My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FORTY-NINE
Hermann Goering

HERMANN Goering was the first National-Socialist with whom I became personally acquainted. He came of a middle-class family, but his mother (his father's second wife) was not of the same standing as the former German Resident in South-West Africa. Nevertheless, Goering was brought up in decent surroundings and educated at the Military Academy. He was an officer in the First World War and ended up as a Captain in the Luftwaffe. He was possessed of personal courage, not particularly cultured, but with an intelligence well above the normal. So long as he was obliged to live modestly his good qualities predominated. The choice of his first wife is a particularly strong point in his favour; and one cannot but admire his behaviour, both before and after his second marriage.

Goering's unfortunate characteristics began to develop when, owing to his position in the Party, he realized the great opportunities that presented themselves to acquire wealth and influence. His greed manifested itself in an astonishingly short space of time. I remember how, soon after the Party assumed the reins of government, some business acquaintance cheerfully and cunningly summed him up as "a grabber". Goering openly flaunted his greed as only a man can do when he knows he has the power, and at the same time is sufficiently unscrupulous to set himself above law and justice.

Since I was on very good terms with him, before I realized his dangerous qualities, I attended his birthday party in January 1934 at which my wife and I gave him a very fine picture of a bison by a well-known Berlin woman artist who specialized in animals. At dinner the seat on Goering's right--the place of honour--was occupied by a man unknown to me, who afterwards turned out to be a successful publisher; throughout the entire period of National- Socialist rule he did extensive business with Goering to his decided advantage. He owed his position at this dinner-party to the fact that he had presented his host with a shooting-brake and four horses.

The Reichsbank's wedding gift to Goering was a dinnerservice in the famous Breslau procelain from the Royal China

-367-

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