Prince Oskar of Prussia

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 Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.



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 22 August 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 the family fell out of favor with Hitler (with the exception of Oskar’s middle brother, August Wilhelm), it became evident that there would be no restoration of the monarchy through the Nazis.

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, May 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, is the current (thirty-seventh) Master of Knights.

Marriage and issue

Prinz Oskar was married on 31 July 1914 to Countess Ina-Marie Helene Adele Elise von Bassewitz (27 January 1888 – 17 September 1973).[9] On 27 July 1914,Prior to the wedding, Ina Marie was granted the title "Countess von Ruppin". Both the civil and religious ceremonies took place at Schloß Bellevue near Berlin, Prussia. Initially the union was a morganatic marriage, but on 3 November 1919 was decreed to be dynastic in accordance with the house laws of the Royal House of Hohenzollern. Henceforth, from 21 June 1920, his wife 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.

Prince 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

Chivalric orders [11]

Military decorations (1914–1918)



  1. 1 2 Kirschstein, Jörg (2003). "Oskar Prinz von Preussen". Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  2. “Kaiser’s Fifth Son Hurt.” New York Times. December 9, 1902.
  3. 1 2 3 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. 1 2 "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". New York Times. May 27, 1914. Retrieved 2011-03-18. Prince Oscar of Prussia, the fifth son of the Kaiser, is about to contract a morganatic marriage. His engagement to Countess Ina Marie von Bassewitz-Levetzow, daughter of the Premier of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and former maid of honor of the Kaiserin, is officially announced today.
  10. Von Woche zu Woche. Das Ostpreußenblatt, 1 February 1958, p. 2.
  11. 1 2 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

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prince Oskar of Prussia (1888–1958).

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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