Werner Naumann (16 June 1909 – 25 October 1982) was State Secretary in Joseph Goebbels' Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda during the Third Reich. He was appointed head of the Propaganda Ministry by Führer Adolf Hitler in his political testament after Goebbels was promoted to Reichskanzler. Naumann was present in the Führerbunker in Berlin in late April 1945.
Early life and political career
Naumann was born in Guhrau in Silesia, Prussia, Germany. After finishing school, he studied political economics. Naumann joined the NSDAP in 1928. Naumann became a member of the SA where he rose to the rank of Brigadeführer by 1933. Thereafter, Naumann joined the SS. In 1937 he was Chief of the Propaganda Office in Breslau.
A year later he was made the personal aide of Joseph Goebbels and in 1942 became his assistant secretary. His official title was "Undersecretary and Chief of the Minister's Office in the Propaganda Ministry". In April 1944 Naumann was named State Secretary in the Propaganda Ministry. He was a member of the Freundeskreis Reichsführer SS around Heinrich Himmler and served in the Waffen-SS during World War II.
He was appointed Propaganda Minister in the Flensburg government of Karl Dönitz by Hitler's Testament of 29 April 1945. On 1 May 1945, he was the leader of break-out group number 3 from the Führerbunker. The group included Martin Bormann, Hans Baur, Ludwig Stumpfegger and Artur Axmann. Erich Kempka testified at Nuremberg that he had last seen Naumann walking a metre in front of Martin Bormann when a Soviet rocket exploded by Bormann while crossing the Weidendammer Bridge under heavy fire in Berlin. According to Axmann, the group followed a Tiger tank which spearheaded the first attempt to storm across the bridge, but it was destroyed. Bormann, Stumpfegger and himself were "knocked over" when the tank was hit. Axmann crawled to a shellhole where he met up again with Naumann, Bormann, Baur, and Stumpfegger; they all made it across the bridge. From that group, only Naumann and Axmann escaped from the Soviet Army encirclement of Berlin and made it to western Germany.
Following Germany's defeat, Naumann lived under an assumed name for five years. He reemerged after the 1950 amnesty and resumed his contacts within the far right, including Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Ernst Achenbach, Arthur Axmann, Otto Skorzeny and many others.
Naumann was arrested by the British Army on 16 January 1953 and accused of being the leader of a Neo-Nazi group that attempted to infiltrate West German political parties;[Note 1] he was released after seven months in custody. Later on, he became director at a metal firm in Lüdenscheid owned by Goebbels' stepson Harald Quandt. He died in 1982 in Lüdenscheid in North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany, aged 73. Naumann's own book Nau Nau gefährdet das Empire was published by Dürer Haus in 1953.
- Beevor, Antony (2002). Berlin: The Downfall 1945. London: Viking-Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-670-03041-5.
- Joachimsthaler, Anton (1999) . The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, the Evidence, the Truth. Trans. Helmut Bögler. London: Brockhampton Press. ISBN 978-1-86019-902-8.
- O'Donnell, James Preston (1978). The Bunker: The History of the Reich Chancellery Group. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-395-25719-7.
- Tauber, Kurt (1967). Beyond Eagle and Swastika: German Nationalism Since 1945. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press.
- Walters, Guy (2016). Naumann's War: The Life of Werner Naumann from 1909 to 1945.