otto von hapsburg

1. How did you first get interested in public service?

As my family has been in public life, I was brought into interest in public life and political affairs very early in my life. In the particular case of my life, I could say that I was already confronted with basic changes from the beginning and through the events following World War I. So, I was interested in public life and in the problems of my time and I have never changed since.

2. What has been your proudest professional achievement so far?

The main issues which have brought me into public life were the liberation of Hungary from communist rule and from Russian oppression. I and some of my children were engaged in actions against the occupants and we have continued ever since, since we not only were interested in the liberation of Hungary but equally of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the other smaller countries of the area. We had quite some successes, although they were not always as rapid as we had hoped. Most dramatic was certainly the liberation of Hungary by the opening of the border in Sopron at which my daughter Walburga, who is now a high-ranking parliamentarian in Sweden, was personally involved at great risk. I personally was already earlier, when Hungary was still far away from being liberated, in the work for the liberation of Austria from the Nazi occupation. That I survived this phase of my life is close to a miracle.

3. Decisive in this field was my Father’s death, who was a deeply religious man and died relatively young trusting God. Despite the great sufferings he went through, he died a happy man because he had the feeling that he had done his task for God.

4. In this field I can only say, if you believe in the righteousness of your cause and of your work never give up. The task to give my seven children an example to make them follow my way that is to say believe in God and be loyal to Europe and the countries and people of Europe. This has been one of the main goals of my life.