On 6 May 1945, soldiers of the US Army occupied the Himmler family home in Gmund, Germany where they discovered hundreds of private letters, documents, diaries and photographs. Vanessa Lapa’s extraordinary new film The Decent One makes use of these materials to sketch the biography and expose the inner mind, ideals, plans and secrets of the SS commander, the architect of the Final Solution - Heinrich Himmler.
How did this Catholic, nationalist, middle-class young man become Hitler’s henchman, responsible for masterminding, developing and executing the horrors of the concentration camps? How did he see himself and how was he perceived in private by his wife Margarete, his daughter Gudrun and his mistress Hedwig? How could the man who often referred to so-called German virtues such as order, decency and goodness also write home in the midst of the war and Holocaust: ‘Despite all the work I am doing fine and I sleep well’? How can a man become a hero in his own eyes but a mass murderer in the eyes of the world?