History

Karl Max Lichnowsky

Karl Max Lichnowsky - 1914"The history of European diplomacy in the 20th century presents no more tragic figure than imperial Germany's last ambassador in London, Prince Karl Max Lichnowsky (1860-1928). As the son of a rich and historied family he seemed destined for a distinguished career. He had joined the diplomatic corps at the age of 23, and when he left the service some twenty years later to attend to his inherited properties he was recognized as a man of good will and who had faith in the international system and the values of western civilization. He had just married a beautiful woman (Countess Mechtilde Arco-Zinneberg) who was a writer of considerable gifts. And he could have led a life of honorable ease if, in the fall of 1912, his sovereign Wilhelm II had not called upon him to be his representative at the Court of St James".

Harry F. Young: Prince Lichnowsky and The Great War (preface).

"Prince Karl Max Lichnowsky was the man who tried the hardest to preserve peace, who fully conceived the whole of nonsense and insanity of the approaching menace in its immediate and more distant consequences, and yet to the last seeked to avert it. For that reason and also because of his atractive personality he was highly esteemed both by the British and the French.
Not so in Germany; there he met with scorn and hatred. At first he was blamed for having let the English delude him stupidly and credulously. Than after 1917, reproaches were made that he, strictly speaking, had committed high treason by publishing a memorial in which he sharply criticized German politics before the war.
With Harry Young's book "Prince Lichnowsky and The Great War" full justice has at last been done to Lichnowsky. Young has done his work with exactitude, tact and remarkable understanding".

Excerpts from Golo Mann's review of Harry Young's Biography.

Karl and Mechtilde"Karl Max Lichnowsky was the 6th prince. He was borned in Krzyzanowice in Poland, when it was part of the German Empire. He was the son of Karl, the fifth prince, and Marie, princess of Croy-Dulmen. He was named in honor of the Lichnowsky ancestor who in the 17th century had gathered his family's scattered and encunbered possessions and laid the basis for the florishing domains of 1860. He was baptized by his uncle Mons. Robert Lichnowsky, Papal Prelate and canon at the cathedral chapter at Olmutz in Moravia (Oloumuc, Czech Republic).
Prince Lichnowsky was neither a Junker nor a typical Prussian, but the product of a cultural and political frontier. His family's estate lay largely in the angle formed where the River Oppa flows in to the Oder. This was a region blending industry and agriculture, Slav and German, Austria and Prussia.
Karl Marx was the heir of his father wealth and his family's accumulated distinctions which marked him from birth for a carrer in his sovereign's service."

Harry F. Young

Karl and his son Wilhelm"To understand what made Lichnowsky so different from the Prussian Junkers needs only a simple explanation. He was not a Prussian, nor even a German. He was utterly Slavic, descedent from the Bohemian Lichnowskys, who since the 14th century, when Bohemia was a centre of European culture, had their estates in the Czech part of Silesia, which Frederick, the Great, in the Seven Years War, stole from Austria."

New York Times april 28, 1918.

My great grand-father was a person that was very much worried and involved with social problems in his native land and with the welfare of the people from the areas where his properties where located: Poland and Czech Republic. He worked and invested in this areas and his name is still remembered by the local people from there. He was also a lover of the arts and he contributed a lot with the purchase of works of art and antiques, which today are at display at the Museum in Hradec nad Moravici. Most of his properties were taken from him after the first world war and the land reforms in Poland and Czech Republic, but he was spared to see the Nazi regim and the final stone thrown on our family when we were expelled from our mother land in 1945, by the same people whom we had helped so much.

Important persons that helped to form the history of the Czech Republic and are part of it were unjustly expelled from their mother land, a place where they lived for 15 generations and so much contributed for its development and the welfare of its people. We hope that future generations of politicians will make proper changes on the constitution of this wonderfull country and one day we will be able to proudly say that we are Czechs and also enjoy the new country that was formed after the Velvet revolution. The text above and many other documents prove our strong relation with this country and its a pity that such great persons are not considered Czechs anymore. There is not much that we, the descendants from this people, can do about this unfair situation, but to at least express our feelings here in our home page...

Eduardo Graf Lichnowsky

Karl Max LichnowskyKarl Max LichnowskyKarl Max Lichnowsky
Portrait by Max Liebermann_______________________________________________Photo: Familiy Archives ___

 

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES HERE