Archduchess Assunta of Austria

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Archduchess Assunta
Assunta, Erzherzogin von Österreich-Toskana (1902 - 1993).jpg
Born(1902-08-10)10 August 1902
Vienna, Austria[1]
Died24 January 1993(1993-01-24) (aged 90)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
SpouseJoseph Hopfinger
IssueMaria Teresa Hopfinger
Juliet Elisabeth Hopfinger
Full name
German: Assunta Alice Ferdinandine Blanca Leopoldina Margarethe Beatrix Raphaela Michaela Philomena
HouseHabsburg-Tuscany
FatherArchduke Leopold Salvator of Austria
MotherInfanta Blanca of Spain

Archduchess Assunta of Austria German: Assunta, Erzherzogin von Österreich-Toskana;(10 August 1902 – 24 January 1993) was the youngest daughter of Archduke Leopold Salvator of Austria and Infanta Blanca of Spain. She was a member of the Tuscan branch of the Imperial House of Habsburg, an Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Tuscany by birth. Born and raised in the twilight years of the Austrian Empire, Archduchess Assunta lived in exile in Barcelona, Spain after the fall of the Habsburg monarchy. She entered religious life in a convent in Barcelona, but was forced to leave it in 1936 due to disturbances during the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, she married Joseph Hopfinger, a Polish doctor. In 1942 the couple emigrated to the United States. Archduchess Assunta and her husband had two daughters, but they divorced in 1950. She moved to San Antonio, Texas where she had a variety of jobs living in anonymity until her death.

Early life[edit]

Archduchess Assunta of Austria was born on 10 August 1902 in Vienna, Austria.[1] She was the eighth of ten children of Archduke Leopold Salvator of Austria (1863–1931) and his wife Infanta Blanca of Spain (1868–1949). She was given the baptismal names Assunta Alice Ferdinandine Blanca Leopoldina Margarethe Beatrix Raphaela Michaela Philomena.[2]

Archduchess Assunta grew up in the last period of the Habsburg monarchy. She was raised with her many brothers and sisters in the various properties owned by her parents enjoying a comfortable and privileged life. Their main residence was the Palais Toskana in the district of Wiede in Viena with Schloss Wilhelminenberg, on the Eastern slopes of the Gallitzinberg, in the Wienerwald Western parts of the Austrian capital as their country state. Vacations were spent near Viareggio, Italy where Infanta Blanca owned, la Tenuata Real, a rural property. Theirs was a multicultural household as Assunta's paternal ancestors had reigned in Austria, Tuscany and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Her maternal family had reigned in Spain, Parma, Modena, Portugal and France. The youngest of five sisters, Archduchess Assunta was raised paired with her sister Archduchess Maria Antonia.

Exile[edit]

Archduchess Assunta was sixteen years old at the fall of Habsburg monarchy, following the end of World War I. This marked a sharpdown turn in her family's prosperity. The republican government of Austria confiscated the properties of the Habsburgs. The family lost all their fortune.[3] Assunta's eldest brothers, Archdukes Rainer and Leopold, remained in Austria and they recognized the new republic. The rest of the family moved to Spain in January 1919.[2] They settled in Barcelona living with simplicity as they had limited means. Assunta's three elder sisters, Archduchess Dolores, Inmaculata and Margaretha were pliable; Archduchesses Assunta and Maria Antonia were more rebellious and clashed often with their mother Infanta Blanca.

While living in Barcelona, Assunta following in the footsteps of her sister, Maria Antonia, turned increasingly towards religion.[4] Although their parents were observant Catholics, they found their youngest daughters religious fervor worrisome. Archduchess Maria Antonia abandoned her desire to become a nun and married an impoverished Majorcan aristocrat, but Assunta remained adamant in her determination to become a nun.[5] After running away in a ship to South America, Assumpta, still a minor, was returned to her parents who relented their opposition.[6] With their permission, she entered the convent of Santa Teresa de Tortosa near Barcelona.[7] At the outbreak of the Spanish civil war, the convent was attacked and the nuns were forced to flee for their lives. Those, like Assunta, who had not yet taken their final vows were free to follow a secular life. Assunta obtained permission to leave her order and joined her mother and unmarried siblings who were then living in Viareggio.[8] In the late 1930s, through one of her brothers, Archduchess Assunta met Joseph Hopfinger (1905-1992), a Jewish Polish doctor.[9] Against her mother opposition, they married in September 1939 at Ouchy, Switzerland. Shortly after, her husband was called to service in the army until the fall of France when he was demobilized.[10] They were reunited in London and moved to Barcelona where their eldest daughter, Teresa, was born in October 1940.[11]

Later life[edit]

The German persecution of the Jews compelled them to leave Europe. Both of her husband's parents were killed by the Russians, as their property was within the mineral-rich region of modern-day Lviv, Ukraine. As her husband was Jewish, they decided to emigrate to the United States with the help of Assunta's brothers, Leopold and Franz Joseph, who were living in America and paid for their trip to New York.[12] Assuntas's husband worked as a doctor and a second daughter was born in New York City in 1942.[13]

Archduchess Assumpta had two daughters from her marriage to Joseph Hopfinger:

  • Maria Teresa Hopfinger b. 5 Dec 1940 ∞ (1961-1967) Edward Joseph Hetsko, Jr ∞ 1969 Anatole Ferlet . She had two children
  • Juliet Elisabeth Maria Assunta Hopfinger b. 30 Oct 1942. Married five times. She had three children.

However, the marriage was not a success.[14] Assunta's husband, having married a European princess, had hoped to inherit a fortune from his wife. As this never materialized, he became disenchanted with the marriage. The couple separated after the war, divorcing on 25 July 1950.[14]

Archduchess Assunta moved with her daughters to San Antonio Texas where she lived for the rest of her life. She remained very attached to the catholic church and held a variety of jobs to support herself.[14] For some time she worked as a claim clerk. Late in her life, she made one trip to Europe to visit her surviving siblings. She died on 24 January 1993 at age 90 at San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A [14]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 20
  2. ^ a b McIntosh, The Archduchess From Texas, p. 36
  3. ^ McIntosh, The Unknown Habsburgs, p. 48
  4. ^ Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 115
  5. ^ Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 135
  6. ^ Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 140
  7. ^ Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 145
  8. ^ Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 237
  9. ^ Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 280
  10. ^ Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 281
  11. ^ Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 282
  12. ^ Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 291
  13. ^ Harding, Lost Waltz, p. 292
  14. ^ a b c d McIntosh, The Archduchess From Texas, p. 37

Ancestry[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Harding, Bertita. Lost Waltz: A Story of Exile. Bobbs-Merrill, 1944. ASIN: B0007DXCLY
  • McIntosh, David. The Archduchess From Texas. The European Royal History Journal. V 7.2, April 2004.
  • McIntosh, David. The Unknown Habsburgs. Rosvall Royal Books, 2000. ISBN 91-973978-0-6