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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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Then we began the work. It was very strange. At the time, I had on my staff a Sturmbannführer, a retired Major, H. Heydrich had barely shown up when, 6 or 8 days later, the Münchener Post, the Social Democratic paper, reported that an intelligence officer was present. Heydrich was very suspicious and told me back then, with the nose he always had: "H. did that." I would not allow it. I said: "You can't get started by attacking one of my staff." Heydrich wrote his first name with “dt” at the end; he (H.) wrote “Reinhard” with only a “d.”* Later, in 1933, it became known that H. did indeed work for the Munich police, I think for 100 Reichsmark a month. He then hanged himself in his cell.

We then worked together for a year. The security service grew out of the smallest, smallest of means. Today, hardly anyone suspects just how much it grew from privation, how many sacrifices there were along that road. Hardly any of the chaps who later joined had an inkling. That is why you must tell those who are Regierungsrat and Kriminaldirektor today. We lived through the difficult years of 1931 and 1932. Who today still knows – as Dr. Goebbels said very rightly today – how desperate we were in 1932! The party lost a lot of its followers after the August elections. The priests [Pfaffen], the Center Party, and the reaction were trying to break us through elections. We did not become part of the government in which Papen was chancellor. The driftwood we had collected was washed away again. At that time, only the Schutzstaffel grew. The subsidies, the donations, and a lot of dues from the party were no longer coming in. There was less and less. We supported the Schutzstaffel – today it is all right for me to say this – at the central office as well as outside in the various Regiments (today's Oberabschnitte) of Weichsel, Sepp Dietrich, and Daluege, by contributing 350 Reichsmark from our Reichstag allowance of 550 Reichsmark, from which we lived. Christmas 1932 was so bad that the men, those who worked for the security service at the time, could only be given installments of one mark, two marks, three marks. Mrs. Heydrich, who courageously and boldly suffered and fought by our side, cooked a thick soup for all so that the men got some food once a day. Christmas 1932 we had enough money to let the men travel home. We didn't have the money to allow them to travel back, let alone pay them their salaries for December or January.

With this small team we arrived at January 1933. By that time things were already getting a little better. There was the election campaign in Lippe, and we got a boost. We then proceeded to the Machtergreifung. Now, at the time, we were tied to Munich; for us, Munich was crucial. In Munich we didn't get around to it until March 12 – I never dwelt on it and I never gave it a thought of my own – , I became police president of Munich and took over police headquarters; Heydrich was given the political section in Munich, Division 6a. And that is how we started. During these beginnings we acquired a few infinitely brave and hard-working collaborators, above all, you, my dear (SS Group Leader and General Lieutenant of the Police) Müller, and your deceased comrade Flesch, who recently died after a long [period of] suffering. We turned the political division of police headquarters into a Bavarian Political Police. The political police grew in the Länder like mushrooms after a rain. I became a unique legal specimen – someone can earn a doctorate by examining this question in the future – by combining in one person all the German citizenships that existed at the time. I was a Bavarian, Badener, Württemberger, and so on; I was at home everywhere. I acquired the citizenships by becoming the commander of the political police in Hesse, Bremen, Lübeck, Lippe (both Lippes), Anhalt, and so on, and became a civil servant there. In Munich we created a central office: the commander of the political police of the states. With this there arose a kind of security police.

* Heydrich was baptized Reinhardt Eugen Tristan. At some point after becoming an SS officer, he dropped the “t” from the end of his first name and went by Reinhard. – ed.

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