Gudrun Burwitz

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Gudrun Burwitz
Margaret and Gudrun Himmler.jpg
Gudrun Himmler (right) with her mother Margarete Himmler at the Nuremberg trials, 1945
BornGudrun Margarete Elfriede Emma Anna Himmler
(1929-08-08)8 August 1929
Munich, Bavaria, Weimar Republic
Died24 May 2018(2018-05-24) (aged 88)
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Other namesPüppi
Known forDaughter of Nazi Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler
Spouse(s)Wulf Dieter Burwitz
Children2
Parent(s)
Relatives

Gudrun Margarete Elfriede Emma Anna Burwitz (née Himmler, 8 August 1929 – 24 May 2018) was the daughter of Margarete Himmler and Heinrich Himmler. Her father, as Reichsführer-SS, was a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), and chief architect of the Final Solution.[1] After the Allied victory, she was arrested and made to testify at the Nuremberg trials. Never renouncing Nazi ideology, she consistently fought to defend her father’s reputation and became closely involved in Neo-Nazi groups that give support to ex-members of the SS. She married Wulf Dieter Burwitz, an official of the extremist NPD.

Relationship with her father[edit]

Gudrun with her parents

Born in Munich in 1929,[2] Gudrun Himmler was the daughter of Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer-SS, Chief of Police and Security forces, and Reich Minister of the Interior in Nazi Germany. She was the only child of Himmler and his wife Margarete Siegroth, née Boden,[3] though her parents later adopted a son. (Himmler also had two illegitimate children with his secretary, Hedwig Potthast.[4])

Heinrich Himmler adored his daughter and had her regularly flown to his offices in Berlin from Munich where she lived with her mother.[5] When she was at home, he telephoned her most days and wrote to her every week. He continued to call her by her childhood nickname "Püppi" throughout his life.[6] She accompanied her father on some official duties.[2]

She disputed that Heinrich Himmler, who died in British captivity on 23 May 1945, took his own life by breaking a concealed cyanide capsule, and instead maintained that he was murdered.[5] After the Second World War, she and her mother were arrested by the Americans and held in various camps in Italy, France and Germany. They were brought to Nuremberg to testify at the trials, and were released in November 1946.[7] Gudrun later bitterly referred to this time as the most difficult of her life, and said that she and her mother were treated as though they had to atone for the sins of her father.[5]

She never renounced the Nazi ideology and repeatedly sought to justify the actions of her father, relative to the context of his time. People who knew her say that Gudrun created a "golden image" of her father.[8]

Later life[edit]

She married the journalist and author Wulf Dieter Burwitz, who would become a party official in the Bavarian section of the far-right NPD,[3] and had two children. She was affiliated with Stille Hilfe ("Silent Aid"), an organization formed to aid former SS members, which assisted Klaus Barbie ("the Butcher of Lyon") of the Lyon Gestapo and Martin Sommer, otherwise known as the "Hangman of Buchenwald", and she reportedly continued to support a Protestant old people's home in Pullach, near Munich.[9]

From 1961 to 1963, she worked, under an assumed name, as a secretary for West Germany's intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), at its headquarters in Pullach. She worked at the BND from 1961 - 1963, when it was led by Reinhard Gehlen, an American recruited ex-Nazi who hired other ex-Nazis to work for BND per their connections and experience with Eastern Europe and anti-communist activities. Burwitz was dismissed from BND in 1963.[2] [10]

For decades Gudrun Burwitz was a prominent public figure in Stille Hilfe. At various meetings, for instance the annual Ulrichsberg gathering in Austria, she received the status of both a star and an authority. Oliver Schröm, author of a book about Stille Hilfe, described her as a "flamboyant Nazi princess" ("schillernde Nazi-Prinzessin").[11]

Peter Finkelgrun, a German-Jewish investigative journalist, discovered that Burwitz provided financial support for Anton Malloth, a former Nazi prison guard and a fugitive war criminal. In 2001, Malloth was convicted of beating at least 100 prisoners to death at the Theresienstadt concentration camp, including Finkelgrun's father in 1943.[8]

Gudrun Burwitz died on 24 May 2018 at her home near Munich at the age of 88.[12][2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Browning, Christopher R. (2004). The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939 – March 1942. Comprehensive History of the Holocaust. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 36–110. ISBN 0-8032-1327-1.
  2. ^ a b c d "Gudrun Burwitz, ever-loyal daughter of Nazi mastermind Heinrich Himmler, dies at 88". WashingtonPost. July 1, 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Kelerhoff, Sven Felix; Meyer, Simone; Schuster, Jacques; Schuster, Ulrich (2014-02-01). "Himmlers Nachwuchs". Welt Online (in German). Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  4. ^ Andersen 2007, p. 165.
  5. ^ a b c Helm, Siegfried (1998). "Himmlers Tochter hilft den alten Gefährten". Berliner Morgenpost (in German). Retrieved 5 October 2008.
  6. ^ Longerich 2012, p. 468.
  7. ^ Katrin Himmler, The Himmler Brothers, Pan Macmillan, 2012, p.275.
  8. ^ a b Sanai, Darius (1999). "The sins of my father". The Independent (London). Retrieved 5 October 2008.
  9. ^ Pike 2000, p. 380.
  10. ^ (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "Germany's BND spy agency employed Heinrich Himmler's daughter | DW | 29.06.2018". DW.COM. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  11. ^ Fabian Leber: Gudrun Burwitz und die „Stille Hilfe“: Die schillernde Nazi-Prinzessin; in: Der Tagesspiegel, 10 June 2001 (In German)
  12. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg,. "Tod von Gudrun Burwitz: Heinrich Himmlers Tochter, Nazi bis zuletzt - SPIEGEL ONLINE". M.spiegel.de. Retrieved 30 June 2018.

References[edit]

  • Andersen, Dan H. (2007). Nazimyter—blodreligion og dødskult i Det Tredje Rige (in Danish). Aschehoug. ISBN 978-87-11-11847-4.
  • Lebert, Norbert, and Stephan. Denn Du trägst meinen Namen: das schwere Erbe der prominenten Nazi-Kinder. Goldmann Verlag 2002, ISBN 3-442-15188-0 (in German)
  • Lebert, Norbert, and Stephan. My Father's Keeper: Children of Nazi Leadership: An Intimate History of Damage and Denial, translated by Julian Evans. New York: Little, Brown, 2001. ISBN 0-316-51929-4
  • Longerich, Peter (2012). Heinrich Himmler: A Life. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-959232-6.
  • Pike, David Wingeate (2000). Spaniards in the Holocaust: Mauthausen, the Horror on the Danube. London: Routledge.
  • Schröm, Oliver and Andrea Röpke. Stille Hilfe für braune Kameraden. Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-86153-231-X (in German)