During the past twenty years, innumerable books about the Third Reich have been published, but little attention has been paid to the women who lived alongside the Nazi leaders. Magda Goebbels (1901-1945) is arguably the most contradictory and the most intriguing among them. What made a beautiful and intelligent woman go from being deeply in love with the ardent Zionist leader Victor Chaim Arlosoroff to marrying Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda and a ferocious anti-Semite? Indeed, in the eyes of many people she was the 'First Lady' of the Reich, owing to Hitler's lifelong attachment to her. How could the devoted mother of six, the poster-child of family values during the Third Reich, turn into Medea and poison these six children? Anja Klabunde's thoroughly researched and remarkable biography for the first time brings together these stunning facts.
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(199mm x 134mm x 27mm)
Time Warner Paperbacks
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Originally published in Germany in 1999, this biography of Goebbels's wife sells itself on the fact that little else exists to chronicle the life of a woman who moved among the upper echelons of Nazi Germany. Whether she is a complicated woman or someone unable to decide what she wants but willing to use her looks to achieve it, is hard to say, and her relationships don't afford her much happiness. Her first love, Victor Arlosoroff, the Zionist leader, inspires such an interest in his beliefs that she almost accompanies him to Palestine, but his rejection humiliates her into the arms of Gunther Quandt, a businessman old enough to be her father. Their loveless marriage breaks up leaving her rich but directionless, and she soon finds herself fascinated by the nascent Nazi party, and in particular Joseph Goebbels, who was to achieve notoriety as the Third Reich's Minister for Information and Propaganda. Photographs show Magda as a rather steely individual, stern even when smiling, and the accompanying text doesn't encourage the reader to empathize with her, even when presented with images of a devoted mother. That she poisons six of her children during the final days in Hitler's bunker while writing a suicide note bemoaning the downfall of Nazism's 'magnificent idea' does little to warm us to her. What works best here is the description of the amazing cast of characters she moved around, and how her life reflects the 'tragedy and blindness of Germany' in the first half of the 20th century. There is plenty to commend Anja Klabunde's exploration of how a seemingly intelligent woman could get caught up in such horror. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Anja Klabunde
Anja Klabunde works regularly for the French/German cultural TV channel Canal Plus/Arte. She lives near Paris with her husband and two sons.