Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Otto's cousin charged with "slurring Nazis"


March 23, 1938

Archduke Josef Ferdinand, head of the "illustrious Habsburg-Tuscany line," was arrested today at Mondsee, near Salzburg. He has been "charged with insulting the Nazi regime of greater Germany, reports United Press.
Nazi sources charge that Josef Ferdinand "made insulting remarks to the villagers of Mondsee." When he was arrested, the archduke tried to deny the charges.
Archduke Josef Ferdinand's main residence is at Mondsee. He is the "most illustrious of all the noblemen arrested since the Austro-German union. He is 65 years old and the son of the late Grand Duke Ferdinand IV of Tuscany. Josef Ferdinand, a colonel-general in the World War in the Austrian army, is a first cousin, once removed of Archduke Otto, the heir to the Austrian throne. This connection is through Josef Ferdinand's mother, Princess Alice of Bourbon-Parma, who was Roberto, Duke of Parma's sister. Empress Zita, Otto's mother, is one of Robert's many children.

More than three thousand people have been held as "political offenders" since the Austro-German union. At least 500 are in concentration camps. The number includes "scions of the most distinguished Austro-German princely families, who rose at 5 a.m. today in cells and breakfasted on coffee and bread."

Archduke Josef Ferdinand, who was born in 1872, was the second son of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess. He became heir to the throne after his elder brother renounced his claim. Grand Duke Ferdinand died on January 17, 1908, and Josef Ferdinand succeeded as head of the house. After the war, Josef Ferdinand remained in Vienna, where on May 2, 1921, he married a commoner, Rosa Kaltenbrunner. As Rosa was not of equal rank, Josef Ferdinand renounced his rights as head of the house. He was succeeded by his brother, Archduke Peter Ferdinand.
Rosa died in 1928. A year later, Josef Ferdinand married Gertrude Tomanek. They have two children, Claudia, who was born in 1930, and 6-year-old Maximilian.

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