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Topic: Daughters of King Vittorio Emmanuele III  (Read 69228 times)
« on: February 08, 2005, 09:07:42 AM »
jfkhaos Offline
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The recent commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz got me thinking of all of the horrible atrocities that were committed.  I remembered that Princess Mafalda of Hesse was in a concentration camp, and that she died before the Allies liberated the camp.  Can anyone shed some light on her life, her family, and why she was in a concentration camp in the first place?  Thanks in advance!
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 12:02:03 PM by amedeo » Logged
Reply #1
« on: February 08, 2005, 09:33:47 AM »
bluetoria
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She was the daughter of King Victor Emmanuel & her family had not wanted her to marry Philipp but eventually agreed to it & they were very devoted to one another. The Italians 'switched sides' during the war so the Nazis would have resented Mafalda who was in Rome at the time of the Italian 'switch'.  According to Charlotte Zeepvat she was 'tricked into Nazi hands...and flown to Berlin, then interned in Buchenwald.'
When the camp was attacked in an air raid, Mafalda injured her arm & it had to be amputated. She died as a result of the surgery.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2006, 03:52:42 AM by amedeo » Logged
Reply #2
« on: February 08, 2005, 11:02:11 AM »
Ilana Offline
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Yup, bluetoria, that's about right as far as I know.  There is a memorial plaque to her at Lake Como, which I saw the last time I was there.  I could just kick myself around the block for not having taken a photo... what was I thinking?

She is, by the way, the mother of Landgraf Moritz.
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Reply #3
« on: February 08, 2005, 11:29:25 AM »
grandduchessella Offline
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 She had been injured in a bombing raid and apparently her arm wound was left either deliberately untreated or barbarically treated and she died as a result. It wasn't quick either--it was several agonizing days (or perhaps weeks, I can't remember) between the wound, the eventual amputation and her death. It was supposedly in retaliation for her father not towing the line well-enough for Hitler's taste.

There is additional information and photos in the Margherita and House of Savoy thread in Hohenzollern and in the Militsa & Stana thread in Imperial Family.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by grandduchessella » Logged

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Reply #4
« on: February 13, 2005, 02:09:54 PM »
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Thank you all for remembering our Dear and unforgotten Princess Mafalda.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by gleb » Logged
Reply #5
« on: February 14, 2005, 10:49:40 AM »
Martyn Offline
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Wasn't her husband implicated in the plot against Hitler and that was the reason for her arrest?  Who was her sister-in-law who died?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Martyn » Logged

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« on: February 14, 2005, 11:10:16 AM »
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Her sister-in-law was Marie-Alexandra of Baden who married another one of the Hesse brothers, Wolfgang. She died in a bombing raid as well (over Frankfurt in 1944) but wasn't in a concentration camp. She was the daughter of Prince Max of Baden and the granddaughter of Thyra of Denmark. It was her brother Berthold who married Philip's sister Theodora.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by grandduchessella » Logged

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Reply #7
« on: February 15, 2005, 08:21:20 AM »
bluetoria
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But secretly - according to 'QV's Family' - he arranged passports for Jews & helped them escape to the Netherlands. That books also says he wanted to resign but was told his enemy would take his place.  
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« on: February 15, 2005, 08:48:40 AM »
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I do not think that Philipp of Hesse, if that is who you asked about, was implicated in any anti-Hitler movement or plot.  In fact, he was up to his ears with Mussolini and Hitler, at least until VE3 turned his back on the Duce, after that even Philipp and his family became fair game for the SS and Gestapo.

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« Last Edit: November 03, 2006, 03:55:45 AM by amedeo » Logged

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« on: February 17, 2005, 05:39:34 PM »
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This is an article I've worked on translating rather choppily:

Tragedy of one prince: from Rome to Buchenwald
Mafalda di Savoia was the daughter of Queen Elena and Vittorio Emanuele of Italy. Characterially she was the happiest of the siblings, a trait that the Queen used to say made Mafalda is the only one that succeeding in  making the king laugh. On 23 September 1925 Mafalda married German Prince Philip of Hesse, a marriage which would result in four sons. Mafalda had a sensitive spirit and nurtured the greatest affection amongst the siblings. In fact at the end of August 1943 she left for Sofia hoping to be of assistance to her sister Giovanna who husband, King Boris of Bulgaria, was seriously sick.

