Goebbels children

Goebbels children

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The Goebbels children were the five daughters and one son born to Nazi
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 and his wife Magda Goebbels
Magda Goebbels
Johanna Maria Magdalena "Magda" Goebbels was the wife of Nazi Germany's Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels...

. The children, born between 1932 and 1940, were murdered by their parents in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 on May 1, 1945, the day both parents committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

.

Magda Goebbels had an older son, Harald Quandt
Harald Quandt
Harald Quandt was a German industrialist, stepson of Joseph Goebbels. After World War II, Harald and his half-brother Herbert Quandt ran the industrial empire that was left to them by their father.-Early life:...

, from a previous marriage to Günther Quandt
Günther Quandt
Günther Quandt was a German industrialist and Nazi who founded an industrial empire that today includes BMW and Altana .Eight of the hundred currently richest Germans are among his descendants.- Early life :...

. He was not present when his half-siblings were killed.

Naming


Some writers have contended that their names all began with "H" as a tribute to Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, but there is no evidence to support this, the evidence supports that Magda's "H" naming was the idea of her first husband, Günther Quandt
Günther Quandt
Günther Quandt was a German industrialist and Nazi who founded an industrial empire that today includes BMW and Altana .Eight of the hundred currently richest Germans are among his descendants.- Early life :...

 who named his other two children after his first wife beginning with "H".

This claim is supported by Magda's mother, Auguste Behrend, who stated that the family made an innocent hobby of searching for new baby names beginning with "H" for each successive child .

Harald



Magda married Günther Quandt
Günther Quandt
Günther Quandt was a German industrialist and Nazi who founded an industrial empire that today includes BMW and Altana .Eight of the hundred currently richest Germans are among his descendants.- Early life :...

 in January 1921 and ten months later Harald Quandt
Harald Quandt
Harald Quandt was a German industrialist, stepson of Joseph Goebbels. After World War II, Harald and his half-brother Herbert Quandt ran the industrial empire that was left to them by their father.-Early life:...

 was born to the couple. Magda and Günther Quandt's marriage ended in divorce in 1929 and in 1931 Magda married Joseph Goebbels (Adolf Hitler was witness).

Harald not only attended his mother's wedding to Goebbels, but also formed quite an attachment with him, sometimes accompanying him to gatherings, standing on the platform near to "Uncle Joseph" wearing his Hitler Youth uniform. After his appointment as Minister, Goebbels demanded that Harald's father release Magda from her obligation under their divorce settlement, to send Harald to live with him in the event of her remarriage and by 1934, Harald moved completely to the Goebbels' household.

He would later serve as a Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 in the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

 and was the only family member to survive the war, becoming a leading West German industrialist during the 1950s and 1960s. Harald died in 1967, when his personal aircraft crashed over Italy. He was survived by five children.

Helga Susanne


Born September 1, 1932. Goebbels was proud of his eldest daughter and would go straight to her cot as soon as he returned from his office, to take her on his lap. Helga was a "daddy's girl" who preferred her father to her mother. She was reported to have been a lovely baby who never cried and just sat listening uncomprehendingly to the Nazi officials with "her blue eyes sparkling". It was not unusual for Hitler, who was fond of children, to take her on to his own lap while he talked late into the night.

She was photographed with Hilde presenting Hitler with flowers on his birthday April 20, 1936.

Helga was 12 years old when she died. Bruises found on her body postmortem led to wide speculation that she had struggled against receiving (according to most accounts) an injection of morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

, which was used to quickly sedate the children before they were apparently killed with cyanide capsules.

Hildegard Traudel


Born April 13, 1934, Hildegard was commonly called "Hilde". In a 1941 diary entry, Joseph referred to her as "a little mouse".

Hilde was eleven years old at the time of her death.

Helmut Christian



Born October 2, 1935, Helmut was considered sensitive and something of a dreamer. In his diary, Goebbels called him a "clown." When his teacher at the Lanke primary school reported, to his father's dismay, that his promotion to a higher form was doubtful, he responded so well to intense tutoring from his mother and his governess that he not only achieved promotion, but also excellent marks. He wore braces
Dental brace
Dental braces are devices used in the orthodontic industry that help align and straighten teeth and help to position them with regard to a person’s bite, while also working to improve dental health...

 on his teeth.

