She was the wife of Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbles.  After the suicide of Adolph Hitler and his bride Eva Braun in their Berlin bunker, Josef and Magda Goebbels carried out their plan to murder their children and then commit suicide together.  Hitler had offered a plane to carry the children to a safer location in the west but their parents refused; they felt that life in a world without the Fuhrer and National Socialism would not be worth living.  Frau Goebbels told the six children they would be going on a trip.  They had all been sedated with injections of morphine and were lying in their beds in one of the sleeping chambers of the bunker.  She calmly placed a cyanide capsule in the mouth of each child and crushed it between their teeth.  Kissing each child tenderly, she moved on to the next until all lay dead.  Then she and her husband ascended the stairway and carried out their suicide pact in the shell-pocked terrain outside the bunker entrance.

     Far away and at another time, the American Marines were completing their conquest of the Pacific island of Saipan.  The terrified Japanese civilians had been programmed to believe that indescribable torment, not mercy, would befall them if they fell into enemy hands.  Many gathered at a place of final refuge on the high cliffs above the sea.  The Americans frantically called out in the Japanese language over loud speakers for these survivors to surrender promising good treatment and no ill will.  Tragically, many chose to jump, even mothers holding their children, falling to their deaths on the rocks below.




Not far away in the ruins

They still fight on 

The boys and the old men

Not far from the airshafts and the rancid dreams


Concealed from their eyes are the spotless clothes

And the golden braids upon the fresh faces

That Frau Goebbels now is kissing

As she leaves each lifeless child in her wake


Then, ascending the stairs

Her grand gestures building to a climax

She and Josef stoically emerge

Into the bomb cratered landscape above

And carry out the fiery last act of this cruel opera


And…off the distant cliffs of Saipan

Mothers and their infants fell

In the same mistaken ignorance

At he parapets of Hell