Joseph Goebells & # 39; wife Magda
As Hitler's notorious propaganda worker from 1933 to 1945, the rabid anti-Semitic Goebbels took control of the media and the arts, including theater and film. But his wife – mostly remembered for killing their six children – led an extremely secret life in the heart of the Third Reich.
From the moment Magda met Joseph Goebbels, the erotic charge between them was intense. She joined his Nazi propaganda department in 1930 and it didn't take long for them to become lovers.
Goebbels was delighted by the stunning and refined blonde: "It's like I'm dreaming. So full of happy happiness, & he wrote. What she saw in him was more difficult to imagine: short and born with a club foot, he tended to make awkward strides with handsome women, who often reacted with disgust.
Joseph Goebbels, pictured on the right, with the hand of his son, Hellmut, together with the German Führer, Adolf Hitler, in the middle, with Helga, with the wife Magda of Mr. Goebbels and their daughter Hilda
Yet Magda was electrified by his rhetoric during a Nazi meeting, which had undoubtedly fueled her desire.
Magda, a rich divorced woman, also had a much younger lover. She tried to end that relationship, but one day the confused student showed up with a gun and threatened to kill her if she didn't take him back.
There were further complications when Magda was introduced to Hitler in 1931. He confided to an assistant that she had made such a big & & # 39; n impression that he wanted her & # 39; an important role in my life & # 39; would play.
But there was a problem: as the leader of the Third Reich, he believed that he should be single, devoted solely to the well-being of his people – hence any relationship with an unmarried woman should be clandestine. The solution was obvious: Magda had to become Mrs. Goebbels.
What Hitler wanted was a woman who could be like a woman – an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual partner, though not a lover.
And Magda, already in love with him, was only too willing – even if that meant she had to marry Goebbels, who was intensely jealous. "Magda loses herself a bit around the boss. . . I suffer enormously. . . I have not slept, "he wrote in his diary.
However, after a series of meetings with Hitler and Magda, he agreed to get married. The benefits were enormous: in exchange for Hitler who saw Magda whenever he wanted, the couple would be cemented in his inner circle.
Despite the outward appearance of a happy marriage, Goebbels had an affair with dancer Lida Baarova, depicted
They married in December 1931, with Hitler as a witness. When Magda thanked him with a kiss, Hitler's eyes were full of tears.
The following year, the Goebbels apartment had become Hitler's unofficial headquarters. Magda gave him his favorite vegetarian food and brought meals to his hotel. She might have hoped to seduce him. The Hitler driver thought so. He once pointed out that when Magda was with his boss, you could hear & # 39; her ovaries rattle & # 39 ;.
Her marriage was already starting.
Each of Magda's successive pregnancies aggravated an existing heart condition and she was often sick, leaving Goebbels free to pursue women.
After the Nazis seized power, Magda – as Hitler's quasi-wife – gave the first Mother's Day address and proudly stated that the German mother & # 39; instinctively & # 39; Hitlers & # 39; noble spiritual and moral goals & # 39; understood. Afterwards she received so many letters from women that she had to hire two secretaries to handle them all. Always perfectly cared for and made up, she was often photographed with her children for magazines as an example of the perfect Nazi family. And Hitler regularly came to see her, to celebrate birthdays, to share trips to the coast and to have discussions until late at night.
In 1937, Goebbels – now also in charge of the film industry – made generous use of the casting couch and fell into a steamy affair with a 22-year-old actress, Lida Baarova. In the beginning, Magda turned a blind eye and had the peculiar dalliance.
It was her husband Karl Hanke's assistant who told her that falling in love with Lida was serious. Moreover, Hanke – who was in love with Magda – produced a file with much of Goebbels' other infidelity.
For her, these revelations coincided with a period of doubt. In conversations with a confidant, she expressed her concern about the direction that Nazism took.
She objected to the militarization of German society, which robbed her of her & # 39; culture & # 39 ;, her & # 39; cheerfulness & # 39; and her & # 39; joy & # 39; and she replaced with & # 39; blind obedience, prescriptions and & # 39; and & # 39; – and she doubted Hitler's judgment, in particular how he had the regime treat women as second-class citizens.
