On 28 February 1945, the Reich propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels gave one of his last radio addresses. He fabulated about an “iron will to persevere” and the “unceasing deployment of our V-Waffen [retaliatory weapons]”. At Ellrich-Juliushütte, a Mittelbau-Dora subcamp, the concentration camp guard Rudolf Zseby was listening. He noted in his diary:
“Speech by Minister Goebbels. Manpower must be ramped up and we will have to endure severe restrictions. The lost territory must be regained as quickly as possible. Heightened deployment of V-weapons.”
At the same time, the dying continued in the concentration camps. The Mittelbau-Dora Memorial Book shows 55 entries for 28 February. On the same day, a transport of 57 dead left Ellrich for the Dora parent camp to be cremated. They had died in the preceding days. This all happened before Rudolf Zseby’s eyes. He made no mention of it his diary.
Unpublished diary entries of Rudolf Zseby (Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial).
Helmut Heiber (ed.), Goebbels Reden 1939–1945, vol. 2, Munich 1972.
Jens-Christian Wagner, Ellrich 1944/45: Konzentrationslager und Zwangsarbeit in einer deutschen Kleinstadt, Göttingen 2009.