Hermann Goering’s Embarrassing Relatives

If you happen to be a Reichsmarschall , senior to all other military officers in the German armed forces, and commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, you’re bound to think of yourself as something special.  When you proudly wear the Blue Max on your chest and can claim to be the last commander of the Red Baron’s fighter wing, it’s inevitable that you  might become a little puffed up with your own importance, and I think nobody would dispute that Hermann Goering was more than a little inflated.

Add to the mix his membership of the top Nazi echelons and it’s easy to see why he might have been dismayed to find out that his nephew was routinely flying an American B-17 on bombing missions over Germany.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, his younger brother was a committed anti-Nazi who saved hundreds of Jews from murder and who detested Hitler and all he stood for.

When Albert Goering worked as a senior manager in Czechoslovakia at the Škoda factory, he was also in contact with the Czech Resistance, and facilitated all kinds of low-level sabotage.  He sent trucks to concentration camps demanding prisoners for slave labour and had them released in remote places where they might have some chance to escape.    He routinely counterfeited the Reichsmarschall’s signature on documents supplied to these prisoners and even when he was found out, he didn’t stop trying to subvert the Nazi murder effort.

Albert Goering

For twelve years leading up to the war, the two brothers didn’t talk to each other.  Albert detested everything about the party that his brother was becoming so involved in.  I have a brother in Germany who is getting involved with that bastard Hitler, Albert told an Austrian friend, and he’ll come to a bad end if he goes on that way.  He worked constantly to protect the Viennese Jews against the Austrian Nazis, arranging exit visas and money for his Jewish friends.  It was only in 1938, after the Anschluss, that the two brothers met again and put aside their personal differences, although the gulf that existed between them on public matters could never be bridged.

Throughout the war, Albert Goering used his family name to overrule petty officials, and when it became necessary, he enlisted the help of his brother, who never refused him.  Of course, Hermann Goering was not ideologically anti-Semitic in the way that Himmler and Goebbels were.  He was far too intelligent for that, despite the caricature of the corpulent buffoon that he did nothing to counter.  Indeed, he personally intervened to save his second-in-command, Erhard Milch, from the Gestapo by having Hitler issue him with a German blood certificate.  (Milch was one of the few high-ranking Jewish officers in the Wehrmacht, and later, ironically, went on to plot Goering’s removal with Himmler and Goebbels, who must both have known his history).

Hermann Goering In the Dock at Nuremberg

At the same time, Goering had little difficulty suppressing his scruples, and his signature is on the instruction to Heydrich to carry out the Final Solution, though it would be just as easy to accuse Albert Speer of wrestling with his conscience and winning.

By 1944, Albert was on the run, hiding in Prague.  The Gestapo were on his trail, with a warrant authorising them to shoot him on sight and the Reichsmarschall had to intervene again, this time with Himmler, whom he loathed.  He told his brother that his position was now so undermined he would never be able to help him again and that turned out to be true.  They met for the last time in 1945 in an Augsburg prison.  Hermann was the big Nazi capture, while Albert, having given years protecting dissidents and Jews, was under arrest simply for being a brother of the top Nazi.  He spent two years in jail before being released after people he had helped during the war gave evidence on his behalf, but he was shunnned in Germany because of his surname, and subsequently forced to undergo another trial in Czechoslovakia before being released, again after testimony from those he had saved.

But despite vindication, the family name proved toxic.  He couldn’t get a job and eventually died destitute in 1966.

Meanwhile,  Lt Werner Goering of the US Army Airforce, was flying bombers over Germany.  Werner, born in Salt Lake City and a US citizen, was the son of Hermann Goering’s brother, Karl, who had emigrated to the United States following his conversion to Mormonism.  Werner took part in 48 missions over Germany, including the infamous bombing of Dresden.  He was promoted to Captain while serving as a pilot.

