Edmund Heines was born in Munich on July 21, 1887. He volunteered into the army in 1915 and won the Iron Cross (first class) in 1916. He served the German army during World War I and was discharged as a lieutenant in 1918. In 1925 he joined the Nazi Party when it was still a mild socialist organization for workers rights. But as much as I may be inclined to want to paint him in a good light, because he was gay, I cannot. He was, in reality, an intense and cruel leader - convicted to a death sentence for several murders in 1929. But his sentence was commuted to imprisonment and eventually a pardon. His pardon was most likely a pay off. He joined the Richstag in 1930 and from 1931 until his death he was the SA leader in Silesia and Deputy for Ernst Röhm, the leader of the SA. During this time the SA had grown more and more violent under his and Röhm's influence and had directed many of their activities toward the Jews, Communists and Socialists.
In the very early morning of June 30, 1934 (commonly referred to as the "Night of the Long Knives" or "Nacht der langen Messer"), Adolf Hitler landed at Oberweissfeld, the airport in Munich, and ordered his chauffeur, Erich Kempka, to drive to the Kurheim Hanselbauer in Bad Wiesse, a resort hotel on the lake shore of Tegernsee. Edmund had previously picked up an unidentified 18 year old SA scout leader (Obertruppführer) and they were together in a room at Hanselbauer, and in bed, when Hitler arrived. According to Kempka's memoirs, once advised that Heines was in the room opposite Ernst Röhm, Hitler stormed into Heines room. Hitler yelled "Heines, if you are not dressed in five minutes I will have you shot on the spot!" An officer whispered to Kempka that Heines had been found in bed with a boy as Heines emerged with "an 18-year-old fair-haired boy mincing in front of him". Another officer, named Schreck, ordered "Into the laundry room with them!" Neither was every heard from again and there are no further, known, first hand accounts of their fate. It is believed that they were shot in the laundry room or nearby.
The Nazi's later released a story that Edmund was killed at the home of Ernst Röhm, in Munich, that he had run toward the fuhrer with a pistol when he was killed.
Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin) - June 24, 1932
Hitler Faction May Seize Police Power
Berlin, June 24 - (AP) - Adolf Hitler's national socialists threatened today to seize the police power unless the Von Papen government put an end to rioting which cost ten lives in Germany this week. Three men were killed in fighting yesterday and a policeman died at Hamburg from injuries received earlier in the week.
At a mass meeting last night Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's right hand man, attacked the government and said unless the police checked the communists "we will give the command to clear the streets ourselves." Edmund Heines, Nazi member of the Reichsag, speaking at Breslau, said that "if the police don't support us we will drive them to the devil."
The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia) - August 22, 1932
Five Nazis Facing Death Sentences
BERLIN, Aug 22 (UP) - Five members of Adolf Hitler's brown short militia were sentenced to death for the murder of a Communist today by a special anti-terrorist court at Beuthen, Silesia.
The death sentences, the first under the emergency decree approved by President Von Hindenburg August 9 to curb political rioting, caused a sensation throughout Germany. The Communist, named Peitzruch, was killed August 9, the day the decree became effective, at the village of Potampa, Silesia.
The Hitler storm troopers sentenced to death were Paul Lachman, condemned as the instigator of the murder; Reinhold Kottish. August Graeupner, Hans Mueller and Rufin Wolnitzer. Another defendant, George Hoppe, was sentenced to two years imprisonment and three others were acquitted.
News of the death sentences spread quickly throughout Beuthen and an angry mob of Nazis gathered at the courthouse, threatening to storm the building and liberate the condemned men. Edmund Heines, Nazi member of the reichstag, and chief of the Silesian brown shirts, was arrested for protesting the sentences in the courtroom.
Ogden Standard Examiner (Ogden, Utah) - August 24, 1932
HITLER'S MEN SEEK RELEASE OF FIVE FACING FIRING SQUAD
Governmental Manifesto Is Aimed At Leader of Nazi Forces
Penalty To Be Invoked Against Violators, Both High And Low
BERLIN, Aug 24 - (AP) - Enraged by the imposition of a death sentence on five fascists convicted of political murder, hundreds of national socialist storm troopers staged a demonstration today in front of the court house at Beuthen, where the sentence was passed on Monday.
They turned out in defiance of a government declaration that the iron fist will fall upon all those guilty of political violence. The occasion was the arrival of Captain Ernst Roehm, an emissary of Adolf Hitler, to confer with defense attorneys in an effort to liberate the condemned men.
Edmund Heines, a nazi member of the reichstag and a leader in the Beuthen district, apparently had ordered the men to turn out in uniform. Police reinforcements had difficulty keeping the crowd in hand as it surged through the streets singing nazi battle songs and shouting "Free our men!"
