Author Topic: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife  (Read 71700 times)

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Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2007, 01:40:07 PM »
I think you are right, based on what I know about late and post WWII prisoner camps under Soviet control. The camps were essentially a continuation or expansion of the nazi concentration camps. Bad scene.

Given that, it is somewhat surprising that her remains were obviously handled in a semi digified manner and made their way to Potsdam rather than a common grave in some field.
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Offline Marc

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2007, 04:39:49 PM »
No,GDElla,you know I love portraits  :)  ,but I know that it's very hard to find(if there is one) Henriette's portrait,so I was trying to see how she looked like as an adult in the pictures-photos!Thank you for lovely pictures of the family...

Robert_Hall

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2007, 05:28:18 PM »
I am re-organising my library, so it is a bit of a shambles- I can't find anything until it surfaces at the top of the piles. So, will have to wait  for a bit to find  just where I read about her end. If I recall correctly, her family was able to get her released just befoe she died or they got the body right after. In any case I think they were able to get her buried quietly, with no ceremony of course.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2007, 09:15:42 PM »
The Times of London had a brief bit. It basically said the body had been removed to Potsdam to lay in the Antiker Tempel but that it was only supposed to be temporary--the officials were supposedly awaiting permission from Dutch authorities about taking the body to Doorn to be laid next to the Kaiser. The body had been brought to Potsdam on a 'shabby lorry', the coffin covered by wreaths. The only family member at the brief service was Hermine's daughter, Princess Hermine. The late Empress's favorite pastor in Berlin officiated. There seems to have been a little historical 'cleaning up' since he said that Hermine hadn't supported Hitler after 1933 which just isn't true. If she ever broke with him, it was long after that. The pastor went so far as to say she 'opposed' the regime. I suppose it's understandable though given the times--especially seeing as how one of her sons was due to face a de-Nazification trial days later. He was remanded to custody since there were various issues including his safety, property and the apaprent disappearance of about GBP 250,000 of jewels that belonged to the Hohenzollern crown collection and which had been brought to Berlin. These jewels were alleged to have been missing since Hermine's death.

I wonder if Hermine wasn't supposed to actually be laid to rest but the issue of burial at Doorn fell through somehow?
« Last Edit: January 17, 2007, 09:19:44 PM by grandduchessella »
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Robert_Hall

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2007, 09:34:51 PM »
Makes sense, GDElla.  Taking a German princess to be buried in a [formerly] German occupied country  does not sound too wise, does it? The missing jewels, were they the Friedrichoff loot, or another lot? Considering all the tolls of war, such a trivial matter, after all.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2007, 09:55:40 PM »
No, the jewels were supposed to have been ones that Hermine had gotten from the Kaiser but perhaps belonged to the Crown. I found a little more (in the New York Times) that indicated that the Army handed the case over within days to the German police. It seems they were investigating Hermine's family for the theft of Hohenzollern property. It was a family affair rather than a military crime ala the Hessian jewels.

Here's a summary:

'This ends the Army's role in what is turning out to be the melodrama of the abortive attempts of her children to cash in on an estimated $5,000,000 worth of expensive gifts' that she was given by the Kaiser. 'The whole story was summed up by a CID agent as a a 'case of double-cross and counter-doublecross'. That Hermine died in the midst of a smuggling operation in which her son Ferdinand's admitted mistress played a leading role was said...to be a coincidence.' Nevertheless, the mistress, a Vera Herbst, age 41, was book on charges of suspected murder and theft. She was released fairly soon though, the police admitted they wanted to put a scare into her. There were supposedly 95 pieces of jewelry stolen from Ferdinand's apartment--Vera had brought them to Berlin that May in a suitcase--and 25 pieces (worth $2,000,000) were still missing. The CID said that all they had to go on was hearsay that any theft had been committed though. The CID also recovered some 32 pieces in 2 suitcases that had been smuggled in but were unrelated to the supposed theft. CID said the only reason the military got involved was because Prince Ferdinand was a friend with someone and asked the person to guard the suitcases.  When he retrieved the suitcases he later reported the items missing. The military investigated, found several of the 'missing pieces' in Ferdinand's apartment (he accompanied them on the search which doesn't seem the smartest thing) determined the American wasn't involved, and therefore turned the case over to the German police since it wasn't a military matter any further.  The were rumors that an autopsy had been requested for Hermine but this turned out to just be part of the interrogation tactics (like the charges against Vera Herbst) and such a request wasn't actually made. The German police were now charged with trying to find jewelry that didn't appear to be any recognizable crown jewels but rather smaller pieces unaccounted for in official records--if, indeed, there were actually any jewels missing. The military seemed glad to wash its hands of a case involving the Russians, royalty, missing jewels, smuggling, Berlin's underworld and potential foul play.  :P

