Goering and Goering

Reviews, recommendations, books to avoid. What have you been reading?
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Reviews, recommendations, books to avoid. What have you been reading?

Goering and Goering

Postby Sprocket » February 22nd, 2014, 9:57 pm

I recently finished this fascinating book by James Wylie, about Hermann Goering and his younger brother Albert (officially full brothers, but actually probably half-brothers, Albert being the result of an affair between their mother and godfather, a hugely wealthy aristocrat who, interestingly, was Jewish). What makes the story fascinating is that Albert hated the Nazis, and helped rescue hundreds of Jews and political dissidents by using his connection with Hermann and his own influence - he was a wealthy businessman. The photos in the book reveal Albert as a rather dapper man with a pencil moustache who bore no physical resemblance to his brother (who was also slim in his younger days, and quite handsome in a brutal sort of way). Despite their strongly opposed ideologies, they remained personally fairly close. After the war, Albert was arrested purely because he was Hermann's brother, but eventually managed to convince his American captors that, far from being complicit in the Nazi horror, he had worked against it at considerable risk to himself. Two people he helped escape the Nazis were the composer Franz Lehar and his Jewish wife: by a remarkable coincidence, one of his American interrogators was Frau Lehar's nephew! He vouched for Albert, and recommended his release, but he was nevertheless detained for two more years.He was rather like Oskar Schindler: a hero, but a very flawed one - he was a chronic philanderer. Rather more worrying than Albert coming across as less than a perfect hero is that one is left with an impression of Hermann as a less than perfect monster. He seems quite likeable sometimes. He was, of course, anti-semitic, but relatively mildly so compared with Hitler and Himmler: his main bete noir was communists. Albert died in 1966.
A fascinating book, which I recommend.
Brief entry about Albert in Wikipedia.
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