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The Goering Brothers: Heredity is Not Destiny

The Goering Brothers: Heredity is Not Destiny

While Herman Goering was killing Jews, his brother worked tirelessly to save them.


Hermann Goering was Hitler’s right-hand man and the founder of the Gestapo – may that monster suffer true justice for his deeds.

Albert Goering was Hermann’s younger brother. While his maniacal sibling was killing Jews, Albert worked tirelessly to save them.

The Goering brothers, only two years apart, grew up in a Bavarian castle. From an early age, the two were obviously different. Hermann was bold, confident and obsessed with war games; Albert was shy and thoughtful.

Later, Hermann would tell a psychiatrist from his Nuremberg cell, “Albert was always the antithesis of myself."

In the 1930’s, ruthless Hermann rose in the ranks of the Nazi party to become Hitler’s top military commander.

Albert was strongly opposed to Nazism and left Germany in protest. He moved to Vienna, where he worked in the film industry and counted Jews among his closest friends.

As Hermann's campaign against the Jews intensified, so did Albert’s determination to help them.

In Vienna, Albert once came upon a group of Nazi thugs, who had put a sign around an old woman’s neck proclaiming, “I am a Jewish sow.” A crowd gathered to mock the woman.

Albert pushed through the mob, and punched two Gestapo officers to save the woman. His life might have ended right there, as the crowd turned on him. The SS men demanded to see his papers.

When they saw his name, they escorted him to safety in deference to Hermann.

When Albert’s Jewish friends in Vienna were arrested by the Nazis, Albert again used his unique position to save them.

He forged documents, using his brother’s name, to help longtime pal Jacques Benbassat escape to Switzerland, and used his influence to get his former boss Oskar Pilzer, and Pilzer’s entire family, freed. Again and again, he saved Jewish lives.

Whole families owe their present existence to Albert. He saved many Jews by sending trucks to Nazi concentration camps with requests for workers. Once aboard, the trucks would take them into a forest and allow them to escape.

After the war, Albert was imprisoned at Nuremberg and interrogated for 15 months. Nobody believed his story until 34 Jews he’d rescued submitted sworn statements on his behalf.

He was freed, but soon found that his name made him an unemployable pariah. Albert sank into depression and alcoholism, surviving on a small government pension and food packages sent by Jews he had saved.

He died in obscurity in 1966.

Albert’s wartime heroism was unknown until documents were recently unearthed in British archives showing that he saved hundreds of Jews. His life demonstrates that it is our choices that define us, not our relatives.

Reprinted with permission from the Accidental Talmudist.

July 18, 2015

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Visitor Comments: 13

(10) yonatan, April 15, 2018 11:05 AM

Shame on Yad Vashem!

Yad Vashem has repeatedly refused to confer on Goering status as a Righteous Gentile claiming that his efforts were insufficient and not sufficiently daring. Outrageous!

(9) Neil, April 13, 2018 2:33 AM

Albert Goering was a Jew

Albert and a Hermann were from the same father but different mothers. Albert’s mother was a Jew. Do your research and you will see.

yonatan, April 15, 2018 11:07 AM


the theory is the exact opposite. Goering's mother seems to have had an affair with the family's Jewish-origin godfather who often watched over the family when the father was away on diplomatic business. Even this has yet to be conclusively proven.

(8) Bracha, April 12, 2018 7:58 PM

What an inspiring story. That makes me so sad to hear what the rest of Albert's life was like. Thank you Albert, on behalf of all Jews for being a friend.

(7) Anonymous, July 22, 2015 10:49 AM

Choices from Australia!

Good article and Salvador Litvaks,

My Dad ad 120! Is a Holocaust survivor, after WW2 many survivors came and started their lives again in far away Australia,
recently I went for a variety of reasons to the hotter parts of Australia during the winter.

I stayed in cheapish hostel in the outback, there I met a young Tourist he could see by my appearance and Yarmulka that I was Jewish.
He told me his great grandfather a German army officer was. Forced to do terrible things against Jews and others during the Second World War, you"re article about Albert"s choices disproves this

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