Magda Goebbels approached Adolf Hitler, pictured, in 1938 to tell him that he wanted to divorce the propaganda chief because of his philandering
She certainly had enough of Goebbels and told Hitler in 1938 that she wanted a divorce. He was appalled and told his propaganda head to dump Lida. Eventually the actress was sent back to Czechoslovakia and her films were banned.
As for Magda, she went to sleep with her husband's helpful assistant and was not at all sure if she wanted Goebbels back.
During this period she came close to an outage and spent much of her time in clinics. However, there was at least enough reconciliation to cause a new pregnancy.
The ceasefire did not last long: after Magda had given birth to their sixth child, Goebbels cheated again. She could not stop him and fooled his girlfriends. A special key was used to enter a passage, so Magda had the locks replaced. She joked another and told her that Goebbels would send a car to meet her at a junction in the Grunewald forest at 11 p.m. Magda made her wait an hour before she told her husband what she had done.
She became even more depressed when Goebbels described what was going on in the extermination camps – even though Hitler had instructed his lieutenants not to tell their wives.
"It's terrible, all the things he's telling me now," Magda told her confidant. "I can't bear it anymore. You cannot imagine the terrible things with which he torments me. & # 39;
Shocked by what she had learned, Magda had doubts about Hitler: "He no longer listens to reason. It's all going to end badly – otherwise it can't end. & # 39;
In February 1945 she asked a Hitler doctor for poison for herself and her six children. Although according to the doctor & # 39; she could not bear the thought of ending the life of her children & # 39 ;; the idea made her "mad with sorrow and pain." No matter how blinded she was by her belief in Hitler, Magda was not a fool. She knew that what had been done in Hitler's name would never be forgiven, and it was unlikely that the Soviets would show any mercy to her family.
Both she and Goebbels chose to join Hitler with his bunker in Berlin. Twenty-four hours after the Fuehrer's suicide, their children were given cocoa with a powerful tranquilizer.
Several stories claim that Magda has poisoned her children herself. This seems unlikely: since she went to the bunker, she tried to avoid them.
One of Hitler's secretaries remembered that Magda "hardly had the strength to take it easy on her children. Every meeting with them made her so terrible that she burst into tears & # 39 ;.
Hitler & # 39; s employee remembered that she & # 39; nervous & # 39; outside the room had been waiting for the door to open and the doctor to come out. Their eyes met, Magda Goebbels stood up, still and shaking. When the SS doctor nodded emotionally without saying anything, she collapsed. "Afterwards Magda sat in her room with a gray face, solitary and smoking a necklace. At 8.40 p.m. on May 1, 1945, she and Goebbels walked arm in arm into the garden.
Magda bit her cyanide capsule. Her husband shot her in the head, swallowed his poison and turned the gun on himself. After their bodies were immersed in gasoline, the fire burned all night.
Martin Bormann & # 39; s wife Gerda
Bormann, known for his brutality, rudeness and virulent anti-Semitism, had enormous power as Hitler's private secretary. He controlled access to the Fuehrer and was also responsible for promotions and appointments of Nazi parties.
Few women embodied the Nazi ideal of femininity better than Gerda Bormann. She braided her blonde hair, shunned cosmetics, and wore traditional Bavarian clothes – just like all nine of her children. In the few images of those who survive, they look like they just stepped out of the set of The Sound Of Music.
Martin Bormann, in the photo, was the private secretary of Adolf Hitler and an important figure in the Nazi regime
Yet Gerda was an undisputed Nazi, programmed to obey her angry husband. She was so thoroughly brainwashed by Nazi ideology that she never complained about his infidelity.
As far as Gerda was concerned, Bormann's succession of brief matters was merely the healthy expression of a man's need to reproduce. She even extended a hand of friendship to Hedwig Potthast, the secret mistress of SS leader Heinrich Himmler, who had also organized the extermination camps.
