Mixed media painting on metal
Photo montage and paint
100 x 67 cm
by Thomas Dellert
Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.
Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.
Paul Joseph Goebbels 29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devoted followers, he was known for his zealous orations and deep and virulent antisemitism, which led to his strongly supporting the extermination of the Jews when the Nazi leadership developed their "Final Solution". Goebbels came to power in 1933 after Hitler was appointed chancellor; within six weeks Hitler arranged his appointment as Propaganda Minister. One of Goebbels' first acts was to organize the burning of "decadent" books. Under Goebbels' leadership, the Propaganda Ministry quickly gained and exerted controlling supervision over the news media, arts and information in Germany. From the beginning of his tenure, Goebbels organized actions against German Jews, commencing with a one-day boycott of Jewish businessmen, doctors and lawyerson 1 April 1933. These actions may have contributed to the outright violence of Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) on the night of 9–10 November 1938, an open and unrestrained pogrom unleashed by the Nazis across Germany in which synagogues were burned, Jewish-owned businesses trashed, Jews assaulted (91 killed), and thousands of them arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. During World War II, Goebbels increased his power and influence through adroit and shifting alliances with other Nazi leaders. By mid-1943, the tide of war was turning against the Axis powers; Goebbels responded to major defeats on the Russian front in a series of highly orchestrated, emotionally manipulative speeches urging the Germans to embrace the idea of total war and total mobilization. He remained with Hitler in Berlin to the end. Before he committed suicide, Hitler named him his successor as Chancellor in his will. On 1 May 1945, the day after Hitler had committed suicide with his new wife Eva Braun, Goebbels and his wife Magda killed their six young children by giving them poison (in the form of cyanide pills or capsules) in their sleep, then committed suicide themselves. The couple's bodies were burned in a shell crater, but due to the lack of petrol the burning was only partially effective.