Jiri Jes - a memory of Goebbels' last moments on the air

Jiri Jes

Although he is well over 70, Jiri Jes is still an active and highly respected journalist and broadcaster here in the Czech Republic. But for decades he was unable to work in journalism at all. Because his father had been a member of parliament for a non-communist party in the years just after the war, the entire family was on a political blacklist, and in the 1950s Jiri Jes even spent five years in a communist jail. He has always been fascinated by radio, and has witnessed many of the major events of the last sixty years as carried on the airwaves. The memory that he is now going to relate for us goes back to the last days of the Second World War, when he was here in Prague and remembers tuning in to an extraordinary broadcast from Berlin.

Joseph Goebbels,  photo: CTK
"There is no mention of it in historical books or studies, but I can swear that it was true. It was at the very end of the war, on the 2nd May 1945, when I switched on the radio and I listened to the German station on long wave - the name of it was Königswüsterhausen - and all at once I realized that I was listening to the voice of Josef Goebbels, who was not only the minister of propaganda, but also the mayor of Berlin at that time. He was somewhere in a shelter and commented the end of Berlin. He spoke to the people, to the citizens of Berlin, to be patient, to believe and trust in victory, and he mentioned also that he was there together with his whole family, that is with his wife and, I think, six children. During Mr Goebbels' commentary I could hear the detonating of bombs and guns and all at once it stopped. I think it was the end of Berlin and also the end of Goebbels and his family, because two hours later, I think, he poisoned all his family and himself and committed suicide. So I am very sorry that there was no possibility of recording such a thing at that time, and if I had such a document now I think I would be a very rich man, because there is no other trace of this interesting event."