|Josias Erbprinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont|
|Born||13 May 1896|
|Died||30 November 1967(aged 71)|
|Place of birth||Arolsen, German Empire|
|Place of death||Schloß Schaumburg, near Diez an der Lahn, Germany|
German Empire (to 1918)|
Weimar Republic (to 1933)
|Years of service||1914–1945|
|Rank||Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei und Waffen-SS|
World War I|
World War II
|Awards||Eisernes Kreuz I|
|Hereditary Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont|
|Preceded by||Friedrich, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont|
|Succeeded by||Wittekind, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont|
|Spouse(s)||Duchess Altburg of Oldenburg|
Josias, Hereditary Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont (German language: Josias Georg Wilhelm Adolf Erbprinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont) (13 May 1896 – 30 November 1967) was the heir apparent to the throne of the Principality of Waldeck and Pyrmont and a General in the SS. From 1946 until his death, he was the head of the Princely House of Waldeck and Pyrmont. After World War II, he was sentenced to life in prison at the Buchenwald Trial (later commuted to 20 years) for his part in the "common plan" to violate the Laws and Usages of War in connection with prisoners of war held at Buchenwald concentration camp, but was released after serving about three years in prison, for reasons of ill health.
Early years[edit | edit source]
He was born in Arolsen at the ruling family's castle, the eldest son and heir of Prince Friedrich of Waldeck and Pyrmont and his consort Princess Bathildis of Schaumburg-Lippe. He was the nephew of William II, King of Württemberg, and Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, Queen Regent of the Netherlands. He was also a cousin of Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands, and Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He enlisted in the German Army as a cadet and fought in the First World War, where he suffered serious injuries. At the end of the war, his family lost their Principality as Waldeck and Pyrmont became a Free State in the new Weimar Republic.
SS and government service[edit | edit source]
After the war, Josias studied agriculture. On 1 November 1929, he joined Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party, becoming a member of the SS on 2 March 1930. He was immediately appointed adjutant to Sepp Dietrich (a leading member of the SS), before becoming Heinrich Himmler's Adjutant and staff chief in September 1930.
Josias was elected as the Reichstag member for Düsseldorf-West in 1933 and was promoted to the rank of SS Lieutenant General. He was promoted again in 1939, to the Higher SS and Police Leader for Weimar. In this position he had supervisory authority over Buchenwald concentration camp. Buchenwald had first caught the attention of Waldeck in 1941. Glancing over the camp's death list, he had stumbled across the name of Dr. Walter Krämer, a head hospital orderly at Buchenwald. He recognized it because Dr. Krämer had successfully treated him in the past. The Prince investigated the case and discovered Karl Otto Koch, the Camp Commandant, had ordered both Krämer and Karl Peixof (a hospital attendant) killed as "political prisoners" because they had treated him for syphilis, a fact Koch wished to keep secret. Josias also received reports that a certain prisoner had been shot while attempting to escape. By that time, Koch had been transferred to the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland, but his wife, Ilse, was still living at the Commandant's house in Buchenwald. Josias ordered a fullscale investigation of the camp by Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen, an SS officer who was a judge in a German court. Throughout the investigation, more of Koch's orders to kill prisoners at the camp were revealed, as well as evidence of embezzlement of property stolen from prisoners. It was also discovered that the prisoner who was "shot while trying to escape" had been told to get water from a well some distance from the camp, then was shot from behind; he had also helped treat Koch for syphilis. A charge of incitement to murder was lodged against Koch by Prince Josias and Dr. Morgen, to which later was added a charge of embezzlement. Other camp officials were also charged, including Ilse Koch. The trial resulted in a death sentence for the Commandant, who was executed by firing squad on 5 April 1945. Morgen was convinced that Ilse Koch was guilty of sadistic crimes, but the charges against her could not be proven; she was detained by German authorities until early 1945.
Adolf Hitler appointed Josias a member of the Ordnungspolizei (uniformed police) in April 1941 and, a year later, he was appointed High Commissioner of Police in German-occupied France. One of his first acts in his new role was ordering French hostages to be placed on German troop trains, to discourage sabotage attempts on them. He was made a General in the Waffen-SS in July 1944.
