Archduke Johann Salvator of Austria

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Archduke Johann Salvator
Johann Salvator Austria Toscana young.jpg
Spouse Milly Stubel
Full name
Italian: Giovanni Nepomuceno Maria Annunziata Giuseppe Giovanni Batista Ferdinando Baldassare Luigi Gonzaga Pietro Alessandrino Zanobi Antonino
House House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Mother Princess Maria Antonia of the Two Sicilies
Born (1852-11-25)25 November 1852
Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany

Archduke Johann Salvator of Austria (German: Johann Salvator, Italian: Giovanni Salvatore; 25 November 1852 – presumed lost at sea 1890) was a member of the Tuscan branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. He was Archduke and Prince of Austria, Prince of Hungary, Bohemia and Tuscany. After renouncing those titles, he was known as John Orth. He disappeared in 1890 and was declared dead in 1911.

Early life[edit]

Johann Salvator was born in Florence, the youngest son of Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany and his second wife, Princess Maria Antonia of the Two Sicilies. He was baptized in Florence's Battistero di San Giovanni as Giovanni Nepomuceno Maria Annunziata Giuseppe Giovanni Batista Ferdinando Baldassare Luigi Gonzaga Pietro Alessandrino Zanobi Antonino.[1] He pursued a career in the Austrian Army and was a good friend of Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, with both sharing liberal opinions.[2]

After Bulgaria was granted autonomy by the Ottoman Empire, Johann Salvator was an unsuccessful candidate for the throne.[3] Prince Alexander of Battenberg would be elected Prince of Bulgaria in 1879. During the Austro-Hungarian occupation of the Ottoman territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878, he was put in command of a division of the occupying army and won numerous honours.[4][5]

On 16 October 1889, he resigned his army commission and renounced his title and the privileges he enjoyed as a member of the Austrian Imperial Family.[6] After renouncing his titles he assumed the name John (or Johann) Orth, the surname Orth derived from the name of a castle he had owned, Schloss Orth.


Johann Salvator married Milly Stubel, an opera dancer in a London registry office, and after purchasing a ship named the Santa Margareta, he and his wife sailed for South America. In February 1890 he set off from Montevideo, Uruguay, heading for Valparaíso in Chile.[7] He was never heard from again, and his ship is believed to have been lost off Cape Horn, though rumours persisted that he survived[2] and settled in Patagonia. He was officially declared dead in 1911.

In 1945, Alexander Hugo Køhler[8] of Kristiansand, Norway, claimed on his deathbed that he was actually Johann Salvator; that Orth bought Køhler’s identity; and that it was Alexander Hugo Köhler (*22 Jan. 1861 at Eilenburg, Germany) that died in the shipwreck, Orth supposedly having purchased his identity papers and assuming his role as husband of Clara Josefin Levin and lithographer in Denmark some time before 1900. Køhler then engaged in marital infidelities and business improprieties in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, passing on 6 May 1945, in Kristiansand.

In 2007, relatives of Køhler requested that Køhler's grave be opened so that a DNA test could be performed. Should Køhler and Johann Salvator actually be the same person, Køhler's descendants may be entitled to Johann Salvator's heritage, including Schloss Orth.[9]


  1. ^ "Photography of baptismal register on 1852, 26th November.". Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  2. ^ a b Fanthorpe, Lionel; Patricia Fanthorpe (2004). Unsolved Mysteries of the Sea. Dundurn Press Ltd. pp. 161, 162. ISBN 1-55002-498-1. 
  3. ^ Barkeley, Richard (1959). The Road to Mayerling: Life and Death of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria. Macmillan. p. 158. 
  4. ^ "Europe's Latest Treaty". New York Times. 1878-07-24. p. 1. 
  5. ^ "Orth Officially Dead". New York Times. 1911-05-28. p. 1. 
  6. ^ Almanach de Gotha. Justus Perthes. 1891. p. 12. 
  7. ^ "The Missing Archduke". New York Times. 1890-12-26. p. 1. 
  8. ^ Norwegian:
  9. ^ "Arvinger får åpne grav - NRK Nyheter". NRK. 2009-01-08. Archived from the original on 10 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-08.