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On 4 June 1941, tomorrow exactly 75 years ago, former German emperor Wilhelm II  died in Doorn, The Netherlands, where he was living in exile since the end of the first WW. Europe, again engaged in a devastating war with Germany, paid almost no attention to the emperor's death. Even in Germany it got little attention. As The Netherlands was then occupied by Germany,  and the former emperor guarded by the Wehrmacht, Hitler ordered a funeral for the monarch with full military honours and send a huge wreath. The body of Wilhelm II was placed in a small chapel on the grounds of House Doorn, where it rests till today.

After being granted asylum by the Dutch queen in November 1918, Wilhelm II bought a large estate in Doorn, in the center of The Netherlands, where he would be living till his death in 1941. In exchange for signing the abdication document, Wilhelm II was allowed to bring much of his personal belongings, including his numerous uniforms and decorations, to Doorn. 

In order to stay fit and while away his time, Wilhelm II started a daily routine of felling and chopping up the trees which were abundant in the area where he lived. The chopped pieces of wood were given to the population of Doorn, where, in time, the former emperor got quite popular. With the tree felling, Wilhelm II had the assistance of a number of foresters, amongst them G. van Veenendaal, who worked with the monarch for twenty years. When, on 10 May 1940, the German army occupied The Netherlands, most of the Dutch staff of House Doorn were soon sent away by the Wehrmacht officer responsible for the security of Wilhelm II. Capper Van Veenendaal got a signed portrait from the monarch as small memento.

Earlier, on 27 January 1934 Van Veenendaal was awarded the Verdienstmedaille first class of the House Order of Hohenzollern, on occasion of the 75th birthday of Wilhelm II. 

I have the items of Van Veenendaal in my collection; reminders of a forgotten monarch. As forum members interested in Imperial germany, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Pieter

 

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Wilhelm II at tree cutting, in the middle with hat, and Van Veenendaal at the far left with cigar in hand

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The Verdienst medaiile of Van Veenendaal

for some reason, the first picture with the coffin came upside down, sorry for that.

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Edited by pieter1012
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