Fascinating history of the von Arnim coat of arms
“The coat of arms at Haute Cabrière of the German von Arnim family is most fascinating”, explains Hildegard von Arnim.
“In the 13 the century our ancestors were in fact Dutch and one of them defended the town of Arnhem in Holland. The very same town that became famous thanks to the movie “ A Bridge too far”. Arnhem is a stronghold of the Netherlands’ border with Germany as the river around the town is a natural barrier to keep enemies out. Should, however, the enemy get in, the town is just as difficult to free – the story of the end of WWII and the movie.
Back to the 13th century: During the attack on the town our ancestor observed that the best way to defend the town would be to break away the blanks of the only bridge crossing the river. He bravely stood on the two bare beams of the bridge, killing anybody trying to come across. The town was successfully defended and he could take on the name ‘the savior of Arnhem’. The ‘van Arnhems’ wandered, centuries later, across the border into Prussia and became involved in the Prussian military. Their name was ‘germanised’ to ‘von Arnim’, they were knighted early on for bravery in the Prussian army.
The von Arnim coat of arms has a red background with 2 white beams across it: the white beams represent the beams of the bridge, red the blood that flowed into the river during the battle. It is a simple coat, testimony to the fact that it is a very old coat of arms, 13th century. The simpler the more ancient!
Achim’s father was still a military man, from age 11 educated at a military academy, his father a general. He was obliged to enter WWI at age 17 and fought on the Russian front. He was shot in the face, loosing part of his nose and almost froze to death, which caused him to suffer from stomach ulcers that caused his premature death at age 60 when Achim was only 13 years of age.
Nevertheless, Achim von Arnim senior never lost his sense of humour or adventure and decided to leave for ‘warmer’ pastures in the 1920s. He traveled to Africa becoming a businessman in Cape Town, importing paper as South Africa did not have paper mills in those days. He had many editors of magazines and newspapers as friends. Achim has inherited his father’s sense of humour,[even so, by his own admission, he was a useless soldier and a bit of a rebel during his army days]. He feels his family coat of arms has a right to be in our cellar and on our labels thanks to the red and white colours of the Arnim family. Red and white is, after all, the general description of wine. He suggests that we forget the blood and gore of the past and try to settle our disputes over a glass of red or white wine.”