According to the Army, the story begins when Prince Ferdinand sold a diamond necklace belonging to his mother that April for 1,200,000 marks to buy a Berchtesgaden hotel. Other family members say that the proceeds were supposed to have been split amongst them but that Ferdinand pocketed the whole amount. That May, Fraulein Herbst visited Hermine (who was living in a house with a grandchild and which was also occupied by a Russian) and convinced Hermine to turn over a bunch of jewelry to her so that she could smuggle it to Berlin and give it to her children. This she did and Herbst brought the 95 pieces (itemized by her and Ferdinand and including tiaras, earrings, brooches, bracelets, watches, rings and various objects and toiletries) to Berlin in a suitcase. She then returned for about a half-dozen more pieces which, according to Herbst, she planned on giving to his sister Prince 'Carmo' who resided with Ferdinand. It was these 6 pieces that Herbst turned over to US investigators the morning of the newspaper story. Meanwhile, 'Carmo' obtained several more pieces of jewelry and didn't tell anyone about it and turned them over to investigators.  Prince Ferdinand said there was a need for his American friend to guard the suitcases because he, the Prince, was being shadowed around Berlin and being forced to move from hotel to hotel in a game of 'cat and mouse' with the Soviets.

The jewels that were in possession were put in the custody of the police since there could be an international incident due to the smuggling of the gems from the Soviet zone to the Allied one. The jewels that were eventually accounted for (I don't think some ever were, if they even existed or went missing despite the Army questioning dozens of Berlin underworld figures of various nationalities--they weren't able to turn up a clue) were held in a bank until Hermine's will was probated. She split her estate amongst her children. The last newspaper account I saw indicated that as soon as the paperwork was done the jewels would be released so I guess it was all worked out.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2007, 10:39:22 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2007, 10:21:03 PM »
Some more on her death:

It was listed as a throat abscess by the mayor of Frankfurt on der Oder though the official medical report said heart disease. She had held a tea party that Thursday and it was this tea party, and her death soon afterwards, that roused the interest of investigators after the jewels were reported stolen.  Fraulein Herbst was at this tea party. Just after her death, a report from the city said that she had complained of trouble breathing and collapsed and died in her home.

She apparently lived in a 6-room apartment and saw many people though she wasn't allowed to leave the sector. She even gave an interview to a US newspaper in April 1945. She apparently left Doorn upon Wilhelm's death to settle on an estate in Silesia and was later taken to Frankfurt. The grandchild she lived with was Franz Friedrich (Maria Vladimirovna's future husband) and there also lived there a secretary, a chauffeur (and his family) and a Russian woman who served as translator/guardian.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2007, 10:28:16 PM by grandduchessella »
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Robert_Hall

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2007, 11:16:47 PM »
WOW! How tacky and end to such Prussian pride!  I knew her end was tawdry but, well a lot more so than I ever read! I was ready to give her a martyr's death, now it looks to just another episode of greed. Pity.

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2007, 02:40:48 PM »
Yes, it seems so piteous, but perhaps less greedy and more blind survival. Under the Soviet conquer and occupation (which was terrorizing) and the loss of everything in the war, her immediate family was probably frantically 'jumping for any lifeboat' that had room. their futures were nothing, and jewels were probably the single means to any hope of substenance.

If they did not share, that's the greedy part!

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Martin

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2007, 04:11:41 PM »


I know nothing but I find it interesting that W II married somone from the only family of the princes of the Gernan empire who dared to be always agianst  Prussia in the confideration of the German Empire.

   
This woman spent 20 years as a would-be empress living in exile by her own choosing. During the WWII, she seemed to live as a somewhat common German citizen, running for air raid shelters along with the rest of the Berlin population. She was a russian captive and died under their control. does anyone have insights and details of her difficult life?

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2007, 05:03:55 PM »
Yes, that is interesting and ironic, but he may have been thinking that former adversaries can lend a helpful hand in desperate times of need! following WWI, everyone in Germany was in the same, leaky, life boat without a paddle. So the idea of 'bygones are bygones' must have been in play like crazy.
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Martin

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2007, 03:27:53 AM »
It is strange almost ironical that Wilhelm II should marry someone from Reuss elder line. The last ruling prince of Reuss elder line was always against the creation of the second Empire and had fought with Austria against Prussia in the 1866 war. For some reason the principality was not annexed to Prussia as Hannover and parts of the Sachsen.The tiny principality Reuss elder line also voted against Prussia in some matters even after the creation of the second Empire.   

Offline mardam

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2007, 09:31:33 AM »
Does anyone have pictures of Princess Henriette of Prussia,born Princess von Scönaich-Carolath(Hermine's daughter)?


Offline mardam

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2007, 09:36:02 AM »

Her marriage in 1940 with Karl prince of Prussia.

Offline mardam

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Re: Princess Hermine of Reuss the Kaiser's last wife
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2007, 10:08:49 AM »

Henriette, spouse Karl en son Friedrich Wilhelm