|First Lady of the Third Reich|
10 April 1935 – 2 May 1945
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position disestablished|
|Born||Emma Johanna Henny Sonnemann
24 March 1893
|Died||8 June 1973 (aged 80)
Emma Johanna Henny "Emmy" Göring (née Sonnemann) (24 March 1893 – 8 June 1973) was a German actress and the second wife of Luftwaffe Commander-in-Chief Hermann Göring. She served as Adolf Hitler's hostess at many state functions and thereby staked a claim to the title of "First Lady of the Third Reich".
On her marriage to actor Karl Köstlin in late 1916, she became Emmy Köstlin.
Her and Göring's daughter Edda Göring was born on 2 June 1938. Edda was reported as being named after Countess Edda Ciano, eldest child of Benito Mussolini. Time reported: "Herr and Frau Göring became her fast friends." However, in her autobiography, Emmy said her daughter was named after one of her friends.
"First Lady of the Third Reich"
Emmy Göring served as Hitler's hostess at many state functions prior to World War II. This and her claim to be the "First Lady of the Third Reich" created much animosity between herself and Hitler's mistress, Eva Braun, whom she snubbed and openly despised. Hitler consequently issued angry instructions to Hermann Göring demanding that Emmy treat Eva with more respect; one of the outcomes of Emmy's condescending attitude toward Eva was that she was no longer invited to Hitler's Bavarian retreat, the Berghof. As for Eva Braun, she allegedly never forgave Emmy for having assumed the role of "First Lady of the Reich".
As wife of one of the richest and most powerful men in Europe, she received much public attention, was constantly photographed, and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle well into World War II. Her husband owned mansions, estates, and castles in Austria, Germany, and Poland and was a major beneficiary of the Nazis' confiscation of art and wealth from Jews and others deemed enemies by the Nazi regime. Her husband celebrated their daughter's birth by ordering 500 planes to fly over Berlin (he stated he would have flown 1,000 planes as a salute for a son).
After the end of the war, a German denazification court convicted her of being a Nazi and sentenced her to one year in jail. When she was released, 30 percent of her property was confiscated and she was banned from the stage for five years. By the time of her husband's death at Nuremberg, she and her daughter had been reduced to living in a two-room cottage with no running water or electricity; and she, whose gowns had once required multiple closets, now owned only two dresses.
Some years after her release from jail, Emmy Göring was able to secure a small apartment in a new building in the rebuilt city of Munich and remained there for the rest of her life. In her final years, she suffered from sciatica. She wrote an autobiography, An der Seite meines Mannes (1967), published in English as My Life with Goering in 1972. She died in Munich in 1973.
Emmy Göring is caricatured as the character "Lotte Lindenthal" in Klaus Mann's novel Mephisto: Roman einer Karriere (1936).
- William Tell (1934)
- Nerin E. Gun, Eva Braun (Coronet Books: 1968), p. 127.
- Time magazine: "Lady of the Axis" published 24 July 1939.
- Ernst Klee. Das Kulturlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945 ("The Cultural Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. Who was What before and after 1945"). Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, 2007, 720 pages, hardcover, ISBN 978-3-10-039326-5, pp. 187-8
- Gun, pp.127-28
- Gun, p.162
- Gun, p.162