Although it is admittedly off-topic in relation to this thread's actual subject matter, do allow me to get back on this, as the book came out soon after my above post and I have just finished reading it.
The bulk of the work (supplemented by an introduction, epilogue and a few appendices and illustrated with 28 period photographs and 7 facsimile documents) is made up of annotated private correspondence between Heinrich Himmler and his wife Marga covering the period from 1927 to 1945. The sheer volume of their letters and their often highly repetitive nature necessitated it to present only a carefully-chosen selection of these documents, especially when it comes to their relationship's early years. The late pre-1933 period and the years from 1933 to 1945 are covered more comprehensively.
These letters give the reader a good idea of Himmler's private life as well as of his work life/political actvities - especially for the pre-1933 period - and provide an interesting glimpse into his and his wife's heads. Most of what we find there is not particularly shocking per se; if anything, it is disturbing just how superficial, sentimental and sometimes downright immature these writings are: Yes; Himmler was indeed every bit the narrow-minded, square dullard that we have known him to be all along.
(It is often almost comical, though, just how much his self-perception diverged from that and how this ever-sickly, bespectacled, little man kept referring to himself as a "rauher Landsknecht" [i.e. a rough medieval mercenary].)
Still, countless times, the couple's utter lack of empathy, the inhumanity of Nazi ideology and a generally twisted world view clearly shine through; both explicitly and between the lines.
In any case, the book makes for a very good companion volume both to Ms. Himmler's aforementioned earlier book and to Longerich's recent Himmler biography.
Let me end with a quote of Marga Himmlers priceless and (of course) unintentionally comical 1927 observation: "Gott, sieht der Dr. Goebbels 'jüdisch' aus, schon die herübergekämmten Haare [...]" ["God, how 'Jewish' that Dr. Goebbels looks; the combover alone [...]"!
02-17-2014 04:39 PM
Thank you, Andreas. A very fine review with great insight. This is yet another book I have to buy when I make it finally to Germany this year.
Closed minded dullards are hardly rare.
Interesting observations, HPL.
These letters back and forth between spouses often offer interesting insights in regards to the intelligence, how mature the letter writes are etc etc.
Valuable historic documents IMO.
Another couple whose letter communication, which surfaced in recent times, offers an interesting insight into the mind of especially a rather insipid X-king, are the letters between Wallis Simpson and the dullard who gave up the throne.
Its really quite shocking to read, that WS was reluctant to marry him and even more disturbing to read the infantile writings of Edward and how much he depended on WS.
The most damning evidence are Edwards vitriolic attacks on the British establisment/Government before and not least during the war.
There was a reason for him to be shoved out of the way and getting an isolated posting.
His statements border on if they are not outright treason.
After the war the letters also reveal, that WS longed for the husband she divorced and felt, that she was stuck with Edward and they lived the remainder of their lives in a dull empty routine.
HH dreamt wet dreams of war and had Wagner-like visions of himself as a great military leader ever since WWI.
We saw how much of a 'rauher Landsknecht' he was as the failed head of 'Heeresgruppe Weichsel'/Army Group Vistula.
Then off to Hohenlychen with stomach cramps - pathetic.