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  #41  
Old 10-11-2022, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post

And if it was simply 'noble birth' the whole Aryan clause would not be part
The Aryan clause was a necessity at the time that the will was written. If the estate passed into non-aryan hands there was a very high risk that it would be confiscated by the authorities.
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  #42  
Old 10-11-2022, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by victor1319 View Post
I see it this way: Why did this dude made a testament like he did? What did he want?

And in my humble opinion it is obvious, that he wanted his descendents to have 'noble' parents.

He did not get this - at least by now, since Princess Carina is already pretty old. So, who will Prince Gustav's heir be? Well, we don't know! Could be anybody, since he is now free to do with the family fortune whatever he wants.

And by now the wish of the ancestor was not followed and doesn't have too. So, practically the testament is void completly!
That is how wills always work. They are executed and then the deceased has no further influence on what happens to the inheritance.

Gustav could have married a noble woman and still not have had children, or at least no son. If Gustav had a son, then probably the son would not marry a woman of noble birth in the future.

You can write in your will what you want to, but that doesn't have any influence on all future generations (maximum two if you have a testament like Gustav's grandfather with pre- and final heir) and that is good. Imagine we all had to live exactly as out forefathers had wanted us to. Times change!
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  #43  
Old 10-11-2022, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by JR76 View Post
The Aryan clause was a necessity at the time that the will was written. If the estate passed into non-aryan hands there was a very high risk that it would be confiscated by the authorities.

Indeed everyone one had to marry an aryan at that time. My grandparents who married in 1938 had to prove that they where aryan and had no jewish ancestors.
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  #44  
Old 10-12-2022, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
Grandpa was a Nazi who died fighting for the Nazis. Grandpa deserved nothing, he loses, good day sir.
It seems a bit callous to state that people who suffered under and were forced to lose their lives for a genocidal dictatorship "deserved nothing". There were of course some Germans (and other Europeans) who freely participated in or aided the Nazi regime, but in the mid-1940s - the relevant time period - few subjects of Nazi rule had any freedom or recourse.


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That part about him being a Nazi has actually been disputed or alleged to not necessarily be true. I’m not sure what to think about his grandfather but it’s not really my issue.
I have not gotten around to doing any reading on Gustav's grandfather, but skimmed through the previous Gustav-and-Carina threads here at one point and recalled this comment from someone who I remember as being from Germany and a reliable poster:

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Originally Posted by Tilia C. View Post
The Prince Gustav Albrecht (the grand-father) was not a particularly Nazi type and he was not member of the Nazi party. He even bought the Jewish cemetory in Bad Berleburg. This being property of the Prince protected the cemetory from Nazi destruction, it remained intact. From what I know the property was given back to the community after WWII.


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Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
He could do as his grandfather and will it to someone else like his sisters' children. I am sure unlike his racist grandfather he wouldnt include such clauses.
None of us can say with certainty whether Gustav would have included racist clauses in his will if he were living under Nazi rule in 1943, but for the reasons alluded to in JR76 and Stefan's posts:

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Originally Posted by JR76 View Post
The Aryan clause was a necessity at the time that the will was written. If the estate passed into non-aryan hands there was a very high risk that it would be confiscated by the authorities.
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Originally Posted by Stefan View Post
Indeed everyone one had to marry an aryan at that time. My grandparents who married in 1938 had to prove that they where aryan and had no jewish ancestors.
I suspect he would have. In our timeline, Gustav placed enough importance on his estate to postpone marriage to his fiancee for decades, spend a half-decade and no doubt massive legal fees in an acrimonious court contest with his cousin, and live more or less separately from his fiancee for several years to deflect one of his cousin's claims against him, all of which by his own admission an emotionally damaging experience not only to him but to his partner.
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  #45  
Old 10-12-2022, 09:28 AM
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It seems a bit callous to state that people who suffered under and were forced to lose their lives for a genocidal dictatorship "deserved nothing". There were of course some Germans (and other Europeans) who freely participated in or aided the Nazi regime, but in the mid-1940s - the relevant time period - few subjects of Nazi rule had any freedom or recourse.




