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Will Yad Vashem Honor A Goering?
The strange case of Hermann Goering’s ‘righteous’ brother.
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In the Third Reich, other than Hitler himself, was there a more infamous name than Goering — Germany’s second in command, the bombastic Reichsmarshall, commander of the Luftwaffe, and arch anti-Semite?

And yet, on the eve of Yom HaShoah, Yad Vashem is considering whether Hermann Goering’s younger brother Albert is among the Chasidei Umot Ha’Olam, the “Righteous Among The Nations,” Israel’s highest honor for non-Jews who during the Holocaust risked their lives to save Jews. Hermann knew what Albert was doing, but Hermann loved his brother more than Hermann hated Jews, and he hated Jews very much.

Stories are told that Albert saved on the streets of Vienna and from out of Dachau and Terezin. He stopped Nazis who were beating Jews, but of course he would, said cynics, Albert himself was a Jew. Rumors had it that Albert was really fathered by his mother’s Jewish lover, their family doctor, Dr. Hermann von Epenstein. Hermann was thoroughly devoted to Albert despite the rumor — or because of it, to deny a difficult truth.

A spokesperson for Yad Vashem told us by e-mail that a file on Albert Goering has been opened at Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations Department, a preliminary step before that department’s presentation to the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous. The commission, made up of Holocaust researchers, historians and survivors, is chaired by a retired Supreme Court justice. “There has to be firsthand evidence by survivors or unequivocal archival documentation,” said the spokesperson, “describing the circumstances of the rescue and showing the nominated person took great risks to save Jews.”

But did Albert really take the risks of, say, Oskar Schindler or Raoul Wallenberg, others honored as “righteous,” if Albert knew Hermann would always save him? Hermann called off the Gestapo at least four times.

The Goering boys were raised in an aristocratic home — meals were announced with a hunting horn, staff dressed in Teutonic regalia — but the boys could not have been more opposite. Hermann grew up loud, gaudy, cruel, a man of prodigious appetites, a morphine addict and charter member of the Nazi party, a thief who helped himself to the spoils of war perhaps more than anyone else in Hitler’s inner circle. Albert was thin and romantic; women (he was married four times) and alcohol were his private indulgences. He was melancholy and non-political, refusing to join the Nazi party, working in the business sector throughout the Hitler years.

As much as the Goering name protected him during the war, the Goering name destroyed him after the war. The Americans imprisoned him and put him on trial for war crimes. (He had been an executive with a factory that manufactured weapons.) Exonerated, he died poor in 1966. In the postwar years no one wanted to do business with a man whose very introduction stopped conversations: “Goering? As in …”

He could have changed his name, like so many did after the war, but he never did. Hermann had always been loyal to him, and if their name was now his cross to bear, he stayed loyal to the family name.

After the war, in the Nuremberg prison, reported Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, the interpreter for the American investigators didn’t quite believe Albert, for wasn’t his name Goering? Was there a more slithering liar than Hermann Goering? “Albert told a fascinating story,” reported the interpreter, “but one I had trouble believing.”

The stories keep accumulating. Der Spiegel tells, “In downtown Vienna under the Nazis, two members of the SA had decided to humiliate an old woman. A crowd gathered and jeered as the storm troopers hung a sign bearing the words ‘I’m a dirty Jew’ around the woman’s neck. Suddenly, a tall man with a high forehead and thick mustache pushed his way angrily through the mob and freed the woman. ‘There was a scuffle with two storm troopers, I hit them and was arrested immediately,’ the man later said in a matter-of-fact statement. Despite this open act of rebellion, the man was released immediately. He only had to say his name: Albert Goering, brother of Hermann Goering… Hitler’s closest confidant.”

The BBC did a feature on Albert in 1998, and in 2009, an Australian, William Hastings Burke, wrote “Thirty-Four,” a biography of Albert, who made a list in prison of 34 people he claimed to have saved, though the number was in the hundreds, according to others. He saved Oskar Pilzer, a Jewish president of an Austrian film production company, who was arrested in 1938. Albert Goering, using his family name, got him released.

Burke writes that a woman, Alexandra Otzop, said, “My husband and his son from his first marriage were persecuted in the fall of 1939. Mr. Goering managed to get them deported, instead of being sent to a concentration camp.”

It was said that Albert got down on his hands and knees to scrub a street in Vienna when Jewish women were forced to do so. The Nazis at the scene grabbed him, only to learn his name: Goering. As in…

According to Der Spiegel, “Hermann knew about Albert’s activities, yet did nothing to stop him. Albert later testified that his brother had told him it was his ‘own business’ if he wanted to protect Jews, so long as he didn’t get Hermann in ‘endless trouble.’ Albert, meanwhile, had a nearly schizophrenic relationship with Hermann, trying to keep the private person and the politician separate. ‘As brothers, we were close,’ he said.”

