67 Years After Suicide, Joseph Goebbels’ Archives Put Up for Sale

A year after Dr. Mengele's journal was sold to a Jewish collector, the archives of Nazi propaganda minister put on the auction block.

Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
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Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

The pre-war archives of Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda, who was with Hitler from the earliest days, will be put on auction in the United States this week. Alexander Autographs, one of the largest auction houses for rare historical documents and manuscripts, is offering the rare archive for a starting price of $200,000 on September 20 and 21.

“It is the most important cache of World War II autographs to ever become available for sale. This massive historic grouping contains nearly the entire literary legacy of Joseph Goebbels, heretofore unknown to the general public,” says Bill Panagopulos, president of Alexander Autographs.

“More importantly, it may prove invaluable in providing historical and psychological insights into the mind of Goebeles,” he adds.

Last year, Alexander Autographs sold the diaries of notorious Auschwitz death camp Dr. Josef Mengele to a Jewish collector from the U.S., who promised to show it to the public.

Goebbels’ archives encompass almost every aspect of his young life - from report cards, letters from family and friends, school essays, to desperate love letters and scribbling, from poetry to doctoral writings.

The condition of this archive is exceptional, with all materials in very good to fine condition. They remain in almost the same state as when written almost one hundred years ago. Most are in pencil, which remains clear and sharp, bindings are largely tight, correspondences are in excellent condition and most are sorted chronologically.

Goebbels committed suicide on May 1, 1945, along with the death of his wife and children. This resulted in no direct heirs to his estate. When his papers surfaced years later, they were offered for sale to the Bundesarchiv, at which time his sister intervened to halt the transaction.

German courts determined that the ownership of the papers and their copyright would be placed in the hands of a third party, Goebbels' "literary executor." The papers in this archive were ordered to be given to the current consignor upon the death of that executor.

Alongside the Goebles archive, the same auction houseoffers for sale the private archive of another Nazi figure: Otto Skorzeny, Nazi officer and Hitler's chief and favorite commando, who made a daring mountain-top rescue of Mussolini in 1943.

After the war, Skorzeny headed the organization that helped hundreds of ex-SS officers flee Germany. He supported Palestinian terrorists as well, while at the same time cooperated with Mossad to expose the ex-Nazi scientists in Egypt.

For sale are thousands of pages of letters, documents, typescripts, notes, statements and other written and printed materials by Skorzeny.“This vast archive, never before offered at auction, undoubtedly includes important material concerning Skorzeny's "underground" activities, their funding, and those involved therein,” said Panagopulos.

Skorzeny died in 1975. “we were told that the balance of Skorzeny's papers were burned shortly after his death, as Ilse, his wife, had feared recriminations from his ex-associates, as well as the CIA and Mossad”, says Panagopulos.

Click to enlarge: Archive materials.Credit: Alexander Autographs
Title page from Goebbels’ dissertation.Credit: Alexander Autographs
Click to enlarge: Archive materials.Credit: Alexander Autographs
A 1938 photo of German propaganda minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels.Credit: AP



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