I have not gotten around to doing any reading on Gustav's grandfather, but skimmed through the previous Gustav-and-Carina threads here at one point and recalled this comment from someone who I remember as being from Germany and a reliable poster:







None of us can say with certainty whether Gustav would have included racist clauses in his will if he were living under Nazi rule in 1943, but for the reasons alluded to in JR76 and Stefan's posts:





I suspect he would have. In our timeline, Gustav placed enough importance on his estate to postpone marriage to his fiancee for decades, spend a half-decade and no doubt massive legal fees in an acrimonious court contest with his cousin, and live more or less separately from his fiancee for several years to deflect one of his cousin's claims against him, all of which by his own admission an emotionally damaging experience not only to him but to his partner.
Tilia’s post about the Jewish cemetery was what I wanted to bring up. Thank you for retrieving it. Plus a lot of people didn’t put the will in to context of the timing. People who opposed Nazis had their properties confiscated under dubious excuses.
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  #46  
Old 10-12-2022, 09:35 AM
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That is how wills always work. They are executed and then the deceased has no further influence on what happens to the inheritance.

Gustav could have married a noble woman and still not have had children, or at least no son. If Gustav had a son, then probably the son would not marry a woman of noble birth in the future.

You can write in your will what you want to, but that doesn't have any influence on all future generations (maximum two if you have a testament like Gustav's grandfather with pre- and final heir) and that is good. Imagine we all had to live exactly as out forefathers had wanted us to. Times change!
But Gustav is married to a non-noblewoman and does not have any children. Plus Gustav’s case was not a unique one in anyway. If he married a noble woman but had no children or no son, then the real estate would pass to another family member. His father’s branch would end, but the Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg would continue as Gustav is not the last male in the succession.
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  #47  
Old 10-12-2022, 12:29 PM
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It's important to remember that the non-Aryan clause didn't only apply to Jews. The only true Aryans were considered the Germanic speaking North Europeans with everyone else on a sliding scale downwards to the Australian Aborigines who was found at the bottom of the scale. Someone having one non-Aryan ancestor from the 17th century was for instance enough to have his application to join the SS rejected and the same rule applied to women who wanted to marry a member of the SS.
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  #48  
Old 10-12-2022, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by JR76 View Post
The Aryan clause was a necessity at the time that the will was written. If the estate passed into non-aryan hands there was a very high risk that it would be confiscated by the authorities.

From what I learned about the will (see my last post with the link) there was never an non-aryan clause in it. In it was, alals, the statement that they future bride had to be "nobel" according to the statues of the German Nobility society. And that, at the time the will was written (in war, under Nazi-rule), the statues included the term that no lady with Jewish (or other non-aryan) ancestors could be considered "noble".



That point in the statues of course was removed after the war! And it is true that claiming a bride must be "noble" according to the statues meant she couldn't be a non-aryan.But it is clear from the formulas that the will used which showed how the old prince thought, that there was no Nazi-thinking behind it but that point that in his head there was still a difference between nobles and commoners and he wanted a noble bride for his descendant.

Just like he asked that the bride be protestant, but that in case the protestant church alined with the catholic one, this point had to be removed. So he knew what he wanted, he knew what his time in his country was about, but tried to take care of his wishes for future descendants in a way that there was an organization behind the statues which determined the "noble" birth that could change them when the times changed (as they did for the non-aryan-clause) and that the religious point could be changed/abolished if the times changed in these things as well. But these didn't change.


So he had strict beliefs which are understandable when you think about his life and he had see that it worked in his family before and so he wanted to fix this. But from the will alone you cannot say he was a rascist or a nazi at all.



And nowadays not many people actually care about these statues anymore. Because as soon as one commoner married the holder of a noble name, she and her later kids became "non-noble name wearers", so having one non-noble ancerstor makes the whole bunch of descendants to non-nobles. That was the reason eg. why Francesca Habsburg could not become a dame of the Sternkreuzorden, because not all of her 16 ancestors were of noble-blood.



