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-Sonderburg-Augustenburg.
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.
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. For this action, Oskar earned the Iron Cross, Second Class. 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. 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.
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.
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
The Johanniterorden (The Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg)) was a favorite of the Hohenzollerns, historically, and of Prince Oskar’s immediate family specifically. 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  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). 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 Wilhelm Karl Hans Kuno of Prussia (12 July 1915 Potsdam – 5 September 1939 Poland); died in World War II.
- Prince Burchard Friedrich Max Werner Georg of Prussia (8 January 1917 – 12 August 1988), married Countess Eleonore Fugger von Babenhausen on 30 January 1961, no issue.
- Princess Herzeleide of Prussia (25 December 1918 – 22 March 1989), married Karl, Prince Biron von Kurland on 15 August 1938, with issue.
- Prince Wilhelm-Karl of Prussia (20 January 1922 – 9 April 2007), married Irmgard von Veltheim on 1 March 1952, with issue.
- 1. Garderegiment zu Fuß (1st Regiment of Foot Guards), Leutnant from 1898, Hauptman (captain) through 1914.
- Grenadierregiment "Konig Wilhelm I." (2. Westpreussisches) Nr. 7, à la suite before 1908, Oberst (colonel) during World War I.
- 3. Gardegrenadierlandwehrregiment (3rd Reserve Regiment of Grenadier Guards), à la suite before 1908.
Orders and decorations
- German decorations
- Johanniter Order, Master of the Knights, 1926–1958
- Order of the Black Eagle, Knight with Collar, 1898
- Order of the Red Eagle, Grand Cross with Crown, 1898
- Order of the Prussian Crown, Knight 1st Class, 1898
- Iron Cross, 2nd Class, 22 August 1914 (Virton); 1st Class, 24 September 1914 (Verdun)
- Wound Badge, September 1914 (Virton); 7 February 1916 (Russian Front)
- Royal House Order of Hohenzollern, Grand Commander with Swords
- Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen: Princely House Order of Hohenzollern, Cross of Honour 1st Class
- Anhalt: Friedrich Cross
- Baden: War Merit Cross
- Brunswick: War Merit Cross
- Hamburg: Hanseatic Cross
- Lippe-Detmold: War Merit Cross
- House Order of the Wendish Crown, Grand Cross with Crown in Ore
- Bronze Merit Medal (Mecklenburg-Schwerin)
- Cross for Distinction in War, 2nd Class (Mecklenburg-Strelitz)
- Foreign decorations
- Netherlands: Order of the Netherlands Lion, Grand Cross
- Ottoman Empire: Osmanieh Order, 1st Class with Diamonds
- Kirschstein, Jörg (2003). "Oskar Prinz von Preussen". Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- “Kaiser’s Fifth Son Hurt.” New York Times. December 9, 1902.
- Kilduff, Peter. The Life and Death of an Ace. Cincinnati, OH: David & Charles, LTD., 2007. p. 34.
- "Kaiser Decorates 2 Sons for Bravery." New York Times. August 26, 1914.
- "Von Der Horst Killed Leading His Troops." New York Times. October 3, 1914.
- "Kaiser's Son Oscar is Wounded Again." New York Times. February 8, 1916.
- “Princes Seek Pensions.” New York Times (reprinted from Chicago Tribune), August 20, 1922.
- Robert M. Clark, Jr., The Evangelical Knights of Saint John; Dallas, Texas: 2003; pp. 41-53, 111.
- "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.
- Von Woche zu Woche. Das Ostpreußenblatt, 1 February 1958, p. 2.
- Handbuch über den Königlich Preußischen Hof und Staat (1918), Genealogy p.2
- "Son of the Kaiser to Wed a Countess." New York Times, May 27, 1914.
- "Kaiser's Son Oscar is Wounded Again." New York Times February 8, 1916.
- Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Königreich Preußen (1908), Genealogy p.2
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prince Oskar of Prussia (1888–1958).|
- List of Herrenmeisters of the Johanniterordens on the German language Wikipedia: Johanniterorden#Kapitel_und_Ordensregierung
- Newspaper clippings about Prince Oskar of Prussia in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
Prince Oskar of PrussiaBorn: 27 July 1888 Died: 27 January 1958
Eitel Friedrich, Prinz von Preußen
| Herrenmeister (Grand Master) of the Order of Saint John
Wilhelm Karl, Prinz von Preußen