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Friday, 6 June 2014

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Joseph Goebbels Else Janke And The Jews
Joseph Goebbels is a historical figure with whom I have a long-held fascination and indeed I admire "'Hitler's Firebrand'". Goebbels; as one of the best known and most reviled of all members of the leadership of the Third Reich, has long been viewed as a kind of" 'empty mouth' "or put another way: someone so cynical that he didn't believe in anything but power. This is quite untrue as recent scholarship has pointed out he was a noteworthy intellectual in his own right and believed precisely what he said. (1)Further more Goebbels was never a communist; (2) although he did call himself one at one point in his life, (3) as although he read Marx, Engels and other left-wing theoreticians like Rosa Luxembourg: his socialism rejected the international elements of Marxism. (4) Indeed this can easily be seen in Goebbels' favourite early speech;" 'Lenin or Hitler?'", which argues that Lenin was rebelling against very real social deprivation and that socialism in Russia had been nationalistic to begin with but had instead been hijacked by jews in the service of their international interests. (5)Goebbels; like nearly all those of his time, believed that Lenin was a Russian and that as such his revolution had been hijacked by the likes of Trotsky, Kamenev and Zionviev. That he was wrong about Lenin's racial background is nothing with which we can reproach Goebbels precisely because he couldn't have known better based on his information at the time.The importance of the jews to Goebbels' thought is something I will only touch on in passing in this article as I do not wish to hijack an article on a very specific part of Goebbels' life with the much wider issue of his anti-jewish beliefs. (6) It is however important to state for reference that Goebbels' anti-jewish belief system only developed in1921 and 1922 before finding its true force in 1926 when Goebbels was appointed to take on "'Red Berlin'" where the NSDAP could only garner approximately 150 votes in a city of millions.We should place this into the context of Goebbels' chiding of the woman he truly loved most of his life; Anka Stalherm, about her anti-jewish sentiments in a letter to of her in 1919. This is further exemplified by Goebbels' gift to Anka of jewish poet Heinrich Heine's" 'Book of Songs'" with a written dedication to her. (7)Further in 1920 Goebbels had voluntarily sought out Friedrich Gundolf [nee Gundolfinger]; a jewish Professor of Literature and a noted biographer of Goethe, to supervise his doctoral dissertation (8) who had directed him instead; as he had just been freed by the University of Heidelberg [to prevent his being pinched by the University of Berlin] from having to supervise doctoral students, to another jewish professor of literature: Baron Max von Walberg. (9) This only become problematic for Goebbels after he had been awarded his doctoral degree and had become heavily involved in nationalist politics as a nationalist speaker and newspaper editor in the Ruhr.If we understand that Goebbels' views rapidly matured between 1919 and 1921-22 into a healthy dislike of the jews and anti-nationalist political elements: we can see how quickly he moved away from neutral feelings towards the jews; as the Goebbels family were ardent Catholics it is not too much to suppose that they held tacit as opposed to explicit anti-jewish beliefs, then it helps to comprehend one of the lesser-known controversies about him in his sexual promiscuity or rather the lack of it. You might ask; at this juncture, why this is of interest to the student of the jewish question: well what if I were to tell you that one of Goebbels' girlfriends from his early years in the NSDAP was jewish. To be precise: that girlfriend was Else Janke. (10)Janke was a half-jewish sports teacher who Goebbels met through friends; notably Fritz Prang, in his home town of Rheydt in early 1922. (11) Although that said Goebbels did not know that she was half-jewish; only that she was a orphan, until well after they began their relationship. (12) Further complicating matters is that Goebbels' anti-Semitic feelings had begun to escalate by this point, which ultimately lead to Else's revelation to Goebbels of her jewish origins during a normal domestic argument in late 1922.This lead Goebbels to; in essence, have a second crisis of faith (after his initial loss of his