In 1918, on this day Wilhelm Hohenzollern II the last Emperor (Kaiser) of Germany and King of Prussia abdicated the throne and fled to the Netherlands where he remained in exile for the rest of his life. In an angry, hate-filled letter to Field Marshal August von Mackensen dated 2 December 1919, he denounced his abdication as the "deepest, most disgusting shame ever perpetrated by a person in history, the Germans have done to themselves [..] egged on and misled by the tribe of Judah [the Jews] .. Let no German ever forget this, nor rest until these parasites have been destroyed and exterminated from German soil!".
The Kaiser's meeting with Anne FrankAt first, the probability of a restoration of the monarchy was absolutely zero partly because the elite of the Weimar Republic considered him to be an anacronistic throwback to a militaristic past. But their future went awry and his enemy's enemy became his friend; the rise of the Nazi Party was an interesting development to him, and he became one of their initial supporters despite the jarring contradiction that Adolf Hitler blamed him (along with the Jews) for Germany's loss of the Great War.
And of course the Weimar Republic collapsed under circumstances that were not dissimiliar from its creation, with society gripped by mindless gang violence. But to the surprise of many, he condemned Kristallnacht, declaring that "For the first time, I am ashamed to be a German".
Wilhelm made no overt move against the leadership, and after the occupation of the Netherlands, German Stormtroopers provided an honour guard for his residence the Huis Doorn. But then fate intervened, and he was presented with a final opportunity to demonstrate his greatness, a moral authority that he could restore to Germany even if he could never hope to rule his country once again. Because he was visited by a fellow German, who was also a refugee in Holland ... a thirteen-year-old girl who was called Annelies Marie ("Anne") Frank.
She slipped onto his estate while he was following his favorite pastime of chopping down trees. Before he could summon his guards, she quickly told him that her older sister Margot had received a call-up notice from the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) ordering her to report for relocation to a work camp. Father Otto Frank told his family that they would go into hiding in rooms above and behind Opekta's premises on the Prinsengracht, a street along one of Amsterdam's canals, where some of his most trusted employees would help them. As the Kaiser listened to the young girl, he was impressed by her cleverness, courage and lively spirit. It made him recall the shame of Kristallnach and realize that he had been presented with what was surely a last chance to be lifted up on the wings of imperial eagles.
To protect her, he made her and his family servants in his imperial household, where they were safe from arrest. As time went on, they encouraged him to seek out other Germans who shared his feelings. This eventually led to his supporting Col. Claus Von Stauffenberg's plot to kill Hitler. Of course, Wilhelm had the added incentive of being restored to the throne once Hitler was dead. The Bomb Plot failed, and he was allowed to commit suicide rather than going on trial, thus sharing the fate of another revered figure ... Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. But the Frank family fled the castle and survived to tell the tale .. which was, of course, filled with praise for their imperial protector.