Author Topic: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich  (Read 131212 times)

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AlexP

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2005, 10:24:14 AM »
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I gathered the info from the web and various books.

I must disagree somewhat with BT. I tried to make clear in my post that some didn't necessarily support the full ideaology but many did and were as ardent as anyone. The trials and imprisonment of a few was evidence of this. Others could, and did, actively resist them and many--such as CP George of Saxony--paid the ultimate price.


Dear Colleague,

I don't have much or even anything to add...but

I do want to thank for an excellent, informative, well-detailed organized series of postings.  As we say in Russian, "maladetz!".

Thank you again and with all the best from Shanghai,


A.A.

Offline Marlene

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2005, 10:32:34 AM »
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Pro-Nazi (usually very sincere in it and not just because of pressure or because 'most' were in the party)

Empress Hermine of Germany (widow of Kaiser Wilhem) unlike husband vocal supporter

Duchess Luise of Anhalt-Dessau (ex-wife of Duke Eduard ) (she was an early financer of Hitler)

August Wilhelm of Prussia (son of Kaiser Wilhelm II) -- was an SA member and propagandist before 1933 hoping to bring other German royals into the movement

Prince Philipp of Hesse (Cassel)

Prince Christoph of Hesse (Cassel) -- a Luftwaffe officer who was KIA in 1943. Some say that he was disillusioned at the end but others reject the theory. There were even rumors that Hitler had him killed. I don't know enough to make a judgment.

Prince Wilhelm of Hesse (Philippsthal-Barchfeld)

Hereditary Grand Duke Friedrich Franz (V) of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Duke Carl Eduard of Coburg--his daughter Sybilla's wedding to Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden (parents of the current Swedish King) into a Nazi event; this caused a lot of controversy and GV wouldn't let his son attend the wedding and the groom's grandfather, Gustav V wouldn't attend. It was a source of much trouble later on in Sweden, especially during WW2 He was president of the German Red Cross and the institution was basically a Nazi organization. One story said that when inmates of the concentration camps saw Red Cross vehicles drive up to the camp gates, they typically rioted, because the arrival of the Red Cross meant that more people were going to shipped off to the
camps or to medical experiments. Because of CE's position as a cousin to the British King he had a high profile and even wore his Nazi uniform to GV's funeral in 1936. Was prosecuted and imprisoned after the war and suffered confiscation of wealth and properties.

Prince Stefan of Schaumburg-Lippe -- Nazi diplomat in
South America
 
Prince Friedrich Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe (Stefan's brother)  protégé of Goebbels and continued to praise his 'genius' even after the war ended

Hereditary Prince Josias of Waldeck Pyrmont -- member of the SS.  After the war, he was prosecuted and found guilty of war crimes (for his role in the governance of Buchenwald) and sentenced to prison.

I think that Nicholas of Oldenberg and his sisters Sophie Charlotte (ex-wife of Eitel Friedrich of Prussia) and Ingeborg and Altburg were pro-Nazi as well.

Also when CPss Juliana of Netherlands married Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld the was a good deal of embarrassment over the groom's family who were photographed at pre-wedding festivities giving the Nazi salute (much to the horror of Duke of Kent and Princess Alice of Athlone). Many German relatives were denied passports for the wedding.

More ambiguous in nature--halfhearted support or conflicting reports:
Ernst August Duke of Brunswick (father of Queen Frederika of Greece) -- some sources make him out to be anti-Nazi; others claim he was an early financial backer.  Yet his sons were forcibly discharged from the Armed Forces and his eldest son Ernst August was arrested & detained by the Gestapo in 1944. Still this could've been part of the general anti-Hohenzollern feeling that the Nazis came to practice. The rumors dog the entire family--Queen Frederica is believed still by many Greeks  to have been pro-Nazi--but Frederica was sent to school in England and married and in Greece before the war. Others are probably more knowledgable here.

Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia -- he supported Hitler's failed Presidential campaign, but later in the war, Hitler was convinced that the Crown Prince was involved in the 20 July 1944 anti-Nazi coup attempt. Support was probably in hopes of a restoration rather than any ardent beliefs. He did speak favorably to his father though.



There is a terrific book, Who Financed Hitler, which discusses this topic.  

Sophie of Hannover (nee Hesse, nee Greece) and I corresponded for about 20 years, and we talked about Cri's Nazi background - and she provided a lot of good information, some of which was used in my  book.   His brother, Wolfgang, wrote his memoirs (privately printed), and he ws far more committed than Christoph, who died in a plane crash ... he was not actually taking part in any action when the plane crashed, and it seems unlikely that Hitler made any order as he had little to do with the aristocracy by that time.  
Wolfgang noted his brother's disillusionment and quotes texts from letters etc
Philipp was very much involved in a political capacity but he ended up in a concentration camp and later an American prisoner camp after the war.  A transcript of a phone conversation he had with Goering and Hitler was made public after the war (and published in the NYTimes.)
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bluetoria

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2005, 10:44:42 AM »
Thank you, Marlene, for your information - it would be interesting to read the transcript of that conversation.

