Edda Göring was the only child of the infamous Nazi leader and Hitler’s right-hand man, Hermann Göring. Her mother was the popular German actress and the second wife of Hermann, Emmy Sonnemann. Edda was born just a year before the outbreak of the Second World War and led a very comfortable childhood, away from the war. Hermann was the successor to Hitler and enjoyed a celebrity status in Germany. Therefore, Edda’s birth was considered a national celebration. When she was born, she received many gifts, most of them being rare artworks, such as ‘Madonna and Child’. When she was seven years old, Germany had lost the war, and her father was sentenced to death, before he committed suicide in custody. Later, Edda chose to lead a very simple life and became a law clerk. In the 1950s and 1960s, she was engaged in legal battles over the possession of the artwork that she had received at her birth. She rarely came out in public to talk about her father. However, in 1986, she gave a television interview, in which she made it clear that she loved Hermann as a father and thought very highly of him. She died at the age of 80.
Childhood & Early Life
Edda Göring was born on June 2, 1938 in Berlin, Germany to Hermann Göring and his second wife Emmy Sonnemann. His father was a politician and military commander, who served as the right-hand man of Hitler. He was also the Nazi leader’s successor.
Hermann was previously married to Carin Göring. He then married the film actress Emmy and had a daughter named Edda with her. She was the only child from both his marriages.
Edda’s birth was a national event, owing to her father’s popularity. International media houses covered her birth as a grand event. Many sources claim that Edda was named after Mussolini’s daughter, but there have been no confirmations to this claim.
Five months after her birth, she was baptized, and Hitler became her godfather. The event of her baptism was highly publicized, as many top Nazi officials, including Hitler, were present at the venue. ‘Life Magazine’ published a report of the event along with several photographs of Edda.
When she was born, Germany was on the verge of the Second World War and hence, her father remained absent during her early years. She spent most of her early childhood years at their family estate in Carinhall, Northeast Berlin. She and her mother lived very comfortably in a huge family mansion that resembled a palace.
Edda could not stay away from politics even as a kid. Hitler found out that neither her mother Emmy nor her nanny were Nazi party members. It left a bad impression and hence, Emmy was given the Golden Party badge, making her a member of the Nazi Party.
Edda remained in news even one year after her birth. Journalists and photographers waited for hours near her home to take her photographs. She was called ‘a sort of Nazi crown princess’.
She also received gifts from all over the world. Some of those gifts also included rare artworks, such as ‘Madonna and Child’.
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World War II ended in 1945 and with it ended the Nazi empire. Hermann took Edda Göring and her mother and fled to their residence in Obersalzberg, which was considered a safe place for them.
In May 1945, Germany surrendered to the US forces and Hermann had to surrender as well. Emmy and Edda were also taken in custody by the US forces before being freed in 1946. Following their release, they started living in their family house in Nuremberg, the same place where Edda’s father was being tried for war crimes.
During the trials, Edda was allowed to visit her father in prison, and she visited him many times. Hermann was sentenced to death, but the night before his scheduled execution, he committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill.
In 1948, Edda enrolled in ‘St Anna-Mädchenoberrealschule’ (Saint Anne’s High School for Girls) in Bavaria, from where she finished her secondary education.
Her mother Emmy faced many legal problems over the possessions of the artworks that were gifted to Edda on her birth. Emmy pleaded that those presents were her daughter’s property, as they were gifted to her.
By the late 1950s, Edda had finished her schooling. She studied law at the ‘University of Munich’ and started working as a law clerk. She later practiced with a doctor and planned to become a surgeon. By the early 1960s, she was living with her mother in Munich.
When she was in her 30s, Edda Göring started working at a hospital as a laboratory technician. She desired to become a fully-fledged medical technician.
She began to work at a rehabilitation clinic in Wiesbaden, Germany in order to be closer to her ailing mother. Emmy was bed-ridden and severely ill at that time. She passed away in 1973.
After her mother’s death, Edda became acquainted with journalist Gerd Heidemann. He had come in touch with her after buying her father’s famous yacht Carin II.
They became closer friends while organizing social events where they talked greatly about Hitler, Hermann and other members of the Nazi Party. She spoke very highly of her father.
She denied her father’s direct role in the Jew Holocaust. She revealed that his biggest weakness was his loyally to Hitler, as he followed him in whatever he did. She added that he was a good father to her and that she always loved and admired him.
Edda Göring was gifted a famous painting called ‘Madonna and Child’, made by Lucas Cranach the Elder, by the City of Cologne. The painting was previously displayed at a local museum in Cologne, and the mayor of Cologne and Nazi party official Karl Schmidt gave it to her as a present.
After the war, Cologne demanded the painting back, claiming that it was given away under pressure from Hermann Göring. Edda fought a long legal battle and eventually lost the painting to the City of Cologne in 1968.
Edda Göring passed away on December 21, 2018 and was buried at an anonymous location in the Munich Waldfriedhof cemetery.