler's death and interment was one Kim Philby--it makes for a dark and compelling read. Thomas' previous works include Hess; A Tale of Two Murders, which led to a six-month enquiry by Scotland Yard and the immediate suppression of its concluding report. This new book is likely to stir up a similar hornet's nest. It would be unfair to give away Thomas' conclusion, but given the facts, one is left wondering uncomfortably about the truth of the affair. Why all the secrecy? There is "a hundred-year ban on material relating to Himmler's death, an absence of post-mortem evidence, a paltry identification procedure, unacceptable photographic evidence, and inconsistent and occasionally false accounts of his death." It all adds up to a mystery as dark as anything in the dark annals of the Nazi years. --Christopher Hart
From the Back Cover
On 22nd May 1945, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, the Allies celebrated the capture of the most important member of the Nazi hierarchy, Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler. The SS leader was arrested and interrogated but committed suicide in Allied custody by taking poison from a capsule concealed in his mouth. Then he was buried at a secret site on Lunberg Heath. But Himmler did not rest in peace, If Himmler it was who was buried there.
Months later the British disinterred, re-examined and cremated his body. Yet in 1946 MI6's most talented, if treacherous, agent, Kim Philby, was still not convinced that the story of Himmler's death made any sense at all. Philby realised that a man of Himmler's organisational genius, a plotter of great intricacy and sophistication who recognised Germany's inevitable defeat as early as 1943, was unlikely to have just blundered into the arms of the Allies. What had happened.
Hugh Thomas set out to answer Philby's question and has uncovered a maze of corruption, high finance, political gambles and international intrigue. SS1 unearths not just Himmler's grave, but reveals secrets that have long remained buried and shawowy figures who would rather they had stayed that way.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
But the ease with which the author cut a swathe through secret archives, does raise huge questions about the training and effectiveness of historians in the last half-century, and their ready acceptance of official versions.
Moreover this book raises the unpleasant issue of an uniquely British offer of immunity from prosecution to the actual architect of the holocaust. This demands an overdue explanation from the Government.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ok himmler did,nt kill himself some doppleganger took his place.however this book does,nt make the case. Read morePublished on 22 Oct. 2012 by m. dosa
One starts this book with disbelief and sceptisism, but when it comes, the effect of the final evidence is totally numbing. Read morePublished on 7 Mar. 2001
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