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I must disagree somewhat with BT. I tried to make clear in my post that some didn't necessarily support the full ideaology but many did and were as ardent as anyone. The trials and imprisonment of a few was evidence of this. Others could, and did, actively resist them and many--such as CP George of Saxony--paid the ultimate price.


Oh I am sure that you are right, grandduchessella, in that they did have a choice to resist - George of Saxony being a heroic example. All the same, I was trying to think what might lead them into becoming supporters of such a regime & I would say that it was probably a (misguided, but understandable) sense of patriotism.
Since so many ruling Houses had been swept away by socialism, a fascist state might have seemed like a way of regaining something they had lost.
It is is hard, I guess, to understand how anyone could be so 'taken in' by Nazism, particularly once the cruelty of such a regime became clear, but since so many ordinarily 'decent' and 'good' people were - from the artistocracy to the poorest in the country - I was just thinking of reasons why.

Finelly

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2005, 10:54:02 AM »
I have studied the history of the holocaust for 25 years and have taught the subject at every level of education for 15.  
Much of my research has been done in Israel where there are numerous archives and copies of records.

While it is true that SOME members of the family supported the Nazi party, there is NO indication that any of them were in support of the Final Solution.  Indeed, there is a tremendous sense of sorrow and guilt about the slaughter of the Jews, gypsies and other minorities.  

Israel's relationship with the remaining members of the family has always been good, which is a sign that whatever transpired during the rise of Hitler, there is not much of a feeling of resentment, but rather understanding.  This is similar to the issue of King Michael of Romania who, though he wrote letters supporting Hitler, etc., remained a friend to the Jews and to Israel.

bluetoria

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2005, 10:56:26 AM »
Thank you for that, Finelly. Does it show that may be they supported the political ideology of Nazism (as in making Germany great) but did not support the cruelty shown towards gypsies, people with handicaps, Jewish people, and just about anyone else who didn't quite 'fit in'?

Finelly

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2005, 11:14:52 AM »
Thank you for that, Finelly. Does it show that may be they supported the political ideology of Nazism (as in making Germany great) but did not support the cruelty shown towards gypsies, people with handicaps, Jewish people, and just about anyone else who didn't quite 'fit in'?

Pretty much, BT.  Of course, there has always been some antisemitism in Germany and all of Europe.  But in terms of the family itself, it was really restricted to the more general levels (didn't want to socialize with them, a few negative comments).  It NEVER extended to any advocacy of violence toward Jews, support of restriction of Jews to certain areas, etc.  I would say that, along the spectrum of antisemitism, the Hesse family was in the extremely low range.  

In addition, many members of the family participated on various levels in providing financial support to Jews attempting to leave the country, providing relief to the refugees after the war, and helping with negotiations with the varying powers after the war to ensure that Jews retrieved any belongings they could and got to a safe place.  I don't know about the gypsies and the other minorities, but I assume it was the same.

I would also like to say that history is full of atrocities toward minorities.  Every social sphere has been guilty.  The key is that we LEARN from the mistakes of intolerance and the deprivation of justice.  Jews are far more concerned about current antisemitism and discrimination against minorities(witness the atrocities ongoing in France at the present, or the war in Serbia against which the holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel spoke so movingly) than in what any family or group did during the Nazi era.  I myself have been accused of the ancient Blood Libel by someone on this board, and that is of greater concern than any anecdotes about the Hesse family, as it indicates that antisemitism continues to be a force in the modern age.....though thankfully, there is a lot of outrage when it occurs.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Finelly »

bluetoria

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2005, 12:41:16 PM »
Thanks, Finelly, your extensive knowledge of all this is really helpful. It has always baffled me why so many 'ordinary' and basically 'good' people could become a part of something as despicable as Nazism, but the fact that they could & could also become so inured to such violence and cruelty shows that it is too easy to become a victim of propaganda. A recent TV series about the holocaust included an interview with a former SS officer who said he had murdered little children. He said he felt a bit sorry for them because they were children, but he 'knew they had to die because, like wolf cubs, they would grow up into wolves who would devour the country.' Even now he feels no remorse. It showed, I thought, the extent of his brainwashing. Hopefully, we are more aware today, but if it could happen once, it could so easily happen again. There are, I think, signs of the same mentality even here in Britain today. The way in which asylum seekers were viewed by many people is but one example of this. People look for scapegoats and they are never hard to find.  So I totally agree with your caution to be vigilant today.

Since, however, I have now lead this off topic  :-[....to return to the Hessians! It is very interesting to hear how they helped Jews to escape the country. Do you have more details of any specific cases, please?

Finelly

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2005, 12:53:01 PM »
I'm working from memory here.......

