Stolen orders of chivalry resurface



The medals and orders of chivalry stolen on the night of 10 February 2020 from the memorial hall of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin have been recovered. The State Criminal Police Office (LKA) returned the valuable items this morning to representatives of the House of Hohenzollern. The thief had already turned himself in. The rarity of the items and the associated impossibility of reselling them likely motivated the perpetrator to contact the police, who suspect that the crime was drug-related.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the State Criminal Police Office in Berlin for returning the pieces from the collection. Their value is intangible for my family and goes far beyond any potential resale value,” Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia, said in a statement. It is still unclear whether the items will be placed on display again after their restoration and, if so, under what circumstances.
Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia (1907-1994), who also composed the carillon melody for the Memorial Church, had loaned the valuable pieces for display at the opening of the memorial hall. These included a complete set of the Order of the Black Eagle and Order of the Red Eagle (1st Class), some of which were of noteworthy provenance as far as their recipients are concerned. The recently returned badges of honour also include an anniversary badge, which was presented on the occasion of Emperor Wilhelm II and Empress Auguste Victoria’s silver wedding anniversary. The item on display in the church originated from the empress’s personal collection.
High-profile art theft, such as a gold coin stolen from Berlin’s Bode Museum and the plundering of the Green Vault in Dresden, have periodically caused a stir – particularly of late. The public’s dismay surrounding the Dresden heist abated again just a few days later, which is astonishing considering the cultural significance and intangible value of the items.

Berlin, 25 August 2020