After 60 years in exile in Switzerland, Duchess Marie-Christine von Habsburg, 87, is living out her golden years as a tenant in two rooms of her family’s vast palace in the town of Zywiec, southern Poland.
The property was expropriated by communists after the war, and her family never tried to reclaim it after the 1989 demise of communism.
A member of the House of Habsburg, a dynasty origina-ting in what today is Austria and which reigned over much of Europe from the 15th to the 20th century, she was able to return to the 19th-century palace only after the fall of communism two decades ago. Her family had been driven out by the Nazis during World War II and the communists prevented their return after 1945.
Photo: AFP 照片：法新社
But in 2001, the town of Zywiec offered her life-time use of an apartment in what was once the palace’s games room on the ground floor, allowing her to enjoy the surrounding gardens.
“When the city asked me to return to the palace, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I sold off my apartment in Switzerland and I’m here. I’m very happy, I’m treated like a queen. A Habsburg, who is completely Polish,” she told AFP, speaking in French.
“My brother lives in Sweden, my sister in Spain, they have their families there and could not come back,” explains the duchess.
Nothing inside the palace now evokes the splendor of its golden days. No antiques, paintings or family memorabilia. Just simple new furniture, some of it in a rustic style, decorates the apartment where the duchess resides with her two cats and is cared for by two social workers.
When World War II erupted in 1939, her father Charles Albert, a Polish army officer, refused to declare himself a German. The family paid a high price for his decision: he was deported by the Nazis to a labor camp and the palace was confiscated.
But even this did not stop his wife from joining the Polish resistance, while his son joined the Free Polish Army in London.
At the end of the war, Poland’s new communist authorities denied Polish citizenship to the Habsburgs of Zywiec, expelling them from Poland as Austrian aristocrats and nationalizing their property.
But decades later, the people of Zywiec haven’t lost their fondness for the aristocratic family. Each year they publicly celebrate Marie-Christine’s birthday.
“The duchess is our ambassador, she’s a symbol of patriotism, of loyalty to this land and Poland, an example for us all,” Zywiec mayor, Antoni Szlagor told AFP.
1. vast adj.
廣大的；廣泛的 (guang3 da4 de5; guang3 fan4 de5)
例: He has read many books on military history, and has a vast knowledge on the subject.
2. splendor n.
輝煌 (hui1 huang2)
例: I wish I were rich, I would love to live in luxury and splendor.
3. confiscate v.
沒收 (mo4 shou1)
例: Knives are not allowed in school, they will be confiscated if found.
Forget your pepperoni or other pizza toppings: Pizza Hut Taiwan has teamed up with Menya Musashi, a popular Japanese ramen restaurant chain, to serve up the world’s first ramen pizza, and it has attracted global interest after a CNN report about the new mashup was published on the front-page of its Japanese version. The new pizza has the toppings of a Japanese-style barbecue pork ramen — complete with thick noodles, barbecue pork slices, fresh chilies and white sesame, as well as a half-boiled egg sitting in the middle. It is also garnished with green onions and bamboo shoots on the side. Pizza
Last Wednesday, Tesla Inc. displaced Toyota Motor Corp. as the world’s most valuable automaker, underscoring investor enthusiasm for a company trying to transform an industry that has relied on internal combustion engines for more than 130 years. Tesla Inc.’s market value also surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp.’s last Tuesday in a sign that investors are increasingly betting on a global energy transition away from fossil fuels. Exxon is the world’s second biggest energy company after Saudi state-controlled oil giant Aramco went public late last year. Shares of Tesla, which have more than doubled since the start of the year, climbed as much as 3.5
Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last week confirmed the first domestic cases of a zoonotic vector-borne emerging infectious disease called the Tembusu virus in northern and central areas of the country. Detection of the virus within the nation’s borders follows previously confirmed cases in Malaysia, China and Thailand, making Taiwan the fourth country in the world with cases of the disease. The Tembusu virus was first discovered within duck farms in eastern China in 2010. According to Animal Health Research Institute Director-General Chiou Chwei-jang, in November last year the institute began to investigate a duck farm which was experiencing reduced
Europe has lost a vastly increased area of forest to harvesting in recent years, data suggest, reducing the continent’s carbon absorption capacity and possibly indicating wider problems with the EU’s attempts to combat the climate crisis. Many of the EU’s forests — which account for about 38 percent of its land surface area — are managed for timber production, and thus harvested regularly. But the loss of biomass increased by 69 percent in the period from 2016 to 2018, compared with the period from 2011 to 2015, according to satellite data. The area of forest harvested increased by 49 percent in