In the dying days of Nazi Germany, Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda killed their six children with cyanide in Hitler's underground bunker and committed suicide. Goebbels' step-son, Harald—then a prisoner of war in Benghazi—survived the war, and like his half-brother Herbert became one of the most successful industrialists in Germany. Today their children and other relatives live on, many of them as billionaires, reports Bloomberg in a long feature article.
In 1954, Harald and Herbet inherited the vast business empire created by their father, Guenther Quandt, built largely from supplying the German war machine. Indeed, from 1940-1945, his companies employed 50,000 prisoners of war and forced civilian laborers. Most of the family's wealth has been managed by private investment trusts since 1981, and none of the descendants are active in the day-to-day business of the offices. "They have to live with the name. It’s part of the history," said Joachim Scholtyseck, the historian hired by the family to investigate their Nazi history. Ironically, one daughter of Harald converted to Judaism in New York at age 24, after marrying the son of a concentration camp survivor. (Read more Nazis stories.)