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A royal human rights encounter

Local monarchist tells of his experience meeting with great, great-grandson of Germany’s last Kaiser.

Emmarentia’s resident monarchist, Selwyn Klass was afforded the privilege on Human Rights Day of being included in a royal event hosted by The Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre.

The theme for the event was ‘Confronting the Past: Memory and Responsibility’. Founder and director of the centre Tali Nates co-chaired in conversation with Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, who is the great, great-grandson of Germany’s last Kaiser, Wilhelm II.

Prior to the function, attendees were asked to submit questions for the attention of the royal guest. Klass asked, “Notwithstanding the policy of the Kaiser to enhance his political position with the rise of the Nazi Party, in view of his royal lineage, from a moral point of view, when did his conscience recognise the evil of Nazism in their determination to eradicate anyone who did not concur with their racist ideology?”

Prince Friedrich acknowledged his past as being ‘layered in shadows‘ by officially relinquishing part of a family heritage linked to the Kaiser, establishing instead a foundation for the greater good. “It’s easy to make a villain out of an ancestor. We are the history of our ancestors. Our conscience dictates choices.”

His aims are said to be the sort that look for leadership in unlikely places. At the event he mentioned the tracing of a holocaust survivor who vowed never to return to Germany. Yet, in an interesting twist, the same survivor would be invited to speak at Prince Friedich’s twin sons’ school. “The survivor’s words inspired all the learners – ‘What the world must know. Lest the world forgets’,” he said.

Related article: Rejoyce Motaung reflects on Human Rights Day as a young adult.

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