Werner Goering, back row, right, with his B-17 crew

The United States authorities, understandably, weren’t entirely comfortable with the nephew of a top Nazi flying a US bomber over Europe, and appointed an expert marksman, Jack P. Rencher, as his co-pilot, with secret orders to shoot Goering if he ever tried to land the plane in Germany.  Happily for Rencher and Goering, there was no need to carry out the orders.  While I served with him he and I got along well together, said Rencher, and I believe made an excellent team. I know of no one I would rather serve as copilot with.

The only time Werner Goering ever showed misgivings was when he had to take part in an attack on Cologne, where his grandmother lived.

Hermann Goering was denied his final request by the tribunal — to receive a soldier’s execution by firing squad.  Instead he was to be hanged as a common criminal, but he chose instead to take his own life by swallowing cyanide, just before he was due to be executed on the 15th October 1946.

He’s a peculiar fish.  Undoubtedly responsible for the persecutions and murders perpetrated by the Nazi regime, he was personally not anti-Semitic, and yet, this perhaps casts him in a worse light than some deranged monster.  After all, we expect monsters to do monstrous things, but when human beings do them, it’s all the more appalling.  On a broader scale, Goering was opposed to invading Poland, fearing it would cause a world war, and he was right. He doubted the military wisdom of invading France and attacking England.  He vigorously opposed the invasion of Russia.  And yet, in each case, when the decision was taken to go ahead, he supported it fully.

Goering did not lack physical courage, though his moral fibre was pathetic, but if he had not been wounded twice in the beer-hall putsch, while defending Hitler, and if he had not become a morphine addict due to the pain, would we have seen a different course in history?  I doubt if he would have held back for reasons of altruism, but he was more realistic in his assessment of the consequences than any of the other top Nazis, and ultimately, his initial military instincts turned out to be correct, even if his cynical and self-serving participation in the crimes was despicable.




27 thoughts on “Hermann Goering’s Embarrassing Relatives

  1. More than any self respecting Nazi could be expected to tolerate.

    Pity that the brother had to suffer for his relationship despite his heroics.

    Any news on the nephew after the war?

  2. I don’t know what became of him after the war. There doesn’t seem to be much on the record.

    If you do happen to search, have a look also at William Patrick Hitler, Adolf’s nephew, son of Alois Hitler and Bridget Dowling, an Irish woman.

    William Hitler served in the US navy during the war.

  3. Goerings wife Karin Von Rosen was born and raised on an estate near my mountain cabin . Herman lived there some time . He built a strange place for her in Germany called ” Karinhall ” , The lantjunker around here were mainly sympathetic to Nazism and still are . Goering was a morphinist who spent time in hospital here for addiction . I believe Karin was buried in Berlin and then here and was then shifted again . The local people here still find it difficult to speak about it . It was not popular to bring her from Berlin to be buried after the war . I pass the place often and it still gives me shivers knowing Goering spent a lot of time there prior to the War . Could send you some pics , It’s not the kind of place you visit eagerly .

  4. When William Hitler went to to enlist in the US Navy, having been cleared to do so, the recruiting officer was called Hess. He survived the war and was awarded a Purple Heart. He and his wife had 4 sons, on died in a car crash leaving no children, the other 3 brothers also have no children. The end of the Hitler line?

    Stalins daughter Svetlana defected to the US in 1968. She married the fiance of Frank Lloyd Wrights dead daughter, also an architect.

  5. Fascinating article Bock ~ a lot of stuff I didn’t know & I have an interest in WW2.

    Good to see Hermann looking slimmer once the stress of the war was over.

    How did people like Goering {who as you said wasn’t racist} get involved with the lunatic NSDAP regime? That he covered up / protected Albert demonstrates his humanity. I believe that after 1933, if you wanted to get ahead in Germany you had no option but to join the NSDAP..

    Ernst Udet joined the NSDAP in 1933 seemingly just to fly planes & advance his career “Though not interested in politics, Udet joined the Nazi party in 1933 when Goering promised to buy him two new U.S.-built Curtiss Hawk II biplanes”. I believe it was Udet who devised the lethal dive bombing tactics of the JU 87.

