Former foreign minister and honorary chairman of TOP 09 Karel Schwarzenberg died at the age of 85 in a hospital in Vienna, where he had been hospitalized for several days. His political colleague Miroslav Kalousek informed about it on the X social network (formerly Twitter).
| Photo: DENÍK/ Martin Divíšek
Schwarzenberg died on Saturday. The Echo24 server, citing a source from Schwarzenberg’s family, wrote that the politician had been in critical condition and in artificial sleep for the past two days. “He passed away surrounded by family,” the website said.
“He died Karel Schwarzenberg…. I knew it was coming, but it’s still a blow. He was one of the most important and kindest people in my life. May he rest in peace, the Czech Republic should be forever grateful to him for everything he selflessly did for it,” said TOP 09 co-founder and ex-minister of finance Kalousek.
He struggled with health problems, including heart and kidney problems, for a long time. He was repeatedly hospitalized because of them, and this year he was also unable to personally receive the Order of the White Lion on October 28. the highest Czech state award.
Karel Schwarzenberg was born in 1937, apparently symbolically on December 10, i.e. on Human Rights Day, the defense of which accompanied him throughout his life. Karel Schwarzenberg entered Czechoslovak political life before November 1989, when, from the position of chairman of the International Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, he defended their observance in Europe.
Take a look at Karel Schwarzenberg’s family album:
He also supported Czechoslovak dissent and together with Vilém Prečan founded a documentation center in the family residence in Bavaria, where they archived literature that could not be published in Czechoslovakia at the time. The collection is stored in Prague as part of the National Museum.
He officially left his mark on domestic politics for the first time right after the Velvet Revolution, when he was appointed Chancellor of the then President on July 10, 1990 Vaclav Havel. He left the position in connection with Havel’s abdication two years later.
Until 2004, he was dedicated to the management of the family business, mainly forestry and the maintenance of entrusted monuments.
Senator, Minister, President
He worked in foundations and associations, but he was still actively interested in public affairs and occasionally made himself known. In 1997, he joined the Civic Democratic Alliance, where he remained until its demise in 2007. After an unsuccessful candidacy for the Senate in 2002, where he was nominated by the US-DEU in the Strakonice district, two years later he was in the first round for the same party elected in Prague 6.
Remember Karel Schwarzenberg’s life stories, family, honors:
He became even more actively involved in politics in 2007, when he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the second government of Mirek Topolánek for the Green Party. At that time, for example, heated discussions about the location of the American radar base on the territory of the Brdy Military District were swirling around politics. He signed the agreement with the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The US president eventually stopped the talks on the radar Barack Obama.
In 2009, Schwarzenberg was at the birth of the preparatory committee of the TOP 09 party, which he founded together with Miroslav Kalousko. He became its first ever chairman. His followers were precisely Kalousek and the current chairwoman Markéta Pekarová Adamová. Since 2015, Schwarzenberg has been the party’s honorary chairman.
He drew considerable attention to himself during the first-ever direct election of the president of the Czech Republic in 2013. At that time, the later winner and the elected head of state were favored Miloš Zeman and former prime minister Jan Fischerwhich later began to lose popularity.
Remember Deník’s candid interview with Karl Schwarzenberg. Why did he compare Andrej Babiš to a prostitute? Look at:
Karel Schwarzenberg: Those who don’t vote, vote for idiots. He compared Babiš to a prostitute
Schwarzenberg, who advanced to the final race, appeared on posters or placards in a punk style. He gained great favor especially among Prague liberals and young people. However, he failed in the second round against Zeman. Despite the harsh campaign from his opponent, he did not become bitter and met with Zeman even after the end of his second mandate.
At that time he was a member of the House of Representatives, elected on the Prague candidates TOP 09 and STAN. He decided not to run in 2021. However, he always commented on public events. Many of his remarks are thought-provoking.
The 2022 documentary My Father, the Prince tells the unusual story of Lily Schwarzenberg and her father Karel:
He respected freedom of speech
For example, in April of this year, he spoke on social networks about what freedom of speech means to him. He emphasized that from the beginning ongoing wars he always stood on the side of Ukraine, he visited Kyiv several times in the past years, he was twice on the Maidan, and the Ukrainian struggle for freedom and independence is important to him.
Read the memory of Karel Schwarzenberg, the man who helped poly-track freedom:
COMMENTARY: Karel Schwarzenberg, prince of the Czech land. A great man who helped freedom
Nevertheless, he expressed some concern about current developments in the Czech Republic. “I have read several judgments where people were sentenced who, let’s face it, were stupid and publicly spoke on the Russian side against Ukraine and sometimes said utter nonsense. This is sad, but I consider the Czech approach to try and imprison him to be somewhat dubious,” he wrote.
Closer to him was the approach of the United States, ‘where freedom of speech is above all and you can say some stupid things like the country is a pancake or, and this is really ugly, even allow the legal existence of the Nazi party’.
Karel Schwarzenberg also grew up at Orlík and Čimelice castles. He fondly remembered his childhood spent in the south of Bohemia:
Karel Schwarzenberg fondly remembered his childhood in southern Bohemia
“As long as there are no clear calls to violence and incitement to it, and it’s just words and statements, perhaps you shouldn’t go to jail for it,” he said, among other things.
In 2002, former president Václav Havel awarded Schwarzenberg with the Order of Tomáš Garrigua Masaryk III. class, in 2023 he President Petr Pavel bestowed the highest honors – Order of the White Lion 1st Class.
Childhood and youth abroad
Karel Schwarzenberg was a native of Prague from Bubenč. He was born in 1937. As the eldest son, he was named after his father, the herald and historian Charles VI, Prince of Schwarzenberg. His mother, Antonie, was born a princess of Fürstenberg. He spent part of his childhood at Orlík and Čimelice castles.
He lived in Austria from the age of eleven, where his family took refuge in 1948, after the communists came to power. He studied law in Vienna and Graz and forestry in Munich, Germany. But he had to interrupt his studies due to the death of his adoptive father, who had been his uncle Jindřich Schwarzenberg since 1960. He had to devote himself to the administration of the estate in Germany.
Family photo.Source: with permission, Memory of the Nation