Friday, January 30, 2015

Princess Nora at EYOF in Malbun

Source: Michael Zanghellini / Volksblatt.li
Princess Nora was in Malbun yesterday to hand out awards for men's slalom skiing. This event is part of the larger EYOF series of winter competitions, with two skiing events being held in Liechtenstein: the alpine skiing in Malbun and the cross country in Steg. Princess Nora previously handed out cross country prizes as well.
 
The slalom winners for the first run were as follows: Clement Noel (France) came in first, followed by Raphael Haaser (Austria) and Albert Popov (Bulgaria). For the second run, Raphael Haaser of Austria led the way, with Albert Popov of Bulgaria in second place and Adrian Meisen of Germany in third. (The women's slalom races were on Wednesday.)

Some more great photos of athletes competing, as well as winners receiving their prizes, at Volksblatt.

Grand Duke Commemorates Massacre of Sonnenburg

Photo: Charles Caratini / SIP
Today is January 30, 2015. Exactly 70 years ago today was the day of what became known as the Massacre of Sonnenburg during which 91 Luxembourgers lost their lives. Grand Duke Henri, accompanied by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, travelled to present-day Słońsk in Western Poland to pay his respects to the the 819 political prisoners killed until the morning hours of January 31, 1945, by an SS execution committee.

Since the beginning of World War II in 1939, the Sonnenburg concentration camp was used as a prison for alleged anti-German people from the occupied territories. Among the prisoners were several well-known resistance fighters as well as more than 90 Luxembourgish citizens who had been sentenced to prison for refusing to join the German armed forces.

From August 1942 on, all male Luxembourgers of draft age were conscripted into the German armed forces. The decision by the Nazis affected about 12,000 men and was met with mass resistance and a general strike. Over 3,500 Luxembourgers refused to become forced recruits. As many as 2,500 of them managed to hide in the country, with others escaping to Belgium and France. Others were imprisoned in several concentration camps and prisons after deserting from the Wehrmacht.

In early 1945, as Allied Forces were approaching Germany, a 20 men SS execution committee was called to Sonnenburg. Within four hours of the late evening of January 30 until around 2am on January 31, they killed 819 of the political prisoners by shots in the neck, among them 91 Luxembourgers. Two days later, the Soviet Red Army liberated Sonnenburg, now Słońsk in Poland, finding only four survivors of the brutal mass murder. The Massacre of Sonnenburg, next to the fate of the Jewish population of the country, is considered one of the biggest war crimes committed against Luxembourg and its citizens during the Second World War.

To commemorate the day, Grand Duke Henri and Prime Minister Bettel travelled to Słońsk where they attended a mass for the the victims at the Our Lady of Częstochowa church, the Grand Duke gave a speech in which he called the Massacre of Sonnenburg "one of the darkest days in Luxembourgish history", and a memorial ceremony at the cemetery of honour. They also witnessed the opening of the Museum of Martyr, laid wreaths of flowers at the memorial for the Luxembourgish victims of the 1945 massacre as well as one dedicated to all victims of political persecution since the opening of the Sonnenburg prison in 1832, and met with locals and dignitaries at a reception offered by the local authorities.

A number of pictures is available on the website of the cour.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Princess Nora at EYOF in Steg

Photo: Liechtensteiner Vaterland / Vaterland.li
Princess Nora, younger sister of Prince Hans-Adam II, was among the spectators for the European Youth Olympic Festival's (EYOF) boys 7.5 km and girls 5 km free cross country skiing events. She also handed out the medals for the female top three of the day. While the boys race was won by Janosch Brugger of Germany ahead of Egor Kazarinov (Russia) and Petter Stakston (Norway), the gold medal in the girls race went to Antonia Fräbel (Germany) followed by Olga Kucheruk and Polina Nekrasova (both Russia).

More pictures at Vaterland and Volksblattd. And while we're at it, more from Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie's visit to Malbun at 1 FL TV.

Henri and Maria-Teresa at Philharmonie Concert

Source: Anouk Antony / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
On Tuesday, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by attending a concert at the Philharmonie. The concert, which featured works by Gideon Klein, Viktor Ullmann, Ilse Weber, and Laszlo Weiner, was organized by Israelitischen Konsistorium and MemoShoah, the latter of which was founded to "raise awareness of and inform people about the appalling fate suffered by the Jews of Luxembourg during the terrible years of Nazi rule."
 
Also in attendance at the concert were Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, as well as a number of other government officials. The Chief Rabbi of Luxembourg, Alain Nacache, opened the concert with a speech.
 
More photos of the event are available at Wort.
 
While Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa attended the local remembrance event, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie were in Poland to unveil a Luxembourgish plaque and commemorate the Soviet liberation of Auschwitz.

Guillaume and Stéphanie at Auschwitz

Source: AFP / Luxemburger Wort / Wort.lu
Earlier today, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie were in Poland with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel to pay their respects to the victims of the Holocaust, with a Luxembourgish plaque that was unveiled at Auschwitz.
 
