Edmund Heines in 1927
|Birth name||Edmund Heines|
|Born||21 July 1897|
Munich, German Empire
|Died||30 June 1934 (aged 36)|
Munich, Nazi Germany
|Allegiance|| German Empire(1915–1918) |
Nazi Germany (1933–1934)
|Branch||Imperial German Army|
|Years of service||1915–1918|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Heines was one of the earliest members of the Nazi Party and a leading member of the SA in Munich, participating in the Beer Hall Putsch and becoming a notorious enforcer of the party. Heines served as the deputy of Ernst Röhm, the commander of the SA, while holding several high-ranking positions in the Nazi administration until he was executed during the Night of the Long Knives in June 1934.
Edmund Heines was born on 21 July 1897 in Munich, German Empire, the illegitimate child of Helene Martha Heines and Lieutenant Edmund von Parish, a native of Hamburg from a merchant family for whom she was a nanny. In 1903, Martha Heines gave birth to a second child, Oskar Heines, who is also believed to have been fathered by Parish. In 1915, Heines joined the Bavarian Army to fight in World War I after graduating from his Gymnasium, and fought on the Western Front as a field artillery operator. Heines suffered a serious head wound in late 1915, and was discharged as a lieutenant in 1918.
After the war, Heines became involved in the Freikorps movement. From 1919 to December, 1922, Heines served as leader of a unit in Freikorps Roßbach that fought in West Prussia and the Baltic States under Gerhard Roßbach. In March 1920, Heines participated in the Kapp Putsch, and relocated to the Mecklenburg-Pomerania area after the coup's failure like most participating Freikorps Roßbach members. In July 1920, Heines was involved in the murder of Willi Schmidt, a 20-year-old farm worker who allegedly wanted to reveal hidden arms caches of the Freikorps. Heines returned to Munich following Schmidt's murder, and in 1922 became Gruppenführer of the Munich Ortsgruppe, the local Freikorps Roßbach group. In December 1922, Heines became Member #78 of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), and transferred the Ortsgruppe to the Sturmabteilung (SA), the paramilitary wing of the party. Heines was appointed leader of the Second Battalion in the Munich SA Regiment and soon became one of the SA's leading members. In November 1923, Heines was one of two thousand Nazi that participated in the Beer Hall Putsch, being assigned to take the Hotel Vierjahreszeiten. Heines was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for his part in the failed coup d'etat, and held together with Adolf Hitler at Landsberg Prison. Heines was released prematurely in September 1924 when the SA and NSDAP were both banned, taking over the leadership of the Second Battalion of the Munich Frontbann Regiment until 1925 when he joined the re-legalized SA and NSDAP. From 1925 to August 1926, Heines was federal director of the Schilljugend, a right-wing youth organization founded by Gerhard Roßbach now affiliated with the SA and NSDAP. In 1926, Heines enrolled in Erlangen University and became a colonel of SA.
On 22 January 1928, Heines was arrested in Schongau for his involvement in Willi Schmidt's murder in 1920, which was exposed during a blackmail attempt. Heines was transferred to Stettin as the main defendant in the trial for Schmidt's murder. The prosecution demanded the death penalty for Schmidt's murder, but the judgement of the Stettin court was 15 years in prison for manslaughter, later lowered to 5 years. On 15 June 1928, the NSDAP deputy Wilhelm Frick referred to Heines's conviction in a Reichstag speech as "Outflow of infernal Jewish hatred of the front spirit, against the spirit of national resistance." On May 14, 1929 Heines was released from custody by a decision of the Stettin court for a "bail" of 5000 Reichsmarks. In 1929, Heines was also convicted of the murder of communist Conrad Pietrzuch, who had been beaten to death by an SA gang led by Heines. The trial had to be reopened due to a technical error, and Heines soon received an amnesty because of his supposedly "patriotic" motive.
Heines held numerous prominent political positions in concurrence with his SA positions. In 1929, Heines was appointed to temporarily serve as the head of a Nazi district in the Upper Palatinate region. In 1930, Heines became a member of the Reichstag for the district of Liegnitz. In 1933, Heines was on the Prussian privy council, and in May of the same year he became head of police in Breslau.
