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  #41  
Old 06-18-2007, 07:18 PM
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I found out some more information that might help this discussion a bit.

According to some members at the site, Alexander Palace, there is an on-going debate regarding the Will. One comment states that if the German courts favor the Will, both Gustav and his father could take their case over to the European High Court of Human Rights (I believe it was TRF member Lucien who noted this. Correct me if I am wrong).

Apparently, the EHC can over rule any desicion made (how, I have no idea) if the case was deemed as a human rights violation. Another member made a key point to the discussion:

Quote:
another similar ongoing case, which was
expected to set a precedence for Gustav's case.
On another great site, Royals Portal, Anuschka made a similar statement to mine eariler in this topic. She notes:

Quote:
...[the] will, which was written during the nazi regime and thus contains the arian clause.
Essentially it may be nulled if the EHC of Human Rights finds the Will invalid and null since it was written during the Nazi era. As a result, (from what I understand) anything that was recognized, written under, or passed by the Regime is considered invalid.

Finally, I found a descendants list for the House of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. Please click here to view the list.

If anyone knows more about this case or would like to add some interesting insight please do so.
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  #42  
Old 06-18-2007, 10:38 PM
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Did Gustav's former fiancee, Elvira, meet the qualifications? I believe that she was Catholic?
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  #43  
Old 06-19-2007, 07:06 AM
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I must confess I have no real information about what is going on with the trial about the will of late Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, only bits and pieces gathered together from various sources. So I don't claim to have the right information. I just want to offer some facts that might help to understand the situation.



The will was made by Gustav Albrecht Fürst zu Sayn-wittgenstein-Berleburg somewhere during the Nazi-regime. My guess is that this happened when WWII started and the Fürst (from now on let me call the Fürsten princes) had to go to war. At this time his eldest son and heir Richard, the current prince, was only 5 years old, a second son had just been born the year before.



Please note that Gustav Albrecht at that time was the Head of the House of Sayn-Wittgenstein (Berleburg being the main line). He inherited this illustrous position which included being responsible for the whole family at age 18, when his father died in a car crash. With this background, it's my guess that Gustav Albrecht tried to secure the succession. realising that he might not come back from the war, he wrote a will stating that not his son Richard was to be the heir but the firstborn son of Richard.



German law gives the one who is rightfully and legally in possession of something the right to deal with it as he wants it. There are some laws protecting the interest of the wife and children but apart from that an estate can be left to whoever and under any conditions the former owner might devise. Especially there is a construct which allows to give people like wife or children the position of "Nutzniesser" (beneficiary) in comparison to "Erbe" (heir). Thus you can skip the living people in favour of the next, still unborn generation. You can't, though, go further into the future without installing a "House law" which was not longer possible during the Nazi regime.


So my guess is that prince Gustav Albrecht protected the estate of the Berleburgs on making prince Richard, the young boy, only the beneficiary and declare his as yet unborn son the heir. Under certain conditions. Which had the advantage of minimising the risk of destroying the estate through inheritance taxes: just imagine prince Gustav Albrecht dying in the war, then his sons one after the other as "collateral damages" of the war... Three deaths in a row would have destroyed the estate completely through taxes.



This way to make a will is nothing out of the ordinary for Germany's noble families, it happened the same way with the Oettingen-Wallerstein, but in this case no conditions were included and aged 18, Hereditary prince Carl Eugen gave back the control to his father prince Moritz. Moritz had been hated by his father, so the old prince installed a control panel (which included prince Fürstenberg) who administrated Wallerstein for the young heir till he came of age.


Prince Gustav Albrecht obviously decided on conditions including the ones about a future wife. As could be seen in the famous Leiningen-case, this can be legal. Then the Head of the house of Leiningen (who personally owned the family's assets - that's an important point) disinherited his eldest son based on the son's marriage to a commoner. The hereditary prince contested this up to the highest court in Germany, but failed as it's the owners right to select his heirs on any personal reasons or fancies.


At the moment a prince of Prussia contests the House laws of the Hohenzollern, because he was disinherited due to his marriage to a commoner, too. But that's a different situation because in this case it was not the personal opinion of the owner, but a law which might be against the laws in germany. We'll see what will come out of this - lawyers have very different opinions about House laws of former reigning houses and their validity in today's Germany.


But - don't think the "Aryan"-thing is a sign that Gustav Albrecht was a Nazi. In Nazi-times, non-Aryans (mainly jews or gypsys) or their children got dispossessed. so I guess prince Gustav Albrecht simply did not want that to happen under the laws of the time he made his will.

As for noble and protestant - not soooo uncommon for noble houses whre the continuity of the family is more important than the individual.

Prince Gustav Albrecht got missing in action in 1944 in Russia. But the fasmily only had him declared dead officially (so that the will became valid) in 1969, after the birth of prince Gustav. Princess Margaeta ceased to be the administrator of the estate and prince Richard took over for his son, the minor. It surely didn't semm necessary to contest the will then because there was every chance that Gustav might as well as his father find a noble, protestant lady without jewish ancestors.

