German Royalty: Oscar Charles Gutav Adolf Hohenzollern (1888-1958)


Figure 1.--The photo is of Prince Oskar with family. Given the children's age, the photograph was probably taken about 1925. Note the button-on sailor suits and strap shoes.

Oscar Charles Gutav Adolf Hohenzollern (1888-1973) was a son of Kaiser Wilhelm II. August Wilhelm, Prince of Prussia, was born July 27, 1888 at Marmorpalis, Potsdam. He was the fifth son of Wilhelm II, German Emperor, (1859-1941). HBC has little information on Oscar Charles's childhood. While there are a lot of photographs showing how the Kaiser's grandchildren, including August Wilhelm, were dressed. He was given the title of Prince of Prussia. Prince Oskar morganatically married Countess Ina-Marie von Bassewitz (1888-1973) She was created Countess of Ruppin. She was the daughter of Count Karl von Bassewitz-Levetzow and Countess Margarete von der Schulenburg. They were married in both religious and civil ceremonies on July 31, 1914 at Schlo? Bellevue, near Berlin. This was a fatefull year for German royalty and the wedding took place just days before World War I began. He commanded combat units on both the Western and Eastern fronts. He had four sons. After the War he became an early supporter of the NAZIs. He had both right-wing views and hoped that they might restore the monrchy. He came to realize even before Hitler lasunched the War that this was a mistake. His eldesrt son was killed in Poland and the onset of the war (September 1939). He and many other family members became anti-NAZIs.

Parents

Oscar Charle's Wilhelm's father was Kaiser William II of Germany. His mother was Augusta Victoria von Schleswig-Holstein.

Childhood

August Wilhelm, Prince of Prussia, was born July 27, 1888 at Marmorpalis, Potsdam. He was the fifth son of Wilhelm II, German Emperor, (1859-1941). HBC has little information on Oscar Charles's childhood. While there are a lot of photographs showing how the Kaiser's grandchildren, including August Wilhelm, were dressed. HBC so far as relatively little information how August and his brothers were dressed.

Marriage

Prince Oskar morganatically married Countess Ina-Marie von Bassewitz (1888-1973) She was created Countess of Ruppin. She was the daughter of Count Karl von Bassewitz-Levetzow and Countess Margarete von der Schulenburg. They were married in both religious and civil ceremonies on July 31, 1914 at Schlo? Bellevue, near Berlin. This was a fatefull year for German royalty and the wedding took place just days before World War I began.

World War I (1914-18)

Prince Oskar commanded the Liegnitz King's grenadiers, Grenadierregiment "Konig Wilhelm I as its colonel. It wasa field unit. Manfred von Richthofen, the future Red Baron flying ace, witnesed the unit in action during the drive through Belgium near Virton (August 22, 1914). He decribed Prince Oskarís bravery and his inspirational leadership. [Kilduff, p. 34.] Prince Oskar was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class. Prince Oskar's unit went into action Verdun (September 1914). The Prince again led a successful assault. He was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class. He subsequentluy collapsed. He spent several months recovering from what was reported to the public as a heart condition. He returned to duty and fought on the Eastern Front. The Kaiser had hoped to place Oskar on the Finnish throne after the War. At the time it looked like Germany had won the war and would be able to dictate the peace, as it would do in the Treary of Brest-Litovsk. In the aftermath of revolution in Russia, however, Finland declared its independence. The Finns voted for a monarchy, but chose a different German royal-- Friederich Karl of Hesse. The monarchy, however, proved to be very short lived.

Inter-War Era

After the War, Prince Oskar's name appeared on a list of Germans (members of the general staff and the royal family accused of war crimes). We do not know of any specific crimes. His place on the list seems more a reflection of his royal status. The German press criticized him when he applyed ing for a colonelís pension from the Weimar Republic. Prince Oskar joined a far-right veterans group the Stanlhelm. Like many Hohenzollernes, he felt that the rise of right wing parties like the NAZIs would lead to the reinstatement of the monarchy. His father the old Kaiser was much more suspicious of the NAZIs. We do not know to what extent he discussed these issues with his father. Prince Oskar after Hitler's seizure of power seems to have attempted to maintain good relations with them. Hitler for his part incouraged this, attempting to establish his credentials as a responsible leader with ties to the imperial regime. Support from prominent families, especially aristocratic families, helped establish the NAZIs as a legitiamte political force. As Hitler consolidated his hold on Germany, it became clear that there would be no restoration of the monarchy. The family, including Prince Oskar, lost its enthusian for the NAZIs. And Hitler for his part no longer found them useful. An exception was Oskarís middle brother--August Wilhelm. The Johanniterorden (The Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg) was a fratenal order favored by the Hohenzollerns during before and during the imperial era. Prince Oskarís immediate family (his father and uncle were members). His brother, Eitel Friedrich, served as the Master of Knights (Herrenmeister) (1907-26). Prince Oskar served as the 35th Master of Knights (1926-58). Prince Oskar is believed to have saved this for saving the ancient order from oblivion during the NAZI cultural purges. This seems to have been the beginning of the Prince's shift of opinion toward Hitler and the NAZIs.

