Serbian magazine reports that memorial to Archduke's assassin was given to Hitler as birthday present

Posted on on 06 December 2013
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A news magazine in Belgrade has published a picture which shows Adolf Hitler being given a memorial stone that commemorated Gavrilo Princip, the Bosnian Serb who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914.

The weekly, Vreme, says the memorial was presented as a gift to Hitler by German officers during the Second World War as he celebrated his 52nd birthday on April 20th 1941. Three days earlier, Yugoslavia had capitulated after being invaded by Nazi Germany and its allies.

The memorial was removed from the Sarajevo street where Princip opened fire on Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie Duchess of Hohenberg, in June 1914. Their deaths triggered the European crisis which led to the outbreak of the First World War. 

In Vreme's words, Hitler's birthday guests were "gathered like vultures around the corpse of Yugoslavia" on board the Nazi leader's special train in southern Austria. Yugoslavia was one of the new states to emerge from the defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary in the First World War.

The magazine published the picture on October 31st 2013, arguing that "no debate or polemics about the origins for the First World War can be complete without it."

To view the image, and the original article, click here.

Date of article publication: 31/10/2013

Images courtesy of Vreme

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff and Tanja Bonny, Centenary News