On April 26, 1945, Helmut read aloud his father's birthday speech to Hitler, and responded to Helga's protests that he was copying their father by arguing that no, Goebbels had copied him.

Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge
Traudl Junge
Traudl Junge was Adolf Hitler's youngest personal private secretary, from December 1942 to April 1945.-Early life:...

 said that, upon hearing Hitler's gunshot, Helmut shouted "That was a bullseye!" mistaking it for the sound of a mortar
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

 landing near the Führerbunker.

Helmut was nine years old at the time of his death.

Holdine Kathrin


Born February 19, 1937. It is claimed that Holde got her name when the doctor who delivered her, Stoeckel, bent over her and exclaimed "Das ist eine Holde!" ("that's a pretty one!") Meissner claims that Holde was the "least lively" of the children and was somewhat "pushed aside" by the others to her considerable distress. He claims Goebbels responded to this by making her something of a favorite, to which she responded with devotion.

She was eight years old at the time of her death.

Hedwig Johanna


Born May 5, 1938, she was commonly called "Hedda". She had insisted, in 1944, that when she grew up she was going to marry SS Adjutant Günther Schwägermann
Günther Schwägermann
Günther Schwägermann was born in Uelzen and served in the Nazi government of German dictator Adolf Hitler. From approximately late 1941, Schwägermann served as the adjutant for Dr. Joseph Goebbels. He reached the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer...

, having been captivated by the fact he had a fake eye.

She was almost seven years old at the time of her death.

Heidrun Elisabeth


Born October 29, 1940. Rochus Misch
Rochus Misch
Rochus Misch is a former Oberscharführer in the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler during World War II. He served as a courier, bodyguard and telephone operator for German leader Adolf Hitler from 1940 to 1945...

 described her as a "little flirt" and said she frequently joked with him in the bunker. "Heide" was four years old at the time of her death.

Temperaments


Magda once described the temperaments of five of her children to her sister-in-law Eleanore (Ello) Quandt by describing how each would react to learning they had been deceived by their spouse:
  • Helga - Would seize a revolver and shoot the unfaithful husband out of hand, or at least try to.
  • Hilde - Would collapse altogether, sobbing and weeping, but would soon appear to be reconciled if her husband expressed remorse and swore to be faithful in future.
  • Helmut - Would never believe that his wife would deceive him.
  • Holde - Would never quite get over the infidelity, but would be too proud to reproach her husband. Finally, through the breach of confidence on the part of her husband she would go to pieces altogether.
  • Hedda - On the other hand, would give a peal of laughter and say, "Come here you rascal and give me a kiss".

Family life


In 1934, in search of privacy for himself and his family, Goebbels bought an imposing house in its own grounds on Schwanenwerder
Schwanenwerder
Schwanenwerder is an island in the Havel river in Berlin, Germany. It is in the locality of Nikolassee in the borough of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, and is located in a wider stretch of the river, close to the eastern shore...

, an island in the River Havel
Havel
The Havel is a river in north-eastern Germany, flowing through the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt. It is a right tributary of the Elbe river and in length...

. He also bought a motor Yacht Baldur for use on the river. Harald had his own nursery on the first floor while Helga and Hilde shared another. The children not only had ponies, but also a little carriage to ride around the gardens in. Two years later he purchased a neighboring property and extended the park, and included a private "citadel" as his own personal retreat.

Later, the City of Berlin placed a second lakeside house at his disposal, a small castle, Lanke am Bogensee, as an official residence, which was only really large enough for the family to use as a weekend retreat, though Goebbels later added a large modern house on the opposite shore of the Bogensee.

When the Goebbels marriage reached crisis point in the summer of 1938, over Goebbels´ affair with Czech actress Lída Baarová
Lída Baarová
Lída Baarová was a Czech actress and mistress of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister.-Biography:...

