Albert Goering

The notorious Nazi Hermann Goering aided Adolf Hitler's rise to power and for years he was second in importance only to Hitler in The Third Reich. As founder of the Gestapo, Hermann Goering was instrumental in creating the first concentration camps for political dissidents and a prominent leader of the Final Solution, the murder of 6.000.000 Jews. Next to Hitler the man who played the largest part in the shaping of the Nazi inferno ..

But his younger brother Albert Goering loathed all of Nazism's inhumanity and at the risk of his career, fortune and life, used his name and connections to save many Jews and gentiles. The parallel with Oscar Schindler is inevitable. The story of Albert Goering, however, is almost unknown - he was shoved into obscurity by the enormity of his brother's crimes.

As the brutality of the Nazis accelerated with murder, violence and terror, the seeds of their plan for the total extermination of the Jews dawned on Albert Goering in all its horror - he saw the Jews as mothers, fathers, children. So he decided to act and helped many Jews escape from Vienna by procuring travel documents. Once he had his brother guarantee the safety of the famous composer Franz Lehar's Jewish wife.

Professor Guido Knopp, head of history and current affairs at ZDF, a German national television channel, tells in his book Hitler's Holocaust that Albert Goering was always willing to help those in need. On one occasion - in the autumn of 1943 - he signed passports with his own hand for a Jewish family he had befriended. Once he persuaded SS chief Heydrich to release some Czech resistance fighters from the cellars of the Gestapo.

Richard Sonnenfeldt, chief interpreter and youngest member of the American prosecution team at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, later recalled how the Reichmarshal enjoyed displaying his power to Albert by freeing Jews from the concentration camps. "Albert would go to his brother Hermann and say, 'Hermann you're so big and so powerful, and here's a Jew who's a good Jew and doesn't belong in a concentration camp'," Sonnenfeldt said. 

" 'Can't you just sign a paper?' And Hermann would say, 'This is absolutely the last time I'm going to do this, don't come back'," said Sonnenfeldt, 80, on a tour of Germany to promote a book about his Nuremberg experiences Mehr als ein Leben. "A month later, Albert would be back," he said. "We found a hundred people on Albert's list that were freed. All because Goering had such a need to show off to his younger brother."

Albert was arrested by the Gestapo several times, however was released with the help of his brother.

Albert Goering is credited with many acts of kindness, small and large. Even today survivors remember once he took off his jacket, went down on his knees, and scrubbed a sidewalk together with Jews who were ordered by the Nazis to do so in public as a humiliation.

The physician Laszlo Kovacs had been the personal doctor to Albert Goering since 1939. He later recalled hearing Goering say: 'I defy Hitler, my brother and all the National Socialists.' He began giving Kovacs money and set up a joint bank account at the Bank Orelli in Bern which he instructed Kovacs to use to help Jewish refugees to get to Lisbon. After the German occupation of Italy in 1943, Goering wrote out a laissez passer for Kovacs as his personal doctor.

When Albert was stationed in Bucharest, Rumania, two Nazi officers saw him standing on a balcony and recognized him as the brother of Hermann Goering. They did the Nazi salute 'Heil Hitler' in front of him, but Albert coldly replied 'you can kiss my ass ...'

Later - as part of his job as export director of the Czech arms factory Skoda - Albert Goering was able to save many employees, among them the director Jan Moravek and his family. He protected several members of the Czech resistance and covered resistance actions.

Albert Goering - savior of victims of the tyranny his brother helped create - was imprisoned for several years after the war for his name alone. During the post-war-years he had many difficulties, the name Goering had become an almost impossible handicap. Grateful survivors, rescued by Albert Goering, helped him survive bitter years of joblessness.

He married several times and died in 1966, after working as a designer in a construction firm in Munich.

Testimonies of survivors and a report, buried until recently in British archives, documents that Albert Goering actually saved many lives from the horrors of Holocaust.

- Louis B├╝low