- Hardcover: 236 pages
- Publisher: NDE Publishing; First Edition edition (September 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1553211057
- ISBN-13: 978-1553211051
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Women of the Third Reich Hardcover – September, 2000
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...it brings the lives of the Nazi women into focus and offers a look at Hitler himself from their perspective -- Jeannie Marshall, National Post, October 18, 2000
Sigmund shows herself to be a competent historian and a restrained writer -- Jared Rosenfelt, The Lethbridge Herald, March 24, 2001
This is an in-depth look at the wives and lovers of the Nazi elite who almost destroyed the world -- Jerry Gladman, Sun Media Ltd., March 31, 2001
About the Author
Anna Maria Sigmund is a member of the Institute for Austrian History Research.
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Top Customer Reviews
WOMEN OF THE THIRD REICH provides a thorough look into the lives of eight women who were either married to or closely associated with Nazi leadership:
Carin Goering – married to Hermann Goering until her death in 1931.
Emmy Goering – second wife to Hermann Goering (following Carin Goering’s death)
Magda Goebbels – notorious spouse of Joseph Goebbels
Eva Braun – mistress and eventual wife of Adolf Hitler
Leni Riefenstahl – talented German filmmaker/producer/photographer and actress
Geli Raubal – neice adored by Adolf Hitler
Henriette von Schirach – wife of Hitler Youth leader and eventual Reich Governor of Vienna
Gertrud Scholtz-Klink – Head of the Nazi Women’s League
What I liked about this book was that the author provides a well-researched and intimate view into the lives of these women and, in some cases, the considerable power they wielded. The book’s presentation is simple; a concise introduction that summarizes the role of women in the Third Reich, followed by individual chapters dedicated to each of the eight women. The chapters read less like a story and more like thoroughly detailed bullet points that chronologically capture significant events in the lives of these women. As much as I’ve read about World War II over the last 30+ years, I found this book providing me with a treasure trove of new information and a better understanding of individuals who are generally identified as tag-alongs to the men they are associated with. While I knew Hermann Goering’s devotion to his first wife Carin led to him building his infamous hunting estate in her name (Carinhall), I’ve never found anything substantive written about Carin Goering until I read this book. Likewise, the notoriously evil Magda Goebbels (whose total devotion to Hitler led her to poisoning her six children) was also a feminist pioneer in Germany. The information provided fills a lot of gaps and certainly answers a lot of questions, like the alleged romantic ties Hitler supposedly had with his niece Geli Raubal. Sigmund digs deep into each woman’s life and reveals many intricate and intimate details that made it easy to understand why these particular individuals were chosen as subject matter. It is quite clear that the mind of a Nazi wife was no less evil. The lives of each are extremely varied in many ways, with Leni Riefenstahl being the most interesting, in my opinion. I’ve known about Riefenstahl’s ground-breaking work in film and she’s responsible for providing the iconic footage of Jesse Owens (watch “Olympia” to see her handiwork). Of all the women covered, she stood out as being less dependent on Hitler (as her post-war life would prove). Accompanying each chapter are several pictures, many of which I’ve never seen before.
I really liked this book. I appreciated the unique topic and the rich content. WOMEN OF THE THIRD REICH is a significant addition to my World War II library as it details a lesser-known, but no-less significant, side of the Third Reich. If I were to find any fault in this book, it would be the omission of some women, such as the wife of Heinrich Himmler or the aviation pioneer Hanna Reitsch (although she is mentioned in the summary at the book’s beginning).
1. Carin Goerin (1888-1931)-A beautiful and tall Nordic woman. Carin forsook her home and husband in Stockholm to wed Hermann Goering the Nazi's obese commander of the famed Luftwaffe. She died in 1931. Goering worshipped Carin and named his vast estate "Karinhall" in her loving memory. Carin was an Anti-Semite and an early and faithful supporter of Hitler.
2. Emmy Goering (1893-1973). Emma Johanna Sonnemann was born in Hamburg. Emmy became a famous actress. Following the death of Carin the infatuated Hermann Goering married her. The couple's only child Edda was born in 1938. She was probably the nicest of the women featured in this book. She was nonpolitical but enjoyed a lavish lifestyle.
3. Magda Goebbels (1901-1945) was the stylish, beautiful and witty first lady of the Third Reich. She was in love with Hitler!
She did not love her husband Joseph Goebbels the gnome like chief of Nazi propaganda. Joseph and Magda both engaged in extramarital affairs. Magda and Joseph murdered their six children and committed suicide in May 1945 as Soviet forces invaded Berlin.
4. Leni Riefeinstahl was born in Berlin in 1902 and lived to be over 100 years of age. She is the most talented of the women in the book. Leni is worldfamous for her two documentary films "Triumph of the Will" which chronicled the Nuremberg Rally for Hitler and "Olympia" about the 1936 Berlin Summer Games. Following the war she became a photographer of the Nubian tribe in Africa and underwater life. Contrary to rumors, she never slept with Hitler!
5.Gertrud Scholtz-Klink was born in Baden in 1902. She was the leader of the Reich Women Group. She never had much political clout but exhibited the face of fanatical Nazism. She believed the true National Socialist woman should stay home and have babies. She was inimical to women working in the fields of law, politics and government.
6. Geli Raubel (1908-1931) was the daughte of Hitler's stepsister Angela Raubel. She was a beautiful brunette. Geli lived with uncle Adolf in his apartment in Munich. She was in love with Hitler's chauffeur but the affair did not go well. Many scholars believe she was the great love of Hitler's life. His love for Geli was probably Platonic. Geli shot herself to death in 1931.
No motif for the suicide has proven conclusive. Hitler mourned her the rest of his life.
7. Eva Braun (1912-1945). Eva was a shop assistant to photographer Heinrich Hoffmann. She met Hitler in the photo shop falling hard for the much older man. Eva twice attempted suicide over Hitler's inattention and was insanely jealous. She lived in Hitler's mountain retreat the Berghof for long stretches of time. She was a good amateur photographer and kept herself in shape through swimming, walking, dancing and gymnastics. She was apolitical. She wed Hitler the night before they committed suicide in the Berlin Bunker in the spring of 1945.
8. Henriette Von Schirach(1913-1992) was the daughtere of Heinrich Hoffman the official photographer of Hitler. She grew up knowing the future dictator. Henny married the leader of the Hitler Youth but the couple divorced when he was imprisoned following the Nurmeberg Trials. She and her husband lived in Vienna during the war where he was in charge of the Nazi imposed government.
This book is well worth reading.
The chapter on Magda Goebbels is also interesting and reveals that Magda married her husband solely to be near Hitler, the man she really loved. What a tangled web these Nazi ladies wove!
This is part of a three-volume set and the weakness is that Sigmund throws in quite peripheral Nazi ladies, such as Sister Pia and even some actresses who scarcely knew Hitler. She should stick to stalwarts like Eva, Leni Riefenstahl, Mimi Reiter and others who were close to Hitler, either personally or professionally.
To sum up, not a bad introduction to the women of Hitler's Germany, but poorly translated and too much filler.