Letter from Reinhard Heydrich to Martin Luther, Berlin, 29 November 1941
On the first page of the letter, the recipient Martin Luther added a handwritten note to a member of his staff:
‘Please inform Obergruppenführer Heydrich that I am ill, thank him very much for the invitation and tell him that – if at all possible – I will be attending. Please prepare notes for the meeting on our wishes and ideas; please also inform Secretary of State Weizsäcker immediately.’
Martin Luther, who wrote these lines, was Undersecretary of State at the Federal Foreign Office. Even before this meeting, the Foreign Office has been working on measures to expel the Jewish population and deport them to specific regions.
At the bottom left, Luther adds a note that the meeting has been postponed indefinitely. Reinhard Heydrich’s invitation was initially to a meeting on 9 December 1941 and, by mistake, at a different location. Shortly before though, on 7 December, Japanese forces had attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, dramatically changing the global political situation. Hitler took this chance to declare war on the USA. Heydrich’s proposed meeting was postponed.
In the second invitation, the location was corrected to this lakeside villa. At that time, the villa was a guest house – for the Security Police and the Security Service of the SS, the two institutions headed by Heydrich.
In the next room, you can find out how this meeting came to be held and how the political situation in Germany and Europe had developed over the previous decades.