Monday, June 24, 2013

Fr Anton Puntigam, S.J. And Archduke Franz Ferdinand

The blood-splattered shirt of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in 1914 triggered the outbreak of the first world war, is to go on display in Vienna on Friday. The once white garment, now stained a dark brown, is to be exhibited in a glass vitrine at the Austrian Military Museum (HGM), which holds more artifacts related to the assassination than any other institute. "This is the undershirt he was wearing beneath his uniform, directly on his skin, so it's much more blood-soaked than the uniform he wore over it," said Thomas Reichl, of the museum. The shirt was in the possession of the Jesuit religious order until 2004 when it was discovered gathering dust in their archives and passed to the HGM on permanent loan. Because of its delicate condition it is only rarely put on public display. This time it will be viewable for 12 days in a dimly lit room.
A Jesuit priest Fr Anton Puntigam (here) and family friend accompanied the archduke and his pregnant wife, Sophie, to Sarajevo where they had been sent by Emperor Franz Joseph to inspect Bosnian military manoeuvres. The priest gave the couple the last rites and was later handed the shirt and the assassin's Browning pistol for safekeeping.
Traveling in an open-top car on 28 June 1914, the archduke was shot at by 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, a Serb who sought unity for the Yugoslav states and their independence from Austria-Hungary. He was able to take close aim at the archduke's car when it stalled close to the Latin Bridge. The archduke and his wife, who flung herself on her husband to try to protect him and was shot in the abdomen, both died of their injuries shortly afterwards.
Link (here) to The Gaurdian

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