Heinrich Himmler’s Suicide Photo

Story from The Telegraph, February 19, 2011:

[read first hand accounts from a wide variety of participants, ranging from generals and statesmen to ordinary civilians and soldiers, that shed new light on the greatest conflict of the twentieth century — WWII:  The World in  Flames: A World War II Sourcebook published by Oxford University Press, 2010, and available in paperback]

A photograph taken of Heinrich Himmler minutes after he committed suicide will be sold at auction next month.

Heinrich Himmler

The previously unseen picture shows Heinrich Himmler lying dead after biting a cyanide pill, still wearing his trademark round glasses Photo: SWNS
9:01PM GMT 16 Feb 2011

The previously unseen picture, captured by Lance Corporal Guy Adderley of British Intelligence in May 1945, shows the Nazi second-in-command lying dead after biting a cyanide pill, still wearing his trademark round glasses.

Himmler, who had been arrested by Army officers, was due to be interrogated over his war crimes the following day.

After his death, propaganda photographs of his corpse slumped on a makeshift bed were released. But Adderley kept this grainy photograph among his wartime mementoes.

Adderley’s family will sell the photograph at the auctioneer Dreweatt’s sale of militaria in Bristol on March 29, with a pre-sale estimate of £2,000-£3,000.

Malcolm Claridge, the auctioneer and militaria expert, said: “This is a very important and historic collection. Himmler was Hitler’s Reichsführer, the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany.

“He oversaw the Gestapo and the concentration camps and is regarded as the architect of the Holocaust.

“Adderley’s collection takes us right to the heart of Himmler’s arrest and into the very room in the British safe house in Lüneburg where he bit into the cyanide capsule he had concealed in his mouth.

“Guy Adderley was one of the team that arrested Himmler, and there are also two photographs showing British and Russian officers in the safe house with Adderley in the background.”

Conspiracy theories surrounded Himmler’s death after Army personnel were ordered to sign the Official Secrets Act, keeping the details under wraps for 100 years.

The mystery has been compounded by the fact that four British soldiers took Himmler’s body from the safe house and buried it in an unmarked grave on Lüneburg Heath. It has never been found.

 

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