Only the wish to marry Carina makes it now important to contest, as she doesn't fit the bill.

As for the chances: they are probably better than in the Leiningen-case because it was not a personal decision of prince Gustav Albrecht (he didn't know Carina after all) but the acting out of a principle. A principle which might be considered to be against the "guten Sitten" (against positive customs and morality). The "Aryan"-stuff probably helps in that case. But it might end the other way round: a judge may decide that the will does not really bind the prince, as it can't interfere with his personal choices guaranteed by the human rights. He can marry Carina, after all, there is nothing to prevent him from doing so if he really wants. He will loose the estate, but that's just money and a castle... And if this is considered a real reason for not doing it - we'll see.
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  #44  
Old 06-19-2007, 08:01 AM
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Thank you Jo of Palatine for the explanation; it certainly is interesting reading!

Do you know whether the will also specifies that the estate can only be inherited by children born in wedlock? If Gustav and Carina for example decided that they couldn't wait for the final verdict on the will and started a family, would any children they had be able to enter into the succession if the parents subsequently married?
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  #45  
Old 06-19-2007, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UserDane View Post
Thank you Jo of Palatine for the explanation; it certainly is interesting reading!

Do you know whether the will also specifies that the estate can only be inherited by children born in wedlock? If Gustav and Carina for example decided that they couldn't wait for the final verdict on the will and started a family, would any children they had be able to enter into the succession if the parents subsequently married?
Unfortunately I couldn't trace a copy of the will in its wording - which is important because there is a difference between "being noble" (adelig) or being noble by birth (von adeliger Geburt). Queen Margarete could eg ennoble Carina, but that doesn't make her "von adeliger Geburt" in the legal sense...
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  #46  
Old 06-19-2007, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by UserDane View Post
Thanks Jo
I thought about your question about the children out of wedlock. AFAIK you cannot stipulate something beyond the next unborn generation. Thus, after prince Gustav the estate should be free, meaning that he can leave it to whoever he wants to.

According to German family law Gustav could father a child with Carina without being married to her and adopt it then. Legally it would be then his heir and called prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. As the family is rather small already, I don't think there would be a member of the family contesting this, as this is how it should have been in the first place - Gustav's firstborn son as heir.

Yes, in modern germany it's certainly a possibility.
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  #47  
Old 06-19-2007, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo of Palatine View Post
I thought about your question about the children out of wedlock. AFAIK you cannot stipulate something beyond the next unborn generation. Thus, after prince Gustav the estate should be free, meaning that he can leave it to whoever he wants to.

According to German family law Gustav could father a child with Carina without being married to her and adopt it then. Legally it would be then his heir and called prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. As the family is rather small already, I don't think there would be a member of the family contesting this, as this is how it should have been in the first place - Gustav's firstborn son as heir.

Yes, in modern germany it's certainly a possibility.

The Berleburg-Family is not small. There are numerous Princes and Princesses. The immediate Family is small as Gustav if the only son and his father has only one brother who has also only one son but there are numerous descedants in the different branches.

See here for the Genealogy
Sayn-Wittgenstein
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  #48  
Old 06-19-2007, 11:05 AM
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Gustav always has problems. I wonder If some day, He will get married.
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  #49  
Old 06-19-2007, 11:36 AM
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I don't understand why they can't get married ..
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  #50  
Old 06-19-2007, 11:46 AM
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Have a look at Jo's post 44. If they get married, he forfeits his rights to inherit any part of the principality of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.

His grandfather's will, which cuts him out of the succession if he marries a non-Aryan (and Carina is a non-Aryan), is being contested in the courts. Apparently he's waiting for a legal decision about this before marrying.
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  #51  
Old 06-19-2007, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo of Palatine View Post
I thought about your question about the children out of wedlock. AFAIK you cannot stipulate something beyond the next unborn generation. Thus, after prince Gustav the estate should be free, meaning that he can leave it to whoever he wants to.

According to German family law Gustav could father a child with Carina without being married to her and adopt it then. Legally it would be then his heir and called prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. As the family is rather small already, I don't think there would be a member of the family contesting this, as this is how it should have been in the first place - Gustav's firstborn son as heir.

Yes, in modern germany it's certainly a possibility.
Thanks again
It's nice to know that this at least would be an option for them!
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  #52  
Old 06-19-2007, 12:48 PM
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Jo, you're a gem, thank you so much for the detailed information that I have been researching for! I truly appreciate it.

So, let me get this straight:
It was the 4th Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg who died in a car crash in 1925 and who was married to Princess Madeleine of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg.

Their son, Gustav-Albrecht, born in 1907, was married to Margareta Fouché d'Otrante. Then prior to the outbreak, he re-wrote and signed the Will noting the first born son should be the heir, not Prince Richard. I wonder why? Did he believe the child wouldn't be fit? Hmm..

