Guilt by Association - The Warrior's Journey®

Guilt by Association

Author: David Causey, USA (Ret.)

Crowd awaits a Marine Air Ground Task Force demonstration at Marine Week St. Louis. Photo by The U.S. Marines is licensed under CC By 2.0

During WWII the Gestapo continually pursued him for his resistance work against the Nazis.

He was also hunted down for his association with high-profile officials like Carl Lutz and Raoul Wallenberg who saved tens of thousands of Jews from Nazi death camps. He was suspected, and rightly so, of sabotage within his own armaments factory, the Skoda Works of Czechoslovakia. There he either actively engaged in or turned a blind eye to the chronic production of dud artillery and anti-aircraft rounds. During his watch the factory repeatedly failed to deliver its munitions. This undermined the German’s war effort and saved the lives of Allied soldiers.

Additionally, he channeled millions of Czech crowns from his own pocket to aid those Jews whom he’d personally help escape from the SS. In some of his boldest moves, he would send trucks directly to concentration camps and used his famous name to extract hundreds of prisoners—under the pretense of using them for his armaments factory. Then he’d drive them to secluded forests and turn them loose with money and provisions to help them survive. For these efforts the Gestapo arrested him numerous times. But he used his famous brother’s influence to escape the hangman’s noose and return to his resistance activities.

Yet, despite his heroic record, this man was imprisoned for two years by the Allies following the war. When he tried to tell his story none of his interrogators believed him. Finally, when the Jews he had helped escape began testifying on his behalf, the Allies finally released him. However, he was immediately sent to Czechoslovakia to answer charges of war crimes. Again he was imprisoned and only by the intervention of those he saved was he finally set free.

But there would be no reward or vindication for this man. Despite all his humanitarian deeds, his own people despised him. In the decades following the war he was repeatedly denied employment because no corporation wanted to be associated with his name. When he died in 1966, in Munich, Germany, he was a penniless and forgotten man.

Why was this humanitarian hero so despised and neglected? He had the misfortune of being the younger brother of Herman Goering, head of the German Luftwaffe and second in command to Hitler. I’m talking about Albert Goering who hated the Nazi regime and tirelessly worked against it, only to be judged the rest of his life for his name, rather than for his deeds.

All of us suffer the injustice of guilt by association. We have been credited for the very evil we hate and have fought against. Forget about our deeds. All anyone cares about is our ancestors, our color, our beliefs, or some loose and distant association between us and those who’ve actually earned the wrath of our fellow countrymen. It’s always easier to hate. It’s always easier to judges groups rather than get to know individuals.

God knows, understands, and appreciates the true you.

If what I say resonates in your heart, then realize this. Though you may go to your grave being mischaracterized and vilified, there is someone in heaven who searches and knows your heart. “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). God knows, understands, and appreciates the true you. He alone knows the thoughts of the mind and the motives of the heart (Jer. 17:9-10). And even though we all have a dreadful dark side, God still loves us. He sees our immense worth and our potential for goodness and greatness.

So forget about the prejudice and slander of others. Turn your thoughts and attention to the God who loves you supremely. His opinion of you is all that matters. Trying to please others or to gain their approval is always a painful and disappointing endeavor. Why not seek to please the God who loves and accepts you just as you are?


Dear Father in heaven, I have sought acceptance and approval from all the wrong places – from others, from my culture, and even from my own government. But I’ve been denied every time. Into Your loving arms I flee. May I find healing for my wounded soul in Your divine embrace. Accept me through Jesus Christ. Cleanse me, save me, and heal me with Your love. Amen.

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