1945, after his capture at the end of the Second World War, Hermann Göring
arrived at an American-run detention center in war-torn Luxembourg, accompanied
by sixteen suitcases and a red hatbox. The suitcases contained all manner of
paraphernalia: medals, gems, two cigar cutters, silk underwear, a hot-water
bottle, and the equivalent of $1 million in cash. Hidden in a coffee can, a set
of brass vials housed glass capsules containing a clear liquid and a white
precipitate: potassium cyanide. Joining Göring in the detention center were the
elite of the captured Nazi regime—Grand Admiral Dönitz, armed forces commander
Wilhelm Keitel and his deputy Alfred Jodl, the mentally unstable Robert Ley,
the suicidal Hans Frank, the pornographic propagandist Julius Streicher—fifty-two
senior Nazis in all, of whom the dominant figure was Göring.
To ensure that the villainous captives
were fit for trial at Nuremberg, the US Army sent an ambitious army
psychiatrist, Captain Douglas M. Kelley, to supervise their mental well-being during
their detention. Kelley realized he was being offered the professional
opportunity of a lifetime: to discover a distinguishing trait among these
archcriminals that would mark them as psychologically different from the rest
of humanity. So began a remarkable relationship between Kelley and his captors,
told here for the first time with unique access to Kelley’s long-hidden papers
and medical records.
Kelley’s was a
hazardous quest, dangerous because against all his expectations he began to
appreciate and understand some of the Nazi captives, none more so than the
former Reichsmarschall, Hermann Göring. Evil had its charms. Download and start listening now!