Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From Suzzane to Magda to Arlosoroff

I spotted this story about a gigolo and his German mistress and discovered a story about one Susanne Klatten whose grandfather, Günther, had been awarded, in 1937, by Hitler, the honorific title of “Leader of the Armament Economy”. By this time, his ex-wife, Magda, was also involved with the Nazi party, having married Joseph Goebbels...[Gunther's] son...Herbert...turned BMW into one of the world's most desirable car brands, and his third marriage, to his secretary Johanna, produced two heirs, Susanne and Stefan. When Herbert died in 1982, the three inherited dozens of firms with an annual turnover of €6.5 billion. Today, the Quandt family's fortune is estimated at €24 billion.

But to return for a moment to Susanne's affair last year:-

Everything about the affair represented an astonishing break from her upbringing. Her half-blind father Herbert Quandt, one of the most talented industrialists of his generation, had taught her and her younger brother Stefan to be discreet about wealth. There were two models of behaviour in the Quandt family: flash and prudent. The flashy wing was represented by Harald, half-brother to Herbert. Harald had a messed-up childhood. He was the son of Guenther and Magda Quandt. When Magda left the marriage to live with and wed the Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels, she took Harald with her; the little blond Hitler Youth cadet was present on their wedding day. Fortunately for Harald, he was absent when Magda poisoned her six other children in Hitler's bunker.

Magda. Goebbels.

That set off my memory trigger.

From Biography Channel:

In 1930 Magda Friedlander, recently divorced from her husband of eight years, Guenther Quandt, began to date Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Party district leader of Berlin. She was not, as her name suggests, Jewish, but had adopted the surname of her mother’s second husband, who was.

At the same time, Magda was also dating an ardent young Jew, Victor Chaim Arlosoroff. When Arlosoroff discovered Magda was involved with another man and that he was a senior Nazi party member, Arlosoroff flew into a rage, pulled out a gun and fired at Magda. The bullet did not hit her, and Magda permanently broke off her relationship with Arlosoroff, despite his pleas and apologies.

Josef and Magda Goebbels were married in 1931, with Hitler as a witness at their wedding. The marriage produced six children within eight years, one boy and five girls.

If you are willing to trust David Irving on Maria Magdalena Quandt

SHE began a furtive relationship with his [Günther Quandt's] oldest son Hellmut [Quandt]. Sexually unfulfilled, the twenty-three year old Magda [Quandt] was fatally attracted to this gifted and delicate young man, then aged only eighteen. Her husband found it wise to send young Hellmut to complete his studies in London and Paris. After an operation for appendicitis in Paris, complications set in and young Hellmut died tragically in her arms in 1927...Back in Berlin Quandt had settled down and purchased a roomy winter home in Charlottenburg, while keeping on their new villa at New Babelsberg for the summer. Magda took refuge from her boredom in books-buying a ten-volume Buddhist catechism one day in Leipzig-and wafted from store to store, from one empty social event to the next until she could stand it no longer.21

In the summer of 1929 she embarked on an affair with a thirty-year old law student, a Jew.22 She pleaded in vain with Quandt to release her. Hoping to catch him in some infidelity, she had him watched, but equally in vain. The student was a perfect and attentive lover, plying her with flowers, and she accompanied him on a trip to the Hotel Dreesen at Godesberg. This time however Quandt had hired the detectives; after reading their report, he threw her out.

Penniless and unemployed Magda returned to her mother while she negotiated a settlement with Quandt...There could be no question of marrying her unemployed student lover -- marriage to anybody would cut off her alimony cornucopia. So she lived, loved, and travelled around as her law student's paramour while privately planning her future -- without him. Drinking heavily one evening at the Nordic Ring club she met the Hohenzollern Prince August-Wilhelm (Goebbels' S.A. comrade, 'Auwi'). The prince suggested that the party needed people like her. She heard Goebbels speak soon after; fascinated, she enrolled at the Nazi party's minuscule West End branch run by the young engine-driver's son Karl Hanke...

...she passed him [Goebbels] once as he came limping up the steps. 'I thought I might almost catch fire,' she told her mother excitedly, 'under this man's searching, almost devouring, gaze.'27 She told Ello Quandt that to judge by his suit Goebbels was obviously in need of, well, mothering. A few weeks later it struck Günther Quandt, who still frequently met her, that she talked of nothing but the Nazis. 'At first I thought it was just a passing fad for the oratorical gift of Dr Goebbels,' he wrote. Her law student lover also noticed, and flared that she seemed to be losing her head to that clubfooted loudmouth.

