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The Jewish father of Magda Goebbels, the Reich’s first lady

Following the discovery of a document in the Berlin archives concerning Magda Goebbel’s biological father, new light has been shed on the wife of one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious figures.

The Jewish father of the Reich's first lady

Was Magda Goebbels, the wife of Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels and a woman known as “the first lady of the Reich, ” actually the daughter of a Jew? This hypothesis is actually receiving significant support following the discovery of a new document in the Berlin archives by writer and historian Oliver Hilmes, which was published in an article in the German newspaper, Bild.

Until now, it has been accepted that Magda’s mother, Auguste Behrend, was impregnated with Magda by engineer Oskar Ritshel in 1901, before the couple were married. On Magda’s birth certificate however, only her mother’s name is listed. In 1904, they divorced and Auguste remarried four years later to a Jewish businessman named Richard Friedlander, and moved with him to Brussels.

The new document is actually Friedlander’s residency card, in which he wrote that Magda is his biological daughter. This hints that Magda did indeed attempt to blur her Jewish connection through her mother’s second marriage. With her marriage to one of Adolf Hitler’s senior regime figures, she received the many social and personal benefits that were fitting of such a position in the Third Reich.

When the Nazis came to power, Friedlander was arrested and later sent to Buchenwald. Magda did not attempt to save him, but rather continued to keep her Jewish connection secret. Friedlander died in Buchenwald in 1939.


Children Of Nazis


All the years that Magda was beside the club-footed Joseph Goebbels, she was always presented as a shining example of the Aryan woman. Her family, including her six blonde-haired children, was described many times in Nazi propaganda as being the “ideal family.”

In 1934, her world turned upside down when she discovered that her mother had had an affair with Friedlander before she met Ritshel, and that most likely her real father is Friedlander. This theory is further granted legitimacy when examining an entry from Joseph Goebbel’s diary, in which he states that in 1934, Magda discovered something shocking and horrible about her past.

At the end of the war, Magda wrote a farewell letter to her son Harold from her first marriage, who was a prisoner of war in Canada. In the letter, Magda confessed that she was going to kill herself and her six children with Joseph. On May 1, 1945, Magda and her husband killed their children using morphine and shortly thereafter, committed suicide themselves. Her Jewish identity has remained a mystery until today.

By Elad Zeret and Daniel Batini

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