Albert Goering: The Other Goering Brother

Hermann Goering was Adolf Hitler’s right hand man and aided him in his rapid rise to power in Germany and all over Europe. He was second only to Hitler in the Nazi Party leadership and the founder of Hitler’s Secret Police, the Gestapo. And to add to this resume, Hermann Goering was also very instrumental in creating the concentration camps that were key instruments in the elimination of 6 million Jews in Europe. Besides Hitler Goering was the most important man in the whole Nazi machine.

Hermann Goering is well known in history for his infamous crimes however not many people know about his younger brother, Albert Goering. Albert was the complete opposite of his brother. While Hermann lead the Nazi party in its crimes, Albert loathed anything that had to do with Nazism. In fact, he saved many Jews and Gentiles at the risk of his own life and fortune by using the weight of his name. Here is a bit of the other Goering Brother’s story.

Hermann and Albert could not have been more different than they were. Hermann was the typical Aryan German with the blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. He was rebellious and active. He never did well in the classroom and bounced to and from boarding schools growing up. He finally found a niche when he excelled in military school and became an ace pilot during the First World War. Albert, on the other hand, was reserved and preferred the indoors and a good book. Hermann said about his brother, “He was not politically or militarily interested; I was. He was quiet, reclusive; I like crowds and company. He was melancholic and pessimistic, and I am an optimist. Be he’s not a bad fellow, Albert.” Despite their differences, there was no doubt the brothers loved and respected each other.

When Hermann and Albert went to school to study for future careers their ideologies began to take completely separate paths. Both brothers rubbed shoulders with the future leaders of the Nazi party. Hermann dived into the party head first and Albert remained politically passive. Albert, however, remained quite aware of his foes and watched every move they made.

Albert moved to Austria when he became quite disenchanted with the Nazis and lived off any allowance given to him by his Godfather, Dr. Hermann von Epenstein. He openly spoke out against Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. When the Nazis marched into Austria, Albert would have been in big trouble if it weren’t for his brother, Hermann, who protected him from the wrath of the Gestapo.

Time marched on and the true motives of the Nazis to exterminate the Jews became evident to Albert. He was horrified as he saw the people he knew and respected rounded up for deportation and execution. The chasm between brothers reached its ultimate width when Albert made the decision to help save the Jews he saw as human and worth of life.

Albert Goering started helping the Jews by using his brother’s name to acquire travel documents so they could flee Austria. In fact he was able to use his brother’s influence to aid the escape of Franz Lehar’s, a famous composer, Jewish wife. He signed passports with his own hand to help a family of Jews he had grown fond of and he one time convinced the SS Chief Heydrich to release some Czech resistance fighters from the Gestapo. Many survivors even fondly remember Albert seeing some elderly women being forced to wash the sidewalks in Vienna as a form of public humiliation. Albert removed his jacket and knelt alongside these women to help them wash the ground.

Hermann was powerful indeed and especially felt like he needed to show off his power to his Do-Gooder younger brother. Albert would come to him praising him, building his ego, and asking for him to free some Jews from the concentration camps. Hermann would insist that each time was the absolute last time he would free Jews for his brother but Albert kept coming back and Hermann kept signing those papers. He just had to show how big and powerful he was. Well over a hundred people were freed because Albert was so tenacious and because Hermann just had to show off.

The war came to an end and the leaders of the Nazis had to be held accountable for their crimes against humanity. Needless to say, Hermann Goering was arrested and sentenced to death. He cheated the hangman by ingesting a cyanide capsule just two hours before his execution. Albert was arrested and tried as well just because of his name. He was imprisoned for several years.

Even though Albert was innocent of war crimes the name of Goering was impossible to shake off. He never took the easy route and changed his name. It was nearly impossible for him to find employment after he was released from prison and he was supported by grateful survivors. He failed in several marriages and lost his only child, a daughter, when her mother left him. Albert Goering died a poor man in 1966.

Albert is buried in the Goering family plot in Munich, Germany. Hermann was not given that same honor. His ashes were scattered in a muddy creek because of his status as a war criminal. The Goering family motto is “Wir sind nicht von denen die da weichen sondern von denen die da glauben” or “We are not among those who yield, but among those who believe.” It was Albert, the other Goering Brother, who truly lived up to that family legacy.

Resources:

Albert Goering, The Good Brother, Auschwitz.dk
Albert Goring, Hermann’s Anti-Nazi Brother, Guardian
Albert Goering, Goering.dk

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