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In order to finish his education quickly Bernhard had to make some compromises with the monstrous political system that was fastening its grip on Germany. The story that the Prince of the Netherlands once wore the black uniform of Hitler’s SS is quite true. It came about in this way. Only eleven days after his father’s death, on June 30, 1934, Hitler’s first purge, known as ‘The Night of the Long Knives,’ shocked Germany and the world. On that pleasant summer evening Ernst Rohm, who had been Hitler’s friend and ally from the beginning, and other leaders of the brown-shirted SA (Storm Troopers), the private army which had brought Hitler to power and who were now challenging his will, were taken in their beds and their offices, in beer-halls and on railway trains or in the streets, and shot without even a drumhead court-martial. They were an evil and degenerate crew who lived by violence and appropriately died by it, but the capricious manner of their liquidation proved that justice in Germany had been replaced by the will of a tyrant. Nor were they the only victims. General Kurt von Schleicher, who had opposed Hitler politically, was shot in the doorway of his home, and when his wife protested too much she was murdered too. All sorts of private grudges were satisfied in the slaughter which was said at the Nuremberg trials to have taken over a thousand lives. It lasted for thirty-six hours. From that moment no man or woman in the land was safe from the terror, especially not those who wielded power, least of all Hitler himself. The SA was disbanded and replaced by Heinrich Himmler’s black-uniformed SS (Schutzstaffel), and the Gestapo (Secret State Police). They quickly set about tightening the screws of the police state. At the beginning of his serious studies Bernhard learned that a new sort of test had been decreed for every one graduating from the universities - a written and oral ‘political attitude” examination. With his ideals and high temper he knew that was one examination he could not pass. However, there was a way round it. Members of the various Nazi paramilitary organizations were ipso facto considered “politically reliable.”
Bernhard had joined the League for Air Sports because he wanted to learn to fly. It had been started by the Nazi Party as a sub-rosa method of training war pilots, but it had virtually no political implications. Its leaders were the old World War I airmen like Ernst Udet, who were not Nazis and cared only about teaching young people to fly. So Bernhard was all set until he went larking around the sky with a wild young friend who flew their plane into a lake. They swam ashore, but the plane had ceased to exist. When they got back to the base their commander was furious. “He was right, of course,” says Bernhard, “and we were wrong. Even though I was not at the controls, I knew I was out. So while the commandant was screaming at my friend I said, “ I resign too.” It was just a question of who could get the words out first.” His ignominious ejection from Air Sports left Bernhard in a very vulnerable position. He belonged to no organization and had no uniform or badge to wear. He knew that the law examinations were made doubly difficult for uncommitted people, and that even if he passed them the political attitude test would eliminate him. So he looked around for a harmless cover. He found it by the grace of the son of the man who owned Bernhard’s favourite Berlin pub. Young Walter Wunderlich was an idealistic Nazi: there were many such young men who truly believed in the noble aspirations of the party as voiced, but not practised, by Hitler and his lieutenants. Wunderlich was head of the Berlin unit of the Motor SS, which was made up of young men who had their own cars. They put on their uniforms and met once a week for what almost amounted to a sportscar rally. Bernhard and five or six friends in the same boat as he, including the Langenheim brothers from Morocco, went to Wunderlich. Bernhard knew that a man had to serve in the SS for a year and a half before he was admitted to membership; until then he was on probation. Speaking for all of them, he said, “Look, Walter, you know exactly how we think and what we are. But we need some sort of protection. Will you take us into your motor unit until we finish our studies? Then out we go.” Is that how you want it?” Walter asked. “Yes,” said Bernhard. “You know just why we are doing this. Under no circumstances does any of us want to become and SS man by quicker promotion or whatsoever. We’ll come in our motorcars, and we’ll all drive together till we graduate. Then out. That is the understanding.” Though Walter was a dedicated Nazi, he was a loyal friend ready to stick his neck out to help. “I’ll take you,” he said. They were issued overcoats, and went to the best tailor in Berlin to have their uniforms specially made. “I must say we looked smart in them,” Bernhard says. “The extent of my services included the weekly rallies and standing guard occasionally, because if you did that you could have a free garage. We had a lot of fun and no trouble.” At the end of their studies Bernhard’s whole group, with one exception, left the SS and severed all connection with the party. This fellow appeared later in Holland and took advantage of Bernhard’s trusting nature to commit an act of treachery. By the time Bernhard had graduated he was completely determined to get out of Germany. Von Hindenburg was dead. The last vestige of constitutionalism had disappeared as the office of President of the German Republic was abolished and Hitler named himself Fuhrer. He was now more powerful than any German Emperor had ever been, and more obsessed by lust of conquest than old Frederick Barbarossa. The Nazi movement had gathered such momentum that Bernhard could see no hope of stopping it short of bloody catastrophe. This is not to say that he foresaw the future clearly in all its Wagnerian tragedy. He did not. But neither did he believe for a moment that the Third Reich would last a thousand years, or fifty for that matter. Even if it did he could not conceive of living in a land of government by terror. And despite the military tradition of his family and h is own creed of loyalty, he had not the conscience to become, as conscription would soon compel him to, part of a military machine dedicated to conquest. Had he been older and his character more hardened by adversity he might have considered remaining to oppose the regime, hopeless as opposition seemed. Even so, open dissent was impossible, and he had neither the talent nor the taste for conspiracy. In addition, the only organized underground resistance was the Communist Party, which was equally distasteful to him.The only solution was self-exile. Bernhard did not burn all his bridges immediately.
