What's in a name?

The boys, Hermann and Albert, were just two years apart in age and grew up in the castle of Veldenstein near Nurnberg in Germany. Ironically, as it would turn out, the castle was owned by their mother’s lover, Ritter von Epenstein, a Jew. Hermann, the older of the boys, was loud, brash, and outgoing. Albert was the quiet one, introspective, a reader. They could not have been more different. Hermann was 19 when he joined the fledging German Air Force as WWI began. In another 20 years he would be infamous as Germany’s top military commander, founder of the Gestapo, and Hitler’s right-hand man - Hermann Goering. Albert Goering, on the other hand, hated Nazism and moved to Vienna, but in the years that followed, he found his well-known name quite useful. He saved his Jewish friends and complete strangers by simply forging papers and signing his brother’s name. He even sent trucks to concentration camps with orders for “workers”, and then sent them into forests where the prisoners were released. After the war, however, his name would haunt him. He was imprisoned as a potential war criminal and only released on the testimony of 34 Jews whom he had saved. Even so, he could find no one who would hire a man with the hated Goering name. He lived the remainder of his life an alcoholic subsisting on a small government pension. But until his death in 1966, the food packages never stopped arriving on his doorstep, gifts from those he had saved, those who called his name blessed. Sometimes heroism is facing impossible odds and simply trying…

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