Reinhard Heydrich is not as famous as Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels. But that is mostly because he was attacked by British-trained Czech and Slovak operatives in May 1942 and died a week later. Many considered Heydrich to be Hitler’s understudy. He is thought to have been on the verge of taking over the German occupation of France when he was killed. In January 1942, Heydrich chaired the Wannsee Conference, the two-hour meeting at which the Nazis planned the extermination of 11 million Jews. Heydrich was Eichmann’s boss.

The Germans in 1942 faced a labor shortage. The Russian campaign was more difficult than anticipated so more men were needed to fight and more workers were needed to replace them in the factories — good compliant workers to help the war economy. Workers not thinkers.

A couple weeks after the Wannsee Conference, Heydrich said this in a speech about worker creation:

It is essential to sort out the Czech teachers because the teaching profession is a breeding ground for opposition. It must be destroyed, and all Czech secondary schools must be shut. The Czech youth must be torn away from this subversive atmosphere and educated elsewhere.

Now, I’m not saying you are a Nazi if you think the only purpose of education is to create labor bots for the corporate economy. Nor am I saying you are a Nazi if you want to destroy teachers’ unions and eviscerate teaching as a profession. But one does have to take a step back and think twice if one’s policies align with Nazi policies, doesn’t one?

[The Heydrich speech is quoted in the superb WW2 novel HHhH by Laurent Binet. Novel is not quite the right word. I’d almost call it a long essay on history and writing.]