Diaries and Memoirs

Prince Louis Ferdinand

Three Hohenzollern, three S.A. Men!

On March 1934 the German Ex-crown prince Wilhelm let himself be photographed at the castle Caecilian-Hof with both of his sons. At that time Hitler was in power for a good year. The ex-crown prince (middle) on this occasion was wearing the uniform of motor- S.A.- man, Prince Hubertus (left ) the uniform of “Sturmfuhrer ” (Com.commandant with the S. A.) Reserve I and prince Friedrich (right) that of ” Oberscharfuhrer ” of the Reserve I. The sons were holding a higher office (order) than their father.

The picture was published of the son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the crown prince together with his 2 sons, all three with swastikas round their arms. Everyone raised the devil about this public exposure; there was no need to join the party of Hitler and his gang. But of course, when a personality like the ex-crown prince and his royal family openly showing their agreement with the policy and carrying out Hitler’s intention, the little fellow will follow.

This ex-crown prince even in October, on October 8, 1933, carried a swastika armband when he was greeted by the Silezian SA in Breslau.

Many people were opposed to this.

I met the crown prince soon after his father abdicated, fled out of Germany to Amerongen and later bought a castle in Doorn. The son soon after his father fled to Wieringen. When I met him, instead of speaking and meeting a personality with dignity – after an hour’s interview I did not have the least little respect for this man. He was a boyish person, more or less a buffoon, walking round with Dutch clogs, a shallow plate, nothing but insignificant and to quote what the Berliners said, after he ran away “a stupid fool “. He had a typical Berlin accent (A Jute Jebratene Jans). His landlord or rather landlady at the house he was staying in, was complaining to me that he did not behave well, throwing his cigarette butts on the floor, etc!

Naturally one should have respect for a man, who originally was destined to rule an Empire after the death of his father Kaiser Wilhelm II. But how can one have respect for man like this boyish guy?

There was not a personality with a more bitter feeling towards him in the allied countries than this crown prince, nor a better caricature made from him. The man with “Viel Feind viel Ehr” and accusing him of the expression originated from his mouth : “Der frische Fröhliche Krieg” and not forgot
his utterance: “Immer feste druff!”

Despite his word of honor given to the Dutch Government, one morning he left suddenly. Naturally, with a new ruler and Hitler into power, this ex-crown prince wanted to be in the running again and thought he had a chance. This man to be a top man again with his full assistance given to unleash the World War 1914 – 1918. And again having given his assistance to let Hitler carry on, which ultimately resulted into another World War.

Excerpt from Frankenhuis Collection Memoirs, Volume 2

Newspaper article from the Frankenhuis Collection (1934) is featured in exhibit at Huis Doorn Museum in the Netherlands. Huis Doorn was German Emperor Wilhelm II’s residence in exile following his abdication after World War I.

Excerpt from Interview with Prince Louis Ferdinand (31 years later)

January 21, 1965

In the newspapers this week there appeared a small article, “Royal Couple Visiting Us” (Daily News 1/20/65). I was eager to meet and talk with this “Royal Couple,” viz., Prince Louis Ferdinand and his wife, the former being the second son of the Crown Prince of Germany and the grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The couple were to stay at the Plaza Hotel.

I had met the Crown Prince on the Isle of Wieringen just after he fled Germany after her defeat in 1918 and spent a whole day with him, getting his souvenirs and mementos. I never met the Kaiser himself, although I have had a lengthy correspondence with him, receiving autographs, etc. I tried to get an interview with him but he did not wish it. He lived in seclusion in a castle in the village of Amerongen with his friend, the
Count of Bentinck. No interview was ever granted, no photographs taken. The photographer. of the weekly paper HET LEVEN (LIFE), whom I knew very well, called me one day saying he had a delicate mission and, if I wanted to, I could join him. I did not accept his offer, much to my regret later on. As it turned out, he hired a farm wagon loaded with hay and, dressed as a peasant, he drove the wagon alongside the walls of the castle and, from atop the wagon, was able to take photographs of the Kaiser walking with his host in the gardens. These were the first pictures taken of the ex-Kaiser while in exile and they drew worldwide attention, having been issued to every newspaper and news magazine throughout the globe. They revealed that he had grown a beard.

On Wednesday, the 20th, I phoned the hotel a couple of times during the evening, the reception office asking for my name when I said that I wanted to talk to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia. He was not in. So on Thursday, the 21st, I called very early – at 8:30 A.M.- reiterating my request and giving
my name. This time they put me through to him.

I told him my name, that I came from the Netherlands, had been a Dutch citizen, that I was now doing research on World War I and World War II. I requested that he grant me an interview, particularly in view of the fact that I had known his father, that I had spent a whole day with him in Wieringen, and that I had also had an elaborate correspondence with his grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm II. ?efore starting the conversation I asked
him which language he wished to speak in. “Whatever you wish,” he replied, so the conversation continued in English.

” I can receive you at 11:00 o’clock and will be glad to meet you. My room number is 1225″. “Can I also take a photograph of you?” Yes, but he preferred not to have a photographer around. “I have an appointment at 12:00 o’clock so if you will come at 11:00 o’clock?” “Thank you.'”

At 11:00 o’clock I was at the Plaza Hotel, stating at the desk that I had an appointment with Prince Louis Ferdinand in Room 1225. They asked me to announce myself on the telephone. I did so, telling him that I was Mr. Frankenhuis, and he replied, “Bitte, kommen Sie rauf.” With my small suitcase, containing photographs, documents, etc., and my camera, I went upstairs and he greeted me in his suite.

He was a plain looking man, jovial; he shook hands with me. Very charming. Quite different from what I had expected. He invited me to sit down on a sofa next to him. I told him that before I spoke to him any further I wanted to tell him that he looked exactly like his father. I then showed him two photographs of his father which I myself had taken in 1918 in front of his home in Wieringen. “I want to ask you several questions, but if you don’t want to answer them please do not. Also, if I make any embarrassing statements please don’t be offended.” “Okay. So, you knew my father?” “Yes, and also your grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm II, although I never met him in person.

I collected mementos of Kaiser Wilhelm II during the years of the World War of 1914-1918, at which time I was a citizen of the Netherlands. I even put advertisements in various newspapers to obtain mementos of your grandfather, in consequence of which I believe I had a collection larger than anyone else’s.” I mentioned that being a citizen of the Netherlands,
which was neutral during World War I, I was in a position to buy and collect in the countries of the two belligerent powers.

“May I start – and this may be embarrassing (I opened my suitcase and took out a photograph) – well here, this picture of you, your brother and your father in early 1934 in uniform, with a great big swastika on your arm. This picture has been bothering me for many years; it was taken in March, 1934, in Cacillen-Hef – you, your brother and your father on a sofa, in uniform, and as early as 1934, only just after Hitler achieved power. Here’s what it says- the caption underneath: ‘The ex-Crown Prince in the uniform of a motor S.A. man, Prince Hubertus in the uniform of “Sturmfuehrer” (Commandant with the S.A.), and Prince Friedrich that of Oberscharfuehrer” of the S.A. Reserve I.’”

Excerpt from Frankenhuis Collection Memoirs, Volume 21

complete interview continues in the Frankenhuis Collection archives