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Emmy Goring
Wedding photograph of Emmy and Hermann Göring in front of Berlin Cathedral, 1935
Born Emma Johanna Henny Sonnemann
(1893-03-24)March 24, 1893
Hamburg, Germany
Died June 8, 1973(1973-06-08) (aged 80)
Munich, Germany (aged 80)
Nationality German
Occupation Actress
Known for Second wife of Luftwaffe Commander-in-Chief Hermann Göring
Spouse(s) Karl Köstlin
Hermann Göring
Children Edda Göring

Emmy Sonnemann (left) in 1935.

Emmy Sonnemann with Hermann Göring at a concert in February 1935.

Emma Johanna Henny "Emmy" Göring (née Sonnemann) (24 March 1893 – 8 June 1973) was a German actress and the second wife of Luftwaffe Commander-in-Chief Hermann Göring. She served as Adolf Hitler's hostess at many state functions, which led to her claiming the title of "First Lady of the Third Reich".[1]



Emmy Göring was born Emma Sonnemann in Hamburg, Germany on 24 March 1893, to a wealthy salesman and was an actress at the National Theatre in Weimar. She became Emmy Köstlin upon her marriage to actor Karl Köstlin in late 1916, but they later divorced.

She became Emmy Göring upon her marriage to Hermann Göring on 10 April 1935. It was also his second marriage – his Swedish first wife Carin died in October 1931. Her daughter Edda Göring was born on 2 June 1938; she was reportedly named after Countess Edda Ciano, eldest child of Benito Mussolini,[2] although other sources say she was named after a friend of her mother's.[citation needed]

Hermann Göring named his country house "Carinhall" after his first wife, which was never a problem for Emmy Göring, because his hunting lodge at Rominten (now Krasnolesye), the Reichsjägerhof, was known as "Emmyhall".[citation needed]

First Lady of the Third Reich

Emmy Göring served as Hitler's hostess at many state functions prior to World War II. This factor as well as her claim to be the "First Lady of the Third Reich", created much animosity between herself and Hitler's mistress, Eva Braun, whom Emmy Göring snubbed and openly despised. This led to Hitler issuing angry instructions to Hermann Göring to demand that Emmy treat Eva with more respect; one of the outcomes of Emmy's condescending attitude toward Eva was that she was no longer invited to Hitler's Bavarian retreat, the Berghof.[3] As for Eva Braun, she allegedly never forgave Emmy for having assumed the role of "First Lady of the Reich".[4]

As wife of one of the richest and most powerful men in Europe, Emmy Göring received much public attention, was constantly photographed,[5] and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle well into World War II. Her husband owned mansions, estates, and castles in Austria, Germany, and Poland and was a major beneficiary of the Nazis' confiscation of art and wealth from Jews and others deemed enemies by the Nazi regime. Her husband celebrated their daughter's birth by ordering 500 planes to fly over Berlin (he stated he would have flown 1,000 planes as a salute for a son).

After the end of the war, a German denazification court convicted her of being a Nazi and sentenced her to one year in jail. When she was released, 30 percent of her property was confiscated and she was banned from the stage for 5 years. By the time of her husband's death at Nuremberg, she and her daughter had been reduced to living in a 2-room cottage with no running water or electricity, and she whose gowns had once required multiple closets now owned two dresses[citation needed].

Later years

Some years after her release from jail, Emmy Göring was able to secure a small apartment in a new building in the rebuilt city of Munich and remained there for the rest of her life. In her final years she suffered from sciatica. She wrote an autobiography, An der Seite meines Mannes (1967), published in English as My Life with Goering in 1972. She died in Munich in 1973.

Emmy Göring is caricatured as the character "Lotte Lindenthal" in Klaus Mann's novel Mephisto: Roman einer Karriere (1936).

Selected filmography

  • William Tell (1934)


  1. Nerin E. Gun, Eva Braun, p.127, published by Coronet Books, Great Britain, 1968
  2. Time reported: "Herr and Frau Göring became her fast friends (they later named their daughter after her)." Time magazine: "Lady of the Axis" published 24 July 1939.
  3. Gun, pp.127-28
  4. Gun, p.162
  5. Gun, p.162

External links

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