    On a lighter note see Richard Burton & Yul Brynner posing as Udet on his wikipedia page https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Ernst_Udet

    Not that I’m a fan of Ratso, but even he couldn’t avoid joining the Hitler Jugend {hope I’m not straying too far off topic}.

    This from http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/nuremberg/meetthedefendants.html about the Major War crimes guys:

    Goering surrendered to American officers. The officers offered Goering drinks and sang songs with him, but the next day were reprimanded by an outraged Dwight Eisenhower…Goering was the most popular prisoner with the American guards because he seemed to take an interest in their lives….He seemed to wield a great deal of influence with the other defendants, and prison administrators sought to isolate him as much as possible….Goering said, “We don’t have much to say about our fate. The forces of history and politics and economics are just to big to steer.”

  6. If a film were ever to be made about the bold Albert’s exploits, who could play him? He has the look of a 1930s / 40s box office star about him ~ Clarke Gable with a touch of Poirot.

  7. Among ordinary citizens in a single-party state, at least one family member must join up if people want to advance. That was illustrated clearly later on in the Soviet bloc countries.

    However, those of Goering’s aristocratic, privileged background, had no need to join up. Such people are always protected. Goering was politically motivated and saw the NSDAP as a means to further his aims.

    By the way, the Stuka was a silly weapon. Exactly the same results could have been achieved without all the diving and screaming. Udet only wanted it because it suited his sense of the theatrical.

  8. Stuka was an outstanding weapon system, let down by slow airspeed making it easy prey for the fighters of the day , morphed into a tank-buster on the Eastern front with 37mm cannons fitted ( not so much diving and screaming anymore) Han’s Rudel (most decorated German pilot of WW2, actually of any Air Force of the time ) flew one to great effect , 800 tanks, 4 armoured trains , one battleship (Marat) and numerous bridges etc etc , doubt if the Russkie’s thought of it as silly !
    I too, have an interest in all things WW2 related, in particular the technology of the time , as for the Reichmarshall….what ‘ De Fan’ said .
    Good Post.

  9. Some Editing to above ( did’mt even try this time ! )

    “Marat” detroyed at Kronstadt 1941 with a bomb straight down one of the funnels involved diving and screaming and also ‘ Good Post ‘ should read ‘Good Article ‘

  10. Hitler had a relative,[male] who worked as a porter in the Gresham [?] hotel,he married a dublin woman, they had a family,one a boy whose name was Paddy Hitler,they went to Liverpool to live in the 20s,and there is some suggestion that they were at one time visited by Adolf himself there, [and no im not kidding,there is some evidence for the above] Adolf also had relatives living in the USA, one served in the US coastguard,they [3] all agreed not to have any offspring,changed their name by deed poll,,,sometimes fact is stranger than fiction,,,

  11. There are worse living today.

    Do we perhaps prefer to hanker after the dead and harmless monsters of history rather than to have to deal with today’s new, living silent breed?

    Just wondering.

  12. I remember reading an article on Hitlers nephews in NY. Apparently they all made a pact not to have children.
    It’s an interesting viewpoint though. Having to go off to war cos your mad uncle started a world war. You could hardly swan around wartime America with a name like that and not have your head cracked open. Much safer for everyone that you go for a nice run on the Normandy beaches instead.

  13. Hitler had a relative,[male] who worked as a porter in the Gresham [?] hotel,he married a dublin woman, they had a family,one a boy whose name was Paddy Hitler,they went to Liverpool to live in the 20s,and there is some suggestion that they were at one time visited by Adolf himself there, [and no im not kidding,there is some evidence for the above

    That womans name was Bridget Dowling,and she met Adolfs half brother Alois in the Gresham where he was a waiter around the turn of the century. Their son William Patrick Hitler emigrated to the US and fought with the US navy,after a short detour to Uncle Adolf in Berlin where he lived the high life,boozing ,whoring and Hell raising on Adolfs account.

