Author Topic: The Hesse-Cassel family  (Read 178460 times)

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Offline Helen

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #105 on: November 17, 2008, 04:00:24 PM »
...  and at the expense of millions of other people all over Europe and the thousands and thousands of soldiers from the US, Canada and other Allied countries who gave their lives to liberate us.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Nate1865

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #106 on: November 17, 2008, 05:24:03 PM »
Nate1865, I agree with you to a certain point. I wasn't born yet in the 1930s or 1940s, so I cannot speak from personal experience. Yet my parents and their siblings and many friends and relatives of mine did go through the prewar years and the war itself, and they remember how the situation was as if it was yesterday. People of my generation have all heard very personal stories, told by close relatives and friends, about the horrors - hunger, air attacks, imprisonment, torture - they went through during the war and the dilemmas they were faced with in these years. The war may have ended 63 years ago, and it's true that people from postwar generations can't truly know what people thought or went through in those years, but we have plenty of information at first hand - from both sides.

Helen, sorry to hear that many of your family members and friends had to go through such a horrible time. I myself, cannot imagine going through that. Despite what we all feel about the matter, I'm sure we all can agree that that era won't be forgotten and must not be forgotten. I just hope those royals did see the truth about the party and rid themselves of their support and ideals. Does anyone know if Christoph did leave the party once it became apparent what the Nazi Party was about? 
« Last Edit: November 17, 2008, 05:25:34 PM by Nate1865 »

Offline Thomas_Hesse

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #107 on: November 18, 2008, 02:49:25 AM »
I cannot understand why people are not able to forgive. It is an incredible harm to me reading again and again how dreadful that time was - even if the War ended 63 years ago. When reading your posts, Helen, I always get the impression as if Germans would try to deny or negate their crimes during the NS periode - which is not at all the case. Even the former offenders have to cope with these years have to digest them. Films, documentaries, memorials and an incredible amount of money and work of German people and Soldiers all over the world are the results.
Once there must be an end - once there has to be a final stroke. Why? Because of that work of the Germans NOWadays and even because there is something people tend to forget in the whole story: the people on the other side. Not all Germans were Nazis or - even if they were forced to be part of the party - did support the system. The opposition, the resistance: the Scholl siblings, Graf Stauffenberg and all the others. They suffered too and wanted to change circumstances. Not to forget the bombing of German towns towards the end of the war - an act of mere revenge in many cases. The long years of allied occupation, brutal rape. I can easily provide you with a DVD of "Brandmale" a film made in memory of the destruction of Darmstadt on Sept 11th 1944. They even interviewed British soldiers - teenagers who thought they were heroes when bombing the city. They did not think of the 12.000 civilists dying down there in an enormous fire-storm.
 My great-grandparents did hide several jewish families in their house during the wartime and safed their lifes - putting at risk their own ones. What I am trying to say is: there are always TWO sides - in any case. And I'd like to beg you to chose your words more careful in that delicate case. Du verletzt auch Menschen, die Dich sehr mögen, Dich und Deine Freundschaft, trotz allem, sehr schätzen. Let us put it aside please.
Meine Kaiserin

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #108 on: November 18, 2008, 07:58:44 AM »
The subject of Nazism is always going to be a sensative subject, and should be talked of in that thread.

I am interested in Sophie in how she was able to resist getting involved personally into the Nazi Party, while her husband was. It might be that they did not discuss politics in their private lives. Countess Mountbatten told me that Sophie was a strong minded woman, I guess that helped.

Offline Helen

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #109 on: November 18, 2008, 09:06:40 AM »
The subject of Nazism is always going to be a sensitive subject, and should be talked of in that thread.
Yes, you're right. I hope you will permit me to reply to Thomas' post, though.


I cannot understand why people are not able to forgive. It is an incredible harm to me reading again and again how dreadful that time was - even if the War ended 63 years ago. When reading your posts, Helen, I always get the impression as if Germans would try to deny or negate their crimes during the NS period - which is not at all the case. Even the former offenders have to cope with these years have to digest them. Films, documentaries, memorials and an incredible amount of money and work of German people and Soldiers all over the world are the results.
Once there must be an end - once there has to be a final stroke. Why? Because of that work of the Germans NOWadays and even because there is something people tend to forget in the whole story: the people on the other side. Not all Germans were Nazis or - even if they were forced to be part of the party - did support the system. The opposition, the resistance: the Scholl siblings, Graf Stauffenberg and all the others. They suffered too and wanted to change circumstances. Not to forget the bombing of German towns towards the end of the war - an act of mere revenge in many cases. The long years of allied occupation, brutal rape. I can easily provide you with a DVD of "Brandmale" a film made in memory of the destruction of Darmstadt on Sept 11th 1944. They even interviewed British soldiers - teenagers who thought they were heroes when bombing the city. They did not think of the 12.000 civilists dying down there in an enormous firestorm.
My great-grandparents did hide several Jewish families in their house during the wartime and saved their lives - putting at risk their own ones. What I am trying to say is: there are always TWO sides - in any case. And I'd like to beg you to chose your words more careful in that delicate case. Du verletzt auch Menschen, die Dich sehr mögen, Dich und Deine Freundschaft, trotz allem, sehr schätzen. Let us put it aside please.
Thumbs up for your great-grandparents!