, Hitler himself intervened and negotiated an agreement whereby the actress would be banished and the couple would keep up public appearances for a year subject to any reasonable conditions Magda might make. One of her conditions was that Goebbels would only be able to visit Schwanenwerder and see the children with her expressed permission. If, after that year, Magda still wanted a divorce, Hitler would allow it, with Goebbels as the guilty party, and she would retain Schwanenwerder, custody of the children, and a considerable income.

Goebbels abided scrupulously by the agreement, always calling for permission before visiting and expressing his regret at missing Magda if she was not there, or taking his place, amiably, with his family at the tea table, if she was. It is claimed that the children at no time seemed to be aware that their parents were living separately at this time.

In the media


In 1937, Helga and Hilde were photographed with their father at the Berlin Frühjahrsregatta.

The public reconciliation agreement in August 1938 was cemented by the appearance of Helga, Hilde and Helmut with their parents in front of the cameras of UFA, as a cinematic image of domestic reconciliation.

In 1939, Goebbels used a concealed camera to film his children as a "healthy" contrast to the handicapped children in a propaganda film intended to promote the euthanasia of handicapped children
Action T4
Action T4 was the name used after World War II for Nazi Germany's eugenics-based "euthanasia" program during which physicians killed thousands of people who were "judged incurably sick, by critical medical examination"...

.

During 1942, the children appeared 34 times in the weekly newsreels, going about their lives, helping their mother, playing in the garden or singing to their father on his 45th birthday. That October, as a gift from the German Newsreel Company, Goebbels was presented with a film of his children playing.

On February 18, 1943, Helga and Hilde were photographed along with Magda at one of Joseph's best-known events, the total war speech
Sportpalast speech
The Sportpalast or total war speech was a speech delivered by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels at the Berlin Sportpalast to a large but carefully selected audience on 18 February 1943 calling for a total war, as the tide of World War II had turned against Nazi Germany and its Axis allies.It is...

.

Towards the end of 1944, Goebbels sent Magda and his two eldest daughters into a military hospital to be filmed for the weekly newsreels, but abandoned the project on realising that the terrible injuries of the soldiers were too traumatic for his daughters.

Last days



As the Red Army moved closer at the end of January 1945, Goebbels ordered the removal of his family from the Lanke Castle estate to the relative safety of Schwanenwerder. From there the children could soon hear the rumble of artillery in the east and wondered why rain never followed the "thunder."

By April 22, 1945, the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 was entering Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 and the Goebbels brought their children into the Vorbunker
Vorbunker
The Vorbunker or "forward bunker" was located behind the large reception hall that was added onto the old Reich Chancellery, in Berlin, Germany. It was meant to be a temporary air-raid shelter for Adolf Hitler, his guards, and servants...

, that was connected to the lower Führerbunker
Führerbunker
The Führerbunker was located beneath Hitler's New Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex which was constructed in two major phases, one part in 1936 and the other in 1943...

 under the Reich Chancellery
Reich Chancellery
The Reich Chancellery was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945...

 gardens. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and a few personnel were staying in the Führerbunker to direct the final defence of Berlin
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

. Red Cross leader Karl Gebhardt
Karl Gebhardt
Karl Gebhardt was a German medical doctor; personal physician of Heinrich Himmler; and one of the main coordinators and perpetrators of surgical experiments performed on inmates of the concentration camps at Ravensbrück and Auschwitz.-Career in the Third Reich:Gebhardt's Nazi career began with his...

 wanted to take the children out of the city with him, but was dismissed.

General Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven
Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven
General Bernd Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven , was an officer in the German Army during World War II and was later appointed to the German Federal Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr.-Early life:...

 later described the children as "sad" but Erna Flegel
Erna Flegel
Erna Flegel , born in Kiel in 1911, was a German nurse.From January 1943 until the end of World War II, Flegel served in that capacity for Hitler's entourage and during the Battle of Berlin. She is believed to have been in Hitler's bunker when he committed suicide. She had originally worked...

, with whom they had much contact in the bunker, characterised them as "charming" and "absolutely delightful", as did their young governess "Frau K".

Hitler was very fond of the children, and even in the last week of his life still took great pleasure in sharing chocolate with them as well as giving them the use of his bathroom, it being the only one with a bathtub.

