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Franz Joseph, Prince of Hohenzollern-Emden

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Prince Franz Joseph
Born(1891-08-30)30 August 1891
Heiligendamm, Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Died3 April 1964(1964-04-03) (aged 72)
Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
SpousePrincess Maria Alix of Saxony
IssuePrince Karl Anton
Prince Meinrad Leopold
Princess Maria Margarethe
Prince Emanuel Joseph
Franz Joseph Maria Ludwig Anton Thassilo
FatherWilliam, Prince of Hohenzollern
MotherPrincess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

Franz Joseph Maria Ludwig Anton Thassilo Prinz von Hohenzollern-Emden[1] (English: Prince Francis Joseph of Hohenzollern-Emden; 30 August 1891 – 3 April 1964) was a member of the Roman Catholic branch of the House of Hohenzollern. He was born as Prince Franz Joseph of Hohenzollern and adopted the surname Prinz von Hohenzollern-Emden in 1933.

Early life[edit]

Franz Joseph was born in Heiligendamm in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin,[citation needed] the second son of Wilhelm, Prince of Hohenzollern and Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. He had a twin brother, Prince Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern, who was born a few minutes before he was.

Military service[edit]

During World War I Franz Joseph served in Germany's Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) as the second torpedo officer on the light cruiser SMS Emden at the Battle of Cocos.[2] The SMS Emden had an extraordinary record capturing British ships, and as a result all those who served on her, including Franz Joseph, were given the right to add the ship's name to the end of their surnames.[3][4] Since Germany had converted titles of nobility into family names in 1919, he became Franz Joseph Prinz von Hohenzollern-Emden.[citation needed]

In 1925 Franz Joseph wrote a book recording his naval service, Emden: Meine Erlebnisse auf S.M Schiff Emden (Leipzig: Eckstein, 1925), translated into English and published as Emden: My Experiences in S.M.S. Emden (reprinted as Emden: The Last Cruise of the Chivalrous Raider, 1914, Brighton: Lyon, 1989, ISBN 0-904256-45-6).

Franz Joseph also had the rank of Konteradmiral in the Romanian Naval Forces.[5]

Nazi Party membership[edit]

In 1933 Franz Joseph became a member of the Schutzstaffel (SS) (member number 276 691).[6] On 1 April 1936, he became a full member of the Nazi Party with membership number 3765580.[7] As a leading Roman Catholic nobleman and a near relative of the Habsburg, Bourbon, and Saxon dynasties, Franz Joseph did much to lend respectability to the Nazi Party.[8][9][10]

From 1939 to 1944 Franz Joseph commanded a marine flak battery at the Cuxhaven naval base.[11] In June 1944 he was released from active service. In November 1944 he was expelled from the SS together with other upper class Nazis whose devotion was becoming suspect in the face of Germany's, by then, near-certain defeat.[12] In a letter to Heinrich Himmler dated 3 January 1945, Franz Joseph proclaimed his continued devotion to the Nazi cause and unsuccessfully begged to be readmitted to the SS.[12]

Marriage and family[edit]

Princess Maria Alix of Saxony in the 1910s

On 25 May 1921, Franz Joseph married his second cousin Princess Maria Alix of Saxony (1901–1990), a daughter of Friedrich August III of Saxony and Archduchess Luise, Princess of Tuscany.[citation needed] His twin brother was married to Maria Alix's sister, Princess Margarete Karola of Saxony (1900–1962).

