There are many names we now associate with evil due to the horrors their bearers committed during the Second World War. While their names inspire an almost instinctive revulsion, many don't know what roles they actually played in the hierarchy of the Third Reich, or how they ultimately met their fate, the end of the Holocaust.
Himmler was one of the most notorious men of the modern era. He was Hitler's right hand and is one of the individuals most directly responsible for the implementation of the Final Solution and the establishment of extermination camps as well as the head of the feared Gestapo.
As the war drew to a close, his former subordinates and colleagues shunned him, hoping to avoid being associated with the horrors that Himmler instigated. He fled to southern Germany and assumed a new name: Heinrich Hitzinger. Eventually he was detained at a routine civilian checkpoint and under interrogation admitted to who he was. During a medical examination he bit a cyanide capsule and died in seconds. He was buried in an unmarked grave whose location remains unknown to this day.
Hermann Goering founded the Gestapo and was the commander-in-chief of the feared Luftwaffe, Germany's air force. He was eventually named Adolf Hitler's successor to the Third Reich. He and his henchmen were largely responsible for the theft of countless riches “confiscated” from wealthy jewish families and other enemies of the Reich. When he attempted to seize control of the Reich when informed of Hitler's intent to self-terminate he was arrested at Hitler's order.
Goering was eventually tried and convicted of war crimes and sentences to death by hanging. However, like many Nazi leaders, he chose suicide over facing justice. He killed himself by ingesting a cyanide capsule while in prison.
Infamously referred to as the Butcher of Lyon, Nikolaus, or Klaus, Barbie gained a reputation for incredibly brutality and sadism. He personally participated in the torture of men, women and children detained by the Gestapo.
Unlike his superiors, Klaus Barbie did not commit suicide. He actually survived the war was recruited by British intelligence to act as anti-communist agents in continental Europe. When it was discovered that he was alive and in Allied hands the French requested he be turned over, but the British and Americans colluded to have him shipped to South America where he participated in various revolutionary activities. Eventually he was cast out by a government he had helped to establish and was extradited to France where he died in prison.
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