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Sunday, November 19, 2023

Victor von Baillou (1933-2023)

 

@Archdiocese of Salzburg


Baron Victor von Baillou, a retired lawyer, died on November 10, 2023, at his home in Salzburg, Austria.    He was 91 years old.

He was a descendant of an apothecary, Friedrich Jakob Merck, who in 1688 bought the Engel Apotheke in Darmstadt, Germany.  One of his descendants, Emanuel Merck, took over the pharmacy in 1816.  He studied pharmacy in Vienna and Berlin and discovered how to isolate alkaloids.  By the 1850s, the Merck family's pharmacy was developing into what would become the oldest pharmaceutical company in the world.  Merck's headquarters is in Darmstadt, Germany.

[Georg Merck emigrated in 1891 to the United States to establish an American subsidiary.  During the First World War, the United States confiscated Merck and established it as an independent company, now known as Merck & Co., and is much larger than its former parent.  The Merck family continues to have majority ownership of the German Merck.]

Victor Franz Clemens Raoul Emil Wilhelm von Baillou was born on June 27, 1931, in Vienna, Austria.  He is the second of three sons of Baron Clemens Otto Johann Hermann Julia Maria von Baillou von Baillou (1903-1978) and Magdalene Merck (1900-1976).    Magdalene's father, Wilhelm "Willy" Ernst Merck (1860-1932), was a noted chemist, who according to his obituary in Nature magazine (March 4, 1933).    In 1886, he graduated from Kiel University.  His thesis "embodied the results of his studies on cocaine and he had been able to effect a partial synthesis of this alkaloid by the methylation of benzoylecgonine, a by-product obtained during the extraction of cocaine."

Willy's father, Georg Franz Merck (1825-1873) was also a noted chemist.  He was the son of (Heinrich) Emanuel Merck.

Baron Victor studied law and worked for many years at Merck in Darmstadt.  He was also a noted philanthropist.  In May 2022, he received the Great Decoration of Honor in Gold with Star of the Order of Merit of Saints Rupert and Virgil from the Archdiocese of Salzburg.  Archbishop Franz Lackner noted Victor's "generous support of educational projects in the archdiocese and beyond."

From 2001 to 2015, Baron Victor was the Salzburg delegate to the Order of Malta.

On Baron Victor von Baillou married HI & RH Archduchess Alexandra of Austria in a civil ceremony in Mondsee, Austria, following her divorce from her first marriage to HRH Duke Eugen Eberhard of W├╝rttemberg.  A Roman Catholic wedding took place on December 29, 1973, following the annulment of her first marriage on November 7.

Baron Victor and Archduchess Alexandra in Darmstadt in 1984.  Photo by Marlene Eilers Koenig

Archduchess Alexandra is a daughter of HRH Princess Ileana of Romania and HI & RH Archduke Anton of Austria.

The couple's only child was a stillborn son, born March on March 24, 1976.  

Baron Victor is survived by his wife, Archduchess Alexandra.







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