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(1860 - 1940)
By: Arthur S. Klimes - January 14th, 1997
As the subject of the Imperial Habsburg family once came up
in a conversation with my Grossmama (Leonie (nee Böhm) Friedmann), she
mentioned that her mother's Clara Böhm's, doctor also treated the Royal family. Leonie remembered (she was then 5 years old) that when her brother Victor Böhm, was
born (at home, as all children at that time) on Sunday,
January 27th, 1889, in Vienna, her doctor (Dr. Herman von Wiederhofen? *below) came to the house
on one of his visits in considerable agitation and told them in confidence that he is just coming from Mayerling, 25 km. (16 miles) from Vienna near Baden, where Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary (see Habsburg family) *wiki *geni, the 50 year old successor to the Habsburg throne, had just been found dead.
I recently checked out the chronology of these events and found that indeed Archduke Rudolf, after having been seen alive and well at 6:50 AM on Wednesday morning, January 30th, 1889, and decided not to go hunting as planned due to very icy conditions, was found dead of gunshot wounds at 8:50 AM, together with Marie Vetsera (18 years old). Rudolf had arrived by horse-drawn coach over icy roads in Mayerling from Vienna the previous day, on Tuesday the 29th and met there 2 companions for a week of hunting and writing a book he was working on at the time. Marie had arrived separately by train from Vienna to Baden Tuesday afternoon unbeknownst to Rudolf, apparently, and from Baden to Mayerling by hired coach.
finding the two bodies on Wednesday morning, Rudolf's companions
Count Hoyos and his brother-in-law Prince Phillipe of Couburg telegraphed (no phones yet at that time) Dr. Herman von
Wiederhofer (in his mid-forties at that time) in Vienna
to come immediately as there has been an "accident".
Dr. Wiederfofer took the next train at Vienna's Sudbahhof
to Baden and from there a horse drawn coach to the Mayerling
hunting lodge where he arrived at 12:15 PM. After examining
the two bodies he returned to Vienna during the afternoon.
Count Hoyos had taken a train from Baden at 9:50 that
morning to inform the Emperor Franz Joseph of his son's
death. The following day there was a post-mortem examination
at the Hofburg, at which there were also present in addition
to Dr. Herman von Wiederhofer a Dr. Franz Auchenthaler,
another bur considerably older Imperial doctor, assisted
by a Dr. Kerzl.
There were attempts initially to keep this event quiet in view of the political ramifications. On Thursday, it was announced that the Archduke Rudolf had died of a heart-attack, which, however, most people did not believe. Graf Taaffe, the prime minister held a cabinet meeting on Friday, February 1st, after which it was announced that Rudolf had committed suicide. The funeral was on Tuesday, February 5th. No members of European Royalty, with many of whom Rudolf was related, were invited except his wife's parents, the King and Queen of Belgium.
There is considerable circumstantial evidence that the Archduke and Marie were murdered by 4 German (Prussian) agents on the instructions of Bismark, the then German chancellor, in view of Rudolf's known liberal outlook and his desire to form an alliance with France and England against Germany once he ascended to the throne. King Ludwig of Bavaria was dealt with in a similar manner when he proved unwilling to cede command of his army to the Prussians. His death was also called a mysterious suicide.
The romantic aspects of the Mayerling story, as related
in two films on this event, the first with Charles Eoyer
and a more recent one Mayerling (1968 film) with Omar Sharif and
Catherine Deneuve, are apparently far from actual events.
Rudolf's and Marie's relationship was a very recent one,
only 5 weeks old and not very serious at that.
To anyone interested in these events I recommend the book The Mayerling Murder by Victor Wolfson, 1969. I do not know the English publisher as I read a French translation printed in Paris.
** If anyone can remember or find Birth, etc. Certificates with the Doctor's name of Clara (nee Bach/Bauch) Friedmann children; Sofie, Leonie, Hedwig, Viktor, Josef - it would be greatly appreciated OR any confirmation - that it was Dr. Herman von Wiederhofer, as is suspected.
(?) von WIDERHOFER
Note: any relation to? M.Dr. Franz Widerhofer in Klosterneuburg, Austria on: Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Kaiserthumes Österreich; 1868 OR Franz Widerhofer aus Graz (Gratz), Styria, Austria in Oesterreichische Zeitschrift für practische Heilkunde, Volume 1 OR Franz Mayr. Widerhofer 8 S. (S.59-66), Abb. Wien, Leipzig: Zamarski & Dittmarsch 1863 aus: Jb.f.Kinderheilkunde u.physische Erziehung Jg. 6 (1863) H. 4 SA 1.792 in UB Med Uni Wien: NK Medizinhistorische Literatur 1850-1989 ?
Note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayerling_Incident ... It was only when the court medical commission headed by Dr. Widerhofer arrived in Mayerling that afternoon that a more accurate cause of death was established, and not until 6 a.m. the following morning of the 31st when Widerhofer made his report to the Emperor, that the true state of affairs became known. The official gazette of Vienna still reported the original story that day: "His Royal and Imperial Highness, Crown Prince Archduke Rudolf, died yesterday at his hunting lodge of Mayerling, near Baden, from the rupture of an aneurism of the heart...
*1st husband of Eugenia Joris: (?) NEUMANN
*another wife of Hermann von Wiederhofer: Rosa KORKUS Born: abt 1856 Married: Sep 24, 1900 Buried: May 23, 1930 in Vienna-13, Austria Hietzinger cemetery
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