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The dramatic promise made by a princess who survived a concentration camp

Princess Antonia of Luxembourg was born in October of 1899. She is the fourth daughter of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Guillaume IV and Princess Marie Anne. Two of her older sisters eventually became Grand Duchesses of Luxembourg. Antonia herself became the final Crown Princess of Bavaria. 

In 1921, she became the second wife of the Crown Prince of Bavaria, Rupprecht. This marriage was a long time coming. Initially, engaged in 1918, the two had to break it off due to geopolitics. 

Germany was occupying Luxembourg and Rupprecht was a General Field Marshal in the Imperial German Army. In 1918, Rupprecht’s father, King Ludwig III passed away. It was the end of World War I and there was a lot of civil unrest in Bavaria. Rupprecht never abdicated but he also never claimed his father’s throne. Bavaria eventually became a republic later that year.

By 1921, politics within Europe had changed and Princess Antonia and Rupprecht married. Despite, him being 30 years her senior, Antonia and Rupprecht had a happy marriage. They had six children together and Rupprecht had a son from his first marriage. 

Hitler was making waves in Germany by this time. Publicly, he admired Rupprecht both for his military skills and for how the people of Bavaria still adored him, even though the ruling family was no longer in charge. Hitler promised to restore Rupprecht and the royal family if he would join the Nazis. Rupprecht longed for the restoration of the monarchy, but refused to fall for Hitler’s promises.

Antonia and Rupprecht made it clear that they were anti-Hitler. In fact, it is noted by the British Foreign Office, that during a meeting with King George V, Rupprecht told King George, that he “remained convinced that the Fuhrer was insane.” Rupprecht also refused to have homes in Bavaria decorated with swastikas.

Being anti-Nazi and connected to a resistance plot, the family was forced to flee to Italy and then Hungary in 1939. Five years later, the Nazis had occupied Hungary and were looking to arrest Ruppercht, who was underground in Italy. It was Nazi policy, that if one family member was accused of a crime, the entire family would be held liable. Hitler personally ordered the arrest of Princess Antonia and her children. 

During their imprisonment Antonia contracted typhus and was hospitalized. Once well, Antonia was shipped to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where her adult children were also being imprisoned. As the Soviets got closer to the Third Reich, they were transported to Flossenburg concentration camp and finally to Dachau concentration camp. The United States Army liberated the Dachau camp in 1945. 

During her time in the camps, Antonia was repeatedly tortured by Nazis for information on her husband, which she refused to share. Princess Antonia made it through World War II but the typhus, malnutrition and torture took its toll. Immediately after liberation, she returned to Luxembourg to recuperate.

Princess Antonia rarely talked about her time in the camps. It is a possibility that she also spent time in Buchenwald, but there are no official reports of this. She adamantly refused to step foot in Germany ever again. She lived the rest of her life in Italy and Switzerland. In July of 1954, Princess Antonia passed away in Switzerland, having fulfilled her promise of never returning to Germany. Her husband, Prince Rupprecht, died little over a year later, in August, 1955.