ALBERT SPEER

ALBERT SPEER (1905–1981)

Hitler’s chief architect and Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich. As “the Nazi who said sorry”, he accepted responsibility, at the Nuremberg trials and in his memoirs, for the crimes of the Nazi regime. His level of involvement with Hitler and the persecution of the Jews, along with his knowledge of the Holocaust remain matters of dispute.

Read more in Golden Boy: The Albert Speer Story by Paula Astridge

 

FIELD MARSHAL FRIEDRICH PAULUS

FIELD MARSHAL FRIEDRICH PAULUS (1890 –1957)

Commanded the Sixth Army’s assault on Stalingrad during Operation Blue in 1942. Fearing that Paulus was about to surrender, Hitler promoted him to Field Marshal with the expectation that he commit suicide instead. Paulus chose to surrender to the Russians Jan 31, 1943.

Read more in Golden Boy: The Albert Speer Story by Paula Astridge

 

SS REICHSFUHRER HEINRICH HIMMLER

SS REICHSFUHRER HEINRICH HIMMLER (1900 – 1945)

A leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and later the Minister of the Interior, Himmler oversaw all police and security forces, including the Gestapo. He rose to become one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany as well as one of the persons most directly responsible for the Holocaust. As overseer of the concentration camps, Himmler coordinated the killing of some six million Jews, between 200,000 and 500,000 Roma, many prisoners of war, and possibly another three to four million Poles, communists, homosexuals, people with physical and mental disabilities, Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of the Confessing Church. Shortly before the end of the war, he offered to surrender both Germany and himself to the Western Allies if he were spared prosecution. After being arrested by British forces, he committed suicide with a cyanide capsule before he could be questioned.

Read more in Golden Boy: The Albert Speer Story by Paula Astridge

 

GRAND ADMIRAL KARL DOENITZ

GRAND ADMIRAL KARL DOENITZ (1891–1980)

The Commander of the famed U-Boat ‘wolf pack’ in WWII, Doenitz was made Commander-in-Chief of the German navy in 1943. At Hitler’s death he was named his successor and became the last President of the Third Reich. It was a position that no-one wanted any longer and for the rest of his life Doenitz never forgave Albert Speer for having advocated him for the position. After the war, Doenitz was condemned to ten years in Spandau Prison for war crimes.

Read more in Golden Boy: The Albert Speer Story by Paula Astridge

 

DR JOSEPH GOEBBELS

DR JOSEPH GOEBBELS (1897 –1945)

Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Hitler’s closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism. He played a hand in the Kristallnacht attack on the German Jews, which historians consider to be the beginning of the Final Solution, and the prelude to the genocide of the Holocaust. After Hitler’s suicide, he committed suicide with his wife, Magda, after having killed his children with cyanide capsules wrapped in chocolate.

Read more in Golden Boy: The Albert Speer Story by Paula Astridge

 

MARTIN BORMANN

MARTIN BORMANN (1900 –1945)

Head of the Nazi Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler. He gained Hitler’s trust and derived immense power within the Third Reich by controlling access to the Führer and by regulating the orbits of those closest to him. On 1 May, 1945, after Hitler’s suicide, Bormann left the Berlin bunker with SS doctor Ludwig Stumpfegger and Hitler Youth leader Artur Axmann as part of a group attempting to break out of the Soviet encirclement. He was never seen again.

Read more in Golden Boy: The Albert Speer Story by Paula Astridge

 

FIELD MARSHAL ERWIN VON WITZLEBEN

FIELD MARSHAL ERWIN VON WITZLEBEN (1881-1944)

He was, for a time, the Commander of Germany’s Western Forces and a conspirator in the failed July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler. Had it been successful, Witzleben was to take over supreme command of the whole Wehrmacht as the highest ranking German soldier. He was sentenced to death and hanged on a meat hook, with his execution filmed for Hitler’s viewing.

Read more in Kill The Fuhrer by Paula Astridge

 

MAJOR GENERAL HENNING VON TRESCKOW

MAJOR GENERAL HENNING VON TRESCKOW (1901–1944)

A member of the German Wehrmacht who, stationed in Russia, organized German resistance against Hitler. As one of the prime movers of Operation Valkyrie and its failed attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944, he committed suicide by holding a grenade under his chin. The Nazis exhumed his body from his family grave and took it to the crematorium of Sachsenhausen concentration camp to remove all trace of his life.

Read more in Kill The Fuhrer by Paula Astridge

 

GENERAL HELMUTH STIEFF

GENERAL HELMUTH STIEFF (1901–1944) was Chief of the organization section of the Abwehr and a member of the German Resistance. Hitler did not conceal his personal dislike of him, calling him a “poisonous little dwarf.” Stieff volunteered to be the ‘trigger man’ for the July 1944 assassination attempt, but reneged at the last moment. Nevertheless, he was arrested by the Gestapo on July 21 and brutally tortured. On August 8, he was tried and executed.

Read more in Kill The Fuhrer by Paula Astridge

 

COUNT CLAUS VON STAUFFENBERG

COUNT CLAUS VON STAUFFENBERG (1907–1944)

A Wehrmacht officer and aristocrat who having lost an eye and hand while fighting for the Third Reich, became one of the leading players in the German Resistance and its failed attempt to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944. As the man responsible for placing the bomb at the Fuhrer’s feet, he was shot without a trial as a traitor for having drafted and participated in Operation Valkyrie. His immediate burial with military honours was ordered, but the next day the SS exhumed his body, stripped it of medals and cremated it so as to leave him no memorial.

Read more in Kill The Fuhrer by Paula Astridge