Princess Marie Adelheid of Lippe-Biesterfeld

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Marie Adelheid of Lippe-Biesterfeld
Princess Heinrich XXXII Reuss of Köstritz
Princess Heinrich XXXV Reuss of Köstritz

Spouse Prince Heinrich XXXII Reuss of Köstritz
Prince Heinrich XXXV Reuss of Köstritz
Hanno Konopath
Prince Heinrich V Reuss of Köstritz
Full name
German: Marie Adelheid Mathilde Karoline Elise Alexe Auguste Albertine
House House of Lippe
House of Reuss
Father Prince Rudolf of Lippe-Biesterfeld
Mother Princess Luise of Ardeck

Marie Adelheid of Lippe-Biesterfeld (Marie Adelheid Mathilde Karoline Elise Alexe Auguste Albertine; 30 August 1895 - 25 December 1993) was a daughter of Prince Rudolf of Lippe-Biesterfeld and his wife Princess Luise of Ardeck.[1][2]

As the wife of Hanno Konopath, a prominent National Socialist official, Marie Adelheid was notable for being a popular socialite as well as an ardent supporter of the National Socialist regime. She was instrumental in the Nordic Ring, which was a forum for the discussion of issues concerning race and eugenics. Furthermore, Marie Adelheid served as an aide to National Socialist Minister of Food and Agriculture Richard Walther Darré, and produced numerous works of fiction, poetry, translations, and other books. After the end of World War II, she published translations of prominent Holocaust-denying works, such as Paul Rassinier's Le Drame des Juifs européens [The Drama of European Jews] into German in 1964.


Countess Marie Adelheid was born as the youngest child and only daughter of Prince Rudolf of Lippe-Biesterfeld and his wife Princess Luise of Ardeck (a morganatic granddaughter of Frederick William, Elector of Hesse). Her father was a son of Julius Peter, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld and Countess Adelheid of Castell-Castell. Marie Adelheid was a niece of Ernst, Count of Lippe-Biesterfeld and a cousin of Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, who was the father of Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, husband of Juliana of the Netherlands. She was also a first cousin of Princess Calixta of Lippe-Biesterfeld, wife of Prince Waldemar of Prussia. Her family could be traced back to the twelfth century.[2] In 1905, Marie Adelheid was granted the rank of princess.


On 19 May 1920 at Drogelwitz, Marie Adelheid married Prince Heinrich XXXII Reuss of Köstritz, a man seventeen years her senior.[1][2] He was a son of Heinrich VII Prinz Reuss zu Köstritz and his wife Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, and had once been very close to succeeding Queen Wilhelmina to the Dutch throne. The marriage was childless, and they were divorced less than a year later, on 18 February 1921.[1][2]

On 12 April 1921 at Bremen, Marie Adelheid married for the second time to Heinrich XXXV Prinz Reuss zu Köstritz, her first husband's younger brother.[1][2] Heinrich XXXV had to divorce his wife Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg of ten years for his marriage to Marie Adelheid to occur.[2] The couple had one son, who was born shortly after their wedding. Either brother could have been the father, but one source states that Heinrich XXXV was responsible.[1] The couple divorced on 23 June 1923.[1] Thereafter, Marie Adelheid used the title Princess Reuss zur Lippe.[3]

  • Prince Heinrich V Reuss of Köstritz (b. 26 May 1921, d. 28 Oct 1980)

In a departure from her two previous marriages, Marie Adelheid married a third and final time to commoner Hanno Konopath, a National Socialist government official, on 24 February 1927.[1][2] This marriage also ended in divorce nine years later, but not before it created some important contacts for her in the German regime.[1][2]

A National Socialist princess

Early years

Alarmed by the failure of their class to respond to the troubles occurring in Germany, many younger members of royal families joined the emerging National Socialist party and other radical right-wing groups.[4][5] In the beginning, many of them were women.[5] Like the Hesse family, the Lippe dynasty joined the National Socialist party in great numbers (ultimately eighteen members would eventually join).[3] Some German states provided a proportionally higher number of SS officers, including Hesse-Nassau and Lippe, Marie Adelheid's birth place.[3] As an ardent believer of the party's views, Marie Adelheid developed strong connections to the emerging National Socialist regime, and became a leading socialite during that time.[3]

She embraced "blood and soil" notions with great enthusiasm, and belonged to the paganist sect of National Socialism.[3] In 1921, the same year of her divorce, Marie Adelheid published Gott in mir (God In Me) in Bremen.[6] A small work of forty-one pages, its spacious layout and the exceptional quality of its paper is evidence that while Germany was suffering from an economic depression, the book was distributed in small quantities to a select, wealthy clientele.[6] It is likely that soon after producing this work, Marie Adelheid was already moving in far-right circles or on the verge of becoming an ardent National Socialist;[4] she became employed as an aide to the National Socialist Minister of Food and Agriculture, Richard Walther Darré (a friend of her third husband's).[7] Her cousin Ernst, Hereditary Prince of Lippe (son of Leopold IV, Prince of Lippe) was also employed under Darré.[3] As he was her mentor (and referred to her as "little sister"), Marie Adelheid devoted her writing talent to promoting National Socialist ideals, in particular those of Darré.[8] These essays included Nordische Frau und Nordischer Glaube [Nordic Women and Nordic Religion] (1934), Deutscher Hausrat [Setting up the German Household] (1936), two edited collections of writings by Darre, and two novels, Mutter Erde [Mother Earth] (1935), and Die Overbroocks [The Overbroocks] (1942).[8][9]

