cover image Hitler and the Habsburgs: The Fuhrer’s Vendetta Against the Austrian Royals

Hitler and the Habsburgs: The Fuhrer’s Vendetta Against the Austrian Royals

James Longo. Diversion, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-63576-476-5

Through interviews with descendants of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Longo (Isabel Orleans-Bragança: The Brazilian Princess Who Freed the Slaves), chair of education at Washington & Jefferson College, paints a detailed and moving picture of how the Habsburgs suffered under the Nazi regime. While Hitler was living in Vienna, he came to abhor the leaders of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who ruled over “central Europe’s greatest multicultural empire.” Hitler felt that “escalating mongrelization, miscegenation, and assimilation [were] threatening Austria’s Germans,” a trend personified for him in Franz Ferdinand’s choice of a Slav countess as his wife. Hitler, therefore, regarded the murders of the two in Sarajevo in 1914 as a cause for celebration. In the 1930s, Franz Ferdinand’s sons, Maximilian and Ernst Hohenberg, were among Hitler’s most prominent vocal opponents, and within hours of uniting “his adopted country of Germany with his Austrian birthplace,” he ordered their arrest. Maximilian and Ernst were sent to the Dachau concentration camp, where they were forced to dispose of human waste with their bare hands and a spoon. Despite the verbal and physical abuse to which they were subjected, the pair tended to the sick and risked their lives for others, and eventually returned to their families. This look at a lesser-known aspect of WWII is scrupulously sourced, well-written, and accessible. [em](Nov.) [/em]