It’s got all the hallmarks of a Jackie Collins bestselling novel – love, fortune and tragedy, with the added ingredient of Nazi war crimes thrown into the plot. In fact, when you read the story of the Goebbels family and their huge fortune surviving over a string of divorces, suicides and deaths, one cannot help but wonder if the story is real or a creatively fictitious plot written by a highly imaginative author. The first tear-jerking part of the tale that was followed by a string of tragedy and heartache, began in the spring of 1945, when 23-year-old Harald Quandt, an officer in the German Luftwaffe, who was being held as a prisoner of war in the city of Benghazi, received a hand-written note from his mother, Magda Goebbels, wife of Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister. The letter confirmed that Magda, her husband and their six children had all taken cyanide tablets in Adolf Hitler’s air raid shelter in Berlin. (1) Two years later Harald Quandt was released from the war camp and in 1954, Harald, the only remaining child from Magna Goebbels’ first marriage, and his half-brother Herbert, went on to inherit the industrial empire their father, Guenther Quandt, had built up. The empire included a plethora of assets, most notably the production of Mauser firearms and missiles used for the Third Reich’s war machine and a stake in the car manufacturer, Daimler AG. (DAI) and, several years later, buying a stake in BMW, which of course remains one of the most luxurious and sought-after car manufacturers in the world today. Similar to many family fortunes, the Quandt legacy endured and when the two half-brothers passed away the fortunes got passed down to Herbert’s widow and their two children, and the four daughters of Harald Quandt.
Browsing nazi war criminals
The severity and the extent of the CIA’s involvement with Nazi war criminals has remained undisclosed for years, with the U.S. Department of Justice stifling masses of pages and documents of a frank and open history of how the U.S. government collaborated and even protected Nazis. In 2005, the National Security Archive finally posted formerly classified secret documents that linked the CIA to the notorious Nazi general Reinhard Gehlen, despite the fact that Gehlen had employed numerous known Nazi war criminals. The released two-volume history, known as the “Secret Relger”, was compiled by Kevin Ruffner, a CIA historian. In 1999, the report was presented to the German Intelligence Service by Jack Downing, CIA Deputy Director for Operations, in remembrance of the “new and close ties” formed between the CIA and German officials during post-war Germany.