They are reported to have played with Hitler's dog Blondi
Blondi
Blondi was Adolf Hitler's German Shepherd dog, given to him as a gift in 1941 by Martin Bormann. Blondi stayed with Hitler even after his move into the Führerbunker located underneath the garden of the Reich Chancellery on January 16, 1945...

 during their time in the bunker complex, where they slept in a single room. While many reports suggest there were three separate bunk bed
Bunk bed
A bunk bed is a type of bed in which one bed frame is stacked on top of another. The nature of bunk beds allows two people to sleep in the same room while maximizing available floor space...

s, secretary Traudl Junge
Traudl Junge
Traudl Junge was Adolf Hitler's youngest personal private secretary, from December 1942 to April 1945.-Early life:...

 insisted there were only two. The children are said to have sung in unison
Unison
In music, the word unison can be applied in more than one way. In general terms, it may refer to two notes sounding the same pitch, often but not always at the same time; or to the same musical voice being sounded by several voices or instruments together, either at the same pitch or at a distance...

 while in the bunker, performing for both Hitler and the injured Robert Ritter von Greim
Robert Ritter von Greim
Robert Ritter von Greim was a German Field Marshal, pilot, army officer, and the last commander of the Luftwaffe during the Second World War.-Early years:...

, as well as having been conducted in play-song by pilot Hanna Reitsch
Hanna Reitsch
Hanna Reitsch was a German aviator and the only woman awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the Luftwaffe Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds during World War II...

. Junge said that she was with the children on April 30 when Hitler and Eva Braun
Eva Braun
Eva Anna Paula Hitler was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours, his wife. Braun met Hitler in Munich, when she was 17 years old, while working as an assistant and model for his personal photographer and began seeing him often about two years later...

 killed themselves.

Death


Stories of brutality and rape by the advancing Soviet troops were circulating in Berlin, and there was much discussion in the Führerbunker about suicide as a means to escape humiliation or punishment from the Soviets.

Goebbels's last testament, appended to Hitler's, claimed that his wife and children supported him in his refusal to leave Berlin, qualifying this by asserting that the children would support the decision if they were old enough to speak for themselves. Both pilot Hanna Reitsch
Hanna Reitsch
Hanna Reitsch was a German aviator and the only woman awarded the Iron Cross First Class and the Luftwaffe Combined Pilots-Observation Badge in Gold with Diamonds during World War II...

 (who had left the bunker on April 29) and Junge (who left on May 1) carried letters to the outside world from those remaining. Included was a letter from Magda to Harald who was in an Allied POW camp
Prisoner-of-war camp
A prisoner-of-war camp is a site for the containment of combatants captured by their enemy in time of war, and is similar to an internment camp which is used for civilian populations. A prisoner of war is generally a soldier, sailor, or airman who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or...

.

The following day, on May 1, 1945, the Goebbels' six children were injected with morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 (likely by an SS dentist, Helmut Kunz
Helmut Kunz
Helmut Kunz was an SS dentist who, after the suicide of Adolf Hitler, was ordered to administer anesthetic to the six children of Joseph Goebbels before they were killed.-Early years:...

) and then, when they were unconscious, killed by having a crushed ampoule of cyanide
Cyanide
A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic....

 placed in their mouths. Accounts differ over how involved Magda was with the killing of her children. According to Kunz, he administered the morphine but it was Magda Goebbels and Ludwig Stumpfegger
Ludwig Stumpfegger
SS-Obersturmbannführer Ludwig Stumpfegger was a German SS doctor in World War II and Adolf Hitler's personal surgeon from 1944....

 (Hitler's personal doctor) who administered the cyanide tablets.

