Heydrich, Reinhard

Heydrich, Reinhard rīnˈhärt hīˈdrĭkh [key], 1904–42, German police official under the Nazi regime. Forced to resign (1931) from the navy for misconduct, Heydrich joined the SS (see National Socialism). He soon won Heinrich Himmler's confidence and in 1934 was appointed deputy chief of the Gestapo (see secret police). He was deeply involved in planning the extermination of the Jews. In 1941, Heydrich was appointed protector of Bohemia and Moravia. His ruthless methods there and elsewhere and his numerous executions earned him the name “the Hangman of Europe.” In May, 1942, he was assassinated by Czech patriots. Several days later the entire male population of the village of Lidice was murdered in retaliation.

See biography by R. Gerwarth (2011).

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