Albert Göring

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Albert Günther Göring

Albert Göring (1936)
Born March 9, 1895
Friedenau in Berlin, Germany
Died December 20, 1966
Relatives Hermann Göring (brother or half-brother)

Albert Günther Göring (March 9, 1895 — December 20, 1966) was a German businessman, notable for helping Jews and dissidents survive in Germany in World War II.[1] His older brother (or half-brother), Hermann Göring, held the rank of Reichsmarschall of National Socialist Germany and was convicted as a "war criminal".

Early life

Albert Göring was born on the 9th of 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 — July 15, 1923), who came from a Bavarian peasant family. Among his paternal ancestors were the Eberle/Eberlin. 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 National Socialists); 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]

Anti-National Socialism activity

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 National Socialists came to power in 1933. Unlike his elder brother Hermann, who was a leading party member, Albert Göring despised National Socialism and its energetic nature.

Many anecdotal stories exist about Göring's blatant, obstreperous and often dangerous resistance to the National Socialist ideology and regime.[6] On one occasion he is reported to have joined a group of Jewish women that had been forced to scrub the street; the SS officer in charge, discovering Göring's name after inspecting his identification, was unwilling to see Hermann Göring's brother publicly humiliated and ordered the group scrubbing activity to stop.[7]

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.[7]

Göring intensified his anti-National Socialism 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 terrorists. 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 National Socialist concentration camps with requests for labour. These trucks would then stop in an isolated area, and their passengers would be allowed to escape.[7]

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.[7]

Late life

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. 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 and not have to work anymore.[citation needed] One week later, he died without having his wartime activities publicly acknowledged.

Thirty Four

Göring's Jew friendly efforts are recorded in a book by William Hastings Burke called Thirty Four. A review of the book in The Jewish Chronicle concluded with a call for Albert Göring to be honoured at the Yad Vashem memorial.[8]

Notes

  1. Wyllie 2007, p. 7.
  2. Burke 2009, p. not cited.
  3. Paul 1983, p. 33.
  4. Brandenburg 1935, p. not cited.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mosley 1974, p. not cited.
  6. Goldgar 2000, p. not cited.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Bülow 2007, p. not cited.
  8. Sher, Gilead. "Review: Thirty Four". The Jewish Chronicle. http://www.thejc.com/arts/book-reviews/42912/review-thirty-four. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 

References

Further reading