July 6, 2011

Archduke Otto von Hapsburg, R.I.P.

London Telegraph obit

Archduke Otto von Habsburg, who died on July 4 aged 98, began his public life as the infant Crown Prince of the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire, and ended it as Father of the multinational European Parliament.
Within that neatly closed circle lay all the major political dramas of the 20th century, most of which he witnessed and some of which he influenced. He was centre stage for one of them — the unequal struggle against Hitler for the survival of his Austrian homeland, which he tried to conduct as an exiled Pretender in the 1930s. Not for nothing did the Führer call the triumphant march-in of March 12 1938 “Operation Otto”.

 Habsburg Statue

The New York Times obit

Otto von Hapsburg, the onetime heir to the imperial throne of Austria-Hungary, who during a long career in European politics was a strong proponent of unifying the divided continent, died Monday at his home in Pöcking, Germany. He was 98.

Otto was the eldest son of Charles I, the last emperor of Austria-Hungary, who ruled for just under two years, until the end of World War I also brought an end to his multiethnic empire in the heart of Europe and sent the family into exile.

Otto did not, however, fit the part of the exiled would-be monarch waiting for his throne to be restored. He remained deeply involved in the turbulent events of the last century, opposing the Nazi annexation of Austria and later serving two decades as a member of the European Parliament.

But you get a much better sense of the man when you read Lunch With the Holy Roman Emperor by Seth Lipsky

So, your excellency," I said during a lull in the conversation, "What do you make of the speculation that Waldheim, during part of his time at the United Nations, was a Soviet spy?"

That's when the Holy Roman Emperor turned to me, put down his fork and said, "I don't have the slightest doubt that Waldheim was a Soviet spy throughout his entire time at the United Nations." He surmised that the Soviet regime had known about Waldheim's service with the Nazis in Yugoslavia and had been using its knowledge against him throughout the postwar years.

 Otto Hapsburg

Europe bemoans death of the last heir to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire

Habsburg “peacefully passed away” yesterday morning (Mon), his family announced. They explained all of his seven children were at his death bed in Pöcking, Bavaria, Germany. He will be laid to rest at the Imperial Crypt (Kapuzinergruft) in the Austrian capital Vienna on 16 July. Viennese Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn will hold a requiem mass at the city’s St Stephen’s Cathedral earlier on the same day.
“Whole Europe is crying,” Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Othmar Karas said when being informed about the death of Habsburg.

Austrian Social Democratic (SPÖ) Chancellor Werner Faymann praised Habsburg for his clear stance against fascism, while CSU boss Horst Seehofer said he did a lot to help tearing down the Iron Curtain.
Posted by Jill Fallon at July 6, 2011 9:00 AM | Permalink