Arrest and later life[edit | edit source]
Josias was arrested on 13 April 1945, and sentenced to life imprisonment by an American court at Dachau during the Buchenwald Trial on 14 August 1947. The first of the two successful charges against him alleged that he was personally responsible for crimes at Buchenwald, since the camp was located in his jurisdictional area, notwithstanding the fact that he was never in command of it. The second charge was that he had ordered the execution of the Camp Commandant of Buchenwald, Standartenführer Karl Otto Koch, after it was discovered Koch had disgraced both himself and the SS. Military Governor of Germany, General Lucius D. Clay ordered that the sentences of the Buchenwald Trial be re-examined on the basis of extensive records and, on 8 June 1948, confirmed fifteen of the death sentences and commuted seven. Most of the imprisonment sentences were also commuted, including Josias's (from life to twenty years). Josias was taken to Landsberg am Lech, where he served only three years of his sentence before being released in December 1950 for health reasons. He was granted an amnesty by the Minister President of Hesse in July 1953, which resulted in a significant reduction of the fine imposed on him.
Head of the House of Waldeck and Pyrmont[edit | edit source]
Josias became head of the House of Waldeck and Pyrmont upon the death of his father, on 26 May 1946, while under arrest. He died at his estate, Schloss Schaumburg, in 1967, and was succeeded as head of the house by his only son Prince Wittekind.
Family[edit | edit source]
- Princess Margarethe of Waldeck and Pyrmont (22 May 1923 - 21 August 2003); married (1952) div. (1979) Count Franz August zu Erbach-Erbach (b. 1925)
- Princess Alexandra of Waldeck and Pyrmont (25 September 1924 - 4 September 2009); married (1949) Prince Botho of Bentheim und Steinfurt (1924–2001)
- Princess Ingrid of Waldeck and Pyrmont (b. 2 September 1931)
- Prince Wittekind of Waldeck and Pyrmont (b. 9 March 1936); married (1988) Countess Cecilie of Goëss-Saurau (b. 1956)
- Princess Guda of Waldeck and Pyrmont (b. 22 August 1939); married (1958) div. (1972) Frederick William, Prince of Wied (1931–2001); married second (1968) Horst Dierkes (b. 1939)
Titles, styles, honours, and arms[edit | edit source]
Titles and styles[edit | edit source]
- 13 May 1896 - 26 May 1946: His Serene Highness Josias, Hereditary Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
- 26 May 1946 - 30 November 1967: His Serene Highness the Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Summary of his SS career[edit | edit source]
Dates of rank[edit | edit source]
- SS-Sturmbannführer: 6 April 1930
- SS-Standartenführer: 11 May 1930
- SS-Oberführer: 15 September 1931
- SS-Gruppenführer: 15 March 1932
- SS-Obergruppenführer: 30 January 1936
- General der Polizei: 8 April 1941
- General der Waffen-SS: 1 July 1944
Notable decorations[edit | edit source]
- 1914 Iron Cross Second (?) and First (?) Classes
- War Merit Cross Second (1939) and First (1939) Classes with Swords
- Infantry Assault Badge (?)
- German Cross in Gold (?)
- Long Service Award of the NSDAP in Silver (?)
- SS Long Service Award in 4 (?), 8 (?), and 12 (?) Years
- SS-Honour Ring (?)
- Honour Sword of the Reichsführers-SS (?)
- Honour Dagger of the SS (1936)
- World War I Sword of Erbprinz Josias Waldeck von Pyrmont (?)
- Clasp to the Iron Cross Second (1939) and First (1939) Classes
- World War I Wound Badge in Black (1918)
- Golden Party Badge ( 30 January 1939)
- Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918 (1934)
- Ottoman War Medal (so-called "Gallipoli Star") (?)
Ancestry[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Wistrich, Robert S. (1995). Who's Who in Nazi Germany. Routledge. p. 171. ISBN 0-415-26038-8.
- Petropoulos 2006, p. 262
- Hackett 1997, p. 341
- "Nazi Prince sent to subdue French". New York Times. 25 April 1942. p. 3.
- "We Are With You". Time Magazine. 4 May 1942. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,777749,00.html. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
- "Schutzstaffel: The SS". Germania International. http://www.germaniainternational.com/ss25.html. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
- Stein 2004, p. 255
- Petropoulos 2006, p. 266
Sources[edit | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Josias Prinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont.|
- Petropoulos, Jonathan (2006). Royals and the Reich: The Princes Von Hessen in Nazi Germany. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516133-5.
- Hackett, David A. (1997). The Buchenwald Report. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-3363-6.
- Stein, Harry (2004). Buchenwald concentration camp 1937–1945. Wallstein Verlag. ISBN 3-89244-695-4.
Josias, Hereditary Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Cadet branch of the House of WaldeckBorn: 13 May 1896 Died: 30 November 1967
|Titles in pretence|
|— TITULAR —
Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont
26 May 1946 – 30 November 1967
Reason for succession failure:
Monarchy abolished in 1918
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