Alexander zu Dohna-Schlobitten (1899–1997)
Alexander, Prince of Dohna-Schlobitten (11 December 1899 – 29 October 1997) was a German Junker, soldier, business man and author.
Dohna was born in Potsdam, the son of Richard Emil Fürst zu Dohna-Schlobitten (1872–1918) by his marriage to Marie Mathilde Solms-Hohensolms-Lich. He grew up in Potsdam, where his father was in the service of the Gardes du Corps, and at his family's estate of Schlobitten.
After the outbreak of World War I Dohna was evacuated to Darmstadt, where he lived at the Court of his relative Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse and in 1916 he moved to Davos, Switzerland, where he passed his Abitur in 1918.
On 1 June 1918 he joined the Prussian Army regiment Garde du Corps and was deployed to the Ukraine for a short time before the War ended in November. He returned to Schlobitten after his father's death, received a training in agriculture and forestry, and studied at the University of Bonn. From 1924 until 1945 he administered the family estates of Schlobitten and Prökelwitz.
In 1926, Dohna married Freda Antoinette, Countess von Arnim-Muskau. They had six children.
After the Nazis came to power in Germany, Dohna, who was a classmate of Karl Wolff, met Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Göring and planned to join the SS. However, under the influence of Kurt von Plettenberg and his uncle Heinrich Graf zu Dohna-Schlobitten, he distanced himself from going in that direction.
Dohna was drafted into the Wehrmacht at the start of World War II and served as a Rittmeister throughout the German invasion of Poland and later the Soviet Union. On 18 January 1943 he was one of the last to be evacuated from Stalingrad, carrying personal letters and the awards of Friedrich Paulus. Since January 1944 he served at the LXXV. Army Corps in Italy. In March 1944, a U.S. Army commando group of 15 men had landed near La Spezia to blow up railway tunnels as part of Operation Ginny II but were captured by German and Italian troops. Even though these men were wearing US army uniforms (and were therefore POWs), Dohna was ordered to sign the execution orders. However, Dohna refused to do so as this would violate the 1929 Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War (thereby constituting a war crime) and was dismissed from the Wehrmacht for insubordination. General Anton Dostler, who signed the execution order, was tried for this war crime after hostilities ended. Dostler was subsequently convicted, sentenced to death and executed by firing squad.
Dohna returned to Schlobitten during the Soviet Army take-over. He organized the flight of the populace of his estates and left Schlobitten on 22 January 1945. With 330 refugees, 140 horses and 38 horse carts he arrived at Hoya on 20 March 1945. Because of their bringing some Trakehner horses with them, they enabled the continuation of that breed.
Dohna lived in Thedinghausen from 1945 to 1948. He moved to Switzerland in 1948 and worked for Hoffmann-La Roche. From 1961 to 1979 he owned a dry-cleaning company in Lörrach, and in 1979 he moved to Basel, where he wrote his memoirs and died in 1997 at the age of 97.
- Das Dohnasche Schloß Schlobitten in Ostpreußen ['The Dohna Castle of Schlobitten in East Prussia'], with Carl Grommelt, Christine von Mertens, Lothar Count zu Dohna and Christian Krollmann (Stuttgart, 1965)
- Erinnerungen eines alten Ostpreußen ['Recollections of an old East Prussian'] (Berlin, 1989)
- Alexander Fürst Dohna-Schlobitten, Erinnerungen eines alten Ostpreußen. ISBN 3-8003-3115-2, 2006 (German)
- Richard Raiber: Anatomy of perjury: Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, Via Rasella, and the Ginny Mission (S. 158)
- The Dostler Case
Regarding personal names: Fürst was a title, translated as Prince, not a first or middle name. Before 1919 preceding the first name, former titles are with people alive after 1919 dependent parts of the surname, thus preceding the main surname and not to be translated. The female form is Fürstin.