Albrecht von Urach

Prince Albrecht of Urach (German: Fürst Albrecht von Urach, Graf von Württemberg; or Albrecht Fürst von Urach.) (18 October 1903 - 11 December 1969) was a German nobleman, artist and wartime author, journalist, linguist and diplomat.

Background

He was the third son of HSH Wilhelm, 2nd Duke of Urach (1864-1928), a German general in the First World War who was briefly chosen as King Mindaugas II of Lithuania. His mother was Amalie (1865-1912), daughter of Karl-Theodor, Duke in Bavaria and a niece of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Amalie's sister was the queen consort of King Albert I of the Belgians. The Urach family are a morganatic branch of the royal family that ruled the kingdom of Württemberg until 1918. The Urachs lived in Stuttgart and at Lichtenstein Castle. [ [http://jahrbuch.annaberg.de/jahrbuch/2000/Annaberg%20Nr.8%20Kap10.pdf Von Cube Essay, 2000] ]

His father's mother was Princess Florestine of Monaco (1833-98), and he was named Albrecht after her nephew Albert I, Prince of Monaco. His family were the legitimate heirs presumptive to Monaco's throne between 1911 and 1918 (See Monaco Succession Crisis of 1918). Before 1911 his father was intended to inherit Monaco, as the son of his cousin Prince Louis of Monaco had no legitimate children.Fact|date=December 2007 In particular, from 1914 and the First World War, France could not tolerate a possible U-boat base so close to Toulon, and preferred a descent from Louis, who had had a distinguished career in the French army for many years.Fact|date=December 2007 Louis had to adopt his natural daughter Charlotte to ensure a pro-French succession, and Monaco signed a concessive treaty with France in July 1918.

Artist

Following the German defeat in 1918, Albrecht studied art in Stuttgart under Arnold Waldschmidt and Christian Landenberger, and then in Paris at the "Grande Chaumiere" Academy in 1927-30, while living on the Ile de la Cité, developing an expressionist style. [ [http://archiv-baumeister.org/index.php?menuid=82#urach Zeitgenossen Willi Baumeisters: Künstler und Architekten - www.willi-baumeister.com ] ] He then exhibited in 1930-32 at the Leicester and Redfern galleries in London, Galerie Bonaparte in Paris and at Blomquist in Oslo, but could not make a living from painting with the start of the Great Depression, and took up freelance photography. His artistic friends included Willi Baumeister and Fernand Leger. His signature on his paintings was usually "AvU". [ [http://new.artnet.com/artist/650252/albrecht-von-urach.html Artnet reference page] ] His artistic output resumed in the 1950s.

Photo-journalist

In April 1934 he was living in Venice, renting a flat from Anna Mahler, and by chance photographed the first unpublicized meeting of Mussolini and Hitler, which was followed by a public rally in the Piazza San Marco. [Peck C. ed. "Mariga and her friends" (Hannon Press, Dublin 1997) p.7. ISBN 0-9516472-5-3] Albrecht turned this scoop into a permanent position as a journalist based in Tokyo from September 1934, covering the Chinese-Japanese war and also the Nomonhan incident for several German newspapers. [Dinardo K. "Lili St Cyr" (Back Stage Books, New York 2007) pp.10-11. ISBN 978-0-8230-8889-8] To become a journalist he joined the Nazi party in 1934, the only member of his family to do so.Fact|date=December 2007 The German military attaché and then ambassador in Tokyo, Eugen Ott, was a family friend and their regular drinking friend was Richard Sorge, the famous Red Army spy. [Prange G. "Target Tokyo" (McGraw Hill, New York 1984) pp.101, 168, 196. ISBN 0-07-050677-9]

econd World War

In 1939 he returned to Europe and was posted to Rome as the Foreign Office liaison between the German and Italian Press, and made friends with Count Ciano. His ally in the Berlin Foreign Office was Ernst von Weizsäcker, whose family had worked with Albrecht's family in the past. In 1940 he brought neutral American and Italian journalists to report on the invasion of Norway, and then in 1941 at the start of the invasion of Russia.Fact|date=December 2007 Following the Tripartite Pact between Germany, Japan and Italy signed in September 1940, he was sent on a secret mission to Japan in May and June 1941 to persuade the Japanese to attack the British in Asia; ostensibly the mission was for the co-operation of the German and Japanese press services. [Prange G. op.cit. pp.344-348.] In April 1941 Yosuke Matsuoka agreed a neutrality pact between Japan and Russia. Failed in his mission, he returned on the Trans-Siberian Railway shortly before Russia was invaded. Ciano's diary of 10 March 1942 mentions German pessimism about the war in Russia, and that Prince Alberto von Urach had visited Rome, making "bitter-sweet" comments about Japan, and hinting at the need for an Axis peace with Britain. "Urach also said that the liquidation of Russia still appears to be a very hard task". 11 March: "The Duce was indignant about Urach's declarations". [Muggeridge M. ed. "Ciano's Diary" (Heinemann, London 1947), pp.444-445.]

Seen in Berlin as an expert on East Asia, he spent much of 1939-43 writing about Japan's progress (see below). The 1943 booklet "The secret of Japan's strength" is his best known, selling 800,000 copies, and is of particular interest insofar as someone with a partial dislike for Japan should glorify its martial spirit. Anxious to leave Germany, which was now facing defeat, in early 1944 he succeeded in being appointed press attaché at the German Embassy in Berne, with the rank of Unterkonsul. Here he assisted a group smuggling capital out of Switzerland to the USA via "Banque Charles" in Monaco, where his second cousin Louis II reigned. [Abramovici P. "Un rocher bien occupé" (Editions du Seuil, Paris 2001) pp.301-304. ISBN 2-02-037211-8] In May 1945 the embassy staff was expelled to the French border and he was interned.

Later life

In 1946-48 von Urach was charged by a German court for creating and broadcasting propaganda in National-Socialist style, and for membership of the Nazi party (see Denazification). He apologized and there was no sanction. [ [http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/japan.htm Calvin webpages] ] His superiors were prosecuted in the Ministries Trial in 1948. In 1947-67 he resumed his career as an artist and freelance journalist. He was chief press attaché at Mercedes Benz in Stuttgart in 1953-67, where his elder brother Wilhelm was a director. This suited his ability in languages and he travelled widely. He then died of a stroke in 1969 and was buried at Waldenburg.

Family

In July 1931 he married Rosemary Blackadder (1901-75), a Scottish journalist and artist, daughter of John Blackadder and wife Anna Wilson, and this morganatic marriage made him ineligible to be Duke (Herzog) of Urach. They had a daughter Marie-Gabrielle, (1932-89; "Mariga") who married Desmond Guinness. Rosemary returned alone to Europe in 1938. In 1943 he remarried to Ute Waldschmidt (1922-84), daughter of Arnold Waldschmidt and wife Olga Schwartz, and they had two children, Peter (1944-77), and Manuela (1945- ) who later married Sergei von Cube. They divorced in 1960. Manuela's daughter Katerina married Jochen Werz, a director at Lenzing AG. [ [http://www.lenzing.com/press/en/1763.jsp LENZING AG Jochen Werz Vorstandssprecher NE ] ]

* [http://www.thepeerage.com/p11070.htm thepeerage.com]
* [http://www.angelfire.com/in/heinbruins/Monaco.html Grimaldi family]

Bibliography

* Ostasien: Kampf um das kommende Grossreich (Steiniger, Berlin, 1940)
* Das Geheimnis japanischer Kraft (Berlin, Zentralverlag der NSDAP, 1943); see link [http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/japan.htm]
* Japans schöpferische Aussenpolitik (1944).

References


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