Berlin Vorwaerts

Author: A Royal Household Official  | Date: December 6, 1918

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March, 1919 December 6, 1918

The Flight of Wilhelm the Last

[1918]

On Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 2:30 P. M., I received from the castle an order to come immediately. Arrived at the castle, I received a commission to prepare, with the personnel appointed to me, to start at 11 o’clock at night from Wildpark Station, to make the journey to Spa in the court train. I arranged provisions for about ten days from the castle’s war store, where enormous treasures of food of every description are stocked.

On Oct. 30, at 4 P. M., we entered Spa. The Kaiser and his suite of sixteen gentlemen, with about forty-five servants, continued to reside in the train. On Nov. 3 the Kaiser undertook a journey to the front at Alost, in North Belgium. We left this station with some delay. Had we remained we should have been no more, for ten minutes after the court train’s departure (the Kaiser with some of the suite had left in motor cars) the station was bombed by French airmen and completely ruined, also a munition transport and hospital train full of sick and wounded. On the return journey we saw six enemy airmen still above our train, but we were lucky, as they had thrown all their bombs at Alost. We returned to Spa about midday.

On Nov. 4 we were informed that we should leave that evening for Berlin. Our joy was great, but things turned out differently. The Kaiser had not complied with the request of the General Staff to retire from Spa as quickly as possible, as his presence occasioned fears of the worst, but had taken up his quarters in the Villa Fraineuse, where he had previously lived.

I had to contend with all sorts of things in the train. The couriers, who should have brought fresh provisions, meat, game, vegetables, etc., from Berlin, had not arrived. What was I to do? I told a court official that he must see that the necessary provisions were obtained. This was done to a limited extent.

On Saturday, Nov. 9, at 6 P. M., we received news in the train that the Kaiser was coming down with all his suite, and would remain in the train. What did that mean? we asked ourselves. After some reflection we arrived at the right conclusion—flight.

About 10, when the Kaiser had left the restaurant car, I was instructed to have a traveling breakfast ready early the following morning for the Kaiser, six gentlemen of his suite, and about eight members of the traveling service; and about 4:30 the first breakfast must be ready, as at 5 o’clock motor cars for the further journey (the flight to Holland) would be ready.

The Kaiser left the train at 5 o’clock in the morning (Nov. 10) and fled by motor car across the Dutch frontier, and we followed in the train, reaching Eysden about 10. Scarcely had the train stopped when we heard people belonging to a factory situated opposite the train asking the mocking question whether we wanted to go to Paris, for if so, we must take the opposite direction.

On Monday, the 11th, at 9:10 A. M., we left Eysden for Maarn, via Maastricht. Our experiences during this journey were simply indescribable. Every single station that we passed swarmed like an antheap with people endeavoring to surpass each other in howling and hissing, holding up their hands, showing their tongues, spitting, and so on. We reached Maarn station at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the Kaiser being received by Count Ben-tinck at Amerongen.

He seems to feel very comfortable there, for he rides and tours in a motor car as at home; indeed, the gamekeeper told us that the only thing lacking in the Count’s castle is dancing.

We arrived at our place of banishment at Amerongen at 8 o’clock, and found a very good reception in a small hotel boarding house, and had supper. We went to our rooms, all of which were without stoves and very cold, but we said to ourselves that it was better than an internment camp. We remained in these quarters, very comfortably looked after by the lady of the house, until the 17th, when K. entered my room early and asked whether I had heard four shots during the night. I answered in the negative. He replied: "Yes, yes; here we sit like a mouse in a trap." Thereupon I said that every mouse that is caught endeavors to escape from the trap. I also should try. He thought there was nothing to prevent this; but I should leave at my own risk. This I did, and through the German Legation at The Hague I was able to steer for home, and in this brilliantly succeeded.

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Chicago: A Royal Household Official, Berlin Vorwaerts in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Co., 1951), Original Sources, accessed July 3, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=RBD9TFKCZUYH79W.

MLA: A Royal Household Official. Berlin Vorwaerts, in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, edited by Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1951, Original Sources. 3 Jul. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=RBD9TFKCZUYH79W.

Harvard: A Royal Household Official, Berlin Vorwaerts. cited in 1951, History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. , Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, Pa.. Original Sources, retrieved 3 July 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=RBD9TFKCZUYH79W.