Heinrich Himmler was a man who truly believed in what he was doing, but appeared to have no idea that what he was doing was evil! Himmler was a leading member of the Nazi Party and more importantly Reichsfuhrer-SS making him one of the most powerful men in Germany. From 1943 Hitler appointed him Chief of German Police and Minister of the Interior, which meant he was responsible for overseeing the Secret State Police – The Gestapo. He was also directly responsible for the mass killing of what the Nazis termed as ‘undesirables’ including Gypsies, Socialists, Communists, Jews, the Disabled and Homosexuals in what became known as the Holocaust.
Vanessa Lapa’s German/Austrian/Israeli documentary The Decent One (2014), which she directed, wrote and produced, is based on a cache of letters, memo’s and diary’s that US soldiers had seized at the end of WW2 from Himmler’s home. Against orders these papers were never handed over to the authorities eventually in 2006 finding their way into the hands of Lapa’s parents. Some of the documents were controversially published in the German newspaper Die Welt to coincide with the films premier at the Berlin International Film Festival.
In case you were wondering why the documentary was called The Decent One it was a reference to Himmler’s belief that the SS was composed of decent men and that the moral qualms that the SS officers felt about their duties proved that they were more moral than their victims and according to their leader will be remembered for their decency.
The documentary examines Heinrich Himmler's life through readings of diary entries, letters, and memos using actors voices along side some jolly interesting archive film that lean’s heavily on Himmler’s family and his private life including wife Margarete, daughter and mistress Hedwig. Its both haunting and disturbing giving an incite into the mind of what in Himmler’s opinion was an ordinary loyal German family. He committed suicide on 23 May 1945 by ingesting cyanide whilst in British custody.