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Prince Oskar of Prussia

Prince Oskar
Prince Oskar of Prussia
Spouse Countess Ina-Marie von Bassewitz
Issue Prince Oskar
Prince Burchard
Princess Herzeleide
Prince Wilhelm-Karl
House House of Hohenzollern
Father Emperor Wilhelm II
Mother Duchess Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein
Born (1888-07-27)27 July 1888
Marmorpalais, Potsdam, Prussia[1]
Died 27 January 1958(1958-01-27) (aged 69)
Munich, Bavaria
Prussian Royalty
House of Hohenzollern
Wilhelm II
   Crown Prince Wilhelm
   Prince Eitel Friedrich
   Prince Adalbert
   Prince August Wilhelm
   Prince Oskar
   Prince Joachim
   Victoria Louise, Duchess of Brunswick

Prince Oskar Karl Gustav Adolf of Prussia (Oskar Karl Gustav Adolf Prinz von Preußen) (27 July 1888 – 27 January 1958) was the fifth son of Wilhelm II, German Emperor and Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein.


  • Biography 1
    • Education 1.1
    • Military career 1.2
    • Master of Knights, Protestant Order of Saint John 1.3
    • Marriage and issue 1.4
  • Regimental Commissions 2
  • Chivalric Orders 3
  • Military Decorations (1914-1918) 4
  • Ancestry 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7



Prinz Oskar was educated as a cadet at Plön, in his mother’s ancestral Schleswig-Holstein, as his brothers had been before him. He made the news in 1902 when he fractured his collar bone after a fall from the horizontal bars.[2]

Military career

During the early months of the First World War, he commanded Grenadierregiment "Konig Wilhelm I." (2. Westpreussisches) Nr. 7 in the field as its colonel. Future fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen witnessed the August 22, 1914, attack on Virton, Belgium, and wrote of Prinz Oskar’s bravery and his inspirational leadership at the front of his regiment as they went into combat.[3] For this action, Oskar earned the Iron Cross, Second Class.[4] A month later, at Verdun, Oskar again led his men in a successful assault into heavy combat, and was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class. After this action, he also collapsed and had to be removed from the field.[5] Awarded the wound badge for his injuries, he spent much of the fall of 1914 recovering from what was reported to be a heart condition. He eventually returned to duty and served on the Eastern Front, where he was again awarded the wound badge.[6]

In the early 1920s, his name was listed with other members of the general staff or the royal family accused of war crimes, and was condemned in the Press for applying for a colonel’s pension from the Weimar Republic.[7]

During the 1930s, when the Hohenzollern family attempted to test the waters for a return to power through Nationalist Socialism, Oskar appears to have played along, and eventually was commissioned at Generalmajor zur Verfügung (rank equivalent to brigadier general, "available for assignment"), circa March 1, 1940. As it became more evident that there would be no restoration of the monarchy through the Nazis, the family began to fall out of favor with Hitler, with the exception of Oskar’s middle brother, August Wilhelm.

With the early battlefield deaths of Oskar’s son (also named Oskar, killed in Poland, September 1939) and his nephew (Wilhelm, son of the Crown Prince, died of wounds received in France, March 1940) the German people harbored a newfound sentiment for the royal family amidst the totalitarian regime that was Nazi Germany. As a consequence, the majority of royals serving in the German Armed Forces appear to have had their commissions canceled, including Prinz Oskar.

Master of Knights, Protestant Order of Saint John

Prinz Oskar (center) in procession with the Johanniterorden, 1924

The Johanniterorden (The Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg)) was a favorite of the Hohenzollerns, historically, and of Prinz Oskar’s immediate family in specific. His father and uncle were members, and his brother, Eitel Friedrich, served as its Master of Knights (Herrenmeister), from 1907 to 1926. Prinz Oskar served as the thirty-fifth Master of Knights [8] from Eitel Friedrich's resignation in 1926 until his death in 1958. Modern historians credit Prinz Oskar for saving the ancient order from oblivion during the cultural purges of the Nazi regime. It is from this struggle that he held his anti-Nazi sentiments. After his death in 1958, his youngest son, Prinz Wilhelm Karl, became his permanent successor. Prinz Oskar's grandson and namesake, Dr. Oskar Hohenzollern, Prince of Prussia, is the current (thirty-seventh) Master of Knights.

Marriage and issue

Prinz Oskar was married on 31 July 1914 to Countess of Ruppin", and from 21 June 1920, was titled "Princess of Prussia" with the style Royal Highness. The couple had four children:

Prince Oskar and Princess Ina Marie with their children in 1925.

Prinz Oskar, whose health declined during the final years of his life, died of stomach cancer in a clinic in Munich on 27 January 1958.[1][10]

Regimental Commissions [11]

Prinz Oskar, during the First World War
  • 1. Garderegiment zu Fuß (1st Regiment of Foot Guards), Leutnant from 1898, Hauptman (captain) through 1914 [12]
  • Grenadierregiment "Konig Wilhelm I." (2. Westpreussisches) Nr. 7, à la suite before 1908, Oberst (colonel) during World War I [3]
  • 3. Gardegrenadierlandwehrregiment (3rd Reserve Regiment of Grenadier Guards), à la suite before 1908

Chivalric Orders [11]

  • Master of the Knights, Johanniterorden (German Order of St. John), 1926–1958
  • Knight, First Class with Crown, Mecklenburg Order of the Wendish Crown
  • Knight, First Class (with diamonds), Osminieh Order, Ottoman Empire (Turkey)

Military Decorations (1914-1918)

  • Iron Cross, Second Class, August 22, 1914,[3] for actions at Virton.
  • Iron Cross, First Class, September 24, 1914,[5] for actions at Verdun
  • Wound Badge, September 1914 (Virton) and February 7, 1916 (Russian Front).[13]



  1. ^ a b Kirschstein, Jörg (2003). "Oskar Prinz von Preussen". Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  2. ^ “Kaiser’s Fifth Son Hurt.” New York Times. December 9, 1902.
  3. ^ a b c Kilduff, Peter. The Life and Death of an Ace. Cincinnati, OH: David & Charles, LTD., 2007. p. 34.
  4. ^ "Kaiser Decorates 2 Sons for Bravery." New York Times. August 26, 1914.
  5. ^ a b "Von Der Horst Killed Leading His Troops." New York Times. October 3, 1914.
  6. ^ "Kaiser's Son Oscar is Wounded Again." New York Times. February 8, 1916.
  7. ^ “Princes Seek Pensions.” New York Times (reprinted from Chicago Tribune), August 20, 1922.
  8. ^ Robert M. Clark, Jr., The Evangelical Knights of Saint John; Dallas, Texas: 2003; pp. 41-53, 111.
  9. ^ "Son Of The Kaiser To Wed A Countess. Prince Oscar to Contract a Morganatic Marriage with a Premier's Daughter".  
  10. ^ Von Woche zu Woche. Das Ostpreußenblatt, 1 February 1958, p. 2.
  11. ^ a b Schench, G. Handbuch über den Königlich Preuβischen Hof und Staat fur das Jahr 1908. Berlin, Prussia, 1907.
  12. ^ "Son of the Kaiser to Wed a Countess." New York Times, May 27, 1914.
  13. ^ "Kaiser's Son Oscar is Wounded Again." New York Times February 8, 1916.

External links

  • List of Herrenmeisters of the Johanniterordens on the German language WorldHeritage:

Prince Oskar of Prussia
Born: 27 July 1888 Died: 27 January 1958
Preceded by
Eitel Friedrich, Prinz von Preußen
Herrenmeister (Grand Master) of the Order of Saint John
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Karl, Prinz von Preußen

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