DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Joseph Goebbels (aged 47)
Nazi politician and Propaganda Minister
Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was one of Adolf Hitler’s closest and most devoted associates, and was known for his skills in public speaking and his deeply virulent antisemitism, which was evident in his publicly voiced views. He advocated progressively harsher discrimination, including the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust.
DEATH: Later on 1 May, Vice-Admiral Voss saw Goebbels for the last time: “… While saying goodbye I asked Goebbels to join us. But he replied: ‘The captain must not leave his sinking ship. I have thought about it all and decided to stay here. I have nowhere to go because with little children I will not be able to make it, especially with a leg like mine…’ ” On the evening of 1 May, Goebbels arranged for an SS dentist, Helmut Kunz, to inject his six children with morphine so that when they were unconscious, an ampule of cyanide could be then crushed in each of their mouths. According to Kunz’s later testimony, he gave the children morphine injections but it was Magda Goebbels and SS-ObersturmbannführerLudwig Stumpfegger, Hitler’s personal doctor, who administered the cyanide.
At around 20:30, Goebbels and Magda left the bunker and walked up to the garden of the Chancellery, where they committed suicide. There are several different accounts of this event. One account was that they each bit on a cyanide ampule near where Hitler had been buried, and were given a coup de grâce immediately afterwards. Goebbels’ SS adjutant Günther Schwägermann testified in 1948 that they walked ahead of him up the stairs and out into the Chancellery garden. He waited in the stairwell and heard the shots sound. Schwägermann then walked up the remaining stairs and, once outside, saw their lifeless bodies. Following Goebbels’ prior order, Schwägermann had an SS soldier fire several shots into Goebbels’ body, which did not move.