Born in Reichenau Lower Austria on November 20 1912 son of Archduke
(later Emperor of Austria King of Hungary Bohemia Croatia etc.)
and Zita Princess of Bourbon-Parma.
President of the Paneuropean Union. Member of the European Parliament.
The Emperor Frantz Josef I died on November 2lst 1916. 29-year-old
Archduke Charles (Otto von Habsburg's father) succeeded him becoming
Emperor Charles I of Austria and King Charles IV of Hungary. The
last coronation of a Hungarian King took place on December 30th
1916 in the church of the Blessed Virgin in Buda Castle. This was
the last time the Hungarian nobility and clergy could be seen in
their full pomp. The ceremonial dress worn by the Queen Zita (Otto's
mother) and the young crown prince Otto was designed by the great
historical painter - Gyula Benczur. The death of Emperor Charles
in 1922 one of the most likeable of the Habsburg rulers brought
the 800-year-old rule of the dynasty to an end.
After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy Charles and
his family were exiled from Austria in 1919 by a special law and
all their property was confiscated. (The right to return to Austria
was granted only in 1966 by a decision of the Administrative Supreme
Court). After leaving Austria in March 1919; the family lived in
Switzerland till the end of 1921 and on Madeira (Portugal) until
=1922 - where Emperor Charles died on April 1st 1922.
Until l929 the family lived in Lequeitio Spain. On November 20th
1930 Otto von Habsburg celebrated his eighteenth birthday which
meant that he had come of age and could inherit the titles of his
late father. This event was celebrated in the Habsburgs' private
chapel when Queen Zita read out a declaration to the effect that
in accordance with the laws of the house of Habsburg and with the
will of her late husband she ceased to bee the legal guardien of
her son Otto. Following this Otto was hailed as Emperor and King
as well as head of the whole house of Habsburg-Lotharing.
Until 1939 in Steenockerzeel Belgium. In 1939 the family lived
in Paris. From 1933 onwards he fought against National Socialism
which led the Nazis to issue a war-rant for his arrest after they
had occupied Austria in March l 938. Since 1936 member of the Paneuropean
Union its representative in Washington from 1940 till 1944. 1944
to l954 mainly in France except for a few months in Austria in l945.
From 1942 he worked actively to prevent the planned expulsion of
Germans from the Eastern territories. During World War II Otto von
Habsburg used his connections in Spain and Portugal to save some
50 000 European Jews from the clutches of the Nazis. Since l954
he has lived in Pöcking Bavaria. In 1951 he married Regina Princess
of Sachsen-Méiningen. The engagement ceremony took place in the
Bavarian town of Possenhofen in the house where many years before
Emperor Franz Josef 1 was engaged to his beautiful Wittelsbach.
They have seven children - five daughters two sons (Karl and Georg).
During the Hungarian uprising in 1956 he sent a stream of memoranda
of Western governments asking for support for those taking part
in the uprising and later for those forced to flee from Hungary.
After the uprising had been crushed he was tireless in his afforts
to keep the outside world interested in what Hungary. Many Hungarians
living in exile have said what a great inspiration Otto von Habsburg
was to them.
He has never lost contact with Hungary and he always followed Hungarian
affairs with great interest. When he was asked who he had learnt
to speak Hungarian he replied that Hungarian was in fact "one of
his mother tongues" since at home he had always spoken Hungarian.
Since 1957 Vice-President of the Paneuropean Union and af1Coudenhove-Kalergi
in l973 its President. Since June l979 European Parliament elected
for Bavaria on the list of the CSU reeleced in 1984 and 1989.
On July 13th 1988 with the approval of the Hungarian leadership
of the time Otto von Habsburg crossed the Hungarian border for the
first time. Even in the difficult years in exile he had remained
a Hungarian. Studies Primary school in Switzerland and Portugal
secondary school acoording to the Austrian and Hungarian curricula
in Spain University studies in Louvain Belgium. 1935 doctorate in
Political and Social Sciences.
Scientific activities Until now 27 books published in seven languages
on history politics and world affairs with special emphasis on European
politic tures all over the world on all continents except Australia
m among these a weekly column on world affairs since 1953 appearing
in 21 daily papers in five languages. Membership a.o. Académie des
Sciences Morales et Politiques Institut de France in Paris Real
Academia de Ciencias Morales y Politicas in Madrid Academia da Cultura
Portugesa in Lisbon Academia Mejicana de Derecho Mexico Académie
du Royaume du Maroc in Rabat Professor h.c. of Xaveriana University
in Bogotá (Columbia) Nonorary Nlember of the Institul Marinha in
Portugal. Honorary Fellowship of Jerusalem University honorary doctorates
of the universities of Nancy Tampa/Florida Ferrara Pécs etc. Orders
decorations honours Grand Cross of the Papal Order of I with Grand
Cordon and Star Bavarian Order of Merit (Bayerischet Grand Cross
of the Luxembourg Order of the Golden Lion Grand Cross of the Order
Carlos III of Spain Orden de Africa Féderal Distinguishei (Bundesverdienstkreuz)
of the Féderal Republic of Germany l987 etc. etc. European Karls-Preis
of the Sudeten-German Landsmannschaft Plaque Honour for achievements
in the field of nationality rights and the German East Medaille
du Merite Européen of Luxemburg Robert-Schuman Gold Medal 1977 Gold
Medal of the city of Paris Konrad Adenauer Award 1977 Louise Weiss
Award International Humanitarian Award of the Jewish `Anti/Defamation
League' Medal of Europe of the Free State of Bavaria 1991 etc.