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Himmler’s Secret Speech to High Officials of the Reich Security Main Office [Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA] (January 30, 1943)

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Another thing that was so incomparable in Heydrich – and he trained you in this spirit – was that he always stood, that he never yielded, and that he had an indomitable will and indomitable aggressiveness. We stepped up, and we shall – I know that is no different with you new leaders – step up again and again, spiritually and in actual fighting, just like our divisions on the front line. We shall attack. And if we have attacked ten times, we'll attack for the eleventh time. If we have attacked seventy times, we will also attack for the seventy-first time. I am not just picking a random number, but I am taking a case that happened with one of our divisions, which, over the course of one year, launched seventy-two attacks led by its commander. And if it is necessary to attack a seventy-third time, it will be done. As long as one man can bend his finger on the trigger, the trigger will be pulled and there will be fighting. If one fights and attacks in this way, one is unconquerable. The same is true for all of us SS men spiritually. An immense number of problems will appear. Problems are appearing today. I know the problems of the economy, the problems of plutocracy. I know the problem that our Volk, raised the wrong way in some things, does not have the right attitude toward work, that in some areas we spoke too much of rights and too little of duties, that we must address the whole question of religion, that the negative is not enough, that we must beware of introducing any kind of new priestly service [Pfaffendienst] after the war. I know that the question of whether we are a dying or a growing people has in no way been resolved, that child subsidies, tax relief, houses, etc., have never helped in this area, that only a religious attitude toward these things, an inner transformation, can help. Rest assured, should we live to be 70 or 80 years old, if fate lets us live that long, we must step up again and again in every year of our lives.

Here, the security service, the chief political office of the SS, must march at the front, but without ever doing anything rashly, without ever engaging in politics itself. Instead, it must always only work politically as it is commanded. Within itself, it must educate the men that Heydrich began to educate, that Kaltenbrunner will continue to educate, men who are ready on the ideological level, who never deviate from the line, but who are never stubborn and inflexible in implementation, who are stubborn in will, stubborn in their goals, but who never give up a single component of our Weltanschauung. Therefore, we will never become Jesuits; because we condemn that. We will never become sectarians. We will be generous, as generous as an old pagan can be. We believe in a God and will be as generous as only the person who believes in a God can be. This is how you were raised by Heydrich and me over the course of twelve years.

It has now been almost three-quarters of a year since Heydrich was torn from his work at a young age. He was a man of the future. You cannot do anything about fate, it is what it is. In the months up to now, I myself assumed leadership of the Reich Security Main Office, because I wanted to let some time pass. The year ahead will ask a lot of us. The bridge must be manned on every ship. Therefore, I thought for a long time about whom I should make commander of the ship. After long, careful considerations, my choice fell on one of my oldest men, on Group Leader Kaltenbrunner. We have known each other for much longer than he has been wearing the SS uniform officially. I know him, and we know each other from the time when he set himself apart from the many unknown National Socialists in Austria as the leader of the illegal SS. It is always a good lesson for a Reichsführer SS and for a main department head of the SS – but especially for a head of the Reich Security Main Office – to be illegal for a good long while. I believe, Kaltenbrunner, that the time when you were really tested in Austria, tested in your endurance, in your character and your strength, was one of our best schools of life and – unbeknownst at the time – the best preparation for the new task that you are now taking on.

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