Lead: In January 1942, a group of high-ranking Nazi bureaucrats met in the Berlin suburb of Grosse-Wannsee. Their host was Reinhard Heydrich, affectionately known as der henker, the hangman.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The men were in Wannsee to plan the implementation of one of Adolf Hitler’s great desires: the continent-wide extermination of the Jewish race and all other groups he felt were genetically subhuman. Heydrich’s career as a German Naval Officer had been cut short in 1931 after an aborted flirtation with his civilian superior’s daughter, and he joined the Nazi SS. His talents soon attracted the attention of Heinrich Himmler, and as a result Heydrich’s rise to power was swift and decisive. After the Nazis came to power he helped Himmler consolidate party control over national police forces. By 1939 Heydrich was in charge of the Reich Central Security Office in charge of all police functions including the secret police, the Gestapo.