Did you know that Franz Joseph, Stalin and Adolf Hitler -responsible for the biggest catastrophes in the world history, in absolute numbers- were all at once in the same place at the same time? This place was Schoenbrunn. The time was February 1913.
No.3 Franz Joseph I: World War I., 9.000.000 victims
After the suicide of his son Rudolf -archduke and crown prince of Austria- and the assassination of his wife Elisabeth-Sisi, the old Emperor Franz Joseph I retreated more and more from public life and spent a large part of his time in Schoenbrunn Palace.
The voice of Franz Joseph I, Bad Ischl / Upper Austria, 2. August 1903:
In February 1913 Emperor Franz Joseph I did not yet know that one year later he would react to the murder of his nephew and heir apparent Franz Ferdinand with the declaration of war against Serbia, which would make him responsible for the nine million lives lost in World War I.
Just as little as he knew who was just taking a walk in his park in February 1913.
No.2 Josif Stalin: USSR, 60.000.000 victims
At the same time, only a hundred meters away from Schoenbrunn Palace in Schoenbrunner Schloss-Strasse 30, lived a certain Josif Wissarionowitsch Djugashvili.
Before he went for his daily walk in the park, he always watched the dark green imperial coach, with its coachman dressed in livery, pass under his window.
On January 25, 1913, in Vienna, was the first time this man signed a letter with the name Stalin.
During his gruesome career, which was not to start until a few years after his stay in Vienna, more than 20 million people were executed in the innumerable show trials of his Red Empire.
No.1 Adolf Hitler: World War II., 50.000.000 victims
For more than five years a certain Adolf Hitler had been unsuccessfully trying to establish himself in Vienna. After twice not passing the entry exam for the Viennese Art Academy, he decided to continue living as a Bohemian.
He lived off the sales of his modest drawings of Vienna’s attractions and greatly enjoyed going for regular walks in Schoenbrunn Park.
In May 1913 Hitler left for Germany where he went from being homeless in Vienna to becoming the almighty Führer of the German Reich.
Kubizek, Hitler’s best friend during this time, recounted, “We often watched the old emperor traveling from Schoenbrunn to the Hofburg Palace in his coach.”
Emperor Franz Joseph crossed paths with Adolf Hitler and Stalin in February 1913 in Schoenbrunn without taking notice of each other.
There were also other men with ‘strong visions’ living in Vienna in February 1913
To this end there is an anecdote that people like to tell in Vienna.
One day in the autumn of 1917 an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs came into Café Central and whispered something into his superior’s ear.
The superior couldn’t believe his ears: “Who’s starting a revolution in Russia? Surely not Mr. Bronstein from Café Central!” This disbelief was a just another misjudgment of the imperial state officials during World War I.
The best chess player from Café Central, Lew Dawidowitsch Bronstein, was really one of the leaders in the Russian Revolution:
He was none other than Leon Trotsky, the People’s Commissioner of War and the founder of the Red Army that was responsible for the most horrible massacre s during the Russian Civil War -and the horrors were not limited to the front. Trotsky lived in Vienna from 1906 until 1914.