Ghosts of Imperial Vienna
Appendix: An Introduction to the Denkschrift
An Introduction to the Denkschrift
What follows is the German-language text of the Denkschrift, assembled in an edition that accommodates information drawn from three sources: a hand-written copy, one copy from the original printing in the possession of the Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, ÖNB), and a version printed in the German press in the 1920s.
Helene Vetsera had the text of the Denkschriftprivately printed (in about 200 copies, according to one of her heirs) to distribute to her friends as a rebuttal of the rumors still circulating about her daughter and her family’s involvement with the imperial scandal. The censors, however, confiscated the printing and purportedly destroyed all copies (the family asserts that about 25 may have escaped destruction), but not before the president of police and his deputies hand-copied the text out at least once (a fine example of following the letter of the law: the copy was found in the police dossier, in three different hands). At least two copies of the original printed version survived the censor (see below on the information for the manuscript). The family retained possession of the original manuscript until Helene’s death, when it was destroyed on her orders. Yet the heirs came into possession of another copy, out of the estate of one of Mary’s confidantes. As it turns out, Helene was in the Victorian habit of letting close friends copy out the manuscript or the text to honor Mary’s memory. One of the heirs knows of...
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