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Konrad Heiden

Konrad Heiden (7 August 1901 – 18 June 1966) was an influential journalist and historian of the Weimar Republic and Nazi eras, most noted for the first influential biographies of German dictator Adolf Hitler. Often, he wrote under the pseudonym "Klaus Bredow."

Heiden was born in Munich, Germany, on 7 August 1901, and graduated from the University of Munich in 1923. His father was a union organizer, his mother had a Jewish background. At the university, he organized a republican and democratic student body and became a member of the Social Democratic Party.

Heiden was one of the first critical observers of the rise of Nationalsozialism in Germany after he attended a party's meeting in 1920. He worked for the Frankfurter Zeitung and the Vossischen Zeitung, but became a freelancer in 1932. A year later, he went into exile; first to Saarland, then to Switzerland, finally to France.

Heiden's book, "The New Inquisition", published in New York in 1939, includes an eerie and accurate prediction of the Final Solution planned by the Nazi regime:

"To drive 600,000 people by robbery into hunger, by hunger into desperation, by desperation into wild outbreaks, and by such outbreaks into the waiting knife -- such is the cooly calculated plan. Mass murder is the goal, a massacre such as history has not seen -- certainly not since Tamerlane and Mithridates. We can only venture guesses as to the technical forms these mass executions are to take. In his book Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler suggested that the people to be killed be kept "under poisonous gas"; however, he speaks of a mere twelve to fifteen thousand. Doubtless the destructive instinct in the ruling class of the regieme has grown in the meantime..."

After the occupation of France in 1940, Heiden managed to escape to the United States via Lisbon. Heiden died in New York City on 18 June 1966, having resided in the US for 26 years after fleeing from Germany.

Selected works

  • Der Führer – Hitler's Rise to Power (Boston, 1944)
  • Hitler: A Biography (Zürich, appeared in two volumes, 1936-1937)
  • Birth of the Third Reich (Zürich, 1934)
  • History of National Socialism (Berlin, 1932)
  • The New Inquisition (New York, 1939)

See also

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