Over the years, other stories came to light: It was said he gave money to refugees and to the anti-Nazi resistance. The Spiegel tells how he saved prisoners from the Terezin concentration camp in 1944. “He said, ‘I’m Albert Goering from Skoda [a munitions factor in Czechoslovakia, where the camp was]. I need workers,’” according to one report. “He filled the truck with workers, and the concentration camp director agreed to it, because he was Albert Goering. Then he drove into the woods and released them.”

Der Spiegel adds, “A number of notes turn up in German files that prove these stories were not simply made up. The Gestapo’s Prague bureau, for example, complained that Goering’s office at the Skoda factory was ‘a veritable nerve center for ‘poor’ Czechs.’ The general of the Prague police… considered Albert Goering ‘at the very least, a defeatist of the worst sort’ and asked permission to arrest him in 1944 on ‘profound grounds for suspicion.’” Nothing came of it.

The Goering brothers, writes Burke, met for the last time in a military prison. Said Hermann, “I am very sorry, Albert, that it is you who has to suffer so much for me. You will be free soon. Take care of my wife and [daughter]. Farewell.”

Will Yad Vashem take care of Albert Goering? At this point, says Yad Vashem, “We don’t have sufficient evidence in order to present the file of Albert Goering to the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous.”

Last Update:

11/29/2015 - 14:20
Albert Goering, Righteous Among The Nations, Yad Vashem
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history should be kinder to men like Albert. A million Alberts would have saved the world from nazism and that lesson is the point for honoring Albert.

The fact is it would have been very easy for Albert to slip into a life of luxury during the war but he did not. He gave the majority of his money away to ensure the rescue of Jews from concentration camps and to get them away to safety. Some comment about how could we consider this a real courageous act because he knew that his brother would always be there to save him from trouble is ridiculous. He himself did not know this to be a fact and still he continued to help rescue Jews from Nazi persecution throughout the war. He even resorted to signing letters to concentration camp commanders using only the name of Goering when he knew that if discovered his death at the hands of the gestapo was sure to follow. To deny his bravery, to deny his rescue of hundreds of Jews is despicable and belittles the heritages that would be built upon his bravery and selflessness. Yes he was a Goering, Albert Goering and thousands of descendants of the individuals he helped to escape during the war are alive today because of what he did. Honor him, he earned it.

Usually, for people to be considered as Righteous amongst Nations, the process is that people that were helped or saved, or their next of kin, apply for such and provide the evidence/ witness statements. This is what happened with the lady my grandparents hid with: My grandfather and other former 'hiders' with her applied to Yad Vashem themselves and the affadavids and evidence were ample, so the commission did not have to do work to find proof. This is what makes it hard - if none came forward, the story might not be too clearcut.

While the Honor would be great, what's more important is that he lived honorably.

Apparently Albert Goering married his housekeeper 1 week before his death because he knew she would receive his government pension as his widow. Right to the very end he was helping people...

Then find the evidence before it has perished. If true, he risked everything for you and yours, you have the moral responsibility to do the same for him. While he had the protection of the Goering name during the war it was no guarantee that, on a moments notice, the protection would not suffice. He could have decided to enjoy great advantage due to the relationship with his brother, and yet chose not to. That he did not choose to hide behind a change of name after the war infers a man of principle. Many a truth has been uncovered with much less to investigate than a list of 34 avenues of investigation. Maintiens la Droit!

Honor him!

I too have watched the documentary on Albert. I am a Jew. I was moved to tears when I considered his sacrifices. He was a man of humble means, rejecting the obvious luxuries and rewards he could have gained to live a plump life. For me, when he was being paid for his work as an engineer and manager, and a healthy sum at that - well, having that money channelled in to various private accounts that were then used to smuggle Jews out of Nazi occupied Europe. This says something about the man. He gave all he could and he died penniless. More telling is that in later life, he was financially supported by some of the survivors he rescued. I sincerely hope that Yad Vashem, honours Albert as being worthy to stand amongst the other heroes of Chasidei Umot Ha’Olam. Not just for what he did then, but for what he means now and what he will mean in the future. For if he could inspire just one more person to do the same, and that person another, and another and another. Then truly, it is a gift of G_d to us all that we let the brave know, they are never alone.

The Goering family where of Jewish ancestry and converted to Christianity in the 15th century. Hermann Goering was named after his Godfather Dr. Hermann Epenstein, a wealthy physician and businessman his father had met in Africa who was Jewish. Epenstein provided the Göring family, who were surviving on Heinrich's pension, with a family home in a small castle called Veldenstein, near Nuremberg. Göring's mother became Epenstein's mistress around this time, and remained so for some fifteen years. It is rumored that Albert was Hermann Epenstein's son, which means he was half Jewish. Let us not forget that Hilter was raised Roman Catholic but had many Catholics murdered because of their faith. Albert deserves his place among those that should be recognized by Israel for his heroic acts of courage against the Nazi's.