Franz Joseph and Maria Alix had four children:[citation needed]

  1. Karl Anton Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Maria Georg Manuel Rupprecht Heinrich Benedikt Tassilo Prinz von Hohenzollern-Emden; born on 28 January 1922 in Munich, Bavaria, Germany; died on 3 November 1993 in Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany; married in Rome, Italy on 15 August 1951 to Alexandra Afif (16 November 1919 - 26 June 1996)[citation needed]
  2. Meinrad Leopold Maria Friedrich Christian Ferdinand Albert Prinz von Hohenzollern-Emden; born on 17 January 1925 in Sigmaringen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany; died on 9 September 2009 in Murnau Hechendorf, Germany; married (civil) in Frankfurt, Germany on 25 August 1971 and (religious) in Sigmaringen on 11 September 1971 to Edina Freijn von Kap-Herr (born 23 August 1938[citation needed]
  3. Maria Margarethe Anna Viktoria Luise Josephine Mathilde Theresia vom Kinde Jesu Prinzessin von Hohenzollern-Emden; born on 2 January 1928 in Sigmaringen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany; died on 4 August 2006 in Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany; married (civil) in Hechingen 18 December 1965 and (religious) at Burg Hohenzollern, Hechingen on 18 December 1965 to Duke Carl Gregor of Mecklenburg, second son of George, Duke of Mecklenburg head of the House of House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz[citation needed]
  4. Emanuel Joseph Maria Wilhelm Ferdinand Burkhard Prinz von Hohenzollern-Emden; born in Munich, Bavaria, Germany on 23 February 1929; died in Hechingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany on 8 February 1999; married (civil and religious) at Burg Hohenzollern on 25 May 1968 to Katharina Feodora Adelheid Sabine Sophie Felicitas Sieglinde, Princess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (born 30 November 1943) a granddaughter of William Ernest, the last Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach; divorced in 1985[citation needed]

Franz Joseph lived with his family at Villa Eugenia in Hechingen.[13]

Franz Joseph died on 3 April 1964 at Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg.[citation needed] He and his wife are buried in the Erlöserkirche in Sigmaringen.[14]



  1. ^ Prinz von Hohenzollern-Emden, Franz Joseph (1914). Emden: The Last Cruise of the Chivalrous Raider, 1914. Brighton, England: Lyon Publishing. pp. i. ISBN 0-904256-45-6.
  2. ^ Ray Riling Arms Books review of Emden: The Last Cruise of the Chivalrous Raider, 1914. Retrieved on 26 October 2008.
  3. ^ Revell 1/350 SMS Emden, previewed by Kyle Bodily Archived 20 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 26 October 2008
  4. ^ "Junk-Emden". Time. 6 May 1929. Archived from the original on 27 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
  5. ^ Stammbaum der Hohenzollern
  6. ^ Höhne, Heinz Zollin; Barry, Richard (2001), The Order of the Death's Head: the Story of Hitler's SS, Penguin Books, p. 129, ISBN 0-14-139012-3
  7. ^ Petropoulos, Jonathan (2006), Royals and the Reich, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 383, ISBN 0-19-533927-4
  8. ^ Burleigh, Michael; Wipperman, Wolfgang (29 November 1991). The Racial State: Germany, 1933-1945. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 274. ISBN 978-0-521-39114-6.
  9. ^ Mayer, Arno J. (17 March 1990). Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?. New York: Pantheon. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-679-72899-3.Perhaps most controversial work of Marxist historian Arno J. Mayer, but the fact that he has been professor at Wesleyan University (1952-1953), Brandeis University (1954-1958) and Harvard University (1958-1961), before settling at Princeton in 1961 (where he is now Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Emeritus), and the fact that publisher Pantheon is a division of Random House (one of the world's largest publishers) give credence to his scholarship if not his conclusions. None of the criticism of Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? challenged his statement that the Nazi nobility, among who he specifically cites Hohenzollern-Emden, gave valuable support and prestige to the Nazi movement.
  10. ^ Thomas, W Hugh (22 March 2002). The strange death of Heinrich Himmler: a forensic investigation. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 32. ISBN 0-312-28923-5.
  11. ^ Lohmann, Walter; Hildebrand, Hans H. (1956). Die deutsche Kriegsmarine 1939 - 1945. Vol. 3. Bad Nauheim, Hessen, Germany: Podzun-Verlag.
  12. ^ a b Petropoulos, 425.
  13. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser VIII (1968): 75.
  14. ^ "Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen". Archived from the original on 19 October 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2010.

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