Leif GW Persson has been fascinated by the intrigues that took place once upon a time in the area of his own farm in Sörmland.
It is about the Nazi leader Hermann Göring’s marriage to the Swedish noblewoman Carin von Kantzow. And the long friendship with the Swedish count Eric von Rosen and his wife Mary.
Sat on the first bench
In the SVT documentary “GW tells – Göring in Sweden“shows how a Swedish family sits on the first floor when German Nazism emerges in the 1920s, when it takes over Germany in the 1930s and drives the world to disaster in the 1940s.
A recurring question is: how much was known about the Nazi war crimes? What did Hermann Göring’s friends in Sweden know about the Holocaust of six many Jews?
– There is nothing to suggest their distribution when the German eagle has fallen and you stand there with the result in hand, says GW in the documentary.
It all started on a cold February evening in 1920. The adventurer and explorer Count Eric von Rosen decided to take a taxi flight from Stockholm to his Rockelsta castle in Sörmland. Rich people could indulge in that luxury, but in the blizzard it was difficult to find a pilot.
The young former fighter pilot Hermann Göring, who after the First World War insures himself as a civilian pilot in Denmark and Sweden, accepted the slightly dangerous assignment. After a successful landing, he offered a night shelter at the castle and by chance Carin von Kantzow was there then. She was the sister of Eric von Rosen’s wife Mary.
It said click immediately
Hermann Göring fell like a pine for Carin and the feelings were answered. She abandoned her husband and son in Sweden and accompanied Göring to Europe. Therefore, within a few years, they ended up in the top shit of the German Nazi party. Hermann Göring was appointed Adolf Hitler’s deputy and Carin became very popular. The couple was seen as an asset with their entrances in the upper class.
Carin, who soon married Göring, wrote many letters home to her mother in Sweden. There, Hitler’s ideas and anti – Semitism were described in very positive terms.
Adolf Hitler also spoke fondly of Carin Göring:
“You are the mascot of the movement, where you are successful in everything”, exclaimed Hitler once.
But Carin Göring suffered from poor health and a dog as early as 1931. She was then visiting Stockholm and was buried at Lovö church in Lake Mälaren.
Hermann Göring, however, later had her remains transported to his enormous country estate outside Berlin. It was a combination of hunting castle and mausoleum in honor of the wife. Göring called it Carinhall.
When the coffin was buried on German soil, all the leading Nazis were present, including Adolf Hitler. Göring’s brother-in-law Eric von Rosen and Mary were also there and in pictures from the grand propaganda ceremony, they are seen doing the sieg heil greeting with outstretched right arms.
The von Rosen family and also Carin’s son in their first marriage, Thomas von Kantzow, remained Hermann Göring’s confidants during the horrific years that followed until the end of World War II in 1945. Göring founded the Gestapo and was responsible for setting up the first concentration camps under the swastika.
Eric von Rosen and Thomas von Kantzow expressed their support for Göring even when he and several other Nazis were sentenced to death for war crimes at the Nuremberg Trials in 1945.
Many Swedes supported Hitler
Sweden’s relationship with Nazi Germany was not the subject of a critical debate until much later. But it was no secret that many Swedes, not least in the upper class and the military, looked up to Adolf Hitler during his initial years in power. Anti-Semitism also existed in Sweden and King Gustav V rewarded Hermann Göring in 1939 with the Royal Order of the Sword.
Eric von Rosen and Mary on several occasions spoke out anti-Semitic, but were also cautiously critical of how brutally Hitler’s SA troops attacked Jews on Crystal Night in 1938. Mary then happened to witness the events and protested.
“I can understand that the German people, for reasons of hygiene, want to get rid of all Jews, but the way?”, she said afterwards.
How much did the family of Rosen at Rockelsta Castle in the municipality of Flen know about the atrocities of the Nazis in Europe?
– They should have figured something out. But this question was never discussed, they never get the question, there is nothing you can do within the family, certainly GW Persson in the documentary.
He believes it is a matter of denial and sees parallels to cases in general criminology.
– This is something I have often encountered. When a member of a family started a serious crime and how the next of kin then enters a state of total denial.
– This is exactly the case in this situation as well. By ordinary human and logical measures, it is in some sense completely incomprehensible.
– It is that common denial quickly of another dignity if we look at the consequences in this particular case.
Hermann Göring began suicide in prison on October 15, 1946, the night before his death sentence was to be executed.
The SVT documentary “GW narrates-Göring in Sweden” is broadcast on SVT1 on 3/1 at 21.00 and can be watched on SVT play.