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 stormtroopers 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 stormtroopers, 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 Göring, brother of Hermann Göring, the commander of the German air force and Hitler's closest confidant.
The differences between the brothers Göring were many—their colouring, tastes, aptitudes and perhaps even paternity—but the most striking was in their attitude towards National Socialism. At first trading on his brother's status in the Nazi Party and playing on his pride, Albert repeatedly defended Jews in public and saved perhaps a hundred lives
. As export manager of the Skoda factory in Brno later on, he worked closely with the Czech resistance and once rescued truckfulls of people from the Theresienstadt concentration camp, under the pretence of needing factory workers. There were three arrest warrants out for him by the end of the war.
Unfortunately for Albert, the American forces to whom he turned himself over in May 1945 found his story too good to be true. He was tried in Prague for war crimes, acquitted and spent the rest of his life unemployed and obscure, largely forgotten by history.
Albert's story was published in English in 2009 in Thirty Four (autoplaying book trailer)
by Australian writer William Hastings Burke. The book was named after Göring's list, written while in American custody, of thirty-four prominent people whose lives he had saved, and was the culmination of three years of passionate research
. In their review
, the Jewish Chronicle suggested that Göring be honoured at the Yad Vashem
memorial to the Jewish victims of the holocaust.
has just been published in Germany under the title Hermanns Bruder—Wer war Albert Göring?
(Hermann's brother—who was Albert Göring?). As well as the article in Der Spiegel linked above, it has been covered by Die Welt
(German) and Burke has been interviewed
on Deutschlandfunk's political literature programme, Andruck (German).
in unexpected behaviour from Göring relatives.