Franz Ferdinand assassination relic displayed

franz ferdinand austria hungary

The shirt Archduke Franz Ferdinand was wearing when he and his wife were shot in the streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, sparking the fuse that  led to World War I, is on display in Vienna.

The blood-splattered garment, once white but now stained a dark brown, is being exhibited in a glass display case at the Austrian Military Museum.

The museum contains more artifacts related to the assassination of the man who was heir to the crown of Austria-Hungary than any other location, according to the Guardian.

The shirt was in the possession of the Jesuit religious order until 2004 when it was found in their archives and passed to the Austrian Military Museum on permanent loan.

Because of its delicate condition it is only rarely put on public display, according to the publication.

This time it will be viewable through the middle of next week in a dimly lit room.

A Jesuit priest 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 maneuvers.

At 10:45 a.m. on June 28, 1914, Ferdinand and Sophie were shot by Gavrilo Princip, 19, a member of Young Bosnia and one of a group of assassins organized by the Black Hand, a secret society formed by Serbian military officers.

The priest gave the couple the last rites and was later handed the shirt and the assassin’s Browning pistol for safekeeping.

The chaise longue on which the archduke died is among the many artifacts relating to the assassination on display at the museum.

Others include the open-top Austrian-built Gräf & Stift imperial car the royal couple were riding in when they were shot, a rose the duchess wore in her belt and three of the four weapons used to assassinate them, according to the Guardian.

“We’re expecting a large interest in the shirt because it goes on display so rarely, and especially in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the assassination next June,” said Reichl.

(Top: Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, shortly before their assassination.)

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9 thoughts on “Franz Ferdinand assassination relic displayed

  1. Like is sort of the wrong word here, but the article is great. The theme for our California Council for the Social Studies conference next March is based on the 100th anniversary. 🙂

    • I believe there is a church in Los Gatos, Calif., dedicated to the man who eventually succeeded Franz Josef as emperor of Austria-Hungary in 1916. Charles I died in 1922 and was beatified by the Catholic Church in 2004.

      What an interesting theme. The mind boggles at where to begin with such an overwhelming topic.

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