The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia) - January 29, 1933
How Hitler Trains His "Army"
Germany's Extralegal "Army" of Nearly 600,000 - the Nazi "Storm Troops" - Are Being Given Intensive "Physical Training," With Wooden Dummy Guns, at Camps Scattered All Over the Nation - a Huge Force That May Prove Germany's Salvation or, Perhaps, Her Doom
IN THE United States a mechanized age and a reasonably stable form of government have forced young men to seek romance and adventure in the realm of sport, in the laboratory or in Wall Street. In Germany certain similar and certain contrary forces have enabled men like Gruppenfuhrer Edmund Heins, one of the major generals of Hitler's Nazi Storm Troops, to carve out careers that read like chapters from Richard Harding Davis. Only a country in constant turmoil could produce a man with a record like this:
Edmund Heines, thirty-four years old; a volunteer in the German army in 1915, at sixteen; winner of the Iron Cross (first class) at seventeen; cited several times for bravery during the balance of the war; battery commander of the Rossbach Free Corps, under General von der Goltz, against the Bolshevists in the Baltic regions, at twenty-one; officer on the Rhine in Upper Silesia with the Free Corps, at twenty-two; one of the leaders of the first Hitler S.A. (storm troops), at twenty-four; a chief aide of Hitler in the ill-timed Munich "putsch" of November 9, 1923, at twenty-five; sentenced to death (later commuted to imprisonment) for multiple killings, at twenty-nine; pardoned, and a member of the Reichstag, at thirty-two; in command of 42,000 turbulent yet disciplined Nazis in Silesia, at thirty-four.
Gruppenfuhrer Heines he is today, Gruppenfuhrer being a military title roughly equivalent to major general. He reigns like an absolute monarch at his Breslau Braunes Haus. In September, 1931, Adolf Hitler gave him one of the toughest assignments in National-Socialist Germany. Heines was appointed commander of the territory impinging on the festering Polish frontier. He found less than 10,000 men wearing the swastika; but in twelve months this number was more than quadrupled.
Heines is the beau ideal of a soldier. He is tall and heavy set, but lithe and dynamic. He is handsome, with a devil-may-care smile. He has youth, abundant vigor and has won his military and political spurs. He has the rare quality of being able to fraternize and at the same time to maintain discipline.
As Gruppenfuhrer Heines, he is important. But as the crystallization of the younger German leaders of today he takes on a very real significance. There are many adventures with ideals in the nation, but Heines typifies what war-and-peace-weary Germany seeks - youth, vitality, burning nationalism, discipline and leadership.
Although Bavarian-born, he has a definite Prussian ruthlessness. He can click his heels as nicely as a subaltern of the former Kaiser's guard. He can kill without a qualm. He has listened to his death sentence without a quiver. He can charm his quondam enemies, the Breslau police, into presenting him with birthday greetings. He can slap a Reichstag foe and "make him like it." He can chase a night-shirted French officer over the roof of a Munich hotel and live to tell the tale and thumb his nose at the Bavarian police.
Heines is an idealist whose two chief obsessions are Germany and Hitler. He lives to train Nazis and to fight enemies. He is a soldier of fortune but not a mercenary. He seeks no material rewards, but his activities permit him to revel in adventure and daily toy with death. Of such timber are Germany's younger leaders made. Some are Monarchists, others Communists, but most of them carry, and follow, the banner of Adolf Hitler - flaming red background, solid white circle, with black swastika inset.
I first met Heines in the throbbing lobby of the Reichstag, a few minutes after the dramatic dissolution of September 12. A friend pointed him out: "There is Heines, the chap who was so conspicuous in the "Feme Mord" trials in 1927. He is supposed to have killed at least seven men, in and around Stettin principally, about 1922 Come over and meet him."
Heines and I were introduced and for the first time I witnessed his heel-click and felt his hand-grip. Both are things to remember. He remarked on the unique ending of the Reichstag and then quickly turned to the training of Nazis in his particular territory, Silesia.
"How are you progressing down there?" I inquired. "Why not come down and see?" he flashed back. On the inspiration of the moment I agreed to be at his headquarters, Braunes Haus, 210 miles from Berlin, the following Saturday morning. At 10:30 a. m. Saturday I reached Breslau and found my way to the Nazi headquarters.
"Gruppenfuhrer Heines, bitte," I requested of the sentry. He gave the Nazi salute, added a "Heil Hitler," and turned me over to an orderly. It was exactly like entering a military barracks. Men in uniform were rushing up and down corridors and dashing away on missions. The orderly led me up a creaking staircase and greeted another sentry: "Heil Hitler." "Heil Hitler."
