The Assassination Revisited

Memoir of Count Franz von Harrach:

As the car quickly reversed, a thin stream of blood spurted from His Highness’s mouth onto my right check. As I was pulling out my handkerchief to wipe the blood away from his mouth, the Duchess cried out to him, “For God’s sake! What has happened to you?”

At that she slid off the seat and lay on the floor of the car, with her face between his knees.

I had no idea that she too was hit and thought she had simply fainted with fright. Then I heard His Imperial Highness say, “Sophie, Sophie, don’t die. Stay alive for the children!”

At that, I seized the Archduke by the collar of his uniform, to stop his head dropping forward and asked him if he was in great pain. He answered me quite distinctly, “It is nothing!” His face began to twist somewhat but he went on repeating, six or seven times, ever more faintly as he gradually lost consciousness, “It’s nothing!”

Then came a brief pause followed by a convulsive rattle in his throat, caused by a loss of blood. This ceased on arrival at the governor’s residence.
The two unconscious bodies were carried into the building where their death was soon established.



The 1910 Gräf & Stift car in which Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were assassinated on June 28, 1914.


A contemporary depiction of the assassination.

From The Car That Witnessed the Spark of World War I (New York Times):

Over the years, the Gräf & Stift became the subject of a far-fetched theory or two, including that it was cursed or that it was involved in the deaths of other people. But shortly after the killings, the car was donated to an Austrian museum, where it has been ever since, seemingly out of trouble.


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