When we deal with noble inheritances we have to understand that back then (more often than today) rich nobles were the heirs of the successful people during the times of the monarchy and that they wanted to preserve what had served their family well. So they wrote their will asking that for the descendants who wanted a share in the family's riches. In more modern times some nobles changed their views, others stuck to it (just think of the clash in the Saxony-family) but a private estate in Germany is a private thing and there are several possibilities you can use in making your last will and they are all legal. No court will removed them, but, as the analysis of the Berleburg-will showed, no later living descendant can force a court to change the one once stated to more strict ones. Eg. Gustav's uncle claimed that the fact that Gustav and Carina lived together made them legally living in a cohabitation "similar to a legal marriage" and thus Gustav had lost is right to inherit. That's why Carina moved to London, because Gustav and Carina couldn't know how the court would decide, so they were careful to show openly that they didn't even live together at Berleburg!



In the end the Court of law decided that Gustav fulfilled all points required of the next heir, that he was not married and thus he could inherit.

The whole non-aryan and other stuff about Carina being his unfit wife was only brought up by his uncle in the hope Gustav would be disqualified


But the Court made sure that they read the will carefully, figured out what the grandfather had wanted, whether the heir needed to be married (no) and then found in Gustav's favour. All the other legal tricks used to make them reinterpret and sharpen the will were ignored.



A fascinating read for a lawyer interested in inheritance law (and probably a philosopher interested in what greed can make of some people and turn them into obvious manipulators buying experts to help them) but it wasn't a read about a rascist grandfather trying to inflict Nazi-"Values" to his innocent grandson.
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  #49  
Old 10-12-2022, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Kataryn View Post

A fascinating read for a lawyer interested in inheritance law (and probably a philosopher interested in what greed can make of some people and turn them into obvious manipulators buying experts to help them) but it wasn't a read about a rascist grandfather trying to inflict Nazi-"Values" to his innocent grandson.
That doesn't make the will or the circumstances it was made under any less racist, though, simply because that was "the way German society functioned at the time". If Gustav's grandfather had written it and disappeared at some other point in history, I don't think his will would have been remotely as controversial. This one is obviously a product of the Third Reich.
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  #50  
Old 10-12-2022, 02:15 PM
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Hi, I found your contribution here in the Royal Forums only today and must confess: the language used in that linked article is beyond boring to me...

To the article: In my humble opinion, the Grandfather had mainly the wish, that his heirs continue to marry noble girls. The "aryan snippet" was more or less "Zeitgeist" back then - and what does this mean anyway: Persian girls, afghan ones...?

And I personally find it disturbing, that this wish of the Grandfather for noble offspring from both sides was declared void too.

But in front of a court and on high seas you are in God's Hand....

One of the questions in the case was if Gustav could be considered married or not. The Court followed a traditional reading, thus it didn't matter how the bride was because there was no bride and Gustav was still unmarried.



It was clear from the beginning that Gustav on marrying Carina would lose his inheritance rights, so they didn't marry. The Court stated that "living together" didn't mean married according to the will and the way it was formulated, as, other than with the question of religion, the old prince did not think that "marriage" would be anything but a legal marriage according to the laws of his time. I personally don't think he would have been able to imagine a Germany where gay marriages were ever legal.



The point is that when the Court interprets a will they have to make sure they understood what the intentions of the author were. Where did the writer see legal problems when the times could change and how did he want them to be coped with? Did he see a potential change in the content of legal words like "married" or not? If he actually saw that, one could argue he wanted to use the most recent use of the word.



But in that case it didn't fit for this testament because he explicitely told his heirs how to deal with the wish that the wife of an heir had to be protestant - but not how to "marry". In case of bein "protestant" he stated that if there wasn't any difference in the churches' views anymore, how could a bride being "protestant" when noone was protestant any longer? Well, we do still have these differentiation, so a potential wife had to be "protestant". But if that had changed, the will made a provision for it. (But remember: there hasn't been a wife at all!)