As a first step he got a job in the Paris office of I.G.Farben, the great German chemical combine. Though his training had been in law, he was fascinated by industry and finance, and thought that his talents lay in this direction. Which proved to be the case. In Paris Bernhard threw all his energy into his new career. He says that he wanted to prove that it was not nepotism that got him the job. But the truth is that by now he was so geared to high-pressure work that he could not have done otherwise. Also, the more he learned about business the more interested he became. Though his working hours were from 8 am to 7 pm he was among the first to reach the office in the morning and the last to leave at night. In addition he took a course in shorthand and typing in the evening or during his lunch-hour, munching a sandwich while he worked. “They were mad for garlic in that school,” he says. “I have never smelt anything like it. I started eating it in self-defence and learned to like it very much. I still do, though my family is not quite in agreement with me.” I.G.Farben’s Paris manager, Dr Passarge, soon recognized Bernhard as executive material and sent him on a training course through the various departments. In the sales department he really found his metier. He negotiated several barter deals with French Indo-China - rice for chemicals - and took part in various other selling campaigns. It gave him a chance to use all his talents - financial acuteness, ability to think fast, persuasiveness, and that God-given charm of which he was completely aware. He did so well that Dr Passarge said, “If you don’t do something stupid you’ll be a manager by the time you’re thirty.” A little later he got the same promise in writing. In Paris Bernhard lived in the luxurious house of his uncle and aunt by marriage, Count and Countess Paul de Kotzebue. The Countess was an American, Allene Tew, whose first husband had been Anson Wood Berther, an executive of General Electric from whom she inherited a fine old-fashioned American fortune. Countess Kotzebue doted on Bernhard, Princess Armgard says, “She spoiled him terribly. All her cars were his to drive. She never refused him anything he asked. His wish was literally her command. The Kotzebues had no children, and she regarded him as a son.” Bernhard, who always returned affection in full measure, was completely devoted to “Aunt Allene,” and equally willing to gratify her wishes. Count Kotzebue says that many years later, when the Countess was dying at Nice, Bernhard drove all the way from Soestdijk to see her once more. “Though my wife seemed to be unconscious,” he said, “she recognized his horn in the courtyard and said, ‘That’s my Bernilo come to see me.’ ” It is not to be supposed that the life of a bachelor prince in Paris was a social blank. No matter how hard Bernhard worked he always had energy left for fun. He was invited to a great many parties and went to most of them. He was a great favourite in the embassies, with one exception. “Soon after I began working for I.G.Farben [see note below],” he says, “ the German Ambassador sent a man to ask me if I would join the organization of Germans living abroad. It was, of course, a party organization, so I said, ‘No’. They gave me no further trouble, but I was never invited to the German Embassy.” However, the Belgian Ambassador, Count van Kerckhoven, was especially friendly. He had been Ambassador to Berlin when Bernhard was a student there and had been “awfully nice” to him. Their friendship continued in Paris. Though Bernhard had only an hour off at noon, the Ambassador often invited him for lunch and arranged things so that the meal was served the moment he arrived and protocol dispensed with, so that he could eat and run back to his job. At one of these luncheons late in 1935 Bernhard found himself seated next do Dr Loudon, the Dutch Minister to Portugal, whom he also knew quite well. The conversation turned to the Winter Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where Bernhard planned to go during his winter holidays. Dr Loudon told him that Queen Wilhelmina and her daughter, Princess Juliana, also planned to go to the Olympics. “They will be staying at Igls, just over the mountain,” he said. “Perhaps you would like to call Her Majesty’s aide-de-camp and arrange to pay them a courtesy visit.” “Thank you, I believe I will,” Bernhard said. “It might be amusing.”
Preceding extract from:
Hatch, Alden, 'H. R. H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands; an authorized biography'. Subject : Bernhard Leopold, consort of Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, Harrap, 1962.
Originally posted by 13th Zodiac
Yes this is all true, this mongrel is also the founder of the World Wildlife Fund or WWF .Look at the green movement today not exactly what it set out to be, now just a political front and money laundering sham, not about saving wildlife .He condems japanese whaling yet covers his cousins of the Danish Crown over their annual whale slaughter.Since they are now in the loop research King Christain and Hittler as well , interesting how Denmark and the Danish jewery were hands of during the war .Thanks for sharing .
After the war, the position of Inspector General was created for the Prince. He was made a member of the board of supervisors of Fokker Aircraft, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and within a few years was invited to serve as an adviser or non-executive director of numerous corporations and institutions. There have been claims about KLM helping Nazis to leave Germany to Argentina in KLM flights, while he was on the board of the KLM .