collaboration with the Nazis

The “Hohenzollern debate”, which revolves around the question of whether the House of Hohenzollern should be returned the goods expropriated by the Soviet military administration in 1945 from the Federal Republic of Germany or not, caused a stir. Reports were drawn up, lawsuits filed, lawsuits conducted. The core question is whether the Hohenzollerns “considerably encouraged” the rise of National Socialism, because then, according to the law, there is no right to restitution.

In his book, which is based on an intensive study of sources, Stephan Malinowski emphasizes that this question cannot only be answered with a view to August Wilhelm of Prussia and Hermine, Wilhelm II’s second wife – both of whom were declared Hitler supporters. Because: Other members of the Hohenzollerns, above all Crown Prince Wilhelm, would have participated massively in the destruction of democracy and, as determined opponents of the republic, had collaborated with Hitler. In doing so, they used their symbolic capital, their prestige, as the former ruling elite.

Malinowski’s analysis of the self-interpretations launched by the family after 1945, according to which the Hohenzollerns even mutated into resistance fighters, is also very revealing. If one follows the argumentation of this book, nothing remains of this interpretation.

Rezension: Dr. Heike Talkenberger

Stephan Malinowski
The Hohenzollerns and the Nazis
Story of a Collaboration
Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 2021, 752 pages, €35

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