Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of an exclusive little wedding ceremony in a tiny but prestigious venue under the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. The bride wore black. Champagne was served, but the teetotal groom did not partake. In the next room, one of the guests was busy typing the groom’s last will and testament.
Seventy-five years ago today, the honeymoon was already over—the bride swallowed prussic acid and the groom shot himself. The notary who had performed the wedding was killed in battle that same day, back topside on the deadly Berlin streets. One of the witnesses and his wife committed suicide the following day, but not before murdering their six children. The other witness lasted one day longer, chowing down on a cyanide capsule to avoid being captured by Soviet soldiers.
You really couldn’t make this stuff up.
In his terrible way, Hitler was perfect: the ultimate exemplar of a malignant charismatic leader drawing whole nations behind him on the road to the abyss. His personal Gӧtterdӓmmerung even had a sick irony to it; defeated, he wanted the entire Volk to die with him—in the event, he managed to take along at least his bride and his dog.