Munich Nights Chapter 57: “The Death of Goering, And The Final Burial of Carin”
It really is doubtful, I suggest if many, or if any of the children and their tired parents had ever heard or set eyes upon Carin Goering. Many would also suffer painfully that day, from the swirling train grit entering their eyes as the steam train passed slowly by the flower-adorned swastika flag-draped station platform.
Indeed, pristine, new rail tracks by the railway platform had been quickly laid on sleepers by engineers overnight. And now the newly laid tracks gleamed in the morning sunlight, rather like those polished steel bayonets on the proud soldiers’ raised rifles as the train entered the station.
The famed Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with all its gleaming musical instruments now unpacked and stood ready to perform under their chosen conductor. Sometimes several times on arrival at the train’s final journey’s end in Berlin extracts from Bruckner symphonies would also later be played at the graveside at “Carinhall,” then as the many invited guests arrived for this elaborate Nazi unique choreographed filmed ceremony.
Situated around the grassy entrance of the mausoleum were placed raised brass holders. These could be seen with their tall-lighted candles and protected by glass shields. These would it was hoped shelter the delicate flames from any breeze arriving from the now serene lake. Large floral wreaths had been placed at the entrance to the crypt as well. Heavy unhewn rough stone pillars can be seen also with a distinctive coat of arms chiselled carefully into the sides for display. It may well be Goering’s own requested painted coat of arms finally exposed on that hot June day.
Then seen approaching in strict formation, were twenty well-built uniformed soldiers in full uniform with black armbands who struggled with carrying that heavy zinc coffin somehow down into the crypt. But they managed it, without incident, to place it on its prepared fixed stand.
(Photographs taken and seen later at the lakeside probably by Heinrich Hoffman show both Hitler and Goering dressed in full uniform. But men rather surprisingly holding their caps maybe because of the heat or just out of respect?)
There seemed to be many of the party hierarchy also in attendance, as well as important diplomats, some clergy in cassocks and tailored Roman robes and others including, naturally, Carin’s immediate family.
Although Heinrich Himmler cannot be seen here, he certainly along with Walter and Karen Kyper, would have been in attendance. And apparently, Karen later learned, that the heaped soil had been placed carefully around the crypt entrance. And had been flown in, especially from Sweden that very morning, and had then been mixed and sifted with local German soil to form a clever pattern featuring Carin’s initials.
Karen later wrote with emotion about this delightful personal touch, to her friend Arabella saying that Carin she knew, would have been delighted at this unique suggestion and probably ordered by Hermann as an afterthought.
This purpose-built, carved marble crypt dedicated to Carin of course, is very interesting in its unique architectural composition and presentation, witnessed by the arriving curious guests on that clear warm day, with vivid lakeside backing and a very still forest backdrop.
But however, it all seemed very delusory to a then rather naive young attaché from the Swedish embassy, who remembered those events many years later with a still sickening suspicion for the coming uncertain future for Germany and Europe, when he was just a part of that painful page of the infamous pre-war German history.
The walls of the submerged crypt were designed in black jagged masonry stone, in a once popular “crazy paving” pattern.
It was apparently an original feature that many of the Italian villas of old had displayed in ancient Rome, Karen was later informed by her father.
Fixed to the wall below an unusual arched window, are two, or three candle stick holders. The distinctive-shaped high window may or may not look up at the sky above. It certainly stands out at first viewing and is unique in its placement.
And carefully placed on a black ledge below the window is a tall brass vase of freshly cut Swedish flowers. They seem to have been changed daily by a house servant and maybe flown in with strict priority, packed in ice, each day from Sweden. Courtesy of “SAS” airlines of course. Hermann had many contacts in the European aviation industry and elsewhere.
A secure fixed concrete plinth then dominated the centre of the crypt. And there resting upon it is the heavy coffin with the name “CARIN’ ‘seen etched into the marble stone lid. And with two unidentified detailed crests placed above her name for some reason.
Hermann must have been so pleased with what he had designed for Carin and himself.
Surprisingly, it seems, no heavy crested wrought iron gates were to be designed or fitted into the crypt entrance when completed, to safeguard the crypt from hunters in the region or stray animals such as wolves or boars who might use it as a convenient lair.
Perhaps a possible important dereliction by Hermann or was it deliberate on his part? Who knows? This would have deterred any unwelcome marauders if a gate had been fitted and locked. Especially to prevent drunken, rowdy Russian soldiers in 1945, then causing dangerous havoc in the “Carinhall ”estate grounds.”
During those dark doom ridden days of the war, that final drumbeat sounded at the last in war-torn devastated Europe, that announced the war was finally ending for the German nation and for its suffering war-weary people in 1945 as well.
