Playing Solitaire in Hitler’s Bunker March 24, 2011Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback
Crisis in the Beachcombing household tonight. Yesterday it was discovered that every member of the family save Beachcombing himself had been stricken with head lice. And so Beachcombing has spent most of the last six hours combing what look like wood ants from his darling wife’s and elder daughter’s fair locks.
By way of diversion Beachcombing decided that he would, tonight, cross time and space to visit Hitler’s bunker. It is the 1 May 1945 and Hitler and Eva killed themselves only yesterday after a rushed marriage ceremony.
Today it is the turn, instead, of the Goebbels – king and queen of the Reich for a day – and Magda Goebbels is sitting at a table playing patience.
Her face is heavy with tears. She has just killed her five children by dropping cyanide into their mouths – breaking her elder daughter’s jaw in the process. She knows too that in a matter of minutes she and her husband, Joseph Goebbels will climb up to the world above and end their lives with bullets and/or poison. She looks up, Joseph is coming and stumbles to her feet to meet him… They move towards the daylight and death, the screams of Russian infantry just a hundred metres away.
Beachcombing certainly doesn’t want to follow the unhappiest couple in the world up to the terrace and he is particularly glad he did not have to watch Lady Macbeth put an end to the life of Helga, Holde, Hilde, Hedda and Helmut (5-12): snuff movies are not his thing.
(Helmut, by the way, gives one of the most memorable lines of the last days, shouting ‘bull’s eye!’ when he hears Hitler’s suicide shot.)
However, Beachcombing would give an awful lot to have seen Magda slapping out the cards on the table. For some reason this comes, in Beachcombing’s mind, much closer to doing justice to the end of the thousand year Reich than Hitler’s marriage vows or those last moments in the moustached one’s private quarters.
Was she smoking?
Did ice clink in her drink?
Beachcombing prefers to see her without accoutrements. The end is nigh and she keeps dealing hearts and diamonds…
The murder of five children was Joseph’s try at melodrama with Magda drafted in to do the deed. If Goebbels had done the decent thing and got his heirs out a month before they would be of pensionable age today, most likely spread across South America and meeting on a ranch in the Pampas for Christmas. Beachcombing is always looking out for vivid historic moments: drbeachcombing At yahoo DOT com
29 March 2011: JCE writes in with a point that had completely escaped Beachcombing, surely he is right? ‘for the first time as I looked at the pic of the Goebbels family you put up on March 24, I was struck that Magda’s son Harald (by her first husband) does not appear to have been present in the studio when the photo was taken. Rather it appears some other Luftwaffe officer stood in, and Harald’s head was later pasted over the substitute’s. It seems to me obvious that Harald’s head is itself a photo, unlike the body it sits atop. This would not be surprising as I recall Harald was away on active service a good deal during the war. Am I wrong, or just hopelessly slow on the uptake?’ Thanks JCE!
4 April: JCE continues his considerations – someone, somewhere must have definite information on this: ‘I have never seen an assertion that Harald Quandt, Joe Goebbels’ stepson, had his headshot cut-and-pasted in this photo. I base my suspicion on my untrained eye only – I feel there’s a slight sizing problem, the lighting and shadows are different, his face shows much more glare, etc., and I feel his face lacks dimension. The last I’m pretty sure is just my mind trying to find things to confirm my suspicion, since photos can’t really show depth anyway. A cursory – okay, peremptory – internet search turned up nothing but a discussion “behind” the Wikipedia page (I utterly detest Wikipedia, and yet I use it all the time as a launch platform, damn them) on the Goebbels kids, in which it was posited that Harald’s head in the pic was a later insert. So I can’t prove it. I’m sure it’s out there somewhere, but I don’t know if I’ll find it in time for you’re monthly roundup. So, those wishing to remain intellectually pristine and historically blameless might approach the issue as nothing more than supposition or suggestion. Another reason I suspect Harald was not available for the photo is that he was a real frontsoldat, who obviously asked for no consideration based on who his stepfather was. Had it not been so I doubt he would have found himself on several occasions in Der Scheisse, such as when he jumped as a fallschirmjäger into Crete in the horrendously bloody “Operation Mercury” which cost the lives of so many of Hitler’s super-elite paratroopers that he never again used them in a major drop. Instead Oberleutnant Harald Quandt and his comrades were used as firemen, much in the same way as the Waffen SS. He fought in Sicily and Italy and was finally wounded and captured in Italy 1944. He was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Class.’ Thanks JCE!!