Monday, November 23, 2009

Monarchist Profile: Baron Adolf von Harnier

One of the unsung heroes of World War II Germany was the Bavarian nobleman Adolf Freiherr von Harnier. He was born on April 14, 1903 and grew up to become a jurist in Munich. A serious and traditionally minded man he converted to Catholicism in 1934 and annoyed the National Socialist party early on in with his legal defense of priests and Jews until 1939. He opposed the Nazis but was not active in his opposition early on because he was convinced that it was such a muddled and absurd ideology that it would soon die through its own ineptitude. The lawyer in him made him loyal to the idea of constitutional government but he was also a monarchist and he believed that once National Socialism brought about its own demise some sort of a return to the monarchial order would be the next natural step.

At the end of 1936 and start of 1937 he became more active and emerged as the intellectual and political leader of a circle of like-minded individuals who opposed the Nazi regime and wished to bring about a restoration of the Bavarian monarchy of the House of Wittelsbach. As such, he made contact with many enemies of the "Third Reich" even if they had nothing in common with his own monarchial goals for Germany. These included everyone from moderate-minded middle-class republicans to leftist Bavarian labor organizations (banned by the Nazi Party). However, because of his time defending priests and especially Jews in court the Gestapo considered him a person of interest and potential threat. They watched his every move and even managed to infiltrate his Munich circle with their own informants.

Finally, the Gestapo discovered proof of ties between the baron's circle and the illegal German Communist Party (KPD) in Zurich. So, in 1939 Baron von Harnier was arrested and spent five years in a Nazi prison before he was even brought in for a show trial. He was quickly sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1944 at Straubing Penitentiary in deplorable conditions. At the end of the war Baron von Harnier was liberated by soldiers of the United States Army on May 12, 1945 but he died a short time later that very same day from his years of neglect and mistreatment at the hands of his Nazi captors. Few probably remember Adolf Baron von Harnier but monarchists should remember him, especially for his words at his trial when the monarchist lawyer gave this defiant statement to his Nazi captors:

“I am a true servant of my King and country, not only as a dutiful subject but
because I am a convinced monarchist, politically and intellectually. I mean by
that, quite apart from myself and my relationship to my Bavarian and German
fatherland, I believe monarchy to be the most successful form of government that
the history of mankind has known.”


- Adolf Freiherr von Harnier, R.I.P.

6 comments:

  1. How good of you to remind Monarchists of this great man. Thank you, Mad Monarchist.

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  2. You are most welcome and thank you for your sentiments. The Germans of WW2 naturally have a bad reputation, but it's hard not to like the Bavarians and despite having their origins there the NSDAP had its most scant support among the Bavarians where monarchism remained comparitively strong and the Crown Prince Rupprecht, a hero of the Great War, was still widely respected and had things gone differently, and if men like the Baron here had been around to provide leadership the post-war Germany might have been a more monarchial place than it turned out to be.

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  3. Ah, but the mass media keep screaming at us: "All Germans are Nazis! All Germans are Nazis! All Germans are Nazis! All Germans are Nazis! How dare you suggest that not all Germans were Nazis? What are ya, some sort of Nazi? Stauffenberg Schmauffenberg!"

    Funny how the monarchists from Gustav von Kahr onwards were openly skeptical of Hitler, and often enough paid for their skepticism with their lives, Kahr among them. I don't notice any modern journalists volunteering to get murdered in the Night of the Long Knives of 1934, or strangled from meat-hooks the way that so many of the monarchist and aristocratic heroes of 1944 were.

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  4. Yes, and they will do whole documentaries devoted to the odd prince who went along with the Nazis but you'll never see award about such men as you mentioned, no quoting of Hitler's own contempt for the German princes or those who actively opposed him. It is most blatant with the British royals who always attract the most attention. They will do whole programs about some German cousin who was on the Nazi side as if that taints the whole family while shrugging off the entire rest of the family who fought against them and led the fight against them.

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  5. It is also interesting to note your recent post with regards to the opposition of Habsburgs to Hitler (HIH Otto prime among them) that many monarchists were hardly inclined to support Hitler.

    And in an even greater irony, his name is Adolf. Who said it's only the name of evil men?

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