The grave of a senior Nazi leader and Holocaust architect who was buried anonymously in Berlin has been dug up – but his bones left undisturbed.
According to local reports, the unmarked grave of top SS officer Reinhard Heydrich, who was intimately involved in planning the Holocaust, was opened at the Invalids’ Cemetery, as reported by a cemetery employee on Thursday. No suspects have yet been identified.
Heydrich was killed by Czech resistance fighters in Prague in 1942 and buried in the German capital with great fanfare, but after the war the gravestone was removed and the grave left unmarked so that it did not become a rallying point for neo-Nazis.
As a consequence, the location of his grave has remained a closely-guarded secret, so those who opened it in Berlin last week are believed to have had inside knowledge, in what is now being treated as a crime under German law.
Heydrich chaired the Wannsee Conference in January 1942 where Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’ was planned. It was here that the SS commander outlined how Europe’s Jews would be rounded up and sent to extermination camps in occupied Poland.
Three and a half years earlier, Heydrich had been one of the main organisers of the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938 and was later nicknamed “the butcher”. Even Hitler referred to him as “the man with the iron heart”.