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|Hermann Epenstein. Via German Wikipedia. Fair use.|
Hermann Epenstein Ritter von Mauternburg (1850–1934) was a physician and merchant who played a significant role in the lives of anti-Nazi activist Albert Göring and his family. He was their family doctor, a close friend, and godfather to Albert and his older brother, Hermann. The brothers spent many holidays with him on his estates.
Epenstein was of Jewish descent. It has been suggested that he was Albert’s biological father, but this is unconfirmed. While Hermann Göring became a notorious Nazi leader, young Albert worked at the Junkers factory as an engineer and later became technical director of the Tobis-Sascha film factory in Vienna and a commercial director for Škoda in Czechoslovakia. He refused to hang the portrait of Hitler in his office and never hid his hatred of the Nazis. He helped to free prisoners and on a few occasions was imprisoned. His brother had to secure his release. Ferenc Lehár, a composer and the director of the Vienna Operetta Theater and his Jewish wife were helped twice by Albert Göring.
Albert Göring freed Oskar Pilzer, the Jewish owner of Tobis-Sascha, from the Dachau concentration camp and obtained papers and foreign currency for him and his family.
Hungarian-Jewish physician László Kovács (1908–1966) was one of Albert’s close friends and his personal doctor. He moved to Rome in 1934 and opened a private practice. In 1943, Albert wrote to the Gestapo in Rome to state that Kovács was his physician. From Prague, Albert opened an account in Bank Orelli in Bern and authorized Kovács to use the money to rescue Jewish refugees via Lisbon. Hungarian-American literary historian Katalin Cserépfalvi-Galligan (1934–2020) investigated the history of Albert. In a few sources, Dr. László Kovács, is described as a papal Jewish physician and a member of the resistance.
After the war, no one believed that Hermann’s Göring’s brother was actually an anti-Nazi activist, and Albert was imprisoned. Fortunately, his former Czech employees all testified to his anti-Nazi activities. From 1947 until he died in 1966, he lived in Munich, neglected, depressed, and forgotten.
Acknowledgement to Mr. István Mihály Kulcsár from Budapest for sending source material for references 5-9.
- “Albert Göring.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_G%C3%B6ring.
- William Hastings Burke, Thirty Four: The Key to Göring’s Last Secret. Bath, UK: Wolfgeist Limited, January 1, 2009.
- Dominik Groß, “The Doctors of the Nazi Leaders.” RWTH Aachen University, October 24, 2016. https://www.rwth-aachen.de/cms/root/Die-RWTH/Aktuell/Pressemitteilungen/Oktober/~meds/Die-Aerzte-der-Nazi-Fuehrer/?lidx=1.
- Tony Perrottet, “The Doctor and the Nazis,” The New York Times, Sept. 24, 2006. https://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/24/nyregion/thecity/24nure.html.
- Tamás Kölcsei, “A Good man named Göring,” Szombat, May 31, 2014. https://www.szombat.org/tortenelem/egy-goring-nevu-jo-ember.
- “Did Göring visit Budapest? The mysterious guest of the Ritz Hotel.” Cool Tour, May 22, 2019. https://cooltour.reblog.hu/jart-e-goring-budapesten-a-ritz-szallo-titokzatos-vendege.
- “Göring’s younger brother.” 168, February 28, 2015. https://168.hu/kulfold/goring-occse-30094.
- Katalin Cserépfalvi-Galligan, “Another Göring.” NOL, June 30, 2001. http://nol.hu/archivum/archiv-23121-12405.
- Lawrence Bush, “Goering’s Anti-Nazi Brother.” Jewish Currents, December 20, 2014. https://jewishcurrents.org/december-20-goerings-anti-nazi-brother.
AVI OHRY, MD, is married with two daughters. He is Emeritus Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Tel Aviv University, the former director of Rehabilitation Medicine at Reuth Medical and Rehabilitation Center in Tel Aviv, and a member of The Lancet‘s Commission on Medicine & the Holocaust. He conducts award-winning research in neurological rehabilitation, bioethics, medical humanities and history, and on long-term effects of disability and captivity. He plays the drums with three jazz bands.