Background Project

The following are comics dealing with or touching on Magneto’s background before his first appearance at Cape Citadel in (Uncanny) X-Men #1. They are arranged in order by the chronology of his life.

Prior to the Auschwitz

~ Magneto Testament #'s 1-3 covers Magnus' childhood during the early stages of the Holocaust.

~New Mutants (Vol. 1) # 61 (Published 1988)

Drawing an analogy to the Mutant Registration Act, Magneto thinks of his people registering in Poland.

~Uncanny X-Men #211 (Published in 1986)

A mutant escaping the massacre in the Morlock Tunnels bring the obvious association to Magneto mind. “NO! The horrors of my childhood born again, only this time mutants are the victims instead of the Jews” This maybe a reference to the massacre of Jedwabne.

~New Mutants (Vol. 1) #49 (Published 1987)

In a nightmare, Magneto remembers the murder of his nuclear family (parents and older sister) by Einsatzgruppen. His nacent powers enabled him to survive the gunfire and he dug his way out of the mass grave in which they had all been buried. The SS then sent him to Auschwitz.

~Uncanny X-Men #274 (Published 1991)

Magneto relives the same nightmare, the death of his family in a field at the hand of the Nazis’.

~Uncanny X-Men #275 (Published 1991)

Magneto states he “survived being machine gunned alive and later the unimaginable the horrors of Auschwtiz”.

~X-Men (Vol. 2) #1 (Published 1991)

Dropped into the remains of the drowned sailors of the Soviet Missile Submarine Lenningrad, Magneto momentarily experiences a flashback to being surrounded by the bodies in the mass grave of his family.

~Uncanny X-Men #344 (Published 1997)

Experiencing an implanted memory flashback, Joseph relives Magnus’ arrival at Auschwitz in a truck, as opposed to the trains later so famously employed. This concurs with the eye-witness accounts in Uncanny X-Men #199 that Magneto had been at Auschwitz "...from the beginning" when it was a P.O.W. camp.


~Magneto Testament #'s 4 & 5 cover Magnus' life in Auschwitz.

~Uncanny X-Men #150 (Published 1981)

Magneto tells Cyclops, and later Storm, of the loss of his family in the Holocaust. "I know something of grief. Search throughout my homeland, and you will find none who bear my name. Mine was a large family and it was slaughtered, without mercy, without remorse. So speak to me not of grief boy, you know not the meaning of the word....I remember my childhood, the gas chambers at Auschwitz, the guards joking as they herded my family to their death..." Given that his nuclear family died at the hands of the Einsatzgruppen, it is probable he is referring to his extended family in this instance.

~X-Men (Vol. 2) #40 (Published in 1995)

Legion pulls memories of the Holocuast from Magnus mind.

~Magneto minseries #4 (Published in 1997)

While trying to understand who and what Magneto was, Voght tells Joseph of Magneto tragic past including the death of his family in the Holocaust. (Oddly, the X-Men never mentioned it.)

~Excalibur (Vol. 3) #9 (Published in 2004)

In a quick overview of Magneto’s life, his time in Auschwitz is shown.

~Marvel Comics Presents #3 (Published in 2007)

Magneto recognizes a guard from Auschwitz in a potential ally in the fight for mutant domination. Despite the man newfound appreciation for minority rights (yet without any admission of wrongdoing as a member of the SS), Magneto kills him.

~Uncanny X-Men #161 (Published 1981)

In Israel, Magnus tells Charles that he “grew up” in Auschwitz and that he has “No family Dr. Xavier. Anymore.” We also see Magnus’ tattoo: 214782. Later in the issue he says “Mutants will not go quietly into the gas chambers. We will fight. And we will win.”

~Excalibur (Vol. 3) #2 (Published in 2004)

We see Magnus’ retconned Auschwitz tattoo: 24005, a more appropriate number for someone who was one of the first groups of Jews inside the camp.

~Uncanny X-Men #274. (Published in 1991)

Magneto thinks back on his time in Auschwitz and reveals for the first time that he became a sonderkommando, taking part in the death of his own people, to survive. Instead I carted the bodies by the hundreds, by the thousands, from the death house to the crematorium, and the ashes to the burial ground.” He also remembers hearing “Der Fuhrer's voice on the radio of memory”.

~Excalibur (Vol. 3) #3 (Published in 2004)

Magnus remembers encountering Mr. Sinister (though having never met Sinister, he does not know it is him) in Auschwitz as “Nosferatu”, an assistant of Dr. Mengele who took Jewish test subjects to experiment on to catalyze that mutant gene. Since Magnus’ powers were dormant during his time in Auschwitz because of starvation, overwork, disease, and torture, he remained undetected. “To stay clear of him, I became a sonderkommando.” Magnus instead saw the end results of Sinister’s failed experiments fed into the crematorium ovens.

~X-Men (Vol. 2) #2 (Published in 1991)

After finding out Moira MacTaggart experimented on him as a child, he compares her to Dr. Mengele, saying he heard similar rationalizations from him.

~Uncanny X-Men #199 (Published in 1985)

Magneto takes Kitty Pryde and Lee Forrester to a Holocaust Memorial in Washington D.C. There they encounter the Shulman’s, friends of Magnus’ from Auschwitz. They say that Magnus had been at the camps “From the beginning” and that he helped many of them survive. “Believe me Kitty, I was no one special. If I am a hero, then so is every man and woman who survived.” Unfortunately, before the Shulman’s can let any more of Magnus’ past slip, like his real name (if indeed they know it), the reunion is rudely interrupted by Mystique and Freedom Force.