[This part I didn't really understand: Still in Mafalda travel he comes informed of the dead women of the brother-in-law: reason more in order to catch up the sister and to support it.]

In fact, at the moment of her departure , in Rome the political and military situation is delicate and informed of the dangers, the King has not spoken about the negotiations for an armistice, perhaps in fear that Mafalda could inform her husband. [A Nazi officer] current and of the effective dangers; the king has not spoken to them about the negotiations in course for the armistice, perhaps for the fear that Mafalda can inform of the husband. After the funerals, Mafalda decides to leave Sofia and to return to Rome; to Pescara she [had trouble translating: comes to know that the parents and the Umberto brother are sail to you from Ortona, without to inform it.]

Mafalda continues her travel towards Rome, by now occupied by the Germans; her sons are in the care of her sister Elena and Mafalda can't abandon them (in truth due to the intervention of Queen Elena, 3 of the sons are in the safety of the Vatican). Once to Rome, the princess meets her sons and gives news of her arrival to the German embassy. Mafalda is confident of being able to rely on the attendance of the embassy because she is a German citizen due to her marriage.  This circumstance, instead, turns out to her detriment. Col. Kappler attracts Mafalda, on Sept 22, to the embassy with the excuse of one telephone call from her husband.  Once she's there, Kappler has her arrested. Her arrest Mafalda is a gesture of revenge on Hitler's part:the führer felt he had been betrayed by those who signed the armistice and had escaped to the south. (Only a few dyasa before the armistice, Vittorio Emanuele assured Hitler of his determination to maintain the Rome-Berlin axis). Mafalda is transferred first to Monarco, then to Berlin and, finally, deported in the concentration camp of Buchenwald. In the concentration camp Mafalda occupies, along with a social democratic former-minister, a shack on the margins of the field. It is an area where particular prisoners are interned. You cannot keep your identity there so a false one is assigned to Mafalda: Frau von Weber. The field of Buchenwald endures a single strafing on 24 August 1944. The shack occupied by the princess is hit, destroying it. Medical aid is not prompt; when the princess is extracted from the ruins she has a wound on the cheek and the left arm, that completely paralyzes her arm. The first medication is one simple suturing. After four days she is seriously ill and the doctors of the SS decide to operate : the surgeon executes one operation taking advantage of general anesthesia. Mafalda is too weak to strongly support such anesthesia and loss of blood .The opinion of the doctor, Pecorari, an interned radiologist at Buchenwald, is that Mafalda's operation had been intentionally delayed. He feels the procedure was executed well but was unjustifiable given the condition of the patient and done in order to prolong her suffering. The method of the exsanguination during long operations already had been applied at Buchenwald, and was executed by the SS on other persons which it was desired to rid itself of. In post-operative the health condition and environment are nearly non-existent. Mafalda dies just a few hours after the operation. Due to the intercessions of the Pope, her body is removed to Weimar in the unit of classified honor to the dead men for war causes. In the registry, Mafalda, becomes annotated "disowned woman".
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by grandduchessella » Logged

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Reply #10
« on: February 17, 2005, 05:49:31 PM »
bluetoria
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Does this mean that in the end she was given an 'honourable' funeral...or remained 'a disowned woman'? (What was the registry - is that part of the concentration camp registry? (Please! - Just trying to understand)
Did you findany more in the article about whether or not Philip helped the Jews...and whether he was simply arrested because he was married to Mafalda, or because he opposed Hitler?
Thank you for all your very informative postings (sorry for nagging you for more..they just always make you think!)

« Last Edit: November 03, 2006, 03:56:41 AM by amedeo » Logged
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« on: February 18, 2005, 08:42:48 AM »
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Philipp was a committed Nazi, and held several positions during the 30s and 1940s.  However, in the early 40s, Hitler turned against the royals -and Philipp was not helped by the fact that his father in law was the King of Italy  (and Victor Emanuele's change to the allies) made things worse for the family.   As I said earlier, Philipp was tried and imprisoned by the Americans, having previously been interned by the Germans.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2006, 03:56:14 AM by amedeo » Logged

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Reply #12
« on: February 18, 2005, 09:46:50 AM »
bluetoria
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Yes, I read that Marlene, but I want to know about him helping the Jewish people to escape to the Netherlands.
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« on: February 18, 2005, 12:34:57 PM »
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I have read this - doing this privately, while still working for the Nazis .. but  I have never seen it confirmed.  He is not listed as Righteous at Vad Vashem (Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Queen Helen of Roumania are listed as Righteous).  His trial was well covered, and one would have expected this evidence to come forward ...
« Last Edit: November 03, 2006, 03:57:19 AM by amedeo » Logged

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Reply #14
« on: February 18, 2005, 10:18:26 PM »
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OK, I've found more (I'm working on translating some things--Babelfish can help but it's still left really choppy so it takes me awhile to deduce everything). I've put this together in my own words from what I found so it's not a copy of the original article.

