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- "I could not help overhearing what you said to the Führer."
"Herr Himmler... Head of the S.S..."
"We should talk."
- ―Heinrich Himmler and Johann Schmidt
- "Herr Himmler shares my interest in the old ways. And the Schutzstaffel is more than happy to oblige."
- ―Johann Schmidt
In 1934, Himmler attended the Deutsches Operhaus in Berlin, where he overheard a conversation between the German dictator Adolf Hitler and Johann Schmidt, a German physicist who revealed the Führer his theory that Norse gods and their magic could be more than myth. Hitler was intrigued by Schmidt's ideas, but Hitler's associate Ernst Kaufmann, head of the Sturmabteilung's (SA) special weapons division, was less impressed.
Himmler later saw how violently Kaufmann rejected Schmidt's offer to conduct his research in Kaufmann's unit. When Kaufmann and his men left the scene, Himmler approached Schmidt and recruited him into his Schutzstaffel. Later, during the "Night of the Long Knives", Himmler allowed Schmidt to personally kill Kaufmann.
During World War II, Himmler was one of Adolf Hitler's most trusted subordinates. However, by April 1945, Nazi Germany crumbled under the joint offensives of the Allied armies. Around the time of the Nazi announcement of Hitler's death, Himmler had already offered the unconditional surrender of Germany to Britain and the United States.