Hermann would apparently find frequent solace, then it is claimed, and comfort in the dimly lit crypt before the final collapse of the German war machine.
Karen, when she had frequently visited that morbid crypt herself, had found its heavy enclosure very atmospheric for some reason. Walter on the other hand, found it oppressive and couldn’t wait to get out into some fresh lakeside air.
Hermann over the years had so often visited and conversed with his beloved Carin. Did it ever offer him a much-needed peace of mind one asks … who knows? After all, he had always owed her so very much for what she had sacrificed for him in those past dark days. Especially after that failed putsch in Munich in 1923, when he had been seriously wounded in the groin on that historic occasion in that town’s infamous history.
Then later suffering unbearable pain that introduced him to a serious morphine-Eukodal pain killing addiction. This had led at times to many serious suicidal thoughts from him. And this would later force him to be committed in the 1920s for treatment in an asylum in Sweden. And more importantly, Carin’s written consent was requested and given to the doctors to hopefully treat him as best they could.
One can only speculate about the many times he would have visited that underground shrine in the early 1940s. As he was joined perhaps by his faithful dogs and maybe Mucki his pet lion. When perhaps once inside the animals would sit obediently at his feet listening to their master.
He then perhaps whispered his desperate plans and hopes for an immediate escape if possible from the avenging Russian troops, now just a few dangerous miles away, his nervous Chief of Staff had informed him. Perhaps now seeking if possible, Carin’s silent advice? And perhaps wanting to hear her final departing blessings for him, which never arrived of course and the animals heard only silence.
He may have realised that once he quickly departed “Carinhall ”in the morning, he would never again return to that great hall of his country estate that he had loved so much or ever to admire its looted treasures. Or ever again visit that shrine dedicated to his beautiful Carin. This unique lakeside setting had in the past offered him so much comfort and peace of mind, that was now just slipping away like flowing sand through his fingers. Hermann now waited in trepidation watching his deranged world slowly unravel before him like an abandoned ball of wool.
He finally ordered the instant removal of most of the priceless artworks to a safer location. Then he ordered the house and the mausoleum to be destroyed by dynamite by several recruited army engineers. Sadly for him, the order wasn’t finished it seemed, as the young army engineers fled from the task before being completed, as they feared the approaching Russian army for their own safety.
But why did he not supervise the safe removal first of Carin’s body elsewhere as a priority is still a mystery to me? It’s as if he just abandoned her remains to her unknown fate. Walter would also speculate years later to Karen when the subject frequently arose. Perhaps he was just simply surprised how quickly the enemy troops were so close to “Carinhall.? and simply panicked and then searched for a quick escape away from his estate. Maybe he hoped somehow to soon return sometime and undercover remove Carin’s remains elsewhere? Karen had always suggested to her suspicious husband this idea. But who knows what was invading his feverish mind at that time in history? But it is strange that the crypt had never been fitted with heavy iron gates to keep out intruders or hunters or wild animals. Perhaps just an oversight on his part or was there another reason…who knows?
Days later, after surrendering to the advancing Americans, with whom, he apparently got on rather well (the language of course had never been a problem for him it seems) he had also nursed some foolish vain hopes of being able to broker a lasting peace settlement if asked by the Allies. But this pipe dream was denied to him. He would later, with others of the top Nazi hierarchy, be transported to Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice to stand trial in courtroom 60 (James and I visited there some years ago) where in the past era so many of the Nazi triumphs had been held with great success and been staged and filmed so brilliantly by Leni Riefenstahl in that City.
There, with others of Hitler’s favoured fawning court that he knew so well, he now sat with him oversized wearing sunglasses and anxiously waited for his fate to be decided by others. He would later stand trial charged with numerous crimes against humanity by the court’s prosecuting officials. Interestingly, he would shed a great deal of weight and much for the better it seemed.
To a young Carin, if she had been present there, he now must have looked like the dashing young airman she had first met in “Rockelstad “castle when he had arrived in a snowstorm and then entered the castle’s baronial hall. Then later when they were married in Munich on that happy day when the world was their oyster.
He could also give as good as he got verbally from the witness box. And mainly directed at the American prosecutor, Robert Jackson. But he must have been aware all along that the final outcome of this ordered trial would deliver an expected guilty verdict against him and the other men sitting alongside him.
But it seemed this “old dog” being Hitler’s last Vice Chancellor had no intention of dangling comically at the end of Master Sgts. Woods’ coiled rope as he waited for his final punishment because it seemed Hermann had now other plans for his demise. And only he would call the shots as they say.
Now sadly in his cell, he glanced at a photograph of Carin looking radiant and healthy that she had then posed for him long ago in the garden of their picturesque house in “Obermenzing” a then neat garden suburb of Munich.
