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Otto von Habsburg

Otto von Habsburg

Born in Reichenau Lower Austria on November 20 1912 son of Archduke Charles
(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.



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