Thomas, you may have missed my point. I don't think 'forgiveness' is the issue here. I live in a border area where my fellow-countrymen and I get along perfectly well with our German 'eastern neighbours', both at official levels and informally. The war is not really an issue here any more, and people are moving forward together. I hope you will agree with me that 'forgiveness' is not the same as an obligation imposed on victims - from whatever nationality - to understand, to approve of, or to feel sympathy for whatever disastrous decisions certain groups of people may have made in the past. Nor does 'forgiveness', imo, include an obligation to keep silent about what happened. As Nate1865 said, "that era won't be forgotten and must not be forgotten". 'Remembering that era' is not only about laying wreaths once a year. I think it's also about allowing victims - from whatever nationality - to share their life stories, so that people can learn from them. You have started discussions about the war, and more specifically the air attacks on Darmstadt, over and over again. I'm sorry if it is painful to you, but please allow other people the same right to refer to the existence of their stories.

For the record: I did not write that all Germans were Nazis, nor that Germans en masse try to deny what happened. What I did write is that we have plenty of firsthand information from both sides, which was an explicit recognition of the fact that there is more than one side to the story of WWII.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2008, 09:16:07 AM by Helen »
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #110 on: November 18, 2008, 10:41:59 AM »
Indeed. Sophie's mother Princess Andrew of Greece hide Jews in her house to escape from the Nazis.

Offline Helen

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #111 on: November 20, 2008, 01:52:10 AM »
Then I have great respect for her, too.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #112 on: November 20, 2008, 09:06:52 AM »
Indeed. Prince Philip accepted an award from the state of Isreal for what Alice did. That is also why she was allowed to be buried in Jerusalem near her favourite Aunt Ella. I also heard that Queen Mother Helen of Romania also assisted Jews in her situation too.

Offline Marie Valerie

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #113 on: December 05, 2008, 02:37:51 PM »
Considering the incredibly hard times and the Europe-wide downfall of thrones and monarchy which was unique in history it is quite understandable why the Royal Houses wanted to believe the dogmas of the Hitler Regime.
Is it? I don't think it was understandable at all.

You mention the Frank family which fled in 1933. I know many others which stayed much longer: the famous Pringsheims for example, the parents in law of Thomas Mann left in 1939. ...
I think that people did not see the terror that early. Maybe they did not want to see it. there are always sacrifices to be done if you want a real change of things... this is what many people thought in those days.
In a book published not too long ago, a historian - I'm not sure, but it may have been Ian Kershaw - analysed in detail the information available to Germans at the time. If I recall well, one of the conclusions of this study was that most Germans could have known about the way the Jewish population  in Germany was treated, both in the years before the war and during the war, but that the majority of the Germans simply didn't care. This would be in line with your thought that "they did not want to see it". Forgive me, but I think it simply horrifying that they may have considered their antisemitism as a "sacrifice to be done if you want a real change of things". There are peaceful ways to work a country out of an economic depression!



Please, shut up if you don't know what was it like then.

At this years my Grand-Grandmother had 16 children, her eldest boys in the army, she tried to survive daily bombing-terror and get food for her little kids.
And she was send two times to a Konzentrationslager near Hamburg, one time because she hide jews and was betrayed by the Blockwart.
She was there a few weeks but later released because she had a Mother's Cross for so many children.
The other time she was arrested, when her son died in action and she send a memorial-letter to all family and friends.
The letter says something like: ...my son was killed by Hitler and his fashistic regime..
And then she was send to the KZ again, but also later released.

Sorry, that my Grand-Grandmother had no time, between her kids and bombing-terror, to made a revolution against Hitler!








Offline Helen

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #114 on: December 05, 2008, 05:30:35 PM »
Marie_Valerie, I understand and respect that your great-grandmother had a very hard time during the war. Many people - both German and non-German - had very practical difficulties to keep their heads above water during WWII. No one is denying that. And it's also clear that not everyone was in a position to do major heroic deeds during the war.

The study I referred to, however,  was an in-depth professional academic study of the circumstances of the rise of Hitler from the early years, the attitudes of Germans towards the Jewish population of Germany in the years before the war and the way in which these attitudes developed over the years, as well as the information that was available to Germans in these years before the war and during the war, and much more.  A large part of this study focused on the years before the war, when no German man or boy had been sent to the front yet, when no German city had been bombed yet, and when the German population still might have been able to stop the Nazis. This historian reached Some conclusions about the attitudes of the majority of the German population - or at least large sections of it - towards Jews and the way they were treated in Germany; he did not say it applied to all Germans. Please don't shout at me when you do not agree with the conclusions of his research.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 05:49:22 PM by Helen »
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline LenelorMiksi

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #115 on: December 06, 2008, 12:14:20 PM »
Here's a link to Sophie's obituary which contains a neat little biography:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1363868/H-R-H-Princess-George-of-Hanover.html
Grand Duchess Alice of Hesse:  "Each year brings us nearer to the Wiedersehen [reunion with the dead], though it is sad to think how one's glass is running out, & how little good goes with it, compared to the numberless blessings we receive.  Time goes incredibly fast."

Offline Helen

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #116 on: December 09, 2008, 03:39:26 AM »
Here's a link to Sophie's obituary which contains a neat little biography:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1363868/H-R-H-Princess-George-of-Hanover.html
Interestingly Sofie of Greece was NOT a member of the Nazi Party .
Thank you, LenelorMiksi, for the link. If I'm not mistaken, Prince Christoph became a member of the Nazi party in 1931, the year after their wedding. His wife Sophie did not. Is anything known about how this affected their marriage?
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #117 on: December 09, 2008, 09:22:33 AM »
Intially they did not let that issue affect their marriage.

Offline Helen

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #118 on: December 10, 2008, 01:54:34 AM »
Thank you. I can quite well imagine, though, that their opinions became more and more divided over the years and that their differences became irreconcilable.
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: The Hesse-Cassel family
« Reply #119 on: December 10, 2008, 09:50:46 AM »
Sophie was quite mature beyond her years and knew of her husband's inclinations before marrying him. The fact that she did not join the Nazi Party spoke volumes already.