Catholic faith) in so far as was he to marry the jewish girl he believed himself in love with (and there is plenty of evidence to suspect that Goebbels' genuinely loved Else and wished to marry her) or work for the stridently anti-jewish nationalist cause in which he was a true believer and a rising star of?In many respects we cannot actually blame Goebbels here largely because he was torn between two things that had originally thought to combine: Else and a career as a nationalist agitator. However Else's revelation about her jewishness made having both impossible and as Goebbels likely himself released: it would merely be a matter of time before one of his enemies found out that he had been in a long-term romantic relationship with a jewess (i.e. political suicide).The only fly in the ointment here is that Goebbels took approximately four years to make up his mind about what to do as he discovered Else's jewishness as early as late 1922/early 1923 (13) and only severed his romantic ties with Else in late 1926 when he left to become the Gauleiter of Berlin. Even then Goebbels recorded in his diary; in typical poetic form, that his" 'heart was broken.' "(14)We should however mention that Else and Goebbels had been fighting more and more frequently; usually about Else's jewish origins, and that Goebbels had had dalliances with other (non-jewish) women at various times during his and Else's numerous" 'fight-breakup-makeup'" cycles. (15)In spite of this however it is clear that Goebbels placed his priorities in his political beliefs; as the cornerstone of Goebbels' vision of National Socialism was a substitute secular religion, and that his domestic battles with Else were becoming more and more about his placing his politics before his personal life. (16) That his battles with Else escalated suggests to us that as he proportionally got more involved in anti-jewish nationalist politics: he correspondingly increasingly withdrew from Else. (17)In essence Goebbels was voting with his feet even if he still believed he loved Else: he had already made up his mind and it took his appointment as the soon-to-be-infamous Gauleiter of Berlin by Hitler to force Goebbels to force the final break between the two of them.If we understand this then we can see that Goebbels' crisis of faith was personally and emotionally horrific for him, but at the same time an honourable one in that he sought to do what he felt was right but yet could not bear to totally let go. In essence Goebbels put politics above his personal feelings and that we cannot but respect: especially when we understand that there was never any sexual relations between Goebbels and Else.As I have said Goebbels' loss of his virginity is; ironically, one of the most controversial aspects of his life largely because he never at one point actually says he has had sex with a woman till he was in his early 30s when he married Magda Quandt. That said Goebbels' diaries are replete with references to nights spent with different women from Lene Krage (his first true girlfriend) to Anka and Else to mention only three.This has lead to the rise of different theories about Goebbels' "'sexual awakening'" with the more orthodox biographers (exemplified by Ralf Georg Reuth) believing that Goebbels lost his virginity with Lene, (18) while Thacker more recently seems unsure and places it with Anka (19) and the; unfortunately largely ignored (not due to the quality of his research but due to his famous dispute about the" 'reality'" of the so-called "'holocaust'"), belief of Irving that this did not occur till Goebbels was in his thirties. (20)Of the three positions Irving's is by far the best reasoned and evidenced for the simple reason that he does not assume; without evidence for doing so, that Goebbels lost his virginity at any time other than when he said he did. As Thacker has pointed out (21) Goebbels' diaries are remarkably accurate and are; in fact, so good a primary source (as they correspond with the known happenings in almost every instance) that we can use them as a "'fact check'" against other materials.This means then that we should be wary of reading sexual activity into what Goebbels says without having very good evidence to contradict the man himself. Reuth believes for example that because Goebbels kissed Lene's breasts; which he does explicitly mention in his diary, that this entails sexual intercourse. (22) He also omits to mention Goebbels' qualification to the entry that he cites i.e. that Lene "'stayed