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Archbishop Wilhelm von Gennep was secretary and councilor of his predecessor. He belonged to a small noble family from the Maas and was very ambitious. Described as domineering, harsh, and self-assured, he succeeded after only a single year in consolidating the organization and finances of his archdiocese. He supported the prohibition of feuds in the German Empire and significantly furthered the continuing construction of the Cathedral. He took measures to secure financing for construction by obtaining papal indulgences and broadening the membership of the Cathedral's building association, the Brotherhood of Peter.
Resting place: Cologne Cathedral, Chapel of the Cross, high grave