Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
1.1 Childhood and youth
Childhood and youth
Magda was born in Berlin, Germany to twenty year old Auguste Behrend who was a servant working for a family in Bülowstrasse. The identity of her father was unknown but is most likely the engineer Oskar Reitschel. When Magda was five her mother sent her to stay with Ritschel in Cologne. Ritschel then travelled with her to Brussels and placed her in a convent. At convents Magda found it difficult to make any friends with fellow pupils. Her mother Auguste met the businessman Max Friedländer and they decided to move to Brussels, Belgium where they got married. All three lived peacefully until the outbreak of World War I when Germans were forced to leave and their shops pelted with stones from the Belgian people. By adolescence she was drawn to Zionist ideas after a relationship with Victor Arlonsoroff, who eventually left her for another woman.
Marriage to the Industrialist Günther Quandt
She soon escaped into marriage with the German entrepreneur Günther Quandt , a widower with two sons. He made her change religion from Catholicism to Protestantism and they were married on January 4, 1921. Not long after their marriage she bore Quandt her first child Harald who was born on November the first 1921.
High Society and the National Socialist Party
She felt the social need to enter high society and after growing bored of marriage with Quandt she soon divorced him, and found benefits by joining the NSDAP now more commonly known as the Nazi party. She found herself hypnotised by Hitler and soon met both him and Joseph Goebbels who would change the course of her life. She received the title of first lady of the Third Reich because Hitler was married to Germany and wanted his deputies to marry suitable women and he found in Magda a close, devoted friend who was his support, could rescue him and turn him into a human being.
Marriage and family with Joseph Goebbels
The marriage of convenience to Joseph Goebbels was most beneficial to her and she was now in what she deemed high society. She married Goebbels on December 19, 1931 at Günther Quandt's farm in Mecklenburg with Hitler as their witness. They subsequently had six children:
- Helga Susanne (born, Sep 1 1932 † 12)
- Hildegard (Hilde) Traudel (born Apr 13, 1934 † 11)
- Helmut Christian (born Oct 2 1935 † 9)
- Hedwig (Hedda) Johanna (born Feb 19, 1937 † 8)
- Holdine (Holde) Kathrin (born May 1, 1938 † 7)
- Heidrun (Heide) Elisabeth (born Oct 20, 1940 † 4)
Marriage in Crisis and the Second World War
Joseph Goebbels was a known philanderer and had many affairs with other women during his marriage with Magda, one of the most scandalous was with the popular Czech actress Lída Baarová. When faced with the possibility of divorce, Magda called Hitler for help and he stepped in to mediate. Joseph was told that he should change his ways and Baarova was sent away. When Hitler invaded Belgium, due to Magda's experience of the belgians before the first world war she was cold and indifferent to them. As the Germans started losing the war (as early as 1942), Goebbels had little time to continue his affairs and the Goebbels family moved into Hitler's personal Bunker.
Murder and Suicide
By April 1945 the end of the war for Germany was approaching and Hitler decided that everyone left with him in his bunker in Berlin should be prepared to commit suicide. Hitler and his bride Eva Braun committed suicide on the night of April 30, and the next day in the afternoon of May 1, 1945, Magda and Joseph poisoned all their children with cyanide. The children's bodies were placed in crates and taken away. Then Magda and Joseph went upstairs to the garden (so that nobody needed to carry their bodies there), where it is believed that Joseph proceeded to shoot himself while Magda bit down on her cyanide capsule. Afterwards their bodies were doused in petrol and partially burnt. Their charred bodies were found on the afternoon of May 2, 1945 by the advancing Russian troops.
- "I hold it as my duty to appear as beautifully as I possibly can. In this respect, I will influence German women. They should be beautiful and elegant. One has assigned to me the highest leadership of a German fashion institute. In this capacity, I will try through my own example, to make the German woman into a true, genuine type of her race. The men are very masculine in Germany; therefore the women must be as feminine as possible. The German woman of the future should be stylish, beautiful and intelligent. The Gretchen type is finally conquered" from 1933 Newspaper interview
References and further reading
- E. Ebermayer, Hans Roos: Gefährtin des Teufels - Leben und Tod der Magda Goebbels, Hamburg 1952
- Joseph Goebbels: Tagebücher 1945 - Die letzten Aufzeichnungen, Hamburg 1977, ISBN 3-40401-368-9
- Anja Klabunde: Magda Goebbels - Annäherung an ein Leben München 1999, ISBN 3-57000-114-8
- Hans-Otto Meissner: Magda Goebbels - Ein Lebensbild, München 1978
- Erich Schaake: Hitlers Frauen, München 2000
- Wolfgang Schneider: Frauen unterm Hakenkreuz, Hamburg 2001
- Anna Maria Sigmund: Die Frauen der Nazis. Band 1, Wien 1998, ISBN 3-80003-699-1
- Spiegel Nr35/04 Hitlers Ende Spiegels (H. 35, 2004)
- Robert Wistrich: Wer war wer im dritten Reich. Frankfurt a.M. 1987
- Dieter Wunderlich: Göring und Goebbels, Regensburg 2002
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