Prince Bernhard in 1969
Prince Bernhard in 1969Reuters

BBC reports Prince Bernhard of Holland was a former member of the Nazi Party. The former director of the Royal Archives, Flip Maarschalkerweerd, said that when he went through the belongings of the former Dutch prince he found, among other things, a membership card in the Nazi party dated before World War II.

After tests carried out by experts, the Dutch government announced that the card was indeed authentic and that the Dutch prince, who is revered by many in the country and is actually considered a hero of World War II, was a member of the Nazi Party before the war broke out.

Until his death in 2004, Prince Bernhard denied that he was a member of the Nazi Party, but the membership card found in his possession proved that he was not telling the truth.

Already in 1996, Gerard Alders, a researcher at the Dutch Institute for War Studies, announced that he had found a certificate attesting to the former Dutch prince's membership in the Nazi party, and said that "Prince Bernhard lied to the end about his Nazi past."

Prince Bernhard was born in 1911 in Vienna, which belonged to the German Empire. As a child, he suffered from poor health, and the doctors gave him poor chances of survival.

He studied law at the University of Berlin, and during his studies, he joined the Nazi Party and was even a member of the SS organization but decided to leave in 1934 after finishing his studies.

In 1936 he married Juliana, Princess of the Netherlands, who later became Queen of the Netherlands. After Nazi Germany's invasion of the Netherlands, Bernhard fled to London, where he fought as a fighter pilot in World War II and was even appointed commander of the Dutch armed forces.

He is considered a war hero by many of the Dutch, but his membership card in the Nazi party now casts a heavy shadow over his past and the fact that he lied about his membership in the Nazi party over the years.