The funeral of an Emperor

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A historical fact that is often forgotten is that the last German emperor did not die in Germany but in the Netherlands. In the town of Doorn on 4 June 1941, at the age of 82. The Nazis had already taken control of the Netherlands for more then a year at that stage.

Wilhelm II lived in Exile in Doorn since 1920.

He had grown to distrust Hitler. Hearing of the murder of the wife of former Chancellor Schleicher, he said “We have ceased to live under the rule of law and everyone must be prepared for the possibility that the Nazis will push their way in and put them up against the wall!”

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Der Kaiser  once entertained Hermann Göring in his home in Doorn, and sent Hitler a congratulatory telegram  Germany invaded  France. But the Führer refused to entertain the idea of a return for the monarch who he thought had subjected Germany to a humiliating defeat, and kept Doorn under military guard during the Nazi occupation.

Wilhelm II once claimed to be disgusted to call himself a German, after the Kristallnacht, he also disowned his 4th born son after that. He said the following “I have just made my views clear to Auwi in the presence of his brothers. He had the nerve to say that he agreed with the Jewish pogroms and understood why they had come about. When I told him that any decent man would describe these actions as gangsterisms, he appeared totally indifferent. He is completely lost to our family”.

Even though  Hitler had wanted a state funeral in Berlin with himself in a prominent role, Hitler thought that this would establish him the link of a direct descent of the Third Reich from the old German Empire. However Wilhelm II’s family insisted on respecting instructions he’d given in 1933 that he was to be buried in Doorn if Germany was not a monarchy at the time of his death.

1024px-Mausoleumwhilhelm The funeral took place on June 9th 1941 .A  delegation of Nazi officials led by Arthur Seyss-Inquart was allowed to attend as well as a Wehrmacht guard of honour, and Wilhelm’s wishes that Nazi regalia were not be displayed at his funeral were not adhered to.

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