Death of the Goebbels family - May 1, 1945
Exactly 75 years ago, on May 1, 1945, Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magdalena took their lives, also killing six of their children, whose names began with the letter H, in honor of Adolf Hitler.
Shortly after Adolf Hitler's suicide, Joseph Goebbels, then the minister for propaganda and public enlightenment, became his successor. Along with his wife and six children, he remained faithful to their leader until the end.
I will create a separate article about the character of Joseph Goebbels. Today I would like to focus on the last days of the Goebbels family and their impact on the Holocaust, mass murders and extermination.
Magdalena Goebbels was the mother of seven children. She got married twice. Her first marriage lasted 8 years. Magdalena's first husband was Günther Quandt, an entrepreneur with whom she had a son, Harald Quandt. In 1931, she married Joseph Goebbels, the minister for propaganda and public enlightenment of the Third Reich. She gave birth to his six children: Helga, Hildegard, Helmut, Hedwig, Holdine and Heidrun. Privately, she was a close friend of Adolf Hitler and an avid member of NSDAP. A few days before her death, she and her six children moved to Hitler's bunker. On May 1, on the day of her suicide, Magdalena gave her children cocoa drink or another liquid with a sleeping pill or morphine. It was around 5:00pm; when they fell asleep, potassium cyanide capsules were crushed in their mouths. Due to the lack of witnesses, we are unable to determine exactly how the children lost their lives. After the crime, Magdalena and her husband left the bunker to the office gardens and took their own lives. The bodies of Joseph and Magdalena were poured with gasoline and set on fire. On May 2, 1945, Soviet troops entered the bunker. The bodies of the children were found in their cots. The girls had their hair tied with ribbons. In 1970, the Goebbels' remains were burned again, and the ashes were thrown into the Elbe.
Interesting facts about the Goebbels family:
- Adolf Hitler and Franz Ritter von Epp were the witnesses at the wedding of Joseph and Magda.
- Magdalena Goebbels and her husband were fierce anti-Semites and one of the closest attendants of Adolf Hitler.
- In 1934, at the request of Goebbels, a film was made entitled "Jew Süss" ("Sweet Jew"), which was remade in 1940. The film was broadcast, among others, for concentration camp guards during their training.
- In 1940-1945 the Quandt factories (which belonged to the father of Magdalena’s first son) exploited 50,000 forced laborers, prisoners of war and prisoners of concentration camps.
- Before the Wanssee conference, Joseph noted in his diaries, among others: "the annihilation of Jewry must become an inevitable result. You have to look at this issue without sentiment."
- When the movie "Jew Süss" was shown to the guards of the Dachau camp, they murdered over 500 prisoners that same night.
- Magdalena Goebbels' stepfather died in the Buchenwald concentration camp.
- Joseph Goebbels was one of the main originators of the Crystal Night, the pogrom of Jews in Germany on the night of November 9-10, 1938.
- Joseph Goebbels was a witness at the wedding of Adolf Hitler and Ewa Braun.
- NKVD placed Goebbels's secretary in three former concentration camps, where she spent 5 years.
- The eldest son, Harald, served in the Luftwaffe. He survived the war as the only of seven children. Together with his half-brother, Herbert Quandt, he ran the business left by their father, Günther Quandt.
- Guenther Quandt was not convicted in the Nuremberg trials, but was branded with the term "Mitlaeufer" ("passive supporter").
- Harald Quandt was killed in a plane crash in 1967.
I described the history of the Goebbels family in a very brief way. Personally, I encourage you to delve into the subject of Hitler's attendants, the Goebbels' participation in it and their impact on the Holocaust, mass murders, concentration and extermination camps, the impact on the psyche of members of Einsatzgruppen, SS, WH through direct and indirect actions using powerful tools such as propaganda and mass media.
I recommend books:
"Goebbels: A Biography", Peter Longerich
"Magda Goebbels", Klabunde Anja
"The Goebbels Diaries", Joseph Goebbels
"A German Life", Brunhilde Pomsel, Thore D. Hansen
Archival photos - public domain. If copyright has been violated, please contact me. The photos have been added for information, not for profit or for surreptitious advertising.