Historians have discovered the journals of one of World War Two’s leading Nazis, the architect of the Holocaust, Henrich Himmler.
The revealing diary entries paint a haunting picture of the man who directed the assembly line-style slaughter of millions of innocent people, displaying a haunting divide between his personal life and his gruesome work.
In one entry, Himmler, who was notoriously squeamish around blood, balked at having his coat covered in brains and complained of nearly fainting when he witnessed a mass shooting of Jewish people, the Daily Mail reports.
Perhaps what’s most disturbing about the diary is the way he could partition his ‘work’ from his day to day life, even treating himself to massages before taking part in the wholesale slaughter of innocent men, women and children.
The diary and letters, which were serialised by Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, also reveals that Himmler – who many would consider to be one of history’s greatest monsters – had a compassionate side and the diary is full of references to Puppi – his nickname for his daughter Gudrun who he adored.
Yet throughout there are constant dispassionate references to his cruel work, including an entry on the viciousness of guard dogs at Auschwitz who he claimed were ‘capable of ripping apart everyone but their handlers’.
In another entry, he comments on the ‘effectiveness’ of the diesel engines used to murder 400 innocents at the Sobibor death camp for an exhibition.
Previous diaries have revealed that Himmler kept his work secret from both his wife and mistress in case it ‘upset them’.
The diaries, which cover the years 1938, 1943 and 1944, vanished at the end of the Second World War when they fell into the hands of the Russian Red Army as they liberated Berlin.
The 1,000 page document was discovered in the Russian Military Archive in Podolsk filed under ‘Dnewnik’ – Russian for ‘diary’ – and has been described as having ‘outstanding historical significance’.
At the end of the war, Himmler, realising that the tide of the war had turned, fled Berlin and attempted to broker peace with the allies. He failed and was branded a traitor by Hitler.
He attempted to go into hiding but was captured by British troops and killed himself using a cyanide pill embedded in his tooth rather than face justice for his crimes.
He was buried in an unmarked, unknown grave.