I would love to read the Will, research more about German laws (death duties/inheritance taxes, etc), and read more about similar cases still pending. I might just have to log-on to my university library site, using my alumni id, and see if I can connect to some good old archives to research more about this fascinating case.
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  #53  
Old 06-19-2007, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Their son, Gustav-Albrecht, born in 1907, was married to Margareta Fouché d'Otrante. Then prior to the outbreak, he re-wrote and signed the Will noting the first born son should be the heir, not Prince Richard. I wonder why?
Sounds like the ever-present tax issues. This is from Jo's post:

"So my guess is that prince Gustav Albrecht protected the estate of the Berleburgs on making prince Richard, the young boy, only the beneficiary and declare his as yet unborn son the heir. Under certain conditions. Which had the advantage of minimising the risk of destroying the estate through inheritance taxes: just imagine prince Gustav Albrecht dying in the war, then his sons one after the other as "collateral damages" of the war... Three deaths in a row would have destroyed the estate completely through taxes."
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  #54  
Old 06-19-2007, 01:08 PM
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Yup, good old Death duties... gotta love em, right

I'm kidding, of course.

So, we have three well known cases similar to Gustav's... this is something worth discussing for some time to come.

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  #55  
Old 06-19-2007, 01:16 PM
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Sounds like the ever-present tax issues. This is from Jo's post:

"So my guess is that prince Gustav Albrecht protected the estate of the Berleburgs on making prince Richard, the young boy, only the beneficiary and declare his as yet unborn son the heir. Under certain conditions. Which had the advantage of minimising the risk of destroying the estate through inheritance taxes: just imagine prince Gustav Albrecht dying in the war, then his sons one after the other as "collateral damages" of the war... Three deaths in a row would have destroyed the estate completely through taxes."
That was happened to the Thurn and Taxis Family. The only son of the 9. Prince Franzs Joseph died in Second World war. So on his death in 1971 he was succeeded by his brother Karl August who died in 1982. His son was Prince Johannes who died in 1990. So the had to pay 3 times inheritance taxes in less then 20 years.
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  #56  
Old 06-19-2007, 01:20 PM
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Jeez.

Thanks Stefan, for the information about the Thurn and Taxis situation. I need to start reading more about the German royals and their situations a bit more. To me this is very fascinating. I wonder if there are any books out there discussing the on-goings about these families, and I wonder if there are any books, dissertations, or theses detailing all of this?

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Old 06-19-2007, 01:38 PM
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Jeez.

Thanks Stefan, for the information about the Thurn and Taxis situation. I need to start reading more about the German royals and their situations a bit more. To me this is very fascinating. I wonder if there are any books out there discussing the on-goings about these families, and I wonder if there are any books, dissertations, or theses detailing all of this?


There are not to many books.
There is once who was made to the TV-Serie of rolf-Seelmann-Eggebert about some of the German Houses in th 90's. He made a Serie where many of the Houses opened their doors for TV. This book covers a few who are in the Serie. It is in german

Link
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  #58  
Old 06-19-2007, 01:42 PM
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Thanks, Stefan.

I understand enough German to get by, it will take me forty years to finish any book in German, but that's okay... it's better than my Danish at this point.
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  #59  
Old 06-19-2007, 02:33 PM
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Just saw that the Berleburgs have very good chances to annull the will.

Here's a quote form our Highest federal Court (for questions concerning our constitution) from the Leiningen-case.

"Allerdings sei zu beachten, dass der Verlust der Nacherbenstellung nicht allein durch die Eheschließung mit einer nicht „ebenbürtigen“ Partnerin oder in sonstiger Weise durch Nichterfüllung von Kriterien ständisch-sozialer Herkunft bewirkt werde, die Folge jedoch dann eintrete, wenn der herrschende Fürst die Zustimmung zu einer konkreten Ehe versage."

The Court said that it's ok to disinherit the Hereditary prince because it's not only the rules from the House laws but in addition the marriage happened against the decision of the ruling prince - without his consent. So rules stated in wills and contracts and house laws are not enough, there is need of a ruling against an existing person, not against any woman who does not fit into the picture.

Karl-Emich of Leiningen could have done something on choosing a wife his father would consent to. It's in a way ironic that this wife for whom the prince lost all divorced him shortly afterwards and married the Aga Khan, to become his "Begum Inara".... Already divorced again, the lady...
Maybe that's why he finally signed a contract with his brother, accepting his father's decision and getting an allowance ever since. Could it be that the old guy was not so wrong after all?

But back to prince Gustav: as he never had a chance to present his grandfather a tangible person who the then ruling prince could accept or not, there is a very good chance that the Court will annull these conditions, sayin g that an abstract condition is not enough, that a palpaple decision would have been needed.
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  #60  
Old 06-19-2007, 02:36 PM
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that's such a shame that gustav and carina can't get married! it's annoying how they still refer to the aryan system... it's not like we are in WW2 still! poor them, i just hope the courts give consent. they look like a really cute couple to be denied marriage just because carina has brown hair!
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