'You're mad,' she snapped. 'I could never love Goebbels!'
...Goebbels is ill, but Magda phones only once, saying she's at the Quandt estate in Mecklenburg.1 He struggles out of bed on the Friday, April 10, 1931, to speak to two thousand party officials. On Saturday he learns that she is back in Berlin; she does not contact him. Ilse [Stahl] and Olga fuss around the invalid. He is too weak to resist. On Sunday he phones her home. She is not there; later however she phones him, and admits that she has been seeing off a young lover -- but he has brought things to a head and fired a revolver at her. She tells Goebbels she is injured (in fact the Jewish law student's bullet has struck the door frame next to her. 'If you had really aimed at me and hit me,' she scoffs, 'I might have been impressed. I find your behaviour ridiculous.')2

Too late Goebbels realizes how much he loves her...

And this source, Magda Goebbels by Anja Klabunde includes this on a book, "Magda Goebbels" by Anja Klabunde, Little, Brown:

Klabunde follows Meissner in most respects, her chief innovation being the emphasis she places on Magda’s adolescent friendship with the Zionist pioneer Victor (later Chaim) Arlosoroff. ‘Nazi Chief Weds Jewess’, screamed the headline on one opposition paper when Goebbels, then merely the Gauleiter of Berlin, married Magda in 1931. This deliberately provocative - and erroneous - claim was prompted by her connection not to Arlosoroff but to her stepfather, Max Friedlander. Like that of a surprising number of key Nazi figures, including the leader himself, Magda’s parentage was contentious. She was born illegitimate (a fact glossed over by the gentlemanly Meissner), and, although her parents married a few months later, they divorced soon afterwards. Magda’s mother later married the Jewish Friedlander, whose name Magda took and to whom she was, by all accounts, devoted.

Friedlander was an assimilated Jew, but his observation of festivals such as Passover and Yom Kippur meant that Magda grew up with a degree of familiarity with Judaism. This was strengthened by her schoolgirl intimacy with Lisa Arlosoroff and her charismatic brother Victor. She became a member of Arlosoroff s Zionist youth group - a commitment which Goebbels subsequently found so threatening that, according to Klabunde, he was behind Arlosoroff s assassination in Tel Aviv in 1933.

Magda seriously contemplated a life with Arlosoroff and was devastated when, deeming her insufficiently dedicated to Zionism, he broke with her. Shortly afterwards, she was sent to finishing school, and, following a courtship straight out of a romantic novel, she married Gunther Quandt, a wealthy industrialist twenty years her senior. Many years later, the journalist Bella Fromm noted a comment she heard at a ball: ‘If rich Gunther Quandt had not come along, who knows where [Magda would] be now? Probably doing sentinel duty in front of a Palestine kibbutz, rifle on shoulder and an Old Testament password on her lips.’

Quandt was fabulously rich. One of Germany’s top industrialists, he successfully preserved his fortune through the hyperinflation of the 1920s and, later, the economic collapse of the Second World War. Magda, however, found that her romance soon palled. Quandt was cold and distant, and, although the couple had one son, she felt unable to share his life on any meaningful level. She established a far closer bond with her stepson, Hellmuth. The youth fell passionately in love with her, and, if he had not died of a botched appendix operation in Paris, where he had been hastily dispatched to study, Magda might have found herself playing Phaedra. As things turned out, she was to end her life in the role of an altogether different heroine from Greek tragedy.

After her divorce from Quandt, Magda was left young, beautiful, wealthy and intensely bored. The gap in her life was filled when, at the instigation of an aristocratic Nazi sympathiser, she attended an election rally at the Palace of Sport. She was swept up by the oratory of the principal speaker, Joseph Goebbels. She immediately joined the Party and became the leader of her local women’s group, an exotic figure among a membership of concierges and shopkeepers. She then volunteered her services at Party headquarters, where, after a chance meeting, Goebbels asked her to organise his private archive.

Magda was a great catch for the Nazis, bringing them an aura of respectability.

See here too.

In the end, though, the question I am interested is: Did Goebbels have Arlosoroff murdered?

It wasn't Arabs?

See this.

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