The final page of this issue contains the following Afterword by writer Greg Pak:
“In the three years editor Warren Simons and I have been developing “Magneto: Testament,” we’ve struggled with the complicated, rich and contradictory information the comics give us about Magneto’s life during the Nazi rise to power and World War II. Different comics give different accounts of Magneto’s name, his age, his ethnicity and religion, his hair color and even his Auschwitz tattoo number. But as dedicated Magneto fans have documented, the most compelling and essential material indicates that Magneto was a Jewish boy in Europe during the Nazi ascendancy and provides several key details about the fate of his family and his experiences in Auschwitz.
We’ve done our bets to remain true to these elements while fleshing out the rest of our hero’s experiences based on research of the actual historical record. Longtime readers will notice a wealth of surprising new details – for example, for the first time, we’re revealing Magneto’s birth name. And sometimes, because the comics record is contradictory or conflicts with historical fact, we’ve had to choose one detail over another. But at every step, we’ve done our best to remain true to the key moments that have contributed so much towards making Magneto the deeply compelling character we know today.
But most importantly, in an age in which Holocaust deniers still spread their lies, we’ve done our best to ensure that the real-world history we explore in the series is entirely accurate and that we deal with this unfathomably, harrowing material in a way that’s honest, unflinching, human, and humane. In later issues, we’ll provide citations and suggestions for future reading. For now, we offer a thousand thanks to Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for his expert advice and historical fact-checking.”
This issue establishes a number of vital facts about Magneto’s heritage and history:
- His birth name: Max Eisenhardt
- Family members: Jakob (father), Ruth (sister), Erich (paternal uncle)
- Year of birth: Sometime between 1925 and 1926
It is also firmly established that Magneto was Jewish, definitively countering other accounts that have suggested otherwise.
This issue also depicts subtle demonstrations of Max’s mutant power to manipulate the forces of magnetism. The manner in which he gathers the fallen metal pieces of his father’s necklace, the intricacies of the necklace he has created for Magda and his feat with the javelin all indicate early, subconscious manifestations of his mutant abilities.
As stated here, the Nuremberg Laws were designed to strip Jews of the rights as German citizens and create a clear divide between the Jews and “Germans”. The first law, The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor, prohibited marriages and extra-marital, sexual relations between “Jews” and “Germans.” It also annulled any existing marriages meeting this definition including those which were conducted in other nations. It barred the employment of “German” females under forty-five as servants in Jewish households. The second law, The Reich Citizenship Law, stripped Jews of their German citizenship and introduced a new distinction between “Reich citizens” and “nationals.” These laws defined a Jew as any person with three or more grandparents who were Jewish. This defined Jews by their family heritage as opposed to their actual religious practices. Even Germans who had converted to Christianity or never practiced Judaism in any form were classified as Jews and stripped of their rights as German citizens. The language of the original Nuremberg Laws can be found at the following website:
In addition to these laws that related directly to the Jews, a third law provided guidelines for the governmental sterilization of those deemed “mentally unfit”. This was called the Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health: The Attempt
to Improve the German Aryan Breed.
Paul von Hindenburg was Germany’s second president and a decorated military general. He was elected in 1925 and served as president until his death in 1934. In April 1933, President Hindenburg openly opposed a piece of Nazi legislation called the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service that would bar Jews from civil service. He only agreed to sign the bill when provisions were made that allowed those Jews who were veterans of the Great War or the children of Jewish veterans to continue to serve in government positions.
The full language of this law, including the revisions that Hindenburg insisted upon, can be viewed here:
Goethe refers to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of 19th century Germany’s greatest writers best known for his famous drama, Faust. Friedrich Schiller was a contemporary and close friend of Goethe’s and a prominent writer and philosopher in his own right. Ludwig van Beethoven and Felix Mendelssohn were among Germany’s most famed composers from this era.
In an interview at Comic Book Resources, writer Greg Pak discussed how he came up with Magneto's true birth name.
"When editor Warren Simons and I first started thinking about Magneto's real name, my mind kept running back to the fact that "Eisenhower" is actually a German name - "Eisenhauer," which literally means "iron striker." With a little poking around, I found out that "Eisenhardt" - meaning "iron hard" - is a German Jewish name. Given the origin story we were working on, that felt like a perfect fit. In an early draft, I'd named our hero "Ari Eisenhardt," but our sharp-eyed historical advisor, Mark Weitzman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, pointed out that "Ari" wasn't as common during our time period as it later became. I poked around some more and finally came up with "Max," which again seemed perfect - a very common Jewish name during the time period that feels just right for the kid at the center of our story but also hints at the "Magnus" to come."