As I said before,t here was no mentioning the Aryan (Nazi-interpretation) /Jewish question in the will but one condition is based on statues of the German society of nobility for that time and there it is one of the statues. But it is not one of the statues any longer, so Gustav could have married on of the noble Rothschild-girls and they would have fit, once they agreed to become protestant. As the nobility came from their fathers, but in Jewish law the religion comes from the mother's side, I'm sure you could even find a bride who is both from a Jewish noble family but of protestant faith.


Today btw. the new institution to pass judgments about German nobility is the "Stiftung Deutsches Adelsarchiv" in Marburg, Peter prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg is one of the boardmembers.

But - as Gustav was unmarried, his relationship with Carina was not relevant to his ability to be the final heir.



After the rightful declaration by the Court of Law, the last will is now part of history and Gustav is the owner of the Berleburg-estate. Thus he could marry Carina without any dangers of loosing his inheritance.
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  #51  
Old 10-12-2022, 02:46 PM
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That doesn't make the will or the circumstances it was made under any less racist, though, simply because that was "the way German society functioned at the time". If Gustav's grandfather had written it and disappeared at some other point in history, I don't think his will would have been remotely as controversial. This one is obviously a product of the Third Reich.

That was the law the late prince lived under. He was born under the monarchy and had lived through two World Wars. He realised he would probably not come home from the war and his son Richard was just 9 years old. So he tried to do hs duty (as he saw it), to follow the family's long tradition (as it was custom in noble families back then) and to secure the family's estate which according to the old laws had always fallen to the eldest son. So he used the possibilities of inheritance laws in 1943 to protect the family as good as he could.



Yes, he should have let Richard (the heir bound by the testament) and then Gustav (the final heir), both only heir as long as they lived according to the testament, choose their own life but that was his right as the current owner of the estate and I guess he realised that if he would survive the war and stayed owner till Richard married he would have his say in the choice of bride.

In his defense I must say that I don't think he had any idea how life and opinions about life would change, only that he wanted to protect the family's estate. He was raised to think of noble and commoner women differently and he wanted his grandchildren to have the support and understanding for their way to live from both sides of their parents, of Richard and his potential wife. I don't think he ever hoped that Richard would catch one of the Danish princesses but she certainly fit the role of wife he imagined her to have.



I imagine had he lived today he would have accepted Carina as Gustav's Danish relatives do because he had some really practical ideas for the handling of the enormous estate according to his times and he showed that he could engage with changes if they happened, especially in religious questions (a topic where people tend to be quite fixed) so I believe all he wanted was to protect the Berleburg-estate, coming from a time where his family actually rules this part of Germany and he inherited at 18 in 1925.
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  #52  
Old 10-12-2022, 02:55 PM
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Unfortunately Nazi Grandpa's last wish was formulated under a now-illegal state. So, no, it isn't valid and he didn't come back to contest it under any suitable form. For a bonus, it also violates modern-day human rights standards and so is doubly-invalid.
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
Thank you. This feels like something most people just inherently understand.
Inherent or not, it is not the understanding of the German courts.

Testaments written during the Nazi regime are not automatically invalidated. That much is clear from the court judgments which have been posted on this forum (please see Kataryn's earlier post for the final judgment and ricarda's post in the previous thread for the one preceding it). If that were the case, there would have been no need for the complex legal proceedings, as simply relying on the date in 1943 when the testament was written would have been sufficient.

Testaments which breach modern-day human rights standards are not automatically invalidated either. German courts have upheld other testaments of noblemen which were modeled on sexist and/or classist principles (see the well-known Leiningen case as an example), even though sex and class discrimination are proscribed by the federal constitution. The methodology used by the German courts is to attempt to strike a balance between testamentary freedom (a constitutional right) and other human rights protected by the constitution.


