The discovery of a new document in the Berlin archives suggests that Magda Goebbel's biological father was Jewish. The document, which was discovered by writer and historian Oliver Hilmes, and was published in the German newspaper, Bild, sheds a new light on the wife of Joseph Goebbels .
The documents show that Magda, who later married Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda, tried to hide her Jewish heritage. Until now it has been believed that Magda’s father was engineer Oskar Ritshel who impregnated her mother Auguste Behrend in 1901, before they married. However only Behrend’s name is listed on Magda’s birth certificate.
In 1904 Behrend and Ritshel divorced and Behrend got remarried four years later - to Jewish businessman Richard Friedlander. The document found in the archives is Friedlander’s residency card, which states that Magda is in fact his biological daughter.
In an entry from Joseph Goebbel’s diary in 1934 he wrote that his wife had discovered something shocking about her past. This is presumed to be a reference to Magda’s discovery that her mother had had an affair with Friedlander before she met Ritshel, making Friedlander’s claims of paternity very likely.
After Hitler came to power, Friedlander was arrested and sent to Buchenwald. Magda did not attempt to help him and he died in the camp in 1939. Goebbels and Magda were portrayed as the “ideal” Aryan family.