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15 May, 2009 14:56

Can I speak to Doctor Goebbels please?

Can I speak to Doctor Goebbels please?

Hours before the collapse of Nazi Germany back in 1945 a Red Army officer had a phone conversation with Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, recalls the memoirs of filmmaker Roman Karmen.

Karmen, who specialized in documentaries, was in Berlin together with the Soviet Troops in the last days of the war.

Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper published an extract of his notes depicting an almost unbelievable situation.

The filmmaker and his military unit were stationed in a village of Siemensstadt district of Berlin. There was a phone connected to the center of the German capital there and he talked some officers, who were his friends, into calling the Reich Minister of Propaganda.

The young interpreter Viktor Boev called the telephone inquiries switch-board, presented himself as a Berlin citizen and asked to connect him with Doctor Goebbels.

After a 15-minutes wait they were switched to Reich Minister’s cabinet. This time Boev confessed that he was a Russian officer, but nevertheless got a chance to speak to one of the Nazi top officials.

Here’s the conversation:

Interpreter Viktor Boev: “Who is on the phone?”
Answer: “The Imperial Minister of Propaganda Doctor Goebbels.”
Boev: “You are speaking to a Russian officer. I would like to ask you a few questions.”
Goebbels: “Please, I’m listening.”
B: “For how much longer are you able to and are intending to fight for Berlin?”
G: “A few… (slurred words).”
B: “What, several weeks?!”
G: “Oh no, months!”
B: “One more question – when and in what direction are you thinking to get out of Berlin?”
G: “I consider this question to be impudent and inappropriate.”
B: “Bear in mind, Mister Goebbels, that we will find you wherever you will be, and a gibbet has already been prepared for you.”
(In reply, an uncertain grunting was heard through the phone)
B: “Do you have any questions for me?”
“No” – said Doctor Goebbels with an angry voice and hanged up the phone.

After that the officers wrote an official act, in which they stenographed the whole conversation, and handed it over to communication officers, who arrived at the scene minutes after Goebbels hanged the phone.

Nobody was punished after the incident, and the story of the phone call became a hit at the frontline. Karmen says even the first commander of the Soviet occupation zone in Germany Marshal Georgy Zhukov knew about it and laughed.

Meanwhile, Doctor Goebbels committed suicide 48 hours after talking to Viktor Boev.