Another account says that the children were told they would be leaving for Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden is a municipality in the German Bavarian Alps. It is located in the south district of Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border with Austria, some 30 km south of Salzburg and 180 km southeast of Munich...

 in the morning, and Ludwig Stumpfegger
Ludwig Stumpfegger
SS-Obersturmbannführer Ludwig Stumpfegger was a German SS doctor in World War II and Adolf Hitler's personal surgeon from 1944....

 was said to have provided Magda with morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 to sedate the children. Erna Flegel claims that Magda reassured the children about the morphine by telling them that they needed inoculations because they would be staying in the bunker for a long time. Erich Kempka
Erich Kempka
SS-Obersturmbannführer Erich Kempka served as Adolf Hitler's chauffeur from 1934 to April, 1945. He was SS member #2,803 and served in the Allgemeine SS.-Early life:...

 reported after the war that he believed the children had been "taken away by a nurse" that day, just before he left the bunker. Some witnesses claimed that SS doctor Ludwig Stumpfegger
Ludwig Stumpfegger
SS-Obersturmbannführer Ludwig Stumpfegger was a German SS doctor in World War II and Adolf Hitler's personal surgeon from 1944....

 crushed the cyanide capsules into the children's mouths, but as no witnesses to the event survived it is impossible to know. O'Donnell concluded that, although Stumpfegger was probably involved in drugging the children, it was Magda who killed them. He suggested that witnesses blamed the deaths on Stumpfegger because he was a convenient target, having disappeared (and died, it was later learned) the following day. Moreover, Stumpfegger may have been too intoxicated at the time of the deaths to have played a reliable role.

Meissner claims that Stumpfegger refused to take any part in the deaths of the children, and that a mysterious "country Doctor from the enemy-occupied eastern region" appeared and "carried out the fearful task" before disappearing again, but this explanation may owe more to Meissner's characteristic diplomacy and consideration than any reality.

Magda appears to have contemplated and talked about killing her children at least a month in advance. After the war, Günther Quandt's sister-in-law Eleanore recalled Magda saying she did not want her children to grow up hearing that their father had been one of the century's foremost criminals and that reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 might grant her children a better future life. Reitsch, who stayed in the bunker after flying Luftwaffe General von Greim in to meet with Hitler, said Magda asked her in the last days to help ensure she did not back away from killing the children if it came to that.

She also refused several offers from others, such as Albert Speer
Albert Speer
Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, was a German architect who was, for a part of World War II, Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. Speer was Adolf Hitler's chief architect before assuming ministerial office...

, to take the children out of Berlin. The children seemed unaware of the impending danger, but the eldest child, Helga, seemed to sense that the adults were lying to her about the outcome of the war and asked what would happen to them. Rochus Misch
Rochus Misch
Rochus Misch is a former Oberscharführer in the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler during World War II. He served as a courier, bodyguard and telephone operator for German leader Adolf Hitler from 1940 to 1945...

, a radio operator in the bunker, reported that Helga, whom he called the brightest of the children, was "crying softly" just before bedtime on that final night and wore a glum expression as her mother brushed her hair and kissed her and her siblings. Magda had to push Helga towards the stairs that led to the upper bunker or Vorbunker
Vorbunker
The Vorbunker or "forward bunker" was located behind the large reception hall that was added onto the old Reich Chancellery, in Berlin, Germany. It was meant to be a temporary air-raid shelter for Adolf Hitler, his guards, and servants...

. The smallest child, four-year-old Heide, had had tonsilitis and wore a scarf
Scarf
A scarf is a piece of fabric worn around the neck, or near the head or around the waist for warmth, cleanliness, fashion or for religious reasons. They can come in a variety of different colours.-History:...

 around her neck. She turned back to look at Misch, giggling, and teasingly said, "Misch, Misch, du bist ein Fisch," or "Misch, Misch, you are a fish", as her mother led her and her siblings upstairs. Misch recalled later that he suspected what was about to happen and would always regret not intervening. The children's bodies, in nightclothes, with ribbons tied in the girls' hair, were found in the two-tiered bunk beds where they were killed, when Soviet troops entered the bunker a day later. A Soviet autopsy on Helga's body noted "several black and blue bruises", indicating that she probably woke up and struggled with her killer. A photograph taken during the autopsy showed heavy bruising on the dead child's face. The injuries were apparently caused when her killer forced a cyanide
Cyanide
A cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN−. Most cyanides are highly toxic....

 capsule into her mouth. One account stated Helga's jaw was broken.

Aftermath


On May 3, 1945, the day after Soviet troops led by Lt. Col. Ivan Klimenko had discovered the burned bodies of their parents in the courtyard above, they found the bodies of the six children in their beds, dressed in their nightgowns, the girls wearing bows in their hair.

