By Hans von Trotha

Answers the controversial question about “considerable progress”: Stephan Malinowski and his book “The Hohenzollerns and the Nazis. History of a Collaboration”. (Deutschlandradio / Propylaeen Verlag)

Much has been said about the involvement of the Hohenzollerns in National Socialism. Historian Stephan Malinowski now brings reason to the debate with a 750-page study.

In the end, the historian Stephan Malinowski, legally involved, becomes the main character of the story told by the author Stephan Malinowski in this complete, even fundamental book. It is a “story of German hostility to the republic” and of the “will to experiment in the anti-republican environment” of the Weimar Republic.

It is the story of attempts to forge an old and a new right into one powerful regime. And this is the story of a once powerful German family which, even after the end of the monarchy, had “considerable residual influence” that it did not claim to support the resistance against Hitler and the National Socialist movement. more and more openly brutal – I Contrary. Malinowski calls them collaborators.

Restoration with the help of the Nazis

Hopes of a restoration with the help of the Nazi movement played a role, but also the deep convictions of those involved, such as the former crown prince (“Dear Herr Hitler! … lead this wonderful national movement in the fruitful work “).

(picture-alliance / akg-images) The Hohenzollerns want compensation for the expropriations after WWII. But are the claims justified? How well did the family support the Nazi movement? We spoke about it with the historian Stephan Malinowski, author of the study in question here. Here you can hear and read our conversation.

The fact that this story is now told with such publicity, and has even become justiciable, is due to the fact that the Hohenzollern family claims the restitution of significant values ​​which are in the possession of the general public, to which they are in fact legally entitled ( on historical, political and moral aspects, it would be a different negotiating body), if it was clarified that National Socialism did not receive “substantial impetus” from their ranks.

Two discourses collide here: the historical and the legal. The former provides the arguments, the latter ultimately determines the court’s decision – unless the variant of a settlement is chosen to circumvent a clarification.

Award-winning memoir on nobility

Several reports have been published, including one by Malinowski, who recommended himself with an award-winning thesis on the nobility and the Nazis. In his book, he goes much further, telling the story of the right-wing circles of the Weimar Republic and its actors such as Hermine, the second wife of the former emperor, and Cecilie, the wife of the ex-crown prince, in a lively, lively and exciting way. In the end, it translates the story in an illuminating way into the culture of remembrance of the former Federal Republic and into the current debate on restitution.

Although he takes great pleasure in sharp formulations, Malinowski leaves the last word of his analysis to a colleague: “But even if they weren’t the ones who ‘encouraged’, then they weren’t. ‘habit.”

This is what famous Nazi historian Ulrich Herbert wrote about the reports. After this book, it is even more true. But Malinowski then reserves the final punch: “After 1945”, he sums up the activities of the Hohenzollerns, “in the attempt to present himself as part of the resistance, the centuries-old ability to create legends shines for the last time. time.” .

Stephan Malinowski: “The Hohenzollerns and the Nazis. History of a collaboration ”
Propylaea Verlag, Berlin 2021
752 pages, 35 euros