Alfred von Niezychowski

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Lieutenant Alfred von Niezychowski aboard the German liner Kronprinz Wilhelm


commerce raider ship during World War I, an author and lecturer, and a Michigan
political candidate for public office.


Granówko, Niezychowski's childhood home

Niezychowski was born near

Nieżychowski (1851-1897) and Lucia (Łucja) Taczanowska

Niezychowski's father died when he was nine years old. Two years later, his mother, now 37 years old, married the 29-year-old Count


The German passenger liner Kronprinz Wilhelm

As an adult, Niezychowski joined the German

Prinzess Irene in 1914, before being transferred to his most famous assignment, the German passenger liner Kronprinz Wilhelm, where he held the rank of lieutenant. He was later promoted to lieutenant commander in the German naval reserve and became second in command. The ship was one of the fastest in the world, having won the Blue Riband
a few years earlier for the fastest-ever Atlantic crossing, in 5 days, 11 hours, and 57 minutes.

Germany entered

US Navy. Renamed the USS Von Steuben, she was turned into a troopship

American citizenship

Despite officially being a prisoner of the United States, Niezychowski was evidently quite a popular storyteller among influential Americans, partially because he was the nephew of Baron

Washington DC, where he was welcomed into diplomatic and society circles.[4] He was also president of the Polish American Navigation Company of New York.[1]

In October 1923, Niezychowski became engaged to marry Nanine H. Ulman (1896-1972), a

Green Spring Valley, and great grandniece of President Thomas Jefferson.[1]

Having renounced his European titles, Niezychowski became an American citizen in January 1926; the affianced couple married on December 27, 1927, with Admiral

After their wedding, Niezychowski and his wife moved to

Detroit, Michigan, where he entered the business world;[5] He first worked as a salesman with a printing and advertising company, and later with the Seldon & Johnson real estate firm. In 1928, he published a book about the Kronprinz Wilhelm's 251-day adventure, and gave lectures on the subject.[6] He was known for signing autographs with green ink, and one of his lecture taglines was that of all of the ships that had been sunk during the ship's wartime duty, it had never caused the loss of a single human life. The capturing and sinking had been done in a very civilized, even courteous, manner. Passengers who had been taken aboard from a captured vessel were often given first class accommodations aboard the ex-passenger-liner/commerce-raider (members of the crew[vague
] until they could be transferred to another ship).

In 1932, while in the investment brokerage business, Niezychowski ran as a

Michigan First District. He was a staunch Democrat, and wanted to fight for the immediate repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, as well as lowering tariff laws to restore foreign trade. However, he lost in the primary election to George G. Sadowski.[7]

Niezychowski and Nanine had no biological children, though Niezychowski did become guardian for the children of his half-brother Count

, to obtain visas so that the orphaned children could enter the United States in the 1940s. They were:

  • Count Stanley Dunin, who later participated in a NASA project, launching the world's first geosynchronous communications satellite
  • Countess Magda Dunin Hirata, who later married Japanese-American scientist Arthur Hirata
  • Countess Christine Dunin Zika, later the mother of noted botanist Peter Zika

In 1964, Niezychowski died in Michigan, and was buried in Mount Elliott Cemetery in Grosse Pointe.


  • Count Alfred von Niezychowski, The Cruise of the Kronprinz Wilhelm, 1928, Doubleday & Company, with introductions by Admiral Walter McLean (commandant of the Virginia Norfolk Navy Yard where the Kronprinz Wilhelm was interned), and Count Felix von Luckner.

Notable relatives


  1. ^ a b c d e "Engaged to Count Von Niezochowski". The New York Times. October 30, 1923. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Alfred Niezychowski, 75, Served on German Raider" (PDF). June 17, 1964. Retrieved January 22, 2017. Image of a page from The New York Times.
  4. ^ Frederick Wallis at[dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Miss Ulman Weds Count". The New York Times. December 28, 1927. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  6. ^ "Count Alfred von Niezychowski : in his thrilling lecture". Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2017.]
  7. ^ "Nicholson-brown to Nile". Retrieved January 22, 2017.

External links