Albert Göring

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Albert Göring
Born Albert Günther Göring
(1895-03-09)9 March 1895
Friedenau, Berlin, Germany
Died 20 December 1966(1966-12-20) (aged 71)
Munich, West Germany
Nationality German
Occupation Businessman
Parents Heinrich Ernst Göring (father)
Relatives Hermann Göring (brother)

Albert Günther Göring (9 March 1895 - 20 December 1966) was a German businessman, notable for helping Jews and dissidents survive in Germany in World War II.[1] His older brother, Hermann Göring, was the head of the German Luftwaffe, and a leading member of the Nazi Party.

Family Background[edit]

Albert Göring was born on 9 March 1895 in the Berlin suburb of Friedenau.[2] He was the fifth child of the former Reichskommissar to German South-West Africa and German Consul General to Haiti, Heinrich Ernst Göring, and Franziska "Fanny" Tiefenbrunn (1859 — 15 July 1923), who came from a Bavarian peasant family. Göring was a relative of numerous descendants of the Eberle/Eberlin in Switzerland and Germany, among them German Counts Zeppelin, including aviation pioneer Ferdinand von Zeppelin; German nationalistic art historian Hermann Grimm (author of concept of the German hero as a mover of history that was embraced by the Nazis); the Swiss historian of art and cultural, political and social thinker Jacob Burckhardt; Swiss diplomat, historian and President of International Red Cross Carl J. Burckhardt; the Merck family, the owners of the German pharmaceutical giant Merck; major German Catholic writer and poet Gertrud von Le Fort.[3]

The Göring family lived with their children’s aristocratic godfather of Jewish heritage, Ritter Hermann von Epenstein, in his Veldenstein and Mauterndorf castles. Von Epenstein was a prominent physician and acted as a surrogate father to the children as Heinrich Göring was often absent from the family home. Göring was one of five children, his brothers were Hermann Göring and Karl Ernst Göring; his sisters were Olga Therese Sophia and Paula Elisabeth Rosa Göring, the last of whom were children of his father's first marriage.[4]

Von Epenstein began a long-term affair with Franziska Göring about a year before Albert's birth.[5] A strong physical resemblance between von Epenstein and Albert Göring led many people to believe that the two were father and son. If this is true it would indicate that Albert Göring had Jewish paternal ancestry.[5] However, Franziska Göring had accompanied her husband to his post in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and lived there with him between March 1893 and the summer of 1894 which casts doubt on the truth behind these rumours. [6]

Anti-Nazi activity[edit]

Göring seemed to have acquired his godfather's character as a bon vivant and looked set to lead an unremarkable life as a filmmaker, until the Nazis came to power in 1933. Unlike his elder brother Hermann, who was a leading party member, Albert Göring despised Nazism and the brutality that it involved.

Many anecdotal stories exist about Göring's blatant, obstreperous and often dangerous resistance to the Nazi ideology and regime.[7] For example, Albert is reported to have joined a group of Jewish women that had been forced to scrub the street. The SS officer in charge inspected his identification, ordered the group scrubbing activity to stop after realizing he had been placed in a position to be held responsible for allowing Hermann Göring's brother to be publicly humiliated.[8]

Albert Göring also used his influence to get his Jewish former boss Oskar Pilzer freed after the Nazis had arrested him. Göring then helped Pilzer and his family escape from Germany. He is reported to have done the same for many other dissidents.[8]

Göring intensified his anti-Nazi activity when he was made export director at the Škoda Works in Czechoslovakia. Here, he encouraged minor acts of sabotage and had contact with the Czech resistance. On many occasions, Göring forged his brother's signature on transit documents to enable dissidents to escape. When he was caught, he used his brother's influence to get himself released. Göring also sent trucks to Nazi concentration camps with requests for labour. These trucks would then stop in an isolated area, and their passengers would be allowed to escape.[8]

After the war, Albert Göring was questioned during the Nuremberg Tribunal. However, many of the people whom he had helped testified on his behalf, and he was released. Soon afterwards, Göring was arrested by the Czechs but was once again freed when the full extent of his activities became known.[8]

In 2010 Edda Göring, the daughter of Hermann, said of Albert Göring in an article in The Guardian

He could certainly help people in need himself financially and with his personal influence, but, as soon as it was necessary to involve higher ­authority or ­officials, then he had to have the ­support of my father, which he did get.[9]

Later life[edit]

Göring then returned to Germany but found himself shunned because of his family name. He found occasional work as a writer and translator, living in a modest flat far from the baronial splendour of his childhood. Before his death Göring was living on a pension from the government. He knew that if he was married, the pension would transfer to his wife after his death. As a sign of gratitude, in 1966 Göring married his housekeeper so she could receive his pension. One week later, he died without having his wartime activities publicly acknowledged.

The book Thirty Four[edit]

Göring’s humanitarian efforts are recorded in a book by William Hastings Burke called Thirty Four (ISBN 9780956371201). A review of the book in The Jewish Chronicle concluded with a call for Albert Göring to be honoured at the Yad Vashem memorial.[10]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wyllie 2007, p. 7.
  2. ^ Burke 2009, p. not cited.
  3. ^ Paul 1983, p. 33.
  4. ^ Brandenburg 1935, p. not cited.
  5. ^ a b Mosley 1974, p. not cited.
  6. ^ Burke 2009, p. 26 and 27.
  7. ^ Goldgar 2000, p. not cited.
  8. ^ a b c d Bülow 2007, p. not cited.
  9. ^ William Hastings Burke, 'Albert Göring, Hermann's anti-Nazi brother' in The Guardian dated 20 February 2010 online at guardian.co.uk, accessed 12 December 2012
  10. ^ Sher, Gilead. "Review: Thirty Four". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]