Dutch Royal House Confirms Prince Bernhard’s Nazi Past: Controversial Membership Card Found

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The Dutch Royal House has verified the existence of Prince Bernhard’s original Nazi party membership card, laying to rest decades of speculation and controversy. Flip Maarschalkerweerd, an erstwhile custodian of the palace archives, discovered the membership card amongst Bernhard’s belongings subsequent to his passing.

Hailing from German aristocracy, Bernhard consistently denied any affiliation with Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), despite historians expressing skepticism. As early as 1996, a Dutch war studies researcher claimed to have unearthed a duplicate of the card in an American university’s archives, sparking a long-lasting controversy.

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The prince, whose full name was Bernhard von Lippe-Biesterfeld, became prince consort following his marriage to Dutch Princess Juliana in 1937. Indeed, he also played a significant role in leading the Dutch royal family in exile during the turbulence of World War Two. However, his affiliation with the NSDAP, from 1933 to 1936, significantly tainted his reputation. Despite his vehement denials, evidence of his membership lurked in archives both in the United States and Germany.

In an unexpected twist, Maarschalkerweerd stumbled upon Bernhard’s NSDAP membership card whilst cataloging the late prince’s possessions. To add to the intrigue, he also discovered a 1949 letter from Lucius Clay, an American military administrator stationed in Germany, addressed to Bernhard, who was then preparing to destroy the controversial membership card.

Although the revelations regarding Bernhard’s Nazi affiliations were expected by some, this news has understandably shocked and saddened many, particularly those allied with the Dutch resistance during World War Two. The unveiling of his hidden past has evidently brought a disturbing new dimension to the legacy of a man who had once occupied the role of a national hero.

Following the media’s publication of the membership card’s image, the Dutch royal house confirmed its existence. King Willem-Alexander emphasized the importance of impartial research and historical understanding, acknowledging the complex role the House of Orange-Nassau has played in the nation’s past. Numerous political parties and Jewish organizations have called upon who was then the care-taker Prime Minister Mark Rutte, to launch an investigation into the matter.

In the aftermath of these new, disconcerting revelations about Prince Bernhard, our attention again returns to the crucial part history plays in shaping our present and future. Just as the controversial past of this figure forces us to reassess our understanding of historical events, it is also a reminder of the importance of transparency, accountability, and the ongoing pursuit of truth.