#AMREADING THE LETTERS OF
VERA AND KURT #SCHUSCHNIGG.
After Kurt Schuschnigg
resigned as chancellor of Austria, he was arrested on 12 March 1938 and kept in
solitary confinement at Gestapo headquarters. He married his fiancée, Vera Countess Czernin,
by proxy in June 1938. She took over the care of his son Kurt Junior. The 12-year
old boy was forced to leave school and lived with his former nanny. Vera
arranged for private tutoring at her own cost. In 1939 she secured for Kurt a
place in a boarding school in Munich.
Vera to Hermann Wopfner, 9
[I am supporting the boy out
of my own funds.] So far it worked out
reasonably well because it was an interim solution with relatively cheap
assistant teachers. Now however the question of the boy’s education has been
settled with the authorities, which was not easy, as you can imagine, since I
had to find people who suited both me and them (and since I can’t send him to
school here)…We need two teachers, which is rather expensive, even if I economize
in every possible way. It can hardly be done under 200 Marks per month. Kurt
and I would be immensely grateful if you could contribute something to this
amount – something small, whatever you think fit. Any amount will help us.
Vera to Hermann Wopfner, 8 November
I have decided to send Kurtl to a school in Munich. I
have achieved that much last week…he attends the gymnasium in Schwabing in the
morning and afterwards goes to the Salesianum, a boarding school. For the time
being he will be there only during the day because a room is available only as
of 15 November…The boy is quite happy, and this solution provided great relief
to me. It was quite impossible to arrange anything here [in Vienna]. I did not
even get an answer to my petition.
Vera to Hermann Wopfner, 18
Today he is still a child. All I want is that he will
recognize later on that I never even for a second distinguished [between him
and my own children]. I am just as strict with my own when they do anything
stupid. In my opinion one can’t be strict enough nowadays. I have certainly
been brought up in an old-fashioned way, but I know that’s not the worst
education. Without moral and spiritual principles I would never have been able
to win through this time of great sorrow, this ordeal, and remain unshattered.
And I want to arm all my children against sorrow – happy times are easy to
(Translated from Sofort vernichten. Die vertraulichen Briefe
Kurt und Vera von Schuschniggs, 1938-1945, ed. Dieter A. Binder and