Nordic Faith Movement

In the late 1920s, Marie Adelheid regularly attended meetings for the paganist Nordic Ring, which were a forum for the discussion of issues concerning race and eugenics.[10] Her third husband was a leader of this group.[11] Kanopath was a member of the Race and Culture Division in the Reich Leadership Office.[11] The group was a great proponent of the "Nordic idea", in which they believed that the Occidental and Germanic cultures were a creation of the Nordic race.[10] To them, the Nordic race had been "losing ground rapidly" in the new industrial age due to an influx of "inferior" races to the enlarging cities; their goal was thus to reverse this trend before Germany followed France, Italy, and Spain in racial decline.[10] Through these meetings, Marie Adelheid emerged as a leader of the Nordic Faith Movement. At one meeting she presided over in March 1935, she stated that children should be forbidden from reading the Old Testament and asserted that there was not much sense in reading the New Testament.[12]

"In the Old Testament, the greatest and most sacred things are treated as a variety of sin. One should not, therefore, place in children's hands the sort of tales of which the Old Testament is made up. However, the new Testament is not much better. Throughout the Old Testament woman is treated as something shameful. We read there that a woman who has borne a child should make a sacrifice".[12]

In the same meeting, Marie Adelheid also called on other Nordic pagans to remember that "thousands of blond-haired, blue-eyed women" had been burned as witches during the Middle Ages, a fact, she declared, that meant they should be avenged by bringing back to life the old Nordic faith.[12]

The Nordic Faith professed by Kannopath and Marie Adelheid soon declined in importance. Wilhelm Kube, the leader of the NSDAP in the Prussian parliament and a fervent Christian, soon discovered that Kannopath belonged to "a school of thought that even the most radical of Kube's group could no longer consider Christian". Soon afterwards, Kube had Kannopath ejected from his DC responsibilities; he was additionally deprived of all his party offices on "grounds of immorality".[13]

Fall of Darré

As the war caused unwelcome developments, Darré's romantic "blood and soil" views suffered as new and more efficient plans were produced by important National Socialist officials Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Göring.[9] As Darré's influence declined, so did that of Marie Adelheid and her cousin, as their family lacked a viable power base.[9] While Darré retired to his hunting lodge outside Berlin, she and Ernst continued their activities under the National Socialist regime until the end of the war.[9]

Post-World War II

After World War II ended, Marie Adelheid continued her extreme right-wing activities, working as an author, translator, as well as being active in various neo-National Socialist organizations.[8][14] She translated Paul Rassinier's Holocaust-denying work, Le Drame des Jusifs européens (The Drama of European Jews), into German in 1964, and also published two more volumes of poetry.[8]

She gave financial support to Die Bauernschaft, a periodical launched by Neo-nazi Thies Christophersen in 1969.[15] As a result of his publications, Christophersen was threatened with imprisonment for spreading National Socialist propaganda, and finally had to leave Germany for Denmark.[15] In 1971, she assumed the editorship and continued to keep the "blood and soil" ideas that had been so cherished under her and Darré in circulation.[16]


Marie Adelheid died on 25 December 1993 in Tangstedt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, aged 98.[1][14]

List of works

Marie Adelheid produced and published many different works under the names Marie Adelheid Prinzessin Reuss-zur Lippe and Marie Adelheid Konopath throughout her life.[17] All of these original works contained right-wing propaganda, both during and after the fall of the National Socialist regime.[18]


  • Mutter Erde [Mother Earth] (1935)[8]
  • Die Overbroocks [The Overbroocks] (1942)[17]


  • Gott in Mir [God in Me] (1921)[17]
  • Weltfrommigkeit (1960)[17]
  • Freundesgruss (1978)[17]


  • Das bist du [That is you] (1924)[17]
  • Deutscher Hausrat [Setting up the German Household] (1936)[8]
  • Nordische Frau und Nordischer Glaube [Nordic Women and Nordic Religion] (1934)[8]
  • Feiern im Jahresring (1968)[17]
  • Small contributions to the monthly magazine Odal. Monatssddchrift fur Blut und Boden (1932–1942)[17]


As a speaker of French, English, and German, Marie Adelheid produced translations of various works after the end of World War II. Along with Paul Rassinier's Holocaust-denying work The Drama of the European Jews, Marie Adelheid also translated Lenora Mattingly Weber's work My True Love Waits from French into German and Harry Elmer Barnes' Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace: A Critical Examination of the Foreign Policy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt from English into German, among others.[19]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Lundy, Darryl. The Peerage: Marie Adelheid Prinzessin zur Lippe-Biesterfeld. Retrieved on 20 September 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Gossman, p. 65.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Petropoulos, p. 266.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gossman, p. 67.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Petropoulos, p. 100.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gossman, p. 1.
  7. Gossman, pp. 1-2 and 65.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Gossman, p. 2.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Petropoulos, p. 267.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Gossman, p. 69.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Steigmann-Gall, p. 110.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "German Princess Assails The Bible; Tells Nordic Pagans Children Should Be Prohibited From Reading Old Testament", The New York Times (Berlin), 31 March 1935 
  13. Steigmann-Gall, pp. 110-111.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Gossman, p. 66.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Gossman, pp. 114-115.
  16. Gossman, p. 114.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 17.7 Gossman, p. 179.
  18. Gossman, p. 112.
  19. Gossman, pp. 112 and 179-180.