Dollfuss, Engelbert

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Dollfuss, Engelbert, born on 04-1-1892 in Texing, Austria, served as the chancellor of Austria from 1932 and was dictator from 1933, until his assassination by Nazi agents in 1934. A pleasant musical boy he was born to a single and deeply religious mother Josepha Dollfuss by an unknown father. He was raised by his stepfather Leopold Schutz in Kimmel and played the clarinet. His nicknames were ‘Millimetternich’ (making a portmanteau out of millimeter and Metternich), and the “Jockey”.   Dollfuss had difficulty gaining admission into the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I because he was short, sent to the Alpine Front. According to The New York Times, he was 150 cm (4’11”) tall, pretty short but for him no problem to survive in the world.  In contrast to his own diminutive stature, his personal assistant and secretary Eduard Hedvicek,  who later played a significant role in the unsuccessful attempt to save his life was a very large and tall man (200 cm = 6’7″). Hedvicek unsuccessfully had tried to prevent Dollfuß’s assassination. He testified at the trial of the murderers as a “Crown” (prosecution) witness and was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit by the Austrian government for his heroic efforts. Hedwick would die at the age of 69, in 1947. Engelbert, however short, was on the front a highly decorated soldier and was briefly taken prisoner by the Italians as a prisoner of war in 1918.  Dollfuss became Chancellor on 10-05-1932 as head of a coalition government, with the pressing goal of tackling the problems of the Great Depression. Dollfuss’s majority in Parliament was marginal, he had only a one-vote majority. Dollfuss was concerned that with German National Socialist (Nazi) leader Adolf Hitler (did you know) becoming Chancellor of Germany in 1933, the Austrian National Socialists could gain a significant minority in future elections.
  He, how short, was eventually accepted and  Dollfuss banned the NSDAP in June 1933. Under the banner of Christian Social Party,  he later on established a one-party dictatorship rule largely modeled after fascism in Italy, banning all other Austrian parties including the Social Democrats. Dollfuss escaped an assassination attempt in October 1933 by Rudolf Dertill, a 22-year old who had been ejected from the military for his national socialist views. Dollfuss modeled Austrofascism after Italian fascism and looked to Italy in support against Nazi Germany. He also exchanged ‘Secret Letters’ with Benito Mussolini  about ways to guarantee Austrian independence.

Death and burial ground of Dollfuss, Engelbert.

Dollfuss was assassinated on 25-07-1934 by ten Austrian Nazis members of SS Regiment 89, among them
Paul Hudl,  Franz Holzweber  and Otto Planetta   who entered the Chancellery building and shot him in an attempted coup d’état, the July Putsch. Hudl survived the event, became an SS member, nr 107.003 and his date of death is not known. Holzweber was hanged age 33, on 31-07-1934. Planetta was also hanged, age 34, on 31-07-1934. Both shouted Heil Hitler and raised their hand several times at the moment supreme. Eleven other were hanged too.   One Vienna SS Standarten had the name Holzweber and in Berlin a street was named Planettastreet. The Nazi assassins dressed as Austrian guards invaded the Chancery and shot Engelbert Dollfuss in the back. Dollfuss, lay in agony for seven hours, during which time the Nazis refused to bring him either a doctor or a priest. The chancellor who spared not even his own life in the combat against the evil rampant in Europe breathed his last praying God to his. The news reached Mussolini at Cesena, where he was examining the plans for a psychiatric hospitaland he mobilized a part of the Italian army on the Austrian border and threatened Hitler with war in the event of a German invasion of Austria to thwart the putsch. The Duce personally gave the announcement to the widow, who was a guest at his villa in Riccione with children. He also put at the disposal of Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg  ,an Austrian nationalist and conservative politician, who spent a holiday in Venice, a plane that allowed the prince to rush back to Vienna and to face the assailants with his militia, with the permission of President Wilhelm Miklas. Starhemberg died age 56, on 15-03-1956, in Schruns. The assassination of Dollfuss was accompanied by uprisings in many regions in Italy, resulting in further deaths. In Carinthia a large contingent of northern German Nazis tried to seize power but were subdued by the Italian units nearby. The Nazi assassins in Vienna surrendered and were executed. Kurt Schuschnigg previously Minister of Education was appointed new chancellor of Austria after a few days, assuming the office from Dollfuss’ deputy Starhemberg.
  who was married with Alwine, born Glienke and had one daughter Eva and two sons Hannerl and Gustav died age 79, on 18-11-1977, in Mutters near Innsbruck and
      Dollfuss, at the age of 41, is buried with his wife Alwine, who died age 76, in 1973, and their children, Eva and Hannerl, in the Hietzinger cemetery in Vienna. Out of a population of 6.5 million, approximately 500,000 Austrians were present at Dollfuss’ burial in Vienna. He is interred beside his wife and two of his children, Hannerl and Eva, all of whom were in Italy as guests of Rachele Mussolini at the time of his death, an event which saw Mussolini himself shed some tears over his slain ally. Dollfuss’ son Rudolph  died in November of 2011, at the age of 85.
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