Monday, February 25, 2013

English Translations of the Books of Dr. Joseph Goebbels

Dr. Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) was a prolific author, but to date only two of his books have been translated into English. Additionally, there are some booklets and three collections of selections or excerpts from his diaries. The lack of English-language translations of Goebbel's books is not because the books themselves are poorly written, uninteresting or unimportant. Quite the contrary: they are brilliantly written, extremely interesting, and of superlative historical importance. Rather, they have not been translated because they are so awful, but because they are too good!

Here is what has appeared so far:

  • Michael: A Novel translated by Joachim Neugroschel. Amok Press, NY, 1987. Original title: Michael: Ein deutschen Schicksal in Tagebuchblaettern (Michael: A German Destiny in Diary Pages). Written in 1923 but not published until 1929. Of minor interest overall, but a major point has been overlooked by reviewers: Michael reveals that Goebbels had read and was influencd by Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • The "Nazi-Sozi": Questions & Answers for National-Socialists, Landpost Press, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1992. Booklet; German original published 1931. Goebbels' German title is, Der Nazi-Sozi: Fragen und Anworten fuer den Nationalsozialisten; those who maintain that the German National-Socialists themselves never used the term "Nazi" should reconsider their position!
  • "Communism with the Mask Off," transcript in booklet form of Goebbels' speech "Kommunismus ohne Maske," given at the 1934 NSDAP rally in Nuremeberg. English edition Berlin, 1935; German edition 1934, Munich. Goebbels here recounts the Jewish origins and savage record of the communist movement.
  • "Total War Speech"/"Wollt Ihr den totalen Krieg?", Preuss, 2001, translator not listed. Bilingual edition of  the famous speech given by Goebbels at the Berlin Sports Palace on February 18, 1943, following the German defeat at Stalingrad. There are two transcripts of this speech: the first is a printed handout made beforehand and distributed to journalists; the second is a record of the speech as Goebbels actually delivered it. The second version is longer, more detailed and more candid than the text given to reporters. This booklet is based on the first version.
  • My Part in Germany's Fight translated by Dr. Kurt Fiedler, 1938. First published by Goebbels in German as Vom Kaiserhof zum Reichskanzlei (1935). This book contains selections from his diary from the fateful period Jan. 1, 1932, through May 1, 1933. There are many English editions of this translation available. Most recently, a deluxe paperbck edition has been published with the title From Kaiserhof to Reichchancellery. Available from NS Publications.
  • The Goebbels Diaries: 1939-1941, translated and edited by Fred Taylor, Hamish Hamilton Ltd., Great Britain, 1982. Diary excerpts from Jan. 1, 1939 through July 8, 1941.
  • The Goebbels Diaries: 1942-1943, translated and edited by Louis P. Lochner, Doubleday & Company, Garden City, 1948. Diary excerpts from Jan. 21, 1943 through Dec. 9, 1943. Heavily edited and interspersed with hostile, derogatory commentary by the editor.
  • The Final Entries 1945: The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels, translator not listed, G. Putnam and Sons, New York, 1978. Diary entries with minimal editing, from Feb. 27 through April 9, 1945.
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There is a continuing discussion among historians--NS, Revisionist and mainstream alike--as to the authenticity and reliability of the transcripts of Adolf Hitler's private conversations published variously as Hitler's Table Talk and Hitler's Secret Conversations. These transcripts are not verbatim record's of Hitler's words, but rather paraphrases of them, compiled by different secretaries under the direction of Martin Bormann. Some believe that Bormann unduly influenced the content of the transcripts, to further his own career and/or ideological agenda. Others believe that the secretaries sometimes got things wrong.

The excerpts from the Goebbels's diaries edited and translated by Loius Lochner, listed above, provide a useful tool in deciding how reliable the Table Talks are. Goebbels was present during some of these conversations, and entered his own version of them in his diary. Thus, one can compare and contrast Goebbels' account of a given conversation with the record of the same conversation as transcribed under Bormann's direction.

For example, see Hitler's discussion of vegetarianism at midday on April 25, 1942. A record of his remarks are included both in the Table Talks and in the Goebbels' diary entry for that day.

This can be done with many other entries are well.