Vice Admiral Hans Voss
Hans-Erich Voss
Hans-Erich Voss was a German Vice Admiral and one of the final occupants of the Führerbunker during the battle of Berlin in 1945....

 was brought to the Chancellery garden to identify the bodies, as was Hans Fritzsche
Hans Fritzsche
Hans Georg Fritzsche was a senior German Nazi official, ending the war as Ministerialdirektor at the Propagandaministerium.- Career :...

, a leading German radio commentator who had answered directly to Goebbels, the following day. Their bodies were brought to the Buchau Cemetery in Berlin for autopsy and inquest by Soviet doctors. In spite of repeated attempts, even Frau Behrend, the children's grandmother, never learned what became of the bodies. After the fall of the Soviet Union it was revealed that the bodies were repeatedly buried and exhumed, along with the remains of Hitler, Eva Braun, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, General Hans Krebs
Hans Krebs (general)
Hans Krebs was a German Army general of infantry who served during World War II.-Early life:Krebs was born in Helmstedt. He volunteered for service in the Imperial German Army in 1914, was promoted to lieutenant in 1915, and to first lieutenant in 1925...

 and Hitler's dogs. The last burial had been at the SMERSH
SMERSH
SMERSH was the counter-intelligence agency in the Red Army formed in late 1942 or even earlier, but officially founded on April 14, 1943. The name SMERSH was coined by Joseph Stalin...

 facility in Magdeburg on February 21, 1946. In 1970, KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 director Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

 authorised an operation to destroy the remains. On April 4, 1970, a Soviet KGB team with detailed burial charts secretly exhumed five wooden boxes. The remains from the boxes were thoroughly burned and crushed, after which the ashes were thrown into the Biederitz river, a tributary of the nearby Elbe
Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...

.

Rochus Misch
Rochus Misch
Rochus Misch is a former Oberscharführer in the 1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler during World War II. He served as a courier, bodyguard and telephone operator for German leader Adolf Hitler from 1940 to 1945...

, a former radio operator for Adolf Hitler, attracted controversy in 2005 when he called for a memorial plaque to be installed in honour of the six Goebbels children. Critics felt it would taint the memory of Holocaust victims to honor the children of the Nazi leader. Despite their parents' crimes, Misch argued that the children themselves were innocent, that to treat them as criminals like their parents was wrong and that they were murdered just as other victims during the war were murdered.

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  • The 1997 historical fiction book The Karnau Tapes by German author Marcel Beyer
    Marcel Beyer
    Marcel Beyer is a German writer.-Life:Marcel Beyer grew up in Kiel and Neuss. From 1987 to 1991 he studied German language and literature, English studies and Literary studies at the University of Siegen; in 1992 he obtained a Magister degree with a work on Friederike Mayröcker. Since 1987 he has...

     was told from the point of view of Helga Susanne and the fictitious Hermann Karnau.
  • In the 2004 film Downfall
    Downfall (film)
    Downfall is a 2004 German/Italian/Austrian epic war film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, depicting the final ten days of Adolf Hitler's life in his Berlin bunker and Nazi Germany in 1945....

    (Der Untergang)
    • Helga Susanne was played by Aline Sokar
      Aline Sokar
      Aline Sokar is a German actress best known for playing Helga Goebbels in the 2004 film Downfall. Her brother Lion Sokar is also a child actor.-Filmography:*Utta Danella, 2004 guest star in Das Familiengeheimnis...

    • Hildegard Traudel was played by Charlotte Stoiber
    • Helmut Christian was played by Gregory Borlein
    • Hedwig Johanna was played by Julia Bauer
    • Holdine Kathrin was played by Laura Borlein
    • Heidrun Elisabeth was played by Amelie Menges
  • In the 2005 documentary The Goebbels Experiment, directed by Lutz Hachmeister and narrated by Kenneth Branagh, the archive footage was shown at the beginning and end of the film.
  • The 2011 historical fiction young adult novel The Girl in the Bunker by Tracey Rosenberg is narrated by Helga Susanne, and tells the story of the children's final days in the bunker.

Further reading


External links