Edda Goering: Indulged daughter of Hitler's deputy

17 March 2019 - 00:00 By The Daily Telegraph

Edda Goering, who has died aged 80, was the daughter of Hitler's deputy, Hermann Goering, the head of the Luftwaffe who cheated the hangman at Nuremberg by committing suicide shortly before he was due to be executed for war crimes.
As a child young Edda was a sort of Shirley Temple of Nazi Germany, a pet of the Nazi media. Her father also became notorious as the Third Reich's biggest art thief, infamous for plundering private and public art collections as the Nazis conquered swathes of Europe, and she was showered with an original work by the German Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach, and other stolen paintings as presents.
She was seven when the war ended and though she was not alone among "Nazikinder" in having to bear the consequences of crimes she did not commit, unlike the sons of Hitler's No 2, Martin Bormann and "Dr Death" Aribert Heim, who grew up to express horror at their parents' crimes, Edda never spoke of his activities in the war and claimed she had only good memories of her father, to whom she felt bound "by a great love".
She also retained fond memories of "Uncle" Adolf, who always had liquorice for her in a desk drawer.
In an interview in 1959 she claimed that she had never felt her surname to be a hindrance - and it seems that many in Germany agreed.
For a number of years after the war she continued to receive complimentary tickets for premieres at the Bayreuth Festival.
Edda Goering maintained that a great wrong had been done to her family when her father's fortune (which was largely stolen) was - illegally in her view - confiscated at the end of the war, and she engaged in a prolonged and fruitless campaign to get some of his possessions back.
Edda was born on June 2 1938, a year before the outbreak of World War 2, and was Goering's only child by his second marriage, to German actress "Emmy" Sonnemann.
Her birth was greeted with near ecstasy by the German media and Goering is said to have received more than 600,000 messages of congratulation, including telegrams from Lords Halifax and Londonderry.
At the age of five months Edda was photographed stroking the cheek of Hitler, her godfather, at her christening, wearing a gown he had given her embroidered with swastikas. The occasion was reported by Life magazine as a notable social event.
Edda spent most of her childhood years at the Goering family estate at Carinhall, where she was thoroughly spoilt by her father and his henchmen.
In 1940 the Luftwaffe paid for a small-scale replica of Frederick the Great's palace of Sanssouci to be built in an orchard at Carinhall for her to play in: it featured a miniature theatre, complete with stage and curtains.
A reporter for Life described her as "a sort of Nazi Crown Princess".
During the closing stages of the war in Europe, the Goerings retreated to their mountain home at Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden where, on May 21, a few days before her seventh birthday, Edda was taken prisoner by the Americans and later interned at the Palace Hotel, Mondorf, in Luxembourg.
Freed the following year, mother and daughter went to live in another Goering mansion, Burg Veldenstein, in Neuhaus, near Nuremberg.
Her father committed suicide on October 15 1946.
After the war, Edda took a degree at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and became a legal clerk.
Later, she worked in a hospital laboratory and in a rehabilitation clinic in Wiesbaden, while caring for her mother, who died in 1973. She never married.
Edda Goering died on December 21 last year, but her death has only recently been confirmed. Her ashes are reported to have been interred in Munich's Waldfriedhof cemetery, which has declined to reveal the exact location of her grave.

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