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      From the papers of Jean Vaughan, American authoress       

          [Translated by Maria K Shnell. No German text available]   

Lina Heydrich to Jean Vaughan, December 12, 1951

TODAY I am going to tell you something about the character of my husband.

The most characteristic trait was that he was a man of few words. He never talked about something or discussed something [just] for the love of talk. Every word had to have a concrete meaning, or purpose, had to hit the point. Therefore he never said even one word more than necessary.

He did not read much. Never did he read novels or philosophical books, eventually he read themes on scientific topics.

He never wasted a minute of his time. Every minute had to have is aim and purpose. Therefore he simply hated to go for a walk. Gymnastic exercise was not meant for a past-time or leisure, but for discipline, a training to reach the highest possible record in it. Therefore he always chose such sports to which he did not take naturally, but which required a hard training, self discipline. For instance, he was not at all gifted for fencing, but the end of its hard and enduring training was that he became German champion.

The only exception in this respect was perhaps hunting. But even that was not only and simply pleasure and past-time. He knew he had to get away from his office, his work, once [in] a while, that he had to relax; and going hunting meant recreation and activity at the same time.

In the morning, while being shaved, he worked at the new reports that had come in during the night (we call that "Akten," I don't know whether the correct English expression wants perhaps be "file"). After breakfast during the 30 minutes ride to the office this reading was continued. He never let his staff had even a minute's rest, it was very hard and strenuous for them.

During lunch … conferences. Lunch was taken in a small dining room in the office. Very often people who had to report on something were ordered to take part in this luncheons. But woe betide him who tried to begin a "speech." His own way of expression was the condensed and abbreviated style of telegrams (wires) and in this language he expected the reports, bare of every unnecessary word. If some one did not know that, he was sure to be interrupted after a few minutes by the words, "der langen Rede kurzer Sinn ist --" i.e., "that's what you wanted to say, was it not?" (I think the first words of this has been translated into 'the final analysis is..') [i.e., cutting to the bottom line].

My husband never had time. He had lost the human measure. He always hurried his subordinates. He did not know any private or family life, and he did not estimate that of his fellow-workers. His life was the conditionless [unconditional] devotion to his task and that was what he expected from everyone. Once a newly engaged assistant asked quite harmless[ly] what his wages would be. "Wages," my husband asked him. "You ought to ask what your work is going to be. Until now nobody is starved in my ressort."

Money did not mean a thing to my husband. He only knew that you could not live without it. Some one in the office was in charge of his money. He had to meet al the expenses and he talked with me about them eventually. My husband said, "An old stocking is of more value than 10 Reichsmarks, for I cannot put on and wear a stocking, ten marks don't keep me warm." At the time when I heard him say that I laughed, but now I understand him quite well.

My husband was vain. He hated nothing more than to be dressed inadequately. That did not apply to his wife. She might have worn the most impossible dresses, he thought them all right.

He also was ambitious, ambition meant work and efficiency, it meant "don't seem to be more than you are." [Website comment: Mehr Sein als Scheinen: Generalstabsdoktrin]. The fact that he spoke so little made him seem a ruffian [philistine, boorish?], but his refined and exquisite manners charmed every one.

Heydrich, HimmlerHe could deliver speeches or orations, but he could take part in discussions and then his logic was forceful. Once when he explained to Himmler the nonsense of one of H.'s speeches, H. said to him: "You, with your damned logic!"

His memory was astounding. He never needed a telephone directory. He knew by heart all the numbers he needed, he never forgot a single report that he had read. In this respect the most surprising stories are told about him.

Neither in his youth nor later on had he any personal friends. He also tried to avoid every social contact with neighbors or fellow workers. That was very hard on me. When I once asked him for the reason, he answered, "How can I be friends with any one, as I never can tell whether there might not perhaps arise the possibility of having him arrested one day!"

He distrusted every one and he was hardly ever mistaken in his judgment of persons. How often did he not say to me, "I don't know, there is something about this person that I don't like, if I would only know what's wrong with him." So my husband who seemed to be guided only by his logic and intelligence was in the end led by intuition. There was an immense danger in his development, that of human isolation.

He was easily irritated and got excited about the smallest matters such as wrongly filed reports, incorrectness in the behavior of adjutants, belated beginnings of public assemblies, and so on. But difficult problems in his work he solved without any signs of excitement. He was the man who passed the most dangerous cliff without difficulty, but whom a straw caused to stumble.

He required absolute obedience as he himself obeyed without questioning. Order was order, and a soldier had to have no personal meaning [Meinung, opinion] as to an order.

His way of living (standard of life?) was modest. He did not like pomp, nor to be the centre of a society. He loved good food, but he did not like splendid dinners. Receptions, state funerals, public affairs of every kind he just hated, and he tried to get away from them wherever he could. He smoked little and hardly ever took alcohol. When he did go out, he preferred to go incognito. His daily life was scheduled to the minute. He kept absolute silence as to office matters.

He never gave in before he had reached the aim he wanted to reach. If he did once mistrust a person, it was exceedingly difficult to convince him or to prove to him that this person did not earn [deserve] this judgment.

He was not at all conciliate [sic. conciliatory?] nor did he flatter. Therefore he thought it convenient to have a superior like Himmler, who took over all that he himself did not like. He saw quite well that H[immler] cut a rather poor figure in social affairs, but as long as he himself did not need appear in public he did not mind.

As to all the funny ideas of Himmler, his tendency to mysticism, his pride [pretensions? Airs?] of being a soldier, my husband just had a well-meaning smile for them. But when there were differences of opinion concerning official matters my husband stood his ground unshakably.

Orders from Hitler were obeyed absolutely. My husband saw in him the one great man. I sometimes ask myself what his thoughts would have been if he had seen the bitter end. He thought him to be the one and only being who could lead the German nation to greatness and glory. Therefore it is good that my husband died in 1942. He has kept his faith and ideal.

I wrote you these items today because they just came to my mind. I am not always able to write, there are too hard and woeful memories connected with this.


Gez. [signed] L H


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