Love of master Nazi propagandist Goebbels: LIDA BAAROVA

At one stage Goebbels wanted to leave his wife Magda for Lida Baarova. But Hitler intervened and broke the love affair. The Third Reich could not afford such scandals. Here is the story of love and lust in Nazi Germany. The affair between actress Lida Baarova and Joseph Goebbels.

Dr Goebbels's fires, however, burned fiercer. He lived only three doors along from the house on Lake Wannsee which Lida Baarová shared with Gustav Froehlich, her co-star in Barcarole. Though Lida Baarová always emphasised the innocence of her relations with Goebbels - "why would I be interested in a 36-year-old father of five when I was a 20-year-old beautiful woman with men falling at my feet?" - somehow Froehlich was never convinced.

"His voice seemed to go straight into me," she said. "I felt a light tingling in my back, as if his words were trying to stroke my body."

Lida Baarova: The actress that Goebbels loved and yearned for

Hermann Goring placed a wiretap on Lida Baarová's telephone, and enjoyed spreading scandalous stories about her and Goebbels in the highest Nazi circles. Himmler also liked to tell how there were lines of women waiting to swear how Goebbels had coerced them: "I've turned the choicest statements over to the Fuhrer." Goebbels himself felt the necessity to tell his wife Magda about his infatuation. Magda complained to Emmy Goring that her husband was "the devil incarnate". But she did not stop there, inviting Lida Baarová round to accuse her to her face of having an affair with her husband. "Don't worry," Lida Baarová returned, "I'm not interested in him."

Meanwhile, the jealous Gustav Froehlich was rumoured to have struck Goebbels in the face, and challenged him to a duel. Hitler, furious at the scandal, banned Lida Baarová's films and expelled her from Berlin. Wisely, she escaped to Prague.

Peter Conradi writes in the Times, October 31, 2000

"THEIRS was one of the most dramatic and dangerous love affairs of the Third Reich. A glamorous Czech actress who became Josef Goebbels's mistress and fled Germany after his wife denounced them to Hitler has described her turbulent relationship with the Nazi propaganda chief for the first time.

In her autobiography, The Sweet Bitterness of My Life, published posthumously in Germany, Lida Baarova writes of life in the Nazi upper echelons, where elegantly dressed ministers mingled with the film world elite.

"I am the mother of his children, I am only interested in this house in which we live," she said. "What happens outside does not concern me. But you must promise me one thing: you must not have a child by him."

The actress, who died alone in poverty in November aged 86, reveals that Goebbels's wife, Magda, proposed a ménage à trois to save her marriage but Hitler ordered an end to the two-year affair on the grounds that it could damage the Nazis' image as guardians of traditional family values.

She and Goebbels first met in 1936 during the Berlin Olympics in the city's opulent Schwanenwerder suburb, where Goebbels had rented a villa near Fröhlich's. Baarova was attracted immediately.

"His voice seemed to go straight into me," she said. "I felt a light tingling in my back, as if his words were trying to stroke my body."

There were other meetings on Goebbels's yacht Baldur, and he invited her to hear him speak at a Nazi congress. He promised to touch his face with a white handkerchief during the speech as a sign of his devotion.

Panicking, Baarova decided to leave town. But as her train waited at the station, a messenger arrived with roses and the minister's picture. "He was a master of the hunt, whom no-body and nothing could escape," she said.

For months Goebbels pursued her relentlessly, inviting her for trips in his chauffeur-driven limousine or visits to his log cabin on the shores of Lake Lanke outside Berlin.

Although their relationship was platonic for a long time, she tried to hide it from Fröhlich. When Goebbels rang he left messages as Herr Müller and hung up if the actor answered. One winter evening in the cabin, however, before a blazing fire he kissed her for the first time, saying: "I have never in my life been so in-flamed with love for a woman."

They met whenever he could get away from his wife. Baarova recalled his mood swings dramatically. Sometimes he amused her with Hitler impressions, at others he expressed doubts about Nazi ideology.

Rumours of their relationship spread after Goebbels bailed out one of Baarova's films. Then Fröhlich arrived home to find them on the road to the villa. He berated Goebbels and left Baarova soon afterwards.

His impertinence did not go unpunished. Goebbels later took revenge by removing his exemption from military service and sending him to war.

In the autumn of 1938, however, Goebbels had telephoned Baarova, saying he had confessed to his wife, and wanted the two women to meet. Magda Goebbels was distraught when they were introduced, and suggested sharing her husband.

"I am the mother of his children, I am only interested in this house in which we live," she said. "What happens outside does not concern me. But you must promise me one thing: you must not have a child by him."

Goebbels appeared with gifts of jewellery for both women as if to cement the love triangle. But Magda told Hitler and Goebbels was summoned to the Führer. "My wife is a devil," he told Baarova.

Early the next morning he rang again, weeping. Hitler had refused his request for a divorce and forbidden him to see her. "I love you, Liduschka," he said. "I cannot live without you."

The propaganda machine swung into gear. Newspapers published pictures of the Goebbels family, and Goebbels rehabilitated himself with Hitler by orchestrating Kristallnacht, an orgy of violence in November 1938 when Jewish property across Germany was destroyed.

Baarova was called to a police station and told she was barred from appearing in films or plays and even from attending social functions. She was pursued by the Gestapo, who organised hecklers to shout "Whore", when she defiantly attended the premiere of her film, Der Spieler (The Player).

Baarova returned to Prague, disobeying an order from Hitler's adjutant to remain in Germany. She was on a Nazi blacklist, however, and it became more difficult for her to work. In 1942 she moved to Italy and resumed her career.

She saw Goebbels one last time at the 1942 Venice film festival. He ignored her. "He must have recognised me, but he did not make a single movement," she said. "He was always the master of self-control."

In 1945 Baarova was arrested by the Americans and briefly imprisoned for collaboration. Goebbels and his wife stayed with Hitler in his bunker, taking their own lives and those of their six children on May 1 as the Russians swept into Berlin"

Karl Hanke: The man with whom Goebbels' wife had an affair.

Poor little Magda Goebbels was not so innocent too. She had had an affair with Goebbels' deputy, Karl Hanke as some sort of revenge.


JOSEPH GOEBBELS: The man behind Adolph Hitler

Goebbels: Master Propagandist

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