Edinburgh lecturer’s study into German royal family’s Nazi links wins Berlin prize
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Edinburgh lecturer’s study into German royal family’s Nazi links wins Berlin prize

Edinburgh University academic Stephan Malinowski explored links between the House of Hohenzollern, toppled from throne after the First World War, and the Third Reich.

The German minister of state for culture Claudia Roth and German Nonfiction Prize winner Stephan Malinowski. Image: Börsenverein, Monique Wüstenhagen
The German minister of state for culture Claudia Roth and German Nonfiction Prize winner Stephan Malinowski. Image: Börsenverein, Monique Wüstenhagen

A British academic’s study into the German royal family’s links to the Nazis, which he turned into a book, has won a prize for non-fiction work in Berlin.

Edinburgh University senior lecturer Stephan Malinowski took the €25,000 (£21,500) cash prize at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin for exploring the links between the House of Hohenzollern, which was toppled from throne in a revolution after the First World War.

Malinowski, who teaches at the University of Edinburgh, had initially been commissioned by Germany’s Ministry of Finance to prepare a report after members of the family made a claim for restitution.

The family wants to reclaim property and money that was confiscated after the Second World War, including the Cecilienhof Palace, a mock-Tudor house in the town of Potsdam that was completed in 1917.

But they have been unable to claim compensation because the family offered “substantial support” to the Nazi regime.

Malinowski’s book, Die Hohenzollern und die Nazis (The Hohenzollerns and the Nazis), finds that Crown Prince Wilhem, the son of the last kaiser, “improved the conditions for the establishment and consolidation of the National Socialist regime”.

He added: “The attempt of a plan negotiated directly between Hitler and the Crown Prince for a joint takeover of power is documented.”

The book was published after several legal claims launched against Malinowski by the Hohenzollern family.

He told Jewish News that he wrote the book for two main reasons: “First, an interest in the emergence of the Nazi dictatorship and how and why conservative elites supported National Socialism.

“Second, after colleagues, journalists and myself have been legally attacked several times, the desire to present the historical empiricism in as much detail as possible – not only for specialist historians but for a broad audience.”

Legal battles over the book continue, led by Georg Frderich, the current head of the House of Hohenzollern.

For Malinowski, he said the issue would remain in the spotlight if more court cases were to follow: “I personally don’t want to do any more major studies on the subject.

“But if Georg Frederich Prince of Prussia, the so-called “Chef des Hauses”, does not withdraw his claim before the Potsdam Administrative Court, it is possible that the Hohenzollern family and the public authorities will continue to fight it out for many years in various courts up to the highest instances.”

The non-fiction prize jury described his book as “politically and legally explosive […] as cleverly composed as it is insightful – a joy and intellectual delight to read, despite the horrors.”

Die Hohenzollern und Die Nazis will be translated into English by Penguin in 2023.

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