Deputy commander of the SA
From 1931 to 1934, Heines served as an SA leader in Silesia while simultaneously working as deputy to Ernst Röhm, the commander of the SA and a close friend of Hitler. Heines had developed a reputation for brutality as an enforcer of the SA, known for personally killing political opponents of the NSDAP despite his high-ranking status. In his diaries, Joseph Goebbels described Heines as "an unbalanced person, full of storm and urge, a child's head", attributing his violent nature to his background. Contemporary sources often pointed out Heines as being unusually tall and powerfully built but with contradictory youthful, boyish face.
In early 1933, the establishment of Nazi Germany led to Hitler, now with access to the state apparatus, no longer requiring or desiring the street fighting antics of SA, and sought to marginalize the organization. Röhm was de facto one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany as commander of the SA, and considered by Hitler to be one of few people who posed a threat to his leadership. Hitler already had a personal aversion to Heines, but as Röhm's loyal deputy commander was perceived as a threat by extension.
On 30 June 1934, Heines and many other SA leaders were executed shortly after their arrest during the Night of the Long Knives. Hitler identified Heines as one of the principal members of a "small group of elements which were held together through a like disposition" in his Reichstag speech of 13 July 1934.
Heines's younger brother, Oskar, was an Obersturmbannführer of the SA, and on the morning of 1 July 1934, he heard a radio report concerning the execution of his brother. Soon after, Oskar Heines and SA-Obersturmbannführer Werner Engels, reported to the Polizeipräsidium in Breslau, where they were immediately placed under arrest by SS men. From there, they were driven that night to a forested area near Deutsch-Lissa (now Wrocław-Leśnica, Poland). At dawn on 2 July 1934, the two were shot on orders of SS-Obergruppenführer Udo von Woyrsch.
Heines was an open homosexual, as were Röhm and several other leading members of the SA. On 12 May 1932, Heines had been arrested for assaulting Helmuth Klotz, a publicist and former NSDAP member who had defected to the Social Democratic Party, for which Heines was suspended from the Reichstag. Heines had attacked Klotz for publishing 1,932 homosexual-themed letters written by Ernst Röhm in March. The Social Democratic Party's newspaper, the Münchener Post, publicized Heines as belonging to Röhm's homosexual circle of friends. Hitler had tolerated the prevalence of open homosexuals in the SA leadership despite ideological opposition to homosexuality and the public embarrassment to the party. However, Heines' homosexuality later proved to be convenient for Hitler during the upcoming purge of SA leaders, as it could tie him and others to the "Röhm Putsch", a fictional coup d'etat plot of the SA.
Hitler's chauffeur Erich Kempka claimed in a 1946 interview that Edmund Heines was caught in bed with an unidentified 18-year-old male when he was arrested during the Night of the Long Knives, although Kempka did not actually witness it. The boy was later identified as Heines' young driver Erich Schiewek. According to Kempka, Heines refused to cooperate and get dressed. When the SS detectives reported this to Hitler, he went to Heines' room and ordered him to get dressed within five minutes or risk being shot. After five minutes had passed by, Heines still had not complied with the order. As a result, Hitler became so furious that he ordered some SS men to take Heines and the boy outside to be executed.
Awards and decorations
- 1914 Iron Cross 2nd Class, 11.03.1916
- 1914 Iron Cross 1st Class, 1916
- Military Merit Order (Bavaria) 3rd Class with Crown and Swords, 11.05.1917
- Military Merit Order (Bavaria) 4th Class with Swords, 05.07.1918
- 1918 Wound Badge, 1918
- Tiwaz (rune), c.1932
- Honour Chevron for the Old Guard, February 1934
- Lothar Machtan (2001). The Hidden Hitler, translated by John Brownjohn, Oxford: The Perseus Press, p. 111.
- Davidson, Eugene, The Making of Adolf Hitler: The Birth and Rise of Nazism, University of Missouri Press, 1997, p.333-4.
- Machtan, Lothar (2002). The Hidden Hitler. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-04309-7
- "Night of the Long Knives : Nazi Germany".
- Miller 2015, p. 528.
- Miller, Michael (2015). Leaders Of The Storm Troops Volume 1. England: Helion & Company. ISBN 978-1-909982-87-1.
- Miller, Michael D. and Schulz, Andreas (2012). Gauleiter: The Regional Leaders of the Nazi Party and Their Deputies, 1925-1945 (Herbert Albreacht-H. Wilhelm Huttmann)-Volume 1, R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 978-1932970210