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Statue of Assassin Gavrillo Princip
June 28, 2014

Assassin Gavrilo Princip gets a statue in Sarajevo

The man whose shot started World War I is honored in bronze

A bronze statue of the man who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was unveiled in Sarajevo a day ahead on the 100th anniversary of the event. Gavrilo Princip, who some people regard as a national hero, shot both the archduke and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, when the couple was on a trip to open a hospital. An earlier assassination attempt that day involving a grenade had failed.

The assassination sparked World War I, which lasted until 1918 and cost an estimated 10 million lives, as well as more than 25 million missing or wounded. The war led to the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the formation of both Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, among other outcomes.

Princip was associated with a group called Mlada Bosna (Young Bosnia). “I am a Yugoslav nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form of state, but it must be freed from Austria,” he said during his trial.

He was convicted and died in prison in Terezín, in what is now the Czech Republic, in April 1918 due to malnutrition and tuberculosis. A mass was celebrated in his honor recently at Terezín.

Franz Ferdinand also had an estate at Konopiště, near Prague. The bullet that killed the archduke is among the items on display. The gun is at the Military History Museum in Vienna, according ot Wikipedia.

Assassin Gavrillo Princip. Photo: Wikipedia
Assassin Gavrillo Princip. Photo: Wikipedia

The June 27 ceremony to unveil the statue included a re-enactment of the assassination using a plastic gun and a historical car. Bosnian Serb head of state Nebojsa Radmanovic attended the event. “These fighters for freedom 100 years ago have given us the direction to follow for the next 100 years,” Radmanovic told the crowd of about 1,000 gathered for the event, according to news agencies.

Further celebrations in Sarajevo include a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which many Serb leaders have said they plan to boycott, as Austria is seen as a former occupying nation.

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