I gave my name and in two or three minutes the sentry received word that I might enter. Behind a flat-top desk stood Heines. He saluted, gave me a "Heil Hitler," shook hands and waved to a chair. He sat down for perhaps the space of a minute, then jumped up, and paced the room. He took my arm and led me to a map. He explained the details of the military organization of the Silesian unit. He led me quickly to another wall, and showed me Hitler's photograph and the original of a letter, framed, which Hitler had written to Heines, from prison. Heines was eager as a boy to show me his souvenirs and trophies.
Would you like to see our quarters?" he asked. And taking my reply for granted he started for the door, and showed me the barracks rooms, the mess hall, stables, kitchens and workshops. The quarters were plain but clean and airy. The men had comfortable bunks. As we entered each room the first soldier to spot Heines called those in the room to attention, and gave a "Heil Hitler." The discipline was snappy and spontaneous.
It would be difficult to exaggerate the "Heil Hitlers." The salutation has become a mania, an obsession and invocation. Each soldier we passed, even in the corridors, gave us "Heil Hitler." Whenever I was introduced to a Nazi, whether he was in uniform or in mufti, he performed the "Heil Hitler" ritual before shaking hands. Later I discovered that Nazis end their letters, even those written to non-Nazis, with this greeting. Telephone conversations are similarly concluded. Women sympathizers repeat it. Workers tilling the fields shout it when a car with Nazis in uniform whizzes by. The occupants of the car meticulously return it. The repetition soon becomes monotonous, but the fervor with which it is given is genuine and effective.
Having invited me to Breslau, Gruppenfuhrer Heines apparently had decided to turn his organization inside out for my benefit, and so I had a unique opportunity to see how the Nazi military machine operates; to observe their youth-training camp; to witness maneuvers and a review, and to study this amazing and almost fanatical movement from the inside.
Heines was called away to attend to some urgent organization matter and a captain, Louis Werner Engels, was assigned to me. He is the executive officer in charge of the eight daily and two weekly Nazi papers in Silesia, and from him I learned many interesting facts. First he led me to a window facing the street.
"You see that motor truck there, with seats for about forty men?" I looked out upon a red motor van, with collapsible side and cross seats. It had two Nazi flags flying from the bonnet and on the door of the driver's seat could be seen a prominent Nazi swastika. "It looks like a police patrol," I suggested. Engels laughed. "It ought to. Except for the insignia, it is an exact copy."
"But why?" "Just the Gruppenfuhrer's idea. He thought it would be a good joke to imitate the police wagon. We aid the police now and then - if they ever need our help in Communist riots. It was bought with profits from our newspapers. A year ago we had no papers in Silesia. We started from scratch. Now we have forty typewriters and employ 140 men"
Heines burst into the room. "Ah, looking at my 'police' wagon!" he ejaculated. "Do you want to see how fast it can be loaded?" It is not Heines's habit to wait for answers. Leaning out of the window he blew a shrill blast from his whistle and gave a clipped order. Before I could get my "movie" camera trained on the van the sides had been dropped, forty men had scrambled in and the sides raised again.
Hines chuckled. "Too fast for you, eh? All right, I'll have it done over again." When the Gruppenfuhrer commands, or even nods, things happen around Braunes Haus, and happen fast.
"Supposing you go out now and see York Castle," suggested Heines. I explained that, famous as it was, I was not primarily interested in castles, but wanted to see men. He laughed immoderately. "York is now a training camp for our Storm Troops. You'll see a lot more than scenery." He pulled out his watch. "The afternoon exercises start in twenty minutes and it's thirty miles away, so you couldn't quite get there in time. But - wait a minute." He clipped off a command to his orderly. The man hurried to the telephone and bit off a few fast German words. Then he turned to his commander, nodding.
"That's all right, then." Heines motioned to me. "I don't understand, what's all right?" "I told them at Castle York to hold up the maneuvers until you arrive."
I was whisked away in a high-powered car piloted by a uniformed Nazi chauffeur. As we drove into the courtyard of Castle York I heard two strident whistle blasts, and S.A came rushing pell-mell from their quarters to the cobbled parade ground. General Kallenbach, in charge of the training camp, was wasting no time. No doubt he felt that his exercises had been delayed long enough.
[There is quite a bit more to this article, but nothing of importance regarding Heines.]
Ogden Standard Examiner (Ogden, Utah) - July 6, 1934
[This account has since been deemed false, of the testimony of Hitler's chauffeur who was present at Heines death]
BRESLAU, Germany, July 6 - (AP) - Chancellor Hitler, it was disclosed today, barely escaped assassination Saturday at the hand of Edmund Heines, one of those whom Hitler tried to arrest at Ernst Roehm's home near Munich.
Only through determined and timely intervention of one of the chancellor's aids, who shot and killed Heines when the latter ran up to Hitler with a revolver, was disaster averted, it was revealed. The story was told to an American citizen residing here by a friend of Heines who was said to be absolutely reliable. Heines was chief of police of Breslau and a prominent Nazi.