Heinrich Ernst Göring

Heinrich Ernst Göring (31 October 1839 – 7 December 1913) was a German jurist and diplomat who served as colonial governor of German South West Africa. He was the father of five children including Hermann Göring, the Nazi leader and commander of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force).

Heinrich Ernst Göring
Heinrich Göring.jpg
Reichskommissar for
German South West Africa
In office
May 1885 – August 1890
Preceded byGustav Nachtigal
Succeeded byLouis Nels
German Ambassador to Haiti [de][1]
In office
Preceded byDemesvar Delorme
Succeeded byHeinrich von Luxburg (*1855)
Personal details
Born(1839-10-31)31 October 1839
Emmerich, Kingdom of Prussia
Died7 December 1913(1913-12-07) (aged 74)
Munich, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
SpouseFranziska Tiefenbrunn
Children5, including Hermann and Albert
RelativesEdda Göring (granddaughter)

Personal lifeEdit

Göring was born in Emmerich am Rhein. He was the son of Wilhelm Göring (1791–1874), and his wife, Caroline Maria de Nerée (1815–1886). Göring married, secondly, to Franziska Tiefenbrunn: the marriage produced five recorded children:


After a career as a provincial judge, the Dutch-speaking Göring was appointed Imperial Commissioner of German South West Africa in 1885, the first German imperial commissioner, after Otto von Bismarck was forced into creating a state-financed colonial administration to support his country's fledgling Protectorate of South West Africa.[2]

Göring's first action was to gain a 'protection treaty' with the leading Herero chief, Maharero.[3] The treaty of protection wasn't worth the paper it was written on, as Göring was in no position to offer assistance. Repeated, successful armed attacks by Witbooi's Nama clan proved the point. The treaty was violated a few years later anyway by Mahrero, who also expelled Göring from Hereroland: the behaviour of the Germans had become too much and, worst of all, Göring had — perhaps unwittingly — extended his house on top of a Herero ancestral graveyard. The gold rush was a hoax, however, for the purported gold deposits were nothing apart from the remains of gold pieces fired at a rock face. The identity of the hoaxer remains a mystery, but suspicion falls on Göring making a last-ditch, desperate attempt to bring investment into the protectorate, and thus save his failing mission.[4]

The expected vast gold deposits started a gold rush of German settlers and investors into South West Africa, whose behaviour further alienated the Herero. This eventually led to the Herero and Namaqua genocide. Herero skulls were eventually used by the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, pursuing a policy of eugenics.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Ilse Müller, Günther Schweizer, Peter Werth, Die Familie Remy.: Kannenbäcker und Unternehmer Eine genealogische Bestandsaufnahme, p. 275; Tobias C. Bringmann Handbuch der Diplomatie, p. 137
  2. ^ Olusoga & Erichsen 2011, pp. 42–43
  3. ^ Olusoga & Erichsen 2011, p. 53.
  4. ^ Olusoga & Erichsen 2011, p. 52


  • Gewald, Jan-Bart (1999), Herero Heroes: A Socio-political History of the Herero of Namibia 1890-1923, Oxford: James Currey, ISBN 0-85255-749-3
  • Olusoga, David; Erichsen, Casper W (2011) [2010], The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide, London: Faber and Faber, ISBN 978-0-571-23142-3
  • Wellington, John H. (1967), South West Africa and Its Human Issues, London: Oxford University Press