By honouring Albert, who saved many Jewish (and non-Jewish) lives would be apt for a man who utilized his family name and connection to do the opposite of his evil brother; if Albert is not recognized based on his unfortunate surname then you are missing a grand opportunity to stick it once and for all to the Nazis - that the younger brother of their second highest leader undid some of his vile deeds by using the name Goering for good and not evil. There are hundreds of people alive on the earth today because Albert stood up and was counted, add Albert Goering to your list of heroes to commemorate his great deeds.

Having a Jewish mother makes a person Jewish. Having a Jewish father does not make a person Jewish.
It is really pathetic that he had so much sympathy for his brother- that is his fault.
He could have done more, much more, for in such a case truly heroic actions are what really count.
What I mean by "more" ? Yes you guessed it.

Halachically yes, according to the Nazi Neurenberg laws, no. Do you think you were exempt from persecution in the Third Reich if it was your father who was Jewish? Inform yourself

The numbers are irrelevant. He is a hero.

This man deserves to be honoured.

What makes this man great and worthy of admiration is not the fact that he saved the lives of Jews, but that he saved the lives of other human beings without caring what their nationality or faith was. The world should honor him and others like him, not just one country.

The man needs to be honoured. He saved people. He gave his fortune to save others. He was imprisoned for his innocence. He, like Jesus Christ was spurned and crucified. He is my hero. Erect a monument of Albert Goring.

Ask yourself this.
How difficult is it, downtown Vienna seccond world war surrounded by Nazi's.
This man got on his knees and helped Jewish woman to clean the streets.
There is a famous Jew welknown in the Christian world who did something like this.
He went on his knees, and washed feet.
Not manny man wil have the balls to repeat Albert

What happened with that Jewish saying, "He who saves one life, saves the world entire." ??? This man, Albert, could have been taken out by a trigger happy Nazi thug at any given time, signing letters with his brother's name, scrubbing side walks, allowing prisoners to escape from concentration camps. Half German, full German, nefarious and notorious last name, fuggedaboudit! He saved many lives. Are you forgetting your own sacred words? The world needs to honor more men like these to elicit the fact that sometimes, every now and again, the determination and selflessness of one, can save countless lives and allow their descendants to inhabit the earth. For the chances and sacrifices not to mention daring bold maneuvers under the police states' noses, it can only be concluded that this man is without question... a hero. For the world's sake if not only for inspiration, plant a tree for this man on your Avenue of the Righteous. There are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers , cousins, every family denomination you can name because of Albert Goering. You always say' "WE shall never forget." Well, don't start now.

i have just watched a film on albert goering and after watching it i do think the jewish nation should award him the highest honour they can and just to say i am not jewish but british but i have talked to my children and my grandchildren[13 and7] what went on in the war the best i can and if the jewish people grant albert this award it would show other parts of the world not to forget but also to remember the brave men and women who lived and died so a jewish state could be born and live in freedem

I have just this evening viewed a television documentary investigating the truth of Albert Goering's anti-Nazi activities, hence my arrival at your site. I was actually googling to find out what evidence the Nuremberg investigators had, or thought they had, against this unusual man. So far I haven't found anything that would warrant their holding him in custody for 2 years. I guess the name alone would have been enough to indict him by association.

It's easy to believe that he may have been half-Jewish, as he had an almost compulsive drive to rescue and assist Jews wherever he found them being hurt or tormented. Perhaps he had an innate sympatico with their suffering that was genetically endowed. But there again, very hard to prove his paternal lineage and that he was only a half-brother to the hated Hermann.

This is a tough one for the Yad Vashem to decide. Evidence grows thinner as each year passes, and aged survivors of Nazi tyranny pass away. On the strength of what I saw in the investigative documentary I'd personally award Albert a place in the Righteous Among The Nations.

I believe he deserves this high honour as a man who risked his own life over and over to save others. He could so easily have been clubbed to death or shot on the spot, and he must have known the enormous risks he was taking. How many amongst us could have done the same?

Don't let the family name stop him from getting his award . I 'm sure he'd have recognition by now only for his family name. To even risk defying the Nazi party was bordering on suicide and he could easily have been shot on the spot before the police could determine who his brother was.

I feel, having looked at the evidence, that he should be honoured. He used his family name to save Jews and gentiles from the National Socialists. His name, allied to his pen, were his weapons in his fight to stop the tyranny of Hitler and his 'golden pheasants.'
Yad Vashem should honour him as should Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

It seems to me that this story about Albert G. cannot be true! It just isnt possible that anything like this could be a fact without being made public previously. Also according to the Hitler standards, even as a brother or Herman G. - he probably would not have been able to live freely and without being censored or hindered when acting to protect jews (considered officially as 'enemies of the state') . Thus I just cant believe this!

Israel must be proud to have hundreds of valiant men like Albert in their mist - they brave IDF thugs every week marching in the peaceful protests throughout West Bank against cruelty, inhumanity and humiliation that is occupation.

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