|Burial Katholische Hofkirche|
Religion Roman Catholicism
|Name Georg, Prince|
House House of Wettin
|Born 15 January 1893
Dresden (1893-01-15) |
Father Frederick Augustus III of Saxony
Mother Archduchess Luise of Austria, Princess of Tuscany
Died May 14, 1943, Gros Glienicke, Germany
Parents Archduchess Louise of Austria, Frederick Augustus III of Saxony
Siblings Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony
Cousins Charles I of Austria, Archduke Maximilian Eugen of Austria
Similar People Frederick Augustus III of Saxony, George - King of Saxony, Prince Ernst Heinrich, Friedrich Christian - Margrave, Albert of Saxony
Georg, Crown Prince of Saxony, (15 January 1893 – 14 May 1943) the last Crown Prince of Saxony, was the heir to the King of Saxony, Frederick Augustus III, at the time of the monarchy's abolition on 13 November 1918. He later became a Roman Catholic priest and a Jesuit.
- Early life and education
- First World War
- Engaged to be married
- Abolition of monarchy and Jesuit priest
- Opponent of Nazism
- Titles and styles
Early life and education
Georg was born on 15 January 1893 in Dresden, Saxony, Germany. He was the son of Prince Frederick Augustus, the later King Frederick Augustus III and his wife, Louise, née Archduchess Louise of Austria-Tuscany. His siblings were the Princes Friedrich Christian and Ernst Heinrich and the Princesses Margarete, Maria Alix and Anna Monika
After his parents divorced in 1902, his father took sole parental responsibility for his children. He emphasized the Christian faith and a Catholic lifestyle. The children were educated by private tutors in a "prince's school" established by their father at the Saxon court. Most of the teachers were Protestants; this contributed to his later ecumenical attitude. Georg became Saxony's crown prince at age eleven, when his father acceded to the throne in 1904.
After graduating from high school in 1912, Georg studied political sciences for three months at the University of Breslau. He then began to study economics. During this time, he joined the KDSt.V. Winfridia.
First World War
After completing his studies in 1912, Georg joined the 1st Royal Saxon Lieb-Grenadier Regiment No. 100. His friend and fellow officer Ludwig Renn also served in that regiment; at the time, Ludwig still used his birth name Arnold Friedrich Vieth von Golßenau.
Georg held the rank of Captain when he was sent to the front at the start of World War I. He suffered a serious leg injury during the first months of the war. In 1915, Kaiser Wilhelm II granted him the Iron Cross first class "in recognition of the services he rendered in the recent battles.".
On 27 July 1916, he was added to the staff of Army Group Gallwitz. On 30 August 1916, he received the Military Order of St. Henry for his services in this staff.
On 30 November 1917, he was promoted to major and made commander of the 5th Royal Saxon Infantry Regiment "Crown Prince" No. 104. He commanded this regiment on both the Eastern and the Western Front. He held this command until 22 May 1918.
Engaged to be married
In the spring of 1918, newspapers announced the prince's engagement to Duchess Marie Amelia, daughter of Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg, the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Württemberg. The end of the Saxon monarchy and the prince's desire to become a priest apparently led to the end of the engagement. The duchess died unmarried in 1923.
Abolition of monarchy and Jesuit priest
When Germany lost the war, the monarchies in Germany collapsed. Georg's father abdicated on 13 November 1918. This marked a fundamental turning point in his career planning. In 1919, he decided to renounce his rights on the Saxon throne, and become a Catholic priest instead. This decision was very controversial among people who hoped that the monarchy might one day be restored, and also met with significant concerns from the side of the Catholic Church. For example, Franz Löbman, the Apostolic Vicar for Saxony and Lusatia, and Archbishop Adolf Bertram of Breslau initially held that Georg should continue to hold political responsibility for Saxony. Nevertheless, Georg entered the Franciscan Order.
Finding the Franciscan life too intellectually limiting, Georg soon applied to transfer to the Jesuits instead. In the winter semester 1919/20, he studied philosophy at the University of Tübingen. During this period, he joined the A.V. Guestfalia Tübingen. In the next semester, he studied at the University of Breslau.
In the winter semester 1920/21, he began studying theology at the University of Freiburg. He joined the KDSt.V. Hohenstaufen and Saxo-Thuringia. He completed this study in 1923. In the same year, he formally renounced his rights to the Saxon throne and became a Jesuit priest.
He was ordained as priest in Trzebnica on 15 July 1924 by Bishop Christian Schreiber of Meissen. The next day, he celebrated his first mass at the royal palace in Szczodre (German: Sibyllenort. His uncle Maximilian gave the homily during this service. Thereafter, the prince was generally known as Pater Georg (Father George) and used the last name von Sachsen. After his ordination, Georg worked as an auxiliary priest in his native Diocese of Meissen.
He then continued his studies at the Jesuit Collegium Canisianum in Innsbruck. In the fall of 1925, he joined the Upper German province of the Society of Jesus, however, in 1927, he switched to the East German province, which included his native Saxony. From 1928 to 1930, he studied at a Jesuit college in Valkenburg.
From 1933, he did pastoral work in Berlin. He helped building the Jesuit residence Canisius College with the Catholic Gymnasium at Lietzensee. He took his final vows in Berlin in 1936. He gave lectures and spiritual exercises all over Germany. In his lectures, he promoted ecumenism and in particular the Una Sancta movement. Among his friends were spiritual leaders of different religions.
Opponent of Nazism
During one of his many lectures, he said in Meissen in 1929, referring to the increasing antisemitic agitation by some right-wing parties: Love is the order of the day in the relationship between Catholics and Protestant, and also to our Jewish fellow citizens. So he opposed Nazism from the beginning. He found it unbearable that the Nazi Party and after 1933 the state vilified and sought to destroy core values that were important to him personally — monarchical and dynastic Saxon traditions and fundamental values of Western Christianity. He felt that his family honor was offended and his work as a pastor was significantly impeded.
He worked in Berlin where he was credited with protecting Jews from the Nazi regime in notable contrast to his pro-Nazi brothers-in-law, Prince Frederich of Hohenzollern and Prince Franz Joseph of Hohenzolllern-Emden.
As critic of the regime and a member of the former Saxon royal family, but in particular as a Catholic priest and a member of the Jesuit order, he was seen as highly suspect by the Nazi regime. He was shadowed by the Gestapo because he helped Jews leaving the country and he helped opposition politician hiding for the regime. Sometimes, he had to go into hiding himself, and the police searched his home several times. He knew some of the people who later attempted the failed 20 July plot, in particular Ulrich von Hassell and general Paul von Hase. It is not clear whether he actually participated in the resistance.
The former prince died on 14 May 1943 apparently while swimming in the Groß Glienicke Lake in Berlin, Germany. Georg's diary was found on the lakeshore with a final Latin entry reading Vado ad patrem, which is the Latin version of a phrase Jesus frequently spoke to his disciples in the Gospel of John and means "I go to the Father" or "I go to my Father." His body was found several weeks after his death. Some people, including his brother Ernst Heinrich expressed doubts that his death had been an accident. Nevertheless, the autopsy determined that he died after suffering a heart attack.
He was buried in the Catholic Church of the Royal Court of Saxony, today known as the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, in Dresden on 16 June 1943. His grave was disturbed by Russian soldiers in 1945 and later by the floods of August 2002.
Titles and styles
Prinz Georg, 15. Januar 1893–1943, type-written memoirs (in German)