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Originally Posted by Prinsara View Post
That doesn't make the will or the circumstances it was made under any less racist, though, simply because that was "the way German society functioned at the time". If Gustav's grandfather had written it and disappeared at some other point in history, I don't think his will would have been remotely as controversial. This one is obviously a product of the Third Reich.
Nobody is claiming it made that clause less racist. But precisely because, as you acknowledged, it was an obvious product of the circumstances of living in a society controlled by the Third Reich, we cannot necessarily interpret Gustav's grandfather's own thoughts and beliefs about race in the same way as if he had written racial criteria into his will at some other point in German history.

As for the will being less controversial if written at some other point in history: As Kataryn's post #50 pointed out, the clause did not use the term "Aryan", but stated that the bride must meet the admission requirements of the German nobility association. The exact words were:

"Die vorstehend berufenen Personen sollen nur Nacherben werden und bleiben, wenn sie im Besitz der Bügerl. Ehrenrechte und evangelischen Glaubens sind und aus einer Ehe stammen, und wenn sie eine Ehe eingehen bzw. in einer Ehe leben, mit einer Frau, die adlig geboren ist und hinsichtlich ihrer Abstammung die gegenwärtigen Aufnahmebedingungen für die Mitgliedschaft bei der Deutschen Adelsgenossenschaft erfüllen kann."
So if written using exactly the same words, at some other point in history, the wife clause would have been interpreted to refer to the admission requirements of the nobility association at that point in history - which would not have included any "Aryan" requirement.

ETA: Kataryn, who I think is a native speaker of German, also said the clause could be interpreted as referring to the admission requirements at the time of the marriage. As the courts did not address the interpretation of the clause I suppose we will never know how which interpretation they would have adopted.
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  #53  
Old 10-14-2022, 05:46 PM
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ETA: Kataryn, who I think is a native speaker of German, also said the clause could be interpreted as referring to the admission requirements at the time of the marriage. As the courts did not address the interpretation of the clause I suppose we will never know how which interpretation they would have adopted.

Yes, I am German and a lawyer to boot! Hence my interest in the case as I'm specialised in inheritance laws. And yes, it is true what you said. Point is that German Courts only check what is of a higher point: thus, once they ruled Gustav was not married, there was no reason nor sense to judge the part of the testament which wasn't needed in the actual case.



Though from the context within the testament I believe we can say (well, you never know, right?) that he wanted a statue to be used that was recent at the time of the marriage. Just think: if he was Anti-Nazi, but wanted to have a noble granddaughter-in-law, what could he do? He probably didn't want to write his own terms, so relied on the "auhority" of his time when it came to these questions and was sure they would adapt the rules without getting rid of the points that were important for him.
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Old 10-14-2022, 09:53 PM
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Just found this very interesting and in-depth commentary on the decision of the court of law in German to name Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittengenstein-Berleburg as the heir of his grandfather accoring to the testament from 1943:

https://viewer.content-select.com/pd...1&language=deu

It's in German and from iuristic magazine Juristenzeitung but maybe someone else is interested. What I didn't find in the article was the claim that the wife of the air had to be of "aryan" birth but as the question of what is "noble birth" was wxplicitely fixed to the question of aryan descent in 1943 and that this definaition is explicitely used here, I can imagine where that idea came from. Alas, when prince Richard died in 2017 that point surely wasn't in the definition any longer and thus wasn't even mentioned both in the commentary and in the judgment by the court.

(I'm not sure this link is right here in this place but if there is a direct thread, I couldn't find it, so please move this post).
Thank you for the link! As you did clarify later, the body of the article is actually an extract from the court ruling, specifically, the section of the ruling in which the court gave its judgment and explained its reasons.

And it seems we were mistaken in the last thread, as the court ruling which ricarda kindly posted (https://openjur.de/u/2340698.html) was "only" the penultimate court ruling, which was appealed by Gustav's cousin. Your link is extracted from the final ruling by the higher court (which upheld the conclusion of the lower court).