~Vision and Scarlet Witch miniseries (Vol.1) #4 (Published in 1982)

In a single page, Magneto recounts his major life experiences. In this version alone, he “possessed the power to fight back” and he fought armored cavalry. Given what he actually had to do to survive, and what he actually did in the incident that drove Magda away, he may have been trying to hide some ugly truths while revealing his motivations to Wanda and Pietro. 

~Vision and the Scarlet Witch miniseries (Vol. 2) #6 (Published 1985)

Magneto repeats the same blurring of truth when he speaks to Wanda about his past.

~Classic X-Men #12 (Published in 1986)

Magneto relives his and Magda’s escape from Auschwitz as the German attempted to dismantle the camp in the face of the approaching Russian Front.

~Uncanny X-Men Flashback #-1

In their last meeting before Cape Citadel, Xavier meets Magneto as he returns to Auschwitz on a specific, but undefined, date to gather a handful of earth to bring to Asteroid M. There he weeps over it. 

Magda and Anya

~Classic X-Men #12 (Published in 1986)

“Fire in the Night” is add-on story to a reprint of an Uncanny X-Men tale. It is the entire story of Magda, Magnus, and Anya.

~Excalibur (Vol. 3) #9 (Published in 2004)

A very rapid retelling (in three pages) of the same story.

~Uncanny X-Men #150 (Published 1981)

Magneto speaks of how his wife ran from him when he was “protecting her and avenging our murdered daughter.”

~Uncanny X-Men #304 (Published in 1993)

The immediate aftermath of Anay’s death is shown. Magneto carried Anya’s body away from the fire and when fired upon by police, he killed them.

~Uncanny X-Men #161 (Published 1981)

While Magneto does not speak of Magda by name he utters this very illuminating quote: “Even those you love will turn from you in horror when they discover what you truly are.”

~Uncanny X-Men #275 (Published in 1991)

During a power transfer, Memories are ripped from Magneto mind and he relives Anya’s death among other tragedies.

~Magneto minseries #4 (Published in 1997)

While trying to understand who and what Magneto was, Voght tells Joseph of Magneto tragic past including the death of Anya and Magda’s abandonment. (Again, the X-Men never mentioned it.)

~X-Factor (Vol. 1) Annual #4 (Published in 1989)

Dr. Doom and Magneto have one of the weirdest show downs in comics in which they compare personal tragedies. The night Anya died is retold, with a distinctly negative twist on Magneto’s character.

 ~Classic X-Men #19 (Published in 1988)

While working on Asteroid M, Magneto reminisces about, mourns, and gets irritated with his wife.

~Uncanny X-Men #125 (Published in 1979)

While recuperating on Asteroid M, Magnus stumbles across a picture of Magda in his computer files. She looks strikingly similar to the Scarlet Witch.

~Vision and Scarlet Witch miniseries (Vol. 1) #4 (Published in 1982)

Magneto tracks down the last steps of Magda and discovers that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch are his children.

~X-Men Unlimited #2 (Published in 1993)

Gabrielle Haller announces to the world that Magneto is “Erik Magnus Lehnsherr”, a Sinte Gypsy from Danzig. But....

 ~X-Men (Vol. 2) #72 (Published in 1998)

Sabra discovers that the “Erik Lehsherr” identity Gabrielle Haller announced so loudly to the world is a forgery. They race to track down the forger Greg Odekirk, but Magneto gets there first. “I was willing to deny who I was, everything that my family died for, so that I could find one woman, so that I would not be caged again....You gave birth to Erik Lehnsherr Odekirk, and tonight you have killed him. My secrets shall die with him. All that remains now is Magnus!”

Adrift Towards Terrorism

~Uncanny X-Men #161 (Published in 1981)

Magnus meets Charles while working at a mental hospital in Haifa, Israel. When Gabrielle Haller (then a patient and Charles’ girlfriend) is kidnapped by Hydra, the two friends go to her rescue. As a bonus to beating up former Nazi’s, Magnus finds the start up funds for his terrorist activities.

~X-Men Unlimited #2 (Published in 1993)

Haller tells Magneto's history as she sees it, including going to Israel to “save his own soul, he chose to work with survivors of the camps, and in turn, help them regain theirs.” She says that Magnus helped her back to health.

~Classic X-Men #19 (Published in 1988)

“I Magneto” is another add-on story to a reprint of an Uncanny X-Men tale. Taking place after Charles and Magnus have parted ways, Magnus is working for the CIA (he calls his handler “Control”) hunting Nazi’s in Brazil. At the same time, he is going close to Isabelle, his doctor. During their first date, Isabelle is killed by Control in retaliation for Magneto bringing in a Nazi America had smuggled out of Germany as part of Project Paperclip. Magneto kills Control, but in the course of overpowering their defenses, Magneto breaks though the physiological barriers on his powers and starts to show the first signs of mental instability that will haunt him for most of the rest of his life.

~Uncanny X-Men #275 (Publishing in 1991)

During a power transfer, Magneto relives the memory of Isabelle’s death.

~Generation X #10 (Published in 1994)

During a walk down Banshee’s memory lane, Emma Frost comes across a memory in which Magneto has set Banshee to track Omega Red. In the memory Magneto speaks of a “genetic civil war on the horizon”, and he seems to be using his old intelligence contacts to begin waging it.

~Marvel Comics Presents #3 (Published in 2007)

In the short-story "Hateful", Magneto, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch attempt to find allies before the organization of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

~Uncanny X-Men Flashback #-1

“Professor X” meets “Magneto” at Auschwitz to try one last time to deter him from a path of violence.