PRINCE FRIEDRICH III
By his grandson, Frederick Solms-Baruth
My grandfather was deeply religious and raised in the Humanist tradition. After fighting in WWI, he became a pacifist. He despised Hitler long before he even came to power, called him a madman, a misfit and a cretin while predicting he would run Germany into the ground and start another world war. As a result, he openly opposed him, refused the Nazi salute, as well as to join the NSDAP or even employ anyone who was a member. He also forbade all employees to use the Nazi salute. My grandfather resigned from the army (he had been a cavalry captain in the Imperial army) in order not to have to swear the oath of allegiance to Hitler. Upon being presented with the bronze medal of “The German Mother” on the birth of her fifth child, my grandmother returned it with a note: “I bear my children for God and my husband alone”.
Moral compromise of any kind was completely foreign to my grandfather, even if it risked his life and that of his entire family. He would resist the Nazis as best he could, which he did, amongst other means, by fighting their confiscation attempts of his land for military purposes as well as their demands for timber and resin, through litigating against these efforts for years to the point where he was officially accused of “sabotaging the war effort” as well as attempting of “forming a state within a state” and had a Nazi administrator appointed to run his Silesian estates in 1943 while being banished to his Brandenburg estates. There he slept with two Luger 9mm pistols under his pillow in a different room every night which was made up only after all the servants had left so they could not betray him, while his loyal body guard slept in front of the bedroom door on a camp bed with a rifle.
In a sworn statement, Count von Hardenberg, the only surviving member of the direct participants in the 20th. July plot, confirms that during the administration of his large enterprises my grandfather never allowed himself to stray from the path he perceived as moral, despite the numerous obstacles and difficulties the Nazis confronted him with, while in fact rejecting every one of their concessions, and valiantly protecting his employees whenever they were unjustly accused by the Nazis.
Having signed away all he owned to Himmler and accepted banishment from his estates and enterprises as express condition for his release from Gestapo captivity, his life and his family's survival, he took comfort in the knowledge that he had at least saved his family and never compromised morally to the Nazis. While it left him a broken man, with only a few more years to live, he instilled in my father this moral compass which my father, in turn, instilled in me. I look to my grandfather and my father as my examples and shall not rest until I have righted the wrong carried out by the Gestapo against my grandfather and father and currently perpetuated by the Federal Republic against my family.
My father built up the farm in Namibia into the second best run farm in the country in order that we should have the economic basis one day to claim back our ancestral land stolen by Heinrich Himmler. Although my father began the litigation process, due to the delaying tactics of the Government authorities and courts, he sadly did not live to see justice carried out. I therefore feel an even greater sense of responsibility to complete the job. It has, in fact, become my life's quest.