By 1944, unknown to his wife, he had established his beloved and their two children in a house. Gerda was only too happy to accept an invitation to bring her own bread for tea to the house. After a pleasant conversation, Hedwig invited them all into the attic to see something special: furniture made of human body parts.
Gerda & # 39; s eldest son, Martin Adolf Bormann, later recalled how she & # 39; clinical and medical & # 39; explained the process behind making a chair & # 39; whose chair was a human pelvis and the legs human legs – on human feet & # 39 ;.
Hedwig also showed them copies of Hitler's Mein Kampf, bound with the human skin peeled from the backs of prisoners in Dachau concentration camp.
The children were "shocked and petrified," and Martin Adolf claimed that his mother was "briefly affected." Maybe she was – but Gerda already knew everything about these disgusting books, because, she told the children, Himmler had offered their father one.
Bormann had refused to take it; Gerda said it was & # 39; too much for him & # 39; used to be. Yet it is doubtful that the Bormanns cared about the fate of the Jews. In one of her letters, Gerda urged her husband to make sure that every German child realized & # 39; that the Jew is the absolute evil in this world & # 39 ;.
She lived in a Nazi bubble since she was a teenager, because her father was a friend of Hitler's. & # 39; Uncle Adolf & # 39; was very interested in the beautiful young child and took on a quasi-guardian role.
Hitler, pictured here in the Berghof, along with Eva Braun with Martin Borman, pictured in the back row with his wife Gerda
When she was 20, she was seduced by Bormann, who was already ready to climb the Nazi career ladder. Hitler was a witness at their wedding; Gerda then produced children at a heroic pace.
Bormann was delighted to have her parties organized for which glamorous actresses were invited, and then forbade her to participate.
According to a prominent Nazi, her husband was "the kind of man who likes to humiliate his wife before friends as if she were a lower form of being." In moments of uncontrolled anger, he would resort to violence against his wife and children. Two of the children were beaten because they were scared by a dog.
Gerda did not fight back. Her duty, she believed, was to obey her husband.
In 1936, Bormann bought a three-storey cottage in the Bavarian Alps, close to Hitler's Berghof hiding place. Locked in the high-security compound, Gerda was sealed from reality.
Seven years later, Bormann & # 39; fell in love & # 39; to the actress Manja Behrens, who harassed her until she collapsed. However, Manja was concerned about his wife's feelings. She didn't have to worry: Gerda was enthusiastic about the prospect of establishing a polygamous household.
What she suggested was that & # 39; one year M has a child, and the next year I, so that you always have a woman who is mobile. Then we will bring all the children together in a house by a lake, and live together, and the woman who has no child will always be able to stay with you. & # 39;
She suggested that they draft a new marriage contract that would give Manja the same rights as she. She even suggested that such contracts should become Nazi policies to increase the birth rate. Gerda wanted to put her ideas into practice and invited Manja to move in. But the actress struggled to adjust and eventually walked away.
In 1945, when the Allies entered Berlin, Martin Bormann was killed – probably by a grenade from a Soviet tank. Gerda, who had stayed in their house, painted a Red Cross on the roof of a school bus and left with her children, her sister-in-law and seven other babies for South Tyrol.
There they were met by the regional boss of the Nazis, who found a house for them in a small village.
Although safe for the time being, Gerda was attacked by terrible pains. A local doctor acknowledged that she was at an advanced stage of ovarian cancer.
One day a major of the British army appeared in front of her. She panicked and thought he would take her to a concentration camp. Instead, the major brought her directly to an Italian hospital, where she was operated on.
It was too late. Gerda died on March 23, 1946, a few months shy of her 37th birthday, with all her fanatic beliefs intact.
Hermann Goering & # 39; s wife Emmy
Goering, an early recruit for fascism, was in 1923 in charge of the dreaded Nazi stormtroopers. He later supervised the rearmament of Germany and became head of the Luftwaffe. Hitler thought of him so highly that in 1941 he decided that Goering would be his successor.
Hermann Goering lacked romance, just as there were no legal proceedings. The first gift he gave 38-year-old actress Emmy Sonnemann was a photo of his late wife Carin.
