Albert Göring was Hermann’s anti-Nazi brother. Hermann Göring was an infamous Nazi, his brother Albert a secret savior of Jews and dissidents. The remarkable story of two very different brothers. Albert Göring post-war passport
Hermann and Albert survived an aristocratic mess of a childhood, with three siblings. Their father, Heinrich, enjoyed a distinguished diplomatic career as consul to German South-West Africa (Namibia today) and subsequently Haiti. Hermann was a rebellious boy. This had him sent off to military school, where his warrior spirit could flourish. He later distinguished himself as an ace fighter pilot in the first world war. Albert was said to be a sad boy, preferring a book and the security of the indoors. In school, he sat at the back of the class. There seemed to be little other than a name to link the two boys. “He was always the antithesis of myself,” Hermann told the American psychiatrist Leon Goldensohn, who interviewed him at the Nuremberg war crime trials in 1946. “He was not politically or militarily interested; I was. He was quiet and reclusive; I like crowds and company. He was melancholic and pessimistic, and I am an optimist. But he’s not a bad fellow, Albert.”
As the brothers began to forge their separate paths in life, their adolescent idiosyncrasies morphed into an ideological chasm. After serving as a communication engineer in the first world war, Albert enrolled in 1919 at the Technical University of Munich to study mechanical engineering. Here he rubbed shoulders with the future leaders of the Third Reich, including Heinrich Himmler, then an agronomy student active in the fraternities, a breeding ground for the budding student nationalist movement. Albert appeared to remain politically passive, yet he studied his future foe intently. Albert Göring post-war passport
Meanwhile, Hermann, the disenfranchised war hero, began to circulate in the Munich beer hall scene, all ears to its rhetoric against the Weimar government and the postwar reparations imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. In 1922, he was particularly impressed by an orator named Adolf Hitler. An infamous love affair blossomed and, as in classic love stories, a test of devotion was required. It came with the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch − Hitler’s first attempt to prise power from the government. Bullet wounds to the groin and hip proved Hermann true, but the coup was quickly quashed and Hermann went on the run.
Four dark years of exile followed. Hermann became addicted to morphine, lost his grip on sanity, and was institutionalized in Sweden. This period also marked the beginning of 12 years of silence between the brothers. Albert shunned Hermann and his political ideals. He felt betrayed as a brother and representative of the Göring family. “Oh, I have a brother in Germany who is getting involved with that bastard Hitler,” Albert would tell his close friend Albert Benbassat. “And he is going to come to a bad end if he continues that way.” Hermann later rationalized: “We never spoke to each other because of Albert’s attitude toward the party. Neither of us was angry at the other. It was a separation due to the situation.” Albert Göring post-war passport
The 1938 Anschluss − when the Germans annexed Austria − and looming war would bring an end to the brothers’ feud. The two met at Albert’s lodge in the peaceful town of Grinzing, northwest of Vienna. Albert was an exhausted mess. Ever since the first swastika appeared in Vienna, he had tirelessly arranged exit visas and funds for his Jewish friends. He came head to head with Nazi thugs in Vienna, defending elderly Jewish ladies who were mocked and forced to scrub the cobblestone streets on their knees.
In contrast, Hermann brimmed with excitement. He had just arrived in Austria to much fanfare and delivered a chilling speech inciting wholesale antisemitism. Buoyed by his political conquest, he granted each of his family a wish. But his mood soured when Albert and his sister Olga pleaded for Hermann to intervene on behalf of Archduke Josef Ferdinand of Austria, the last Habsburg Prince of Tuscany, then detained at Dachau concentration camp. “Hermann was very embarrassed. But the next day the imprisoned Habsburger was free,” Albert recollected to his old friend Ernst Neubach. Albert Göring post-war passport
The brothers could somehow detach themselves from their public roles when they came together in this private Göring family sanctuary. It was as though their fraternal bond conjured amnesia in Albert, and he could temporarily put aside the ire and grief caused by his brother’s regime.
Albert used this arrangement to his benefit and that of others. “He could certainly help people in need himself financially and with his personal influence,” says Edda Göring, Hermann’s only child. “But, as soon as it was necessary to involve higher authority or officials, then he had to have the support of my father, which he did get.” Albert Göring post-war passport
Albert regularly went to his brother’s Berlin office to curry favor on behalf of a Jewish friend or political prisoner, manipulating Hermann’s ego and playing on his sense of familial duty. In this sense, Hermann was a safety net for Albert. As Albert became ever more audacious in his subversiveness, a mountain of Gestapo reports piled up against him. Four arrest warrants were issued in his name during the war, yet he was never convicted. Big brother always came to his aid, however, politically damaging it might have been.
In 1944, a death warrant hung over Albert, demanding his execution on sight. He was on the run, hiding in Prague. Hermann dropped everything to save him. “My brother told me then that it was the last time that he could help me, that his position [had] also been shaken, and that he had to ask Himmler personally to smooth over the entire matter,” Albert testified in Nuremberg.
The brothers met in a transit jail in Augsburg for the last time in May 1945. Hermann was the Allies’ prize catch, while Albert was detained for simply being his brother. In the courtyard of the jail, they embraced and Hermann said: “I am very sorry, Albert, that it is you who has to suffer so much for me. You will be free soon. Then take my wife and child under your care. Farewell!” Two years later, Hermann was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He cheated the hangman’s noose with a smuggled cyanide capsule. Albert Göring post-war passport
Albert spent two years in prison, unable to convince his interrogators of his innocence. The surname that once enabled Albert to save hundreds of victims of Nazism became the ultimate burden. Even when Albert was freed in 1947, he could not shake his brother’s shadow. No employer would take him on. He refused to take the easy route and relinquish the Göring name. He fell into depression, alcoholism, and then infidelity. His Czech wife, Mila, requested a divorce and took his only child, Elizabeth, to live in Peru. He never saw or spoke to his daughter again, nor answered any of her letters.
On 20 December 20, 1966, Albert died as a penniless pariah, his chest bare of medals and formal accolades. Albert’s list of the 34 most prominent people he saved during the second world war is in the records of the National Archive in Washington D.C.
FAQ Passport History pasaporte passeport паспорт 护照 パスポート جواز سفر पासपोर्ट
1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?
The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...
2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?
Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...
3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?
"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...
4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?
Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...
5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?
Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.
6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?
7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?
During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...
8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?
Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.
9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?
Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.
10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?
A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉
11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?
First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...
Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.
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