There they just had simply enjoyed and cherished each other’s loving company. And really that was all they both really needed or yearned for. Being then just so content in their matrimonial bliss. “Nothing will ever change my darling and my love will be with you forever.” That he had then whispered so often to Carin as they later walked through the beautiful Bavarian countryside.
But now alone in his brick-lined cell with a thin-patched army blanket draped over his shivering shoulders and with just a trail of broken memories and dreams that assaulted his nightly disturbed sleep in his cell. He had now decided what he had to do and now he finally knew …. and it would be performed very, very quickly. Because his coming death would be by his own hand and the method would be by poison.
Days later, his body was photographed and then cremated with the other convicted prisoners who had been hastily hanged on October 16th 1946, by an inexperienced American Sgt. Then they too were unceremoniously later cremated perhaps at Dachau, it has been claimed. The collected ashes were later disposed of secretly at night, for some reason, into the River Iser in Munich. A once popular and happy location where long ago both he and Carin had walked together holding hands and discussing the bright future they both hoped lay before them in the coming future.
But now lying on his army cot alone in his cold cell as the poison raced through his body, death now lay waiting to claim him as it will for all of us one day. His dry lips whispered a final loving au-revoir to his beloved “Carin.” Then darkness descended over him like the coming night. And the light of his life blinked out into eternity. Hermann Goering had now finally departed this damaged war-weary world, as indeed we all must one day for an appointment with God’s Judgement (Hebrews 9.27) that he and his nazi party members had almost brought Europe and beyond to utter desolation is a fact. And of course, European officials and the allies especially the B.A.O.R. (of which my late father was a serving officer) were being left to somehow pick up the pieces of the inhumane slaughter and hopefully rebuild a new better Europe.
Several years later, Carin’s concerned family in Sweden were hearing still unconfirmed reports from local hunters near “Carinhall,” that some damaged bones were then lying openly scattered in the forest. And some very near to the crypt it seemed. So was it possible they speculated that they were perhaps Carin’s remains? The family enquired with nervous caution and some growing hope.
But the problem was how to locate them if possible and then hopefully return them home safely to Sweden.
Then apparently Carin’s sister Fanny asked Lutheran pastor Herbert Jansson, then based in Berlin, if possible, to help her family in their search for her late sister’s remains. He may have known Carin socially through the church.
Amazingly he agreed to her desperate plea.
But he was certainly aware of course that he would have to cross that dangerous fortified border entering East Germany. Then under the vice-like grip of the Soviet police and assisted with a passion by the local Stasi brigade. So it seems that this kind obliging pastor would journey alone to the remains of “Carinhall” being on his faithful motorcycle and hopefully, without any problem, complete his search for Carin’s lost remains.
It was certainly not an envious task he had agreed to perform for Carin’s family. And especially dangerous if he were stopped and arrested by the then ever-vigilant border patrol guards with their snarling dogs. So it must have been a relief to him when the vast “Schorfheide forest” where the ruins of “Carinhall “lodge were located finally came into his sight. Then he could just about see the damaged entrance to the burial crypt.
Sadly he would only recover after diligent searching and sometimes by a weak torchlight, some twenty-six bones that he securely wrapped and placed into a used potato sack. This was then tied to the back of his motorcycle before his safe return later to Berlin.
He had achieved the impossible it seemed.
The bones would be returned safely to Sweden. And perhaps by the obliging pastor personally himself to Carin’s ever-grateful family waiting for him to arrive.
But it would not be until 1991 that a fully arranged scientific Stockholm University Osteological investigation would be performed on the skeletal samples.
Then with the advance of DNA and with an important sample from her son Thomas being provided. It was finally confirmed that these were indeed the much sought-after bones of Carin Goering. Her family were naturally delighted at this news. Carin at last had come home to be with her family in Sweden.
Then later, her sparse remains would finally be re-buried in the secluded Lovo churchyard on Drottingholm Island, Lake Malarm, West of Stockholm. And I suspect being placed into the ground with her family in attendance of course for this family’s overdue internment, to then be placed next to her dear mother, where I suggest Carin would have wished to be all along. Today Carin is now finally at rest in this forever delightful Swedish setting.
So in conclusion, it seemed “Carinhalls” loss would be Lake Lovos’ gain and perhaps forever. This is the final loving resting place of Countess Carin Goring. The great love of Hermann’s life.
One of the elderly gravediggers at the graveside that morning was heard to say quietly and with some emotion, “adjo sota dam” (goodbye, sweet lady).
Finally, I really must give credit to two important books that I used for my extensive research into the above unusual life of Carin Goering:
“The Knight death and the Devil by Ella Leffland”
“Goering, a biography by David Irving”
© G. Patrick Battell