For her visit to the German command for the ‘phone call’ from her husband, Mafalda had dressed in a simple black dress suitable for the mild weather in Italy. After all, she wasn’t going to be gone long. Thus when she was arrested this simple black dress would be the only clothes she took with her. The area for important internees at Buchenwald, like most of the camp, provided no comfort against the cold, hard winter. Despite the precautions taken to hide her identity—registering hew as ‘Frau Weber’ word spreads quickly among the Italian prisoners that their King’s daughter is there. Some apparently try to aid her. From testimonies of those Italians it has been deduced the Mafalda try to render aid to her fellow Italians even giving them some of her meager supplies. In August 1944 the bombing raid destroyed her shack, No. 15, in the camp. They had been ordered in case of an air raid to shelter themselves in a trench around the shack but this provided meager protection. There were many severe injuries from burns and contusions. Mafalda’s left arm was left imprisoned under the ruins and mutilated. She recognizes some Italian inmates by the ‘I’ they wear on their shirts and signals them with her good arm. When the approach she told them ‘Italian, I die, remember myself not like a princess but like your sister.’  She was taken to the infirmary of the brothel the Germans use where the prostitutes there render her aid. Yet they can only do so much and without proper medical attention her arm becomes gangrenous. Finally a decision is made to amputate. After she has spent 4 agonizing days, Mafalda was operated on by Dr Schiedlausky (who wasn't even a surgeon!). The operation itself is of long duration and post-op Mafalda is left without medicine or care. She apparently ‘bled out’ without regaining consciousness.  In the opinion of an interred radiologist, Faustus Pecorari, Mafalda had medical care deliberately withheld and the operation was completely unjustifiable given her already hopeless condition. The method of  allowing prisoners to bleed to death after an operation had been used by the SS before to rid itself of prisoners whose deaths they didn’t want to arouse suspicion. Her death since it was of ‘natural’ causes (rather than gas or a bullet) would look like it couldn’t have been prevented. Her body is thrown onto a pile of corpses from the air raid for cremation. The priest of the field (NOT the Pope as I mis-translated in a previous post) manages to smuggle her body out. It is placed in a coffin of wood and buried without name. Only a number, #262, marks the grave along with the identification as ‘eine unberkannte fraue’ (disowned woman—the phrase being somewhat familiar to those who know the Anna Anderson story). A group of Italian sailors, held for several months, at the end of the war identify the grave and returns her body to her family. Princess Mafalda now rests in the small cemetary of the Hesse family at Kronberg Castle. As a small measure of comfort there's the knowledge that Dr Schiedlausky was hanged after the war for his experiments on people (using them as human guinea pigs) and for using the 'bleed out' method on people.

A fellow Italian, Luigi Varrasso recalls Mafalda: ‘ The only beams of light to Buchenwald were the eyes of Mafalda. ‘ They never actually met but Varrasso was able to watch her as her shack was only a few meters from hs own.. "I saw her only once. She was beautiful.’ He recalls that she often wore [I think this translation is right] scarves or veils (?) which covered her face and  took walks ‘under the shooting of the guns of the guards.’ As an important personages Mafalda was granted some favorable treatment: her food was the quality of that of the SS; she had permission to leave her shack to take air; her shack was set apart from others. Years later, in 1997,  Varrasso wrote a  letter to Prince Richard of Hesse (Mafalda’s son) in order to testify as to his experience with Mafalda. The prince answered the next month with a letter in which Prince Richard (Enrico)  expresses his empathy with Varrasso as another inmate of the camp and an understanding of the trauma which his mother underwent as a result of her experience in the camp but at the same time every story of the end of his mother’s life upset him so much emotionally that he preferred to not to return to that period which had ‘deeply affected’ his life.

« Last Edit: November 03, 2006, 03:58:02 AM by amedeo » Logged

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