Image added by this
Wednesday May 5, 1999
'I tell her that
her husband has committed suicide'
Stringer met Margherita Himmler at the
end of the war. This is an extract of the
recently unearthed interview
VISITED Margherita Himmler, wife of the most hated
man in the world, after Hitler, naturally. She has
been interned by the allied authorities and now
lives in a luxurious villa in the suburbs of Rome.
With her is her 15-year-old daughter,
An expression of stiff coldness emanates from
all her being. Not a movement of her face, no
lowering of her eyes or eyebrows, no gesture of the
hands marked, during all of the interview, the
manifestations of any particular emotion or
revealed any repentance.
She sits in an armchair with her legs crossed,
her hands nobly extended, her head erect and her
cold, light-blue eyes immovably fixed on me. Up to
this moment she has not known the fate of her
husband. As she suffers from heart trouble, the
allied authorities have up to now not told her that
the sanguinary chief of the Gestapo, captured by
the troops of the Fifth Army, went
to his death by crushing between his teeth a
capsule of poison.
I tell her the news. She receives my words with
the same indifference as if I had announced the
death of the household cat. Then, interrupting what
I was saying, she begins to talk about the last
conversation she had with her husband.
'I was near Munich and he was in Berlin. He
called me by telephone. It was during last summer.'
I try to lead the conversation back to the subject
I had been questioning her on, and ask her if she
knows the manner by which Himmler died and if she
has been informed that he has been buried in a
But Frau Margherita is not moved: no surprise,
apparently no interest. I have the impression of
being before the most inhuman phenomenon of
indifference and coldness which I have ever
encountered. I then ask her if she knew the
activities of her husband in his capacity of chief
of the secret police. She answers 'certainly'.
'And do you know the opinion which the world
holds of him?' 'I also know this,' she answers.
'But I also know that before the war my husband was
held by many in the highest consideration.' 'And
after the war? Don't you think that he became the
man most deeply hated by humanity?' She shrugs her
shoulders a little and says: 'Perhaps, it is the
destiny of all policemen to have heaped on them the
hate of man, and my husband was a policeman.'
And in pronouncing these last words there seemed
to come to the surface from the coldness of her
voice a strange sense of pride. I ask her if she
knows that the Allies had given Himmler the first
place on the list of war criminals, and she answers
me drily: 'My husband? How could that be when the
Führer was Hitler?'
comment: The above appears to be a translation
of an interview published in the Rome newspaper
Il Giornale del Mattino, Jul 4, 1945; the
interview was conducted in Cine Città by
UP writer Ann Stringer (PRO file WO.208/12603).
See too in the same file CSDIC/200/MU/15/X-22,
the brief interrogation of Frau Himmler and her
daughter, May 24, 1945.