Monday, 25 March 2013

Review: Magda Goebbels

Magda Goebbels
Magda Goebbels by Anja Klabunde

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This biography of Magda Goebbels follows her from the age of about five to her death in the last days of the European Theatre of WWII, although the bulk of the book focuses on her life until the beginning of the War. It traces Frau Goebbels' life through her relationships with men - her stepfather, father, first boyfriend, first husband, and then Goebbels, her second husband - and to a lesser extent her eldest stepson, eldest son, and her probable lover.

This was a fascinating book. I'd previously had no idea about Magda Goebbels' Jewish connections - in fact, when I picked up the book I thought it sounded utterly ludicrous.

I don't agree with all Klabunde's conclusions about Frau Goebbels, and the framing of pretty much her whole life through men irked me. The other thing I found frustrating was the rapidity with which the narrative passed through the war years. I'm sure there was more that could have been said, even given the lack of sources due to the deaths of most of the main players. I also would have loved some information about her eldest son Harald's life post-war, and further proof that women like Emmy Goering (of whom I'd never heard) lived "unmolested" in West Germany post war despite her equally direct association with the Reich. In fact, my main point of difference with Klabunde is that she seems so certain that no harm would have come to the children of Magda and Joseph Goebbels had they not been killed by their parents in the bunker at the end of the war. I'm not nearly so confident.

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