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Heir to The Austrian Throne And His Wife Are Shot

Shot! The Forverts covered the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the catalyst for World War I. Image by Forward Association

The imperial couple was on a tour of the Bosnian province that Austria had won from Turkey six years earlier. A young Serbian student was the shooter, believing that province must be Serbian. A second youth threw a bomb on the couple hours prior to the shooting. They are proud of their attack.

Major Upheaval In European Politics Expected

Sarajevo, Bosnia Austria—June 28—Archduke Franz Ferdinand Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary and his wife Duchess Hohenberg were murdered today by a young Bosnian student, a Serb. The murder was a result of the hatred the Serbs have towards the Austrians who conquered the pure Serbian bit of land of Bosnia in Herzegovina.

The murder took place in a large public who were present on both side of the route through which the heir to the throne and his wife passed through in their coach. This was the second attempt on Franz Ferdinand’s life on the same day in Sarajevo. A couple of hours earlier when the Archduke and his entourage, riding in a second carriage, travelled to city hall there a young man threw a bomb at them. The Archduke, however, noticed where the bomb was in flight and re-directed it with his hand. The bomb shattered on the side behind the coach and fell on a sidewalk and some of the entourage was wounded, as were some of the public viewers. The Archduke and his entourage rode on.

The man who threw the bomb attempted to escape and jumped from the nearby bridge into the river but several people ran after him and dragged him out of there. His name is Zanrinovitch, he’s 21-years- old and is himself from Herzegovina, a Serb according to his birthplace and a print compositor by trade. He worked for a while in Belgrade, Serbia from where he came to Sarajevo.

The Archduke called for his carriage to stop and ran over to the carriage where the wounded officers in his entourage were seated. The wounded were immediately taken to hospital and the Archduke and his wife and the rest of their entourage travelled further to city hall where the Mayor, the City Council and prominent citizenry were waiting for them.

The Mayor addressed him with a speech and just as he began speaking Franz Ferdinand interrupted, “Mr. Mayor! This is an outrage. We came for a visit here and we were met with a bomb!”

A few seconds of silence ensued. After which Franz Ferdinand said, “Now you may continue with your speech.” And the Mayor, in the name of the city and populace greeted the future leader of Austria-Hungary. Meanwhile, the public knew of the bomb and in City Hall people were heard running in saying ‘Hurrah!’

First Bullet Hits His Wife

From City Hall the Archduke and his entourage travelled to the hospital to visit the wounded officers of his group. As his carriage turned the corner of Rudolph Strasse out from behind a house jumped a young man (according to other reports he specifically jumped into Franz Ferdinand’s carriage) and began firing a revolver. One shot hit the Duchess Hohenberg in her abdomen and second one hit her in the chest and a third bullet hit the Archduke precisely in his face.

The body of the critically wounded Duchess fell across the Archduke’s knees but in the next moment his body also fell over.

Quickly the two wounded were taken to the palace where doctors attempted to operate but their labors were for naught. The Archduke and his wife were swiftly dead.

The murder was quickly caught. Several people pursued him and attempted to beat him but the police arrived and arrested him.

This young man is a high school attendee and is 19-years-old and is also a Serb from Herzegovina. His name is Gavri Printsip.

Political Renunciations In Serbia

Both arrestees expressed their joy at the crown prince’s death. After the events on the Archduke’s travel route another bomb was found, and there is no doubt that the murder was planned by Serbian patriots who want Bosnia and Herzegovina to belong to Serbs and not to Austria. And furthermore, there is a theory that the murder was planned in Serbia itself.

Bosnia and Herzegovina are two provinces that Austria captured officially from Turkey in 1908. Officially or unofficially they belonged to Austria, in our opinion, since 1878 already.

The population of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Serbian. In 1877 they revolted against Turkey and separated themselves as Serbia. Austria didn’t want the young Serbia, its neighbor to be so large so at the Conference of Nations in Berlin in 1878 they got Europe’s permission to keep an army in the two provinces and in that way, to govern over them. Officially, Turkey remained the ‘baleboste’ over the two provinces, but truthfully Austria held power over them and retained an army there of over 80 thousand men.

Serbia’s Hatred of Austria

Serbia thought Austria couldn’t hold her army forever in the Turkish provinces. She is temporarily ruling over them but a time would come when the great and powerful Austria would retreat from the 2 provinces and Serbia hoped that it would be free of Turkey or later would revolt against them.

Their hopes were not to come to fruition however. In 1908 the ‘Young Turks’ created a revolt in Turkey. Austria used this unrest and insecurity in Turkey to declare Bosnia and Herzegovina to be annexed officially as part of Austria Hungary. Serbia was incensed and barely contained itself from attacking Austria but realized she was but a fly in comparison to Austria. She also realized her savior Russia out of fear of Germany would not do a thing for them had Russia been apprised of Serbia’s war plans.

But a deep hatred of Austria burned in their hearts. The hatred grew stronger and sharper since the Balkan War where Austria didn’t permit Serbia to capture Albanian ports Alessio, Durazzo and others.

The Serbs developed a blood-hatred of the two Hapsburg empires (Emperor Franz Josef of Austrian who is descended from Emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg who in 1800 became the first Emperor of that dynasty.) Franz Josef is Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary. The kingdom is composed of two parts, united through one Emperor and army, navy and Foreign Ministry. Therefore it’s called a dual-unified empire. Archduke Franz Ferdinand is most hated of all who would become Emperor after Franz Josef’s death because he was war minded. He was against Russia who was considered a supporter of the small Slavic-Balkan states such as Serbia, Montenegro etc. Aside from that, he just wasn’t popular due to his being Catholic and a believer in special rights for the Catholic Church. He was a man who made the military religious.

The Archduke Always Feared Travelling To Bosnia

Archduke Franz Ferdinand is thought of by Serbia as well as by Bosnia and Herzegovina as their greatest national enemy, as the greatest deterrent to Serbia’s growth and empowerment.

The elder Franz Josef was also not much beloved by the Serbs naturally but they did respect him. Firstly, for his being an elder of 84 years and secondly for his having been on the throne so long already he was simply popular for that, and thirdly he was extremely tactful in his dealings and knew how to compromise so his subjects would remain loyal. In fact Austro-Hungarians simply liked him due to the many misfortunes that occurred to him and his family—they felt his pain.

But his heir wasn’t so likeable and when it became known, a short time ago, that Franz Ferdinand would be travelling to Bosnia on maneuvers he received many warnings that he shouldn’t do so. Until now he managed to avoid travelling to Bosnia whereas Franz Josef, since 1908, used to visit this province yearly, the Archduke hadn’t been her yet once. And now he was travelling here in order to be present at the maneuvers. The Serbian ambassador in Vienna warned that the Bosnian population was extremely upset and that it was dangerous for the Archduke to travel there. Franz Ferdinand was, however, depending on the security measures that had been taken and also on the many spies that had been sent there, and so he travelled.

After the maneuvers he arrived in Sarajevo the capital city of Bosnia. As an expression of protest against Austria many residents purposely hung Serbian flags on their homes and when the Archduke’s processional was already in town the police were occupied with removing the Serbian flags.

Articles translated from the Yiddish by Chana Pollack, Ezra Glinter and Myra Mniewski.

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