Children

Prince Oskar had four children, three boys snd a girl. We do not yet have much information on the children. All but his oldest son, Oskar, survived the War.

Count Oskar von Ruppin (1915-1939)

Became Prince Oskar of Prussia in 1919. He was killed in combat when Germany invaded Poland (September 1939). .

Count Burchard von Ruppin (1917-88)

Became Prince Burchard of Prussia 1n 1919 . He mairred Countess Eleonore Fuggervon Babenhausen (1925-1992) in 1961.

Countess Herzeleide-Ina-Marie von Ruppin (1918-89)

Princess Herzeleide-Ina-Marie of Prussia was born after World War I ended on Christmas, Secember 25, 1918 at Bristow, Mecklenburg. She married Karl, Prince Biron von Kurland and Francoise de Montigny de Jaucourt (1907-1982), in a civil ceremony during 1938 at Potsdam. She died in 1989 at Munich, Germany, age 70.

Prince Wilhelm-Karl of Prussia (*1922- )

Prince Wilhelm Karl was the youngest son of Prince Oskar. As a boy he wore dresses, a fashion that was becoming less common after World War I in the 1920s. I'm not sure when he was breeched, but he looks to still be wearing dresses ar age 4. He is pictured here about 1927 or 28 wearing a long pants sailor and strap shoes with older sister Princess Herzeleide. Many boys who normally wore short pants might have a long pants sailor suit. Actually the long pants suits were common among royal families. He wore bangs as a boy, but when he was breeched his hair at the side was cut shorter. We have no information on his childhood at this time. Aklmost surely as he was 11 years old when the NAZIs seized power and his father was an ardent NAZI, he mist have joined the Hitler Youth. He mairred Armgard von Veltheim (*1926) in 1952.

Children's Clothing

Prince Oskar's wife appears to have dressed the boys in dresses until about age 4. The one avilable image shows Pribe Wilhelm-Karl wearing a white dress. His dresswas different from that of his sister in that there was no waist. The German royals even after abdication continued to favor sailor suits for the boys. Prince Wilhelm Karl is pictured here in a white long pants sailor suit. The suit pants button on to the middy blouse. The middy blouse has traditional styling with blue detailing on the collar and cuffs. The pants are quite narrow, about as far as you can get from real sailor flare pants as possible. He wears white socks and Mary Jane strap shoes just like his sister. I'm not sure what color they were. The only images we have at this time is of the younger children, Prince Wilhelm-Karl and Princess Herzeleide. I do not know if the older children were dressed differently.

World War II

Prince Oskar was commissioned at generalmajor zur verfŁgung (brigadier general), 'available for assignment') (about March 1940). Two family members were killed in combat early in the War. Prince Oskarís son (Oskar) was killed in Poland (September 1939). Oskar's (Wilhelm, son of the Crown Prince) died of wounds received in France (June 1940). This was particularly shocking as he was in line of sucession to inherit the throne. Hitler in particular was shocked that the German people after 7-years of NAZI rule still harbored affection for the old imperial family. And there was still considerable monarchist sentiment in the Wehrmacht. As a result, he had the military commissions of most of the Hohenzollerns and Hapsburgs cancelled so that the outpouring of seniment would not occur again. This included Prinz Oskar's commission. August Wilhelm remained the most pre-NAZI in the fmily. Former Crown Prince Wilhelm staddeled the fence. Prince Oskar and his other surviving brothers (Eitel Friedrich and Adalbert) became anti-NAZI.

Last Years

Prince Oskar died in Munich at age 69 (January 27, 1958).

Sources

Kilduff, Peter. The Life and Death of an Ace (Cincinnati, Ohio: David & Charles, Ltd. 2007). p. 34







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Created: December 18, 2000
Last updated: 12:14 AM 1/16/2012