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Speech Georg Archduke of Austria

Speech Georg Archduke of Austria - Battle of Nations Leipzig

A real insight into the essence of the Battle of Nations - Message of greeting on the occasion of the anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig from Georg Archduke of Austria.


His Imperial Highness Georg Archduke of Austria
Greetings fort he Centennial Meeting of the Battle of the Nations
„A real insight in the essence of the Battle of the Nations“

at October 19th, 2013 on the Occasion of the banquet in the „Mediencampus Villa Ida“

I beg your pardon, that I interrupt the lively goings-on again. Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. former mayor and honorary citizen of Leipzig, Dr. Langenfeld, Colonel Seeger, dear relatives, ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the many representatives who are represented here, I would like to take this opportunity to thank most cordially the Media Foundation for their invitation and for their hospitality. Now this may sound a bit strange from the mouth of a person who has come for the first time to Leipzig. But I must say that, what I was able to experience here in the last three days, I would describe as a “crash course in Leipzig”. And I have experienced so many positive, beautiful, impressive and for me important things in the last few days that I cannot tell how grateful I am to you.

The battle of the Nations in Leipzig is certainly not a simple subject. But I think they have succeeded, in a variety of events, in a variety of speeches in a variety of, yes, I remember the English word “events” that have been made for this occasion, to create a kind of bouquet of flowers, that allows you to get a real insight into the essence of this battle. Nowadays this is particularly important.

Why? Due to the fact that I participate in a lot of events at schools and universities, unfortunately, I notice very often that the people deal far too little with the history, with the lessons of history and the impact of the history to the present day. And that is a great danger.

My father, many of you have met him personally and known and appreciated him, has said in many speeches: “Who does not know where he comes from, does not know where he is going, because he does not know who he is.” And it is very important that we deal with the question: Where do we come from? Since we may have here a somewhat special access because we automatically deal much more with the history. But for a lot of others, it is possible through the media, and we are here at a Media Foundation, to deal through the media and all what has happened in the last few days with the history and the lessons of history.

And that's why, I believe, you have set a particularly good example with the event “Two hundred years of the Battle of the Nations” in Leipzig, which might show us something Trendsetting for the commemorations we will celebrate next year. (and what to expect in the future.)

Next year there will be a lot of very important days. One Hundred Years of the beginning of the First World War, two hundred years Congress of Vienna, twenty five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and maybe most important for my family: Ten years beatification of my grandfather. There are a lot of great moments, but also events that encourage us to think about their meaning. I believe, here is given a very good and high standard example of how such an event could be presented. And I was very pleased that we have had a worship service every day, an ecumenical service, because I think that is one of the most important elements whereby we are able to find a special reference to what we think and what we should bethink, because nowadays we deal unfortunately too little with the religion, the importance of the religion and the teachings of the religion.

Talking about the variegation of the events that took place, it becomes clear that exactly this variety was the reason for many discussions. Tomorrow we will display the battle with five thousands participants, and as I heard, already 65,000 spectators are expected. How do the people feel about such a presentation? Will it be good? Is it necessary?

We had a meeting in St. Nikolaikirche an ecumenical service, where the Superintendent has raised the issue and said: "There were people who wagged and others who nodded their heads." I was among those who have nodded, because I think it is good that this is also part of the celebration – for a very special reason: I mentioned at the beginning that I am so concerned that we forget the history. Such a presentation of a battle gives a lot of people a very vivid possibility to deal with the former Battle of the Nations, because it makes something tangible: Not only are there tomorrow five thousand participants in their old uniforms but also their families, which may have helped to create the uniforms. All these people studied the history and the lessons of the history intensely.

Tomorrow are expected thousands of spectators, who would probably not have taken part in a conference of historians, where certainly very worthy university professors would have talked about numbers. Such a conference would certainly be slightly drier than that, what will be shown very vivid on the field tomorrow.

And hopefully it helps, that by what is going to happen tomorrow, one in ten or one in twenty, who are participating, perceives the chance to deal with what he sees. Thinking about what this battle means. Thinking about what war means. Thinking about what wounded victims of war, what fallen soldiers of war mean - then they might be a little more grateful that we live in peace and may begin to think about whom we owe this peace.

I am very pleased that we have seen the reference to the European Union in recent days. In my opinion it is extremely sad that we read the following very often in the newspapers: "The European Union is in danger! What kind of future holds the European Union? Will the European Union fall apart? Can the European Union remain valid?” – Because of these questions I realize that people simply do not understand the basics of the European Union.

The European Union stands for security and stability. The European Union does not stand for banking crises and economic crises. And the idea of the European Union is what has brought us peace over the past seventy years. And as the Prime Minister said - and I am happy that he mentioned it – what all that meant for the East of Germany and especially for Leipzig and Saxony in the last 25 years. I am also particularly grateful to him, because I think we should really try to recognise the significance of this peace for all of us and additionally the meaning of the European Union, which guarantees that peace.

And if only a few of these thoughts are brought closer to the people through this celebration, by what we saw last night and are going to see hopefully tomorrow night in the local national and International news then we would have achieved something incredible. I am grateful - I want to say it again and I think to speak here on behalf of all representatives - that we were allowed to be a small part of this celebration and that we were able to help that this celebration was perhaps a bit more visible and has got a very special "touch".

Therefore I would like to thank the organisers with all my heart, the motors (the Sponsors), which have made the whole thing possible, the countless volunteers, who have supported us with their help, advice and assistance. A big thanks to all, it is a great pleasure to be here.

You have chosen the right path for Europe’s future Many Many thanks.

Recording and Transkription: Kultur- und Umweltstiftung Leipziger Land der Sparkasse Leipzig
Co-ordination: www.Fürstenhäuser-Kulturträ
Translated by Susann Jope

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In the context of the bicentennial memorial for the Battle of Leipzig, the descendants of the monarchs who ruled the warring powers came together from the 17th till the 19th October 2013. In this film we hear from many of them: Grand Duke George of Russia, a descendant of Tsar Alexander I, Archduke Georg of Austria, a descendant of Emperor Francis I of Austria, and Prince Heinrich of Hanover, a descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom. Prince Alexander of Saxony and Prince Michael of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, as descendants of King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony, an ally of Napoleon. The Duke of Leuchtenberg, descendant of Eugene de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy and stepson of Emperor Napoleon of the French. Also attending the memorial event of the Cultural and Environmental Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig were descendants of the generals like Prince Blücher and Count Bennigsen.