Vintage Vault - The Watchful Waiting of Young Mr Hohenzollern

  Category: 20th Century
The Literary Digest was a current affairs magazine. It ran weekly from 1890-1936 and peaked at two million readers. In this issue it gained an exclusive and quite candid interview with Wilhelm Hohenzollern, heir to the Prussian throne in exile in Holland.

November 1, 1919

-page 50-







Friederich Wilhelm Hohenzollern, whose present address is Niew Oosterland, Isle of Wieringen, Holland, is no longer Crown Prince and heir to the imperial throne of Germany., but he is still fine newspaper “copy.” Sometimes a correspondent wanders out to the place where he lives and talks things over with him. Not infrequently, however, if one may judge by conflicting stories that appear from time to time, the writer doesn’t take much trouble to verify his statements, but works “inspirationally,” to borrow a favourite term of certain seers. Thus within recent months, we have been regaled with tales of Friederich W’s going into the pottery business; of his pulling certain stunts at Wieringen, entirely unbecoming a genetleman and ex-Crown Prince, thereby greatly shocking the good people of that placid island; of his escape from exile to lead a monarchist movement in Germany. But none of these things are so, according to T. Walter Williams, who informs us in an article in the New York “Times” Magazine that he has recently visited Wieringen and had a talk with young Hohenzollern. We learn that the latter still lives in the little house assigned him by the Dutch government and whiles away the time smoking cigarettes, riding a motorcycle, sketching on the beach and wondering when the signing of the Peace Treaty will be finished, at which time, so he confided to Mr. Williams, he will return to Germany to look after his estates. According to the correspondent:
“When I met him the ex-crown Prince was standing with his motor cycle at the tiny pier of the valley of Houkes, where the motor post boat lands passengers, mails and freight three times daily from Ewijcksluis, on the mainland of North Holland, a place which is reached by train and steam tram from Amsterdam, via Zaandam. He was waiting to meet friend who he said was a Major I the army and had been his father’s staff during the war. The Dutch Government permit’s the exile of Wieringen to have some of his friends stop a few days with him occasionally. If I had not known him by sight I should easily have identified him, as the Dutch fisherman who were leaning against the wooden railings of the pier waved their long pipes toward him lazily and ejaculated, with a grin on their expansive features, ‘de Prince. The islanders address him as ‘Zijne Hoogheid,’ (Your Highness,) and not as Mynheer Hohenzollern, as has been reported.
“At the moment he was surrounded by forty or more happy, ruddy-cheeked, sturdy Dutch boys and girls, wearing their quaint fat cloth or lace caps and big white painted wooden shoes. All were much interested I motorcycles and his big brown leather jacket and military cap wit huge goggles. ‘I am fond of children, the ex-Crown Prince said to me, as he patted a blue-eyed, fair-haired little girl on the head, ‘ I think they like me, too. The people on this island are very kind, he continued, ‘and I have my liberty to ride anywhere I please, which is much preferable to being shut up in a castle like my father is at Amerongen. I have only left the island once since my arrival last November, and that was to meet my mother at Amerfort. That meeting was, of course, arranged by him by Dutch officials at The Hague, and an automobile was sent to meet at Ewijcksluis when I landed from the post boat in the morning. Apparently the newspaper correspondents were not aware of the arrangement, because they had sent frantic reports that I had escaped from the Island of Wieringen and was on my way t head military party in Germany with the object of seizing the throne. 
“’It was a good joke and cause quite a lot of fun at The Hague among the diplomats at the various Embassies and Legations until they discovered that I was back again in my house at Oosterland.’”
“There is a dining room and parlour on the ground floor and two bedrooms above. One bedroom, when I was there, was occupied by the ex-Crown Prince and the other one by the two German officers who are keeping him company on the little island in the Zuyder Zee. The room are plainly furnished with Dutch oak and the walls have been decorated with sketches drawn by the ex-Royal tenant. There is no bathroom in the house, and the kitchen where the German chef presides, assisted by Dutch servants, is situated is situated in a small wooden house built in the front garden.
“The house itself was rented from the pastor of the village church for the use of the exile, and some plate and linen and glassware was added to the slender stock which was sufficient fro the needs f the dominie. The German valets and the major domo, a tall resolute man who was a Sergeant Major in the Prussian Guards and speaks as if he was I the regiment still, also have a room in the little square, brown painted outhouse.”
Mr. Williams describes Wieringen as a place where the farmers “are so prosperous that they go to their fields in automobiles and their hired men travel comfortably on bicycles.” He says further than we went there it was a “mass of roses, poppies, lilies and tulips, with fields of waving, whaet, rye, barley and oats. Thrushes, linnets, blackbirds and skylarks were singing in the woods and fields.” This pleasing picture is in violent contrast with the ex-Crown Prince’s account of the winter. He said: 
“The winter months from November to May are simply too awful for words. The cold nearly killed me and I have still to keep fires in my rooms on account of the north wind, which blows cold at night. Then the fogs, the rain, and the snow, with the ice jammed up on the strip of the Zuyder Zee, which cuts off Wieringen from the mainland, makes conditions so wretched that I thought I should die. It was literally impossible to keep warm. The night, too, were long and I missed the society of cultured people. I am fond, too, of the opera and good music and scientific lectures on interesting subjects -- all lacking in Wieringen.”
The former Crown Prince did not seem reluctant to discuss not only his plans for the future but also the matter of the proposed trial of some members of the Hohenzollern family for being responsible for the war. For himself he apparently had no fear he that he would not be permitted to return to Germany, and in regard to his father he stated that the latter would remain in Holland for some years. Further, according the interviewer:
“It is absurd,” the former junior German war lord continued, “for the allies to accuse my father of being responsible for starting the war and bringing him to trial for the things that have happened during the period it lasted, from August, 1914. He would never submit to such indignity, I am certain, and would sooner kill himself first. One always has one’s honour you know.”



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