A Royal Shame; Two Princes as Nazis

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 2, 2006 | Go to article overview

A Royal Shame; Two Princes as Nazis


Byline: Merle Rubin , SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

It is right that there are many books that try to answer the big, difficult questions about Nazism: How could such a scurrilous ideology have taken root in a great, seemingly civilized nation? How could so many have embraced such evil and done the unspeakable deeds demanded of them? What was there in German or European or Christian culture that permitted people to be seduced into such darkness?

But there are also valuable books about Nazi Germany that concern themselves with narrower aspects of the sewer that was Hitlerite Germany and also manage to add to one's understanding of how various types of Germans came to be Nazis.

"Royals and the Reich," by Claremont McKenna College history professor Jonathan Petropoulos, is one of them. Mr. Petropoulos has chosen to concentrate on two German brothers, princes of a minor royal house, Hessen-Kassel, each of them prominent Nazis.

One, Prince Christoph a brother-in-law of Britain's current prince consort, the Duke of Edinburgh was an early adherent of Nazism, rising in the ranks of the SS for many years before dying as a fighter pilot in World War II.

His older brother, Prince Philipp, opted for the equally sinister SA as his chosen branch of Nazi vileness, where he, too, did well by doing ill. Credited by most biographers of Hitler with being one of the Fuehrer's closest confidants until he fell from grace in 1943, Philipp was rewarded with the post of Oberprasident (chief executive) of his very own Hessen province, where he was formally responsible for penalizing its Jewish community in the wake of Kristallnacht.

Here as elsewhere, not only was a punitive tax imposed on the victims to pay for the damage caused by their persecutors, but many of the more prominent Jews were rounded up and sent to concentration camps for brief periods. Among them was my grandfather Sigmund, a Hebrew teacher who was a pillar of the Jewish community in the bucolic Hessian town of Weilburg-an-der-Lahn and a decorated veteran of the German army in World War I.

After being ill-treated and terrorized for a while, he was released after my grandmother paid a fine she could ill-afford, to ransom a man who had committed no crime. They were fortunate enough to emigrate first to France and then to this country.

So I suppose that I might be said to have a personal animus against Prince Philipp, Oberprasident of Hessen, but in truth I find his brother at least equally rebarbative, as I do all those German royals whose disgraceful collaboration with the Nazi regime is so unflinchingly exposed in Mr. Petropoulos' well-researched and right-minded book.

"Royals and the Reich" is a devastating portrait of how the highest social stratum in Germany enthusiastically embraced a movement that might truly be said to have come out of the gutter. Surely the demotic nature of Nazism should have kept these aristocrats from cleaving to it, even if its more arrogant, anti-democratic, and downright demonic aspects did not.

But just as those head honchos of the German General Staff, Field Marshals Ludendorff and Hindenburg, adopted the onetime corporal as their leader, so, apparently, did German royals have few if any qualms about entering the heart of Nazi darkness.

If the kind hearts that, according to his interview with Mr. Petropoulos, the Duke of Edinburgh would have us believe many of his coroneted relatives possessed, could not stop them from jumping into the Nazi cesspool, you might have thought that simple snobbery might have done the trick.

But more seriously, Mr. Petropoulos lays out the many reasons behind this disgraceful lemming-like leap: hopes for the restoration of the monarchy; disgust at and fear of communist revolutions, which had dethroned German royals, major and minor, and murdered their Russian relatives; as well as the desire to restore Germany's military prowess. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Royal Shame; Two Princes as Nazis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.