    The story about Hitler ever visiting Liverpool is a total urban legend.It comes from an unpublished, suppodedly a memoir of Bridget Dowling.Called ” our cousin Adolf Hitler.”Basically Adolf seems to have spent his time moping around the Liverpool docks and playing with the children.Tropuble is there is not one piece of factual info to back up this story.

    As for Hermann Goering,The second most pouplar figure in the 3rd Reich.His building of KarinHall was a palatial mansion and museuem of all the artwork and treasures that he had looted from around Europe.He considerd himself a “Reniassance man” and that everyone else didnt appreciate fine art works.Karin his wife who was Swedish had died a few years before,andGoering had a personal crypt built for her on the estate.
    Another intresting fact about Goering was,he had the largest electric train set in the world at that time.It coverd somthing like a football pitch .Given to him by a German company as thanks for a military contract.
    Also he was Reich hunts master,and a avid hunter,who actually introduced some fantastic conservation projects into the 3rd reich,which still exist to this day.

  14. i would still be interested in finding out more info on hermann goerings nephews, cousins(1st and 2nd). All males in his family really. anything to piece his family history together would help. thanks

  15. Hi Bock, I draw your attention to your statment: “After all, we expect monsters to do monsterous things but when humans do them it is all the more appalling”.
    Well, actually none of the Nazis were monsters at all —– they were all only too human. Usually, married men with wives and families with very ordinary mundane backgrounds.
    They were perfectly NORMAL. And this is the frightening thing about being normal as you seem to have observed. Why was not you or I Herman Goering seeing that we are all made of the same dirt?
    When Yehiel Dinur, a witness at the trial of Aldolph Eichmann,confronted Eichmann, he fainted in court. It was not stress or shock that made him faint but according to himself it was the reliasation that there was nothing particularly evil about Eichmann — he was perfectly normal —-” just like me !”

  16. Thanks for agreeing with the points I made in the post. I can’t see anything you wanted to add. Maybe you could elaborate.

  17. You seem to write in the context that some of us are good and some are evil. I tell you that every last one of us is potentially evil and if we are left to choose for ourselves, either individually or as a group, without any outside influence whatsoever, we will naturally gravitate towards evil. I personally believe that this is due to the inheritance of original sin, that inborne inherited condition which makes us sin. We are not sinners because we sin —-
    We sin because we are sinners.
    Now, I know that this goes nowhwere with you so for scientific support, I will refer to the great psychologist Sigmund Freud, discoverer of psychoanalysis and himself an athiest. He identified an element deep within the human psyche which he called the Id. The Id is a deep primoral instinct, intrinsically one with the very personality which naturally seeks all self gratification at any cost external to itself. Morality in any shape or form is unknown to it. Unchecked it will develop the most perverse forms and desires. Perversion likewise is unknown,
    This is what Yehiel Dinur saw that day — the same devil that animated Eichmann was present in himself —- and you and I and Josef Fritzl AND his victims.
    I think that journalism and writing about these things needs to take a more careful stance towards the problem of evil instead of using it to whip up a self-rightous mob as is so often the case.

  18. Sheeple? REEELY??

    KARL Ernst Goring (sorry my keyboard does not have umlauts) DIED IN HANOVER GERMANY in 1932! (guite young at that) He did NOT emigrate to Salt Lake City!! This “Werner Goering” WAS NOT EVEN RELATED to Hermann in any way shape or form. (oh eventually I’m sure one could find a relation somehow, but certainly NOT as Hermann’s “nephew”)

    Even Wiki GETS IT RIGHT!!…Heinrich Ernst Goring is the father of Karl and Hermann, Albert et al….


    Not to mention the SMITHSONIANS Air and Space Mag. article concerning this very matter.

    Göring’s Nephew A bizarre case of mistaken identity almost cost a World War II B-17 commander his life

    By Rebecca Maksel
    March 13, 2012


    Makes a great story, but it’s simply NOT TRUE.
    Hope these links help clarify a few things.


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