Last Week’s Book Review
Last week I reviewed the book The Assassination of the Archduke. Today we find out what happened to Sophia, Max and Ernst–the assassinated couple’s children, in a new book on their fate by James Longo.
This book tells the story of Hitler’s vengence against the Habsburg family–especially the children of the morganatic marriage of Austrian heir Franz Ferdinand. Hitler, as we all know only too well, despized ‘race mixing.’ The Austro-Hungarian Empire was a mix of Germans, Austrians, Slavs, Muslims, Jews, Orthodox Christians, and Catholics. This ‘travesty’ was best represented by the unequal marriage of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie Chotek.
Had Hitler been successful in being admitted to art school and in becoming an architect our world would likely be very different today. But he failed and spent a few years on the edge of homelessness and near-starvation. This to him, became wound-up in a work-fare job of shoveling snow at the Hotel Imperial for a Habsurb event. He hated being “unseen” and ignored by the grandees who walked up the shoveled sidewalk and steps. From this he forged his hatred that would fuel the writing of Mein Kampf and the rest of his venegeful atrocitites.
The sons of Franz Ferdinand were singled out by Hitler for the worst possible treatment. Following the Austrian Anschluss in 1938 both Max and Ernst were sent to Dachau concentration camps where they were made to clean latrines barehanded with no tools. Owning to the tireless work of his wife, Max was released fairly soon but was forced to leave without Ernst. It wasn’t until the middle of the war that Ernst’s wife finally won his release as well. The fight the women waged was truly heroic. Both Max and Ernst were respected by their fellow prisoners.
The most frightening thing about this story was seeing how Hitler’s mind unraveled during his years as a would-be student and near tramp in Vienna. Terrifying.