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Habsburgs seek return of Polish palace

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 02.12.2013 12:55
A branch of the Habsburg dynasty is making a bid for the restitution of a palace in Zywiec, south west Poland.
The New Castle. Photo: wikipedia/M. WojciechowskiThe New Castle. Photo: wikipedia/M. Wojciechowski

The New Castle. Photo: wikipedia/M. Wojciechowski

The so-called New Castle is currently owned by local authorities who plan to turn the premises into a tourist centre with a hotel.

Until recently, a state school functioned at the site.

“While the building was still serving a public purpose, particularly concerning children, the Habsburgs did not submit any claims, although they had the right to do so,” lawyer Krzysztof Goralczyk told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

Goralczyk added that the family is prepared to not take the matter to court if local authorities agree to relinquish ownership of the palace and some of the adjoining land.

In this regard, the family has pledged that it will realise some of the plans to develop the castle as a tourist site, and that the Habsburgs will do so at their own cost.

The last Habsburg to own the palace was Archduke Karol Olbracht. He refused to renounce his Polish citizenship when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939.

The building was confiscated by the Nazis and later, the Habsburg properties, including the famed Zywiec brewery, were nationalised when a communist regime was installed in Poland.

The Zywiec branch of the Habsburgs had intermarried with Polish aristocratic clans during the twilight years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when Poles were granted far-reaching autonomy in the province of Galicia.

Archduke Karol 's Olbracht's daughter, Princess of Altenburg Maria Krystyna Habsburg, returned to Poland after the fall of communism, and she was allowed to live in an apartment within the grounds of her family's former property.

She died last year, and was laid to rest in Zywiec.

The restitution case has been taken up by her brother Karol Stefan Habsburg, and sister Renata Habsburg. (nh)

tags: habsburgs, zywiec
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