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EXCLUSIVE: Schwarzenberg's Posthumous Message Revealed — Florist Saddened, Zelensky Moved

EXCLUSIVE: Schwarzenberg's Posthumous Message Revealed — Florist Saddened, Zelensky Moved
photo: Radka Hlisnikovska / Flickr/Karel Schwarzenberg
04 / 12 / 2023

One of the well-known facts about the Schwarzenberg family is their strong support for the railroad. Karel Schwarzenberg, one of the most significant post-war politicians, continues to surprise even after his death. The editorial office of RAILTARGET has obtained a copy of his original funeral notice, now being distributed to the public for his final farewell, held in the temple of St. Vitus at Prague Castle. Along with the lengthy name of the deceased, the text also surprises with his last wish.

Few noble families have contributed as significantly to the railways as the Schwarzenbergs, which is why our editors also delve into the topic of Karel Schwarzenberg's death. The funeral notice is written in a grandiose 19th-century style, befitting a member of one of Europe's most prominent noble families. However, readers will likely be struck by the sentence: "Instead of flowers, the deceased wished for donations to support the defense of Ukraine."

Karel Schwarzenberg's parte

To what extent this was the actual last wish of Karel Schwarzenberg, and to what extent it reflects the author of the parte, will likely remain a mystery forever.

The Schwarzenbergs and the Railway

Little is known about the significant contribution of the Schwarzenberg family to the development of railway transport in Bohemia, Czech Republic.

"I will never be against the construction of a railway line, even if it were to lead through my bedroom." These words were spoken by Prince Jan Adolf II of Schwarzenberg when Karl Watzl, the director of the Schwarzenberg Postoloprty estate and court chancellor of the Schwarzenberg central office in Vienna, tried to prevent the construction of the Czech Northwestern Railway through the Postoloprty estate in northern Bohemia. This is noted in Jan Ivanov's thesis from the University of South Bohemia, titled "Schwarzenbergs and Railways: The Relationship of the Schwarzenberg Primogeniture to Railway Transport in the 19th Century."

Emperor Franz Joseph's Railway

Emperor Franz Joseph's Railway

In the 1860s, South Bohemia was a region largely neglected by railways, with only a horse track to Linz. The two largest consortia in the Habsburg Empire, the Northern Railway of Emperor Ferdinand and the State Railway Company, vied for the concession to build a line from Vienna via Eggenburg, České Budějovice, Pilsen, and Cheb, with a potential branch from South Bohemia to Prague. However, due to escalating demands, the Schwarzenberg Railway Consortium ultimately succeeded. This group included influential landowners and entrepreneurs with interests or activities along the entire route. "The Schwarzenberg Railway Consortium obtained permission to build the railway from the emperor on August 9, 1865, under the condition that the railway would bear the emperor's name - the Railway of Emperor Francis Joseph. However, it took over a year to secure an actual concession. Jan Adolf II had to collaborate here with businessman Vojtěch Lanna," Ivanov writes.

The foundation stone for the railway was laid in Hluboká nad Vltavou, near a castle that still belongs to the Schwarzenbergs.