In regards to the "marriage clause" which has generated most of the discussion, it is interesting that the two courts took different approaches: The lower court ruling (at 81) declared that although it did not affect Gustav, who was unmarried and had not violated the clause, the marriage clause had a racial motivation and was therefore invalid for being contrary to public policy. However, the final court ruling (at 173) declared that the validity of the marriage clause would remain "undetermined" because Gustav had not violated the clause.

So if the final ruling supersedes the previous one, then I suppose this court case will not set any new precedents about the validity of such clauses.


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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
I cannot say this with enough emphasis: Yikes.

It’s very weird to me that in the year 2022, there is anyone alive who believes Prince Gustav should have been prevented from marrying the woman he loves due to an inheritance stipulation that was based on Nazi ideals.

I think the vast majority of reasonable people are quite pleased the courts sided with Gustav and Carina and against old prejudices.
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
Please be clear: I absolutely mean it that I think it’s just and correct that German courts have recognized that racist legal precedents set under Nazi rule are not legally valid. I am glad they upheld Gustav and Carina’s right to marry, recognizing their human rights as far more important than the blatantly racist wishes of someone long dead.

I think most rational humans would agree with me and would join me in being rather appalled at the idea that anyone believes someone should be legally prevented from marrying their partner due to Nazi customs.
I hope rational and reasonable humans would be able to understand the difference between believing the will of a testator over the disposition of their property should not be voided by a court (which is what Victor actually said (as well as saying he believed Gustav's grandfather was primarily motivated by the issue of nobility and not race)), and believing someone should be legally prevented from marrying their partner due to Nazi customs (which was not argued by any of the participants in this discussion, or even by Gustav's grandfather).

(Just to reiterate for any readers who have not read through the recent posts: Gustav and Carina's legal freedom to marry was never in question, and the final court judgment did not mention Nazism or racism.)


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Originally Posted by Kataryn View Post
Yes, I am German and a lawyer to boot! Hence my interest in the case as I'm specialised in inheritance laws. And yes, it is true what you said.
Thank you, Kataryn. I've appreciated your insight into German law in various discussions on this forum.

I don't know whether you have the interest and time to give a summary of the grandfather's testament and the decisive court ruling, but if it is something you have an interest in doing, I would look forward to it (please note, I don't wish to press you: I only raise the subject because it is something I have considered doing, as it seems much of the online discussion about the testament and court ruling is from people who have not read them, but someone fluent in German language and law would clearly be far better qualified).


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Originally Posted by Countessmeout View Post
Title wise we do know. There is clear succession.

Richard's brother Robin is currently first in line. The man is 84, so unless Gustav drops dead, not likely Robin will inherit. But like his brother, Robin has one son and 2 daughters. His first wife was Swedish nobility (mother of his son and eldest daughter). Prince Sebastian is 51, but he has two sons (and a daughter).
I believe all the German members of the family legally carry the same title, officially surname, of Prinz/Prinzessin zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.
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  #55  
Old 10-14-2022, 10:05 PM
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Tatiana Maria how were you able to read the court documents?
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  #56  
Old 10-15-2022, 12:04 PM
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Tatiana Maria how were you able to read the court documents?
The links are actually in the previous post, but I'll leave them here again:


Decision of the Agricultural Court of Bad Berleburg (8 April 2019): https://openjur.de/u/2340698.html


Part of the decision of the Regional Appeals Court in Hamm (27 July 2020): https://viewer.content-select.com/pd...1&language=deu
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  #57  
Old 10-16-2022, 01:51 PM
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Princess Carina opened the castle gates in Bad Berleburg on 15 October as with Prince Gustav had been invited to an elegant historic horse-drawn carriage meeting, a so-called ATM, "Atelage de Tradition Meeting", in a beautiful setting at home at Berleburg Castle.

https://www.billedbladet.dk/kongelig...od-paa-slottet
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  #58  
Old 12-30-2022, 05:42 AM
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It looks like Berleburg castle will be re-opened to the public in 2023.


There is a new website: https://schloss-berleburg.de/
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