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Berlin to give away villa once owned by Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels

"I offer to anyone who would like to take over the site, to take it over as a gift from the State of Berlin," State Finance Minister Stefan Evers said.

Joseph Goebbels, 1940. Source: German Federal Archive via Wikimedia Commons.
Joseph Goebbels, 1940. Source: German Federal Archive via Wikimedia Commons.

Berlin’s regional government is offering to give away a villa once owned by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, hoping to end a decades-long dispute over the maintenance and security of the 42-acre property.

“I offer to anyone who would like to take over the site, to take it over as a gift from the state of Berlin,” State Finance Minister Stefan Evers told the Berlin House of Representatives late last week, Deutsche Welle reported.

“If we fail again, as in the past decades, Berlin has no other option but to carry out the demolition that we have already prepared for,” he added.

The city has repeatedly attempted to transfer the villa’s ownership to the federal government or the state of Brandenburg, where the site is located, rather than pay for the renovation and maintenance costs.

Evers said Berlin would consider proposals that reflect the site’s history. It was unclear if offers from private individuals would also be considered.

Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister who played a key role in the genocide of Europe’s Jews, had the retreat built in 1939 on a site overlooking the Bogensee lake, located some 25 miles north of Berlin. Goebbels used the villa to entertain Nazi leaders, artists and actors, and allegedly used it for affairs with several actresses.

Goebbels moved back to Berlin in the final phase of World War II. He and his wife committed suicide and poisoned their six children in Hitler’s bunker on May 1, 1945, one day before the Allied forces conquered the capital.

The European Jewish Association, a Brussels-based group uniting Jewish communities, wrote to the Berlin government on Sunday, proposing to turn Goebbels’s estate into a world center to combat hate speech.

EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin noted that “The free world is once again facing waves of hatred that are motivated by consciousness engineering of poisonous propaganda, mass enframement and the creation of virtual reality with the sole purpose of sowing destruction and violence.”

“Dr. Goebbels’ estate should not be demolished, but rather that it should be turned into a center of combating hate speech that will protect the free world from the dangerous trends that are repeating themselves in the entire Western world and in Germany in particular,” said Margolin.

“Let us make the estate of spreading absolute evil a source of spreading good. It would be an important moral victory,” he concluded.

Last week, it was reported that five skeletons missing their hands and feet were found beneath the Poland home of Hermann Göring, Adolf Hitler’s No. 2 who served as commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe during World War II.

German and Polish archaeologists discovered the remains under a wooden floor about four inches underground, The Telegraph said. Given that the bodies were missing their hands and feet, authorities have launched a probe to determine whether they were victims of war crimes.

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