pure' "[or put another way remained a virgin]. The only way one gets to sexual intercourse from there is to intellectually extrapolate independently to Goebbels' own thought process, which was based on a set of very firm moral convictions. We should also note that at the time of this alleged sexual liaison Goebbels was still a professed Catholic, from a very strict Catholic home and who believed himself to want to be a priest!When we balance that against the fact that when Goebbels' old scripture teacher; Father Mollen, found out about his play "'Judas Iscariot'" he ordered him to burn it, but in responding to both Mollen and his father Goebbels' explicitly says that he has not compromised on his morals (i.e. celibacy before marriage) as a Catholic once. (23)Considering that Goebbels was still at this point a firm believer in Catholic morality; and had actually had his best friend thrown out his own Catholic fraternity; Unitas, for sleeping around (24) then it seems not only unlikely but utterly improbable that Goebbels had slept with Lene and was now sleeping with Anka as Reuth (and to an extent Thacker) would have us believe.Thacker believes that bracketed numbers next to the names of Goebbels' various girlfriends are indications of the number of times he had slept with them: this seems fanciful at best precisely because no-where in the diaries does Goebbels tell us what these marks mean. They could be references to the number of times they had kissed (a point which Goebbels does show an acute fascination with in his diaries) or the numbers of letters he had written them that day (as the numbers aren't consistent which Thacker inexplicably doesn't mention). We simply don't know and assigning them so revolutionary meaning is placing an extremely tentative and unlikely interpretation on a selective reading of the evidence.In laymen's terms: Thacker is inventing the meaning of these bracketed numbers out of thin air.Irving by contrast bases himself on the letters from Goebbels to Father Mollen and Goebbel's father on the subject of Goebbels' Catholic morals being intact, which is far more solid evidence given Goebbel's diaries reliability as a primary source. Further the incident with Unitas clearly indicates that Goebbels had very Catholic moral scruples about sex at this time and as such it seems very unlikely that Goebbels slept with anyone before Magda Quandt.After all: if he Goebbels had slept with Else as some biographers; like Reuth, suggest then why doesn't he mention it in his diaries? Such an event would surely merit a mention, but yet it does not.Thus we have to conclude that in spite of having a jewish girlfriend for some years that Goebbels never had sexual intercourse with her and that his split with her was because he chose his politics over his personal life. For all the things that we may criticise Goebbels for: at least we can say that he was fundamentally a man of principle on this matter and handled it far better than have other anti-jewish figures historically.REFERENCES(1) Toby Thacker, 2009, "'Joseph Goebbels: Life and Death'", 1st Edition, Palgrave MacMillan: New York, pp. 8-9; 48-49(2) Contrary to the claims of Ralf Georg Reuth, 1993," 'Goebbels: The Life of Joseph Goebbels'", 1st Edition, Constable: London, pp. 28-33(3) David Irving, 1996," 'Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich'", 1st Edition, Focal Point: London, p. 22(4) Thacker, Op. Cit., pp. 16-17(5) Irving, Op. Cit., pp. 30-31; 36(6) On Goebbels' mentions of the jews in his wartime diaries see Thomas Dalton's excellent analysis in the revisionist journal" 'Inconvenient History'": http://www.inconvenienthistory.com/archive/2010/volume 2/number 1/goebbels on the jews.php and http://www.inconvenienthistory.com/archive/2010/volume 2/number 2/goebbels on the jews 2.php(7) Ibid., pp. 11-12; Viktor Reimann, 1979," 'Joseph Goebbels: The Man Who Created Hitler'", 1st Edition, Sphere: London, p. 7(8) Roger Manvell, Heinrich Fraenkel, 2006," 'Doctor Goebbels: His Life and Death'", 2nd Edition, Greenhill: London, pp. 16-17; Reimann, Op. Cit., p. 11(9) Irving, Op. Cit., p. 15(10) Ibid, p. 19(11) Ibid., pp. 18-19(12) Ibid, p. 19(13) Ibid.(14) Ibid, p. 44(15) Manvell, Fraenkel, Op. Cit., pp. 47-48(16) Thacker, Op. Cit., pp. 42-43(17) Ibid., pp. 60-62; Irving, Op. Cit., p. 38(18) Reuth, Op. Cit., p. 17(19) Thacker, Op. Cit., p. 17(20) Irving, Op. Cit., p. 4(21) Thacker, Op. Cit., p. 3(22) Reuth, Op. Cit., pp. 17-21(23) Irving, Op. Cit., pp. 3; 7-8(24) Ibid, p. 8