Joseph Goebbels' GeburtshausAugust 19, 2015 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C
I work in Rheydt, a suburb of Mönchengladbach. It’s something of a backwater - small, working class neighbourhoods, surrounded by thick, dense woodland. The pace of life is slow, almost too slow. There is a slight brooding in the air, but nothing sinister.
I was surprised, then, when I found out yesterday that Rheydt was the birthplace of Joseph Goebbels. The only man even more frightening, more anti-semitic, more committed to the destruction of European Jewry than Adolf Hitler, was born in this town? I didn’t believe it so I searched online, and sure enough these nonoffensive streets are the ones he once roamed.
After a bit more searching, I located his childhood house to be number 202 on the Odenkirchener Straße. Spooky, really spooky. The house is less than a mile from my office, and I’ve spent the last two months walking past it whilst on the way to and from the train station.
Germany goes to great lengths to recognise the crimes committed during the Nazi period, and there are reminders -- deliberate reminders -- everywhere you turn (see the Stolpersteins). Nethertheless, it comes as a surprise that a house once occupied by one of the fiercest men of the 20th century could remain intact and occupied. I would have thought the temptation to demolish it, eradicate it would’ve been all too great. But there it stands, the house Joseph Goebels grew up in, right in the centre of Rheydt, Mönchengladbach.Read more