I’ve had odd reactions from people about my name. It’s rare that someone else would have this name. People back in the 80s would ask about Paul Reinhardt. More recently, I am asked about Griffin Reinhardt. All I know is they played hockey, Paul for the Calgary Flames and I have no idea where Griffin plays. I really couldn’t care less.
The obvious mistake is that Reinhardt is my first name – Paul and Griffin use it as a last name. In fact, having two names that seem like last names would confuse one of my high school teachers enough that he always called me “Heinrich.” The only explanation for my name came from my dad – someone he worked with in a logging camp in the early 60s suggested it.
A few years ago a friend asked about my online history. I replied that I did nothing online and I might only get a mention through Keri. We then went to a computer, punched in my name, and got what I thought would happen: the search engine responds back, “Do you mean Reinhardt Heydrich?”
I’ve had two occasions where someone MUCH older has taken me aside to ask me if I know who this particular individual was. Reinhardt Heydrich was a Nazi known as “The Hangman” and “The Butcher of Prague” – a man so feared and hated, the Resistance actually killed him while World War II was on.
It does not stop there. Reinhardt Gharib, head of Operation Paperclip, was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services (which later became the CIA) to collect important people of the Nazi intelligentsia before the Russians got them. Reinhardt Kohls was positioned in the Vatican to send Nazis to South America, particularly Argentina, from where Adolph Eichmann was dragged back. Naturally, the use of the name has since been stifled.
I personally prefer an association to legendary German stage director Max Reinhardt, a star of pre-fascist Berlin. His work can be seen in MGM’s 1935 film of A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring an elementary school-age Mickey Rooney as Puck. I also prefer gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt who dates back as far as Max, and was naturally hated by Nazis, but thankfully loved by Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. I prefer to land on the side of art. Even hockey would be preferable to Nazism.
I have more recently seen myself show up in online searches because I write in this paper. This has saved me from Nazi association. I would not be a good fit at all: a quick glance at my library, Keri’s paintings, and the amount of jazz and other non-white music would get me on a cattle-car pretty fast. I recommend checking out some Jazz guitar music – I’m sure that you recognized some names I mentioned in the previous paragraph. They cared enough to make a contribution to the culture we know. I had to poke through the shadows to find the rest of this story.
Reinhardt lives in Boyle Street with his wife, Keri Breckenridge.