The birth of Edda Goering in 1938 was considered almost a miracle, due to the age of her mother, who was 45 at the time, and her father’s wounds. Hermann Goering was shot to the groins during the failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 and was thought unable to have children. Some Germans newspapers went so far as to suggest that Edda is the result of an immaculate conception.
Even without that, Edda Goering’s birth was widely celebrated throughout the German Reich. Her mother, actress Emmy Sonnemann, was considered the Frist Lady of Germany since Adolph Hitler wasn’t married. Giles MacDonogh, a British historian, described the jubilations in his book 1938: Hitler’s Gamble:
“The Reich was jubilant on 2 June. Its first lady, Emmy Göring, gave birth to a baby girl. The child was named Edda. The actress was 45, and her husband had been shot in the groin during the Beer Hall Putsch, so there was the talk of a virgin birth. When Hermann came to pick up his wife and child from the sanatorium 10 days later, the streets were black with cheering crowds.”
Congratulations were pouring in even from abroad, including Lords Halifax and Londonderry. In total, proud parents received some 628,000 messages of congratulations. The birth was featured on the cover of Life Magazine. Little Edda’s godfather was Hitler himself. The baptism itself was a grandiose event, and Edda received numerous gifts, including two paintings from Lucas Cranach the Elder, given to her by the City of Cologne. Edda Goering was a bona fide Nazi princess and was nicknamed as such – Kleine Prinzessin, Little Princess. A replica of Sanssouci palace was built for her in the backyard of her parents’ home in Carinhall. The Luftwaffe, German Air Force commanded by her father, paid for it.
Edda Goering’s perfect childhood was smeared in 1940, when Der Sturmer, a Nazi tabloid, ran a story of her being conceived by artificial insemination. The story was written by Julius Streicher. Goering was beside himself with rage and Streicher was only saved by Hitler’s intervention. He was even allowed to continue publishing Der Sturmer but was banished to his farm near Nurnberg.
After the war, Edda graduated from the University of Munich but worked as a nurse. She wanted to be able to take care of her aging mother, and she got a job at a rehabilitation clinic in Wiesbaden, where she stayed until her mother’s death in 1973. She rarely spoke about her father and his role in the Third Reich, and this is one of those statements:
“I loved him very much, and it was obvious how much he loved me. My only memories of him are such loving ones, I cannot see him any other way. I actually expect that most everybody has a favorable opinion of my father, except maybe in America. He was a good father to me.”