Nazis and Nobles: The History of a Misalliance: Role of the nobility in Nazi Germany

Book review: Stephan Malinowski on the German nobility’s role in the destruction of democracy

Hermann Goering,  Prince Auguste-Guillaume, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels in Berlin. Photograph: Keystone-France/ Gamma-Rapho via Getty

Hermann Goering, Prince Auguste-Guillaume, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels in Berlin. Photograph: Keystone-France/ Gamma-Rapho via Getty

For the past few years a rather unusual restitution debate has been making waves in Germany. At the centre of the controversy is Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, head of the House of Hohenzollern that ruled Imperial Germany until the last Kaiser, Wilhelm II, was forced to abdicate following the November Revolution in 1918.

While the Hohenzollern family was allowed to keep most of its considerable assets in 1918, its fortunes changed in 1945 when the Red Army conquered the eastern half of Germany and nationalised their lands, castles and possessions.

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