May 1, 1945
6 of the Goebbels children, between the ages of 4 and 12, are murdered by the parents after the fall of Hitler
Joseph Goebbels was the Chancellor of Germany and Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in Nazi Germany. When Germany approached defeat, Goebbels and his wife agreed to kill their children should the need arise. Around a month later, they carried out their plan.
Goebbels was ordered by Hitler to flee Berlin, though he and his wife decided to stay. Reasons behind this decision have been reported as either not wanting to possibly subject the children to the horrific ends many Germans were facing at the hands of the Soviet Army, or that Goebbels felt unwavering loyalty to the regime. He also went so far as to say the children would support the decision if they were old enough to make such a choice.
The oldest of the children in the Goebbels’ bunker seemed to realize something was amiss. 12-year-old Helga appeared to understand the adults were lying to the children about the outcome of the war, and shortly before the children were put to bed for the last time she was seen “softly crying.” Her body also had fresh bruises indicating she struggled just prior to her death including heavy bruising to her face.
The children were injected with morphine to sedate them. Once they were asleep, capsules of cyanide were ground into powder and forced down their throats. Helga’s facial bruising likely occurred as her murderers held her head still to force the cyanide down her throat. Shortly after the children were murdered, their parents committed suicide.