When Emmy visited his flat, he showed her the room he kept as a sanctuary. A Swedish countess with whom Goering had been married for nine years, Carin had died of tuberculosis the year before in 1931. Her & # 39; beautiful eyes looked down from innumerable frames on every wall & # 39 ;, Emmy recalled.
Hermann Goering lacked romance, just as there were no legal proceedings. The first gift he gave 38-year-old actress Emmy Sonnemann was a photo of his late wife Carin
Nevertheless, convinced that Goering was the right man for her, she quickly spent the night regularly. And she clearly had some knowledge of what was taking place in the concentration camps.
At the time, many German actors were Jewish, so her friends and colleagues were often the targets. To her credit, she begged Goering to save them from deportation, and he admitted.
She also argued for the life of a bisexual, left-wing theater director and urged her lover to promote him. It was a smart move: when Goering made him director of the Prussian State Theater, Emmy became the new leading lady – a big leap forward from her previous provincial career.
Her profile was rising in 1934, but her lover was still obsessed with his late wife. He had the remains of Carin transported through Germany for re-burial, her zinc-lined coffin traveling on a special train under armed guard. In every city it went through, the church bells rang and the stations were black.
The location for Carin & # 39; s new resting place was on the grounds of the Goering mansion, Carinhall, with a 150-meter swimming pool, cinema, gymnasium, card room, and large banquet hall served by uniformed pedestrians.
Any clumsiness that Emmy might have felt about occupying a house named after Goering's first wife was trivial compared to the sensation of living in such splendor.
Adolf Hitler attended Herman Goering's wedding in 1935 and was greeted by 200 military planes circling around the sky above Berlin
Goering suggested in 1935. On the day of the wedding, attended by Hitler, every street in Berlin was decorated, all traffic was suspended and 200 military planes circled in the sky.
De Goerings, firmly established as the first pair of the Nazis, swung through the social scene in Berlin. Goering often greeted visitors in a gown and Turkish slippers or one of his increasingly elaborate uniforms.
A typical example of their showy behavior was the celebration they held in honor of Goering's 43rd birthday in 1936. Two thousand guests enjoyed a full orchestra, champagne on tap and a tombola with prizes including miniature tanks and machine guns made of marzipan. Hitler, who did not want to be upstaged, stayed at home.
Certainly, Emmy was delighted by the performance of Goebbels and his wife Magda with sparkling social events. No matter how hard the Goebbelses tried to shine, they could never match Goering's huge income, which came from bribes, bribes, and outright theft from major German companies.
The couple had no children and jokes all over Germany that Goering was unable to seize the opportunity. Then, at the age of 42, Emda gave birth to a girl, Edda, which gave rise to jokes about paternity of the child.
A typical thing was: a senior Air Force officer asks Goering what to do to celebrate if the baby is a girl. Göring answers: "Flying past a 100 aircraft." And if it's a boy? "A plane with 1,000 planes." And if there is no child? "Court-martial council my adjutant."
Goering's power began to decline in 1941 when it became clear that his Luftwaffe planes had failed to bring Britain to its knees. By 1944, his loss of influence had a huge effect on Emmy's efforts to help Jewish friends. When she begged Heinrich Himmler, the chief architect of the Holocaust to save an actress and her husband, he agreed – and then sent them to the gas chambers.
While the regime crumbled in 1945, Goering was picked up by the Americans to wait for the trial in Nuremberg. The night before he was to be hanged, he committed suicide with cyanide. His wife could not understand how such a man who "incarnation and goodness incarnated" could have been treated so hard. Before Emmy died in 1973, 80 years old, she wrote a book about her life. "A woman in love only thinks about the success of her partner, and it is of little importance to her how he gets it," she said.
Her quirky blindness was typical of many Germans who benefited from Hitler's regime, who preferred to ignore the brutal excesses and looked the other way. But of course Emmy had benefited much more than anyone else.
- Nazi Wives from James Wyllie is published by The History Press, £ 20. © James Wyllie 2019. To order a copy for £ 16, call 01603 648155 or go to mailshop.co.uk. FREE delivery for all orders. Offer valid until December 6, 2019.
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