Ernst-August the elder helped find shelter for several Jewish employees and their families.  This despite the fact that he was, at least on the surface, a nominal supporter of Hitler.  As I recall, he very quickly became aware of the mental state of Hitler and fearful of Hitler's capacity for madness and genocide.  He confined most of his activities to private ones and disliked any publicity about his aid to Jews and to the opposition.

His son, also named Ernst-August, was imprisoned for a time after being arrested by the Gestapo.  Among the allegations made against him was that he was harboring "subversives".  There is some indication that he had, if not attended meetings of opposition groups, provided them with intelligence and perhaps some financial assistance, or, more likely, help in procuring documents needed to ferret people and information out of the country.

I seem to recall that two or three women of the family were also directly involved in the opposition movement and/or helping Jews, but I don't remember which ones.  I'll see if I can get into my file cabinet to find more info.

We have to remember that the situation was very precarious for the Hesse family who remained in Germany.  Hitler had no inhibitions about arresting and executing people.  The limited power that the family had was best used quietly.

Offline Marlene

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2005, 02:13:51 PM »

I too would be interested in learning more about the Hannovers, as this is one of my main interests - my family came from Hannover.  In the 1940s, there were no female members of the family who were in Germany, apart from several elderly women, including Victoria Luise, and her sisters in law - Alexandra Mecklenburg and Olga
Quote
I'm working from memory here.......

Ernst-August the elder helped find shelter for several Jewish employees and their families.  This despite the fact that he was, at least on the surface, a nominal supporter of Hitler.  As I recall, he very quickly became aware of the mental state of Hitler and fearful of Hitler's capacity for madness and genocide.  He confined most of his activities to private ones and disliked any publicity about his aid to Jews and to the opposition.

His son, also named Ernst-August, was imprisoned for a time after being arrested by the Gestapo.  Among the allegations made against him was that he was harboring "subversives".  There is some indication that he had, if not attended meetings of opposition groups, provided them with intelligence and perhaps some financial assistance, or, more likely, help in procuring documents needed to ferret people and information out of the country.

I seem to recall that two or three women of the family were also directly involved in the opposition movement and/or helping Jews, but I don't remember which ones.  I'll see if I can get into my file cabinet to find more info.

We have to remember that the situation was very precarious for the Hesse family who remained in Germany.  Hitler had no inhibitions about arresting and executing people.  The limited power that the family had was best used quietly.

Author of Queen Victoria's Descendants,
& publisher of Royal Book News.
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Finelly

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2005, 02:19:03 PM »
BT and Marlene - During the summer I have an influx of teenagers staying at my house.  In addition to my four children, I have friends and family from all over.  Right now, my file cabinet with the holocaust informaiton is standing squarely behind a large sofabed and there's nowhere to move it due to the clutter of suitcases!

This will all be over by the 20th, and I promise that I will pull out the drawers and get out the Hesse and German royalty files and post some more info!!!!!

Offline Marlene

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2005, 02:20:45 PM »
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Thank you, Marlene, for your information - it would be interesting to read the transcript of that conversation.
.


you are welcome.  If you want I can provide a citation for the article.

There is going to be a new  book on Philipp and Christoph Hesse called Royalty and the Reich

http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/HistoryWorld/European/Germany/~~/cHI9MTAmcGY9MCZzcz1wdWJkYXRlLmFzYyZzZj1jb21pbmdzb29uJnNkPWFzYyZ2aWV3PXVzYSZjaT0wMTk1MTYxMzM1
Author of Queen Victoria's Descendants,
& publisher of Royal Book News.
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bluetoria

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2005, 07:50:39 AM »
Thank you, please do, Marlene. And thank you for the link.

Offline VN

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2005, 03:28:48 PM »
I am reading Hugo Vickers Bio about Alice of Greece at the moment.  I haven't reached the actual chapter yet, but browsing through the book and looking at the pictures; The jewish Cohen Family was hidden (hid ?) by Alice during the german occupation in Athens in 1943.

Just thought this would be interesting to know and I belive a lot of you guys out there have read it and can give more Info for now.

Greetings from Darmstadt
Vanessa

bluetoria

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2005, 07:00:50 AM »
Hi Vanessa,welcome to the forum!  :D

Alice's history of psychiatric illness proved very beneficial to her in hiding the Cohen family. She was interrogated at one point but pretended not to hear the questions properly and they just assumedshe 'wasn't all there.' It is very reminiscent of an old black & white film called "Conspiracy of Hearts."  :D

Offline princessalice

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Re: German Royals and Nazism/Royals and the Reich
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2005, 09:22:36 PM »
it is horrible that much of the rest of the world, the US included, didn't realize in time what the souless monsters of the Nazi movement really were.  the thought of all of the children and babies esp. killed in the camp, while the rest of the world slumbered along undisturbed has always upset me a great deal.

i salute anyone, royalty or not, who defied Hitler and his animal soliders.  it took a great deal of bravery against such horrific people.
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