After the welcoming words of the Hungarian Ambassador to Vienna Andor Nagy, Gergely Gulyás Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office greeted those who were present. The minister outlined that the Hungarian government considers the safeguarding of the late Crown Prince’s heritage especially important, and also highlighted the significance of the wide dissemination of Otto von Habsburg’s thoughts to the national and international public. Following the Minister’s speech, Director Gergely Prőhle presented the Foundation’s activities including the entire processing, the digitization and filing procedure. He stressed that the ultimate goal is the promulgation of the documents and the artifacts of the collection while the Austrian public collections are considered as partners.
In the second half of the event, a roundtable discussion was held with the participation of Georg von Habsburg, Gergely Prőhle and Emil Brix, the Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. The discussion was moderated by Iván Bertényi Jr. Deputy Director of the Collegium Hungaricum Wien. The main topics discussed were how Austria and Hungary deal with the Habsburg heritage and what could be the main message of Otto von Habsburg’s intellectual legacy today. The participants agreed that in the spirit of the Austrian republican idea the ruling family suffered a number of injustices – while, obviously, the assessment of the four centuries of Habsburg rule was not without controversy in Hungary either. They also noted that Otto von Habsburg was an exception of his family in many ways, as he was able to rise above deep-rooted contradictions through his European commitment and view of history. This is proved by his great popularity in Hungary during the years of the regime change.
In addition to many well-known personalities of Austrian public life, public collection leaders and several members of the Habsburg family also attended the event. Nicole Henter’s flute and Srebra Gelleva’s piano playing was a worthy musical addition to the occassion.