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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prinzenerlass (German: [ˈpʁɪntsn̩ʔɛɐ̯ˌlas], "princes decree", also spelled Prinzenerlaß)[1] was the name of a decree issued in 1940 by Adolf Hitler that prohibited members of Germany's formerly reigning houses from participating in any military operations in the Wehrmacht.

Under the Weimar Republic until the Nazi seizure of power, and even until the outbreak of World War II, the members of the former German nobility continued to enjoy the rights they had prior to the abolition of the monarchy in 1918.[citation needed]

In May 1940, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, the grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II, took part in the invasion of France. He was wounded during the fighting in Valenciennes and died in a field hospital in Nivelles on 26 May 1940. His funeral service was held at the Church of Peace, and he was buried in the Hohenzollern family mausoleum in the Antique Temple in Sanssouci Park. The service drew over 50,000 mourners.[2] His death and the ensuing sympathy of the German public toward a member of the imperial family greatly bothered Hitler, and he began to see the Hohenzollerns as a threat to his power. Shortly afterwards, the Prinzenerlass was issued, and all members of the former German royal houses were relieved from combat duties.[2] The decree prohibited members of Germany's formerly reigning families from actively serving in the Wehrmacht, fearing that this would increase the public's sympathy for the deposed dynasties and threaten his grip on power.[3]


  1. ^ Scheurig, Bodo (1965-12-24). "Der schwindende Mythos". Die Zeit (in German). ISSN 0044-2070. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  2. ^ a b "Wilhelm Prinz von Preussen (in German)" (in German). Retrieved 2008-07-12.
  3. ^ Sandner, Harald (2011). Hitlers Herzog – Carl Eduard von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha – Die Biographie (in German). Aachen: Shaker Media. pp. 199, 236, 353. ISBN 978-3-86858-598-8.
  • Queen Victoria's Family: A Century of Photographs., Charlotte Zeepvat. Sutton Publishing, 2003.
  • Royals and the Reich: The Princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany, Jonathan Petropoulos. Oxford University Press, 2006.
This page was last edited on 21 March 2019, at 08:46
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