The Hereditary Grand Ducal couple's attendance at this event dates from 2013, when the previous administration initiated talks to add a memorial to the former concentration camp. The plaque reads, in translation, as follows: "This place shall forever be a cry of despair and warning to mankind. Here the Nazis murdered one and a half million men, women and children, most of them Jews, from different countries in Europe."
 
This commemorative ceremony is also part of a larger event that recognizes the 70th anniversary of the Soviet liberation of Auschwitz. A number of other royals and dignitaries from across Europe were in attendance.
 
Almost 4000 people from Luxembourg were imprisoned by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Of these, 263 Jewish residents of Luxembourg were deported to Auschwitz, and 237 of these individuals died during imprisonment. A further 31 residents of Luxembourg, who were not Jewish, were also deported to the camp. At least one-third of them never made it back home. In total, the Holocaust claimed more than 700 lives from Luxembourg.

More photos at Wort, Tageblatt, L'essential, Bunte, and Getty.

Also, a video from the Auschwitz Museum:


Grand Duke Not to Travel to Saudi Arabia

This morning, the cour grand-ducale sent out an announcement that Grand Duke Henri would travel to Saudi Arabia tomorrow where he was to pay his last respects to the deceased King Abdullah bin Abdulasiz al Saud, who died on Friday at the age of 90. The Grand Duke had previously already sent a letter of condolence to the new King, Salman, which he would presumably also met while in Riyadh tomorrow. 

With a visit to Saudi Arabia, Grand Duke Henri would have followed in the footsteps of a number of other European monarchs and royals, who visited the country over the weekend. In addition, a lot of non-monarchical heads of states (or representatives thereof) have also travelled - or a currently travelling - to the Arab country to pay their respects to the late King.

However a few hours later in the mid-afternoon, the cour sent out another announcement that the Grand Duke had to cancel his plans to travel due to a "contretemps survenu en dernière minute" (whatever that exactly means...) All of his other plans for the week, like visiting Slonsk in Poland on the 30th, remain unchanged.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Alois and Sophie Watch Skiing Race

Photo: Screenshot / Volksblatt
Hereditary Prince Alois (wearing the volunteer's gear) and Hereditary Princess Sophie visited Malbun today where they viewed the girl's alpine slalom of the European Youth Olympic Games (EYOF) currently taking place in Liechtenstein and Vorarlberg, the neighbouring state in Austria. Malbun is a ski-resort village in the Principality's municipality of Triesenberg. While there, the Hereditary Princely Couple gave an interview to Volksblatt, see below. 

In it, Hereditary Prince Alois talks about being impressed by the performances of all the skiers including those from more exotic countries, being happy to be the ones to hand out the medals as he participated in a number of Malbun-based ski races when he was a child and teenager, and the difference in size of the EYOF and the Games of the Small States of Europe. Hereditary Princess Sophie, meanwhile, talks about being impressed by the girls' performances as well and not being in anyway a good enough skier to race with them.

As said in the interview, Hereditary Prince Alois also handed out the medals after the slalom race. The gold medal went to Leona Popovic of Croatia ahead of Katharina Gallhuber (Austria) and Aline Danioth (Switzerland).

Monday, January 26, 2015

Prince Max and Princess Angela in Kitzbühel

Photo: AOP
Prince Max and Princess Angela were in Kitzbühel, Austria, this past weekend where the second son of Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein took part in the Kitz Charity Trophy 2015. The charity skiing race took place as part of the weekend programme surrounding the Hahnenkamm race, which is probably the most prestigious of all World Cup alpine ski races. Representing Liechtenstein by wearing a jacket of their alpine skiing federation, Prince Max skied alongside former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, her fiancé Christian Horner, a bunch of other Formula 1 faces, actors and otherwise famous people. 

Prince Max and Princess Angela actually celebrated their 14th civil wedding anniversary on Wednesday last week with their religious anniversary coming up Thursday this week. All the best to them!

Hereditary Prince Alois at the EYOF Opening Ceremony

Photo: Michael Zanghellini / Volksblatt.li
 Hereditary Prince Alois was in Tschagguns on Sunday for the opening ceremony of the 12th European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF). More than 900 athletes, representing 45 nations, will be at the Festival. Hereditary Prince Alois spoke at the opening ceremony, along with the Austrian President Heinz Fischer, to an audience of 5000 people.
 
Also in attendance were the Prime Minister of Liechtenstein Adrian Hasler, Deputy Prime Minister Thomas Zwiefelhofer  and Marlies Amann-Marxer, Liechtenstein's Minister of Infrastructure, Environment and Sport. Additionally, the European Olympics Committee (EOC) President Patrick Hickey spoke to welcome the athletes and the dignitaries to the event.
 
The motto for the Festival is Sternschnuppen, or Shooting Stars. Liechtenstein is represented in this year's games by four athletes.
 
There are some photos of the opening ceremony at Vienna Online. Hereditary Prince Alois was interviewed at a party after the opening ceremony, where he commented: "It's (the festival) a great chance to attract attention for Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein. Fortunately we just had a lot of snow so that we have nice snowy skiing areas. So I hope that we will have great and successful event ahead of us."
 
Prior to the opening ceremony, Princess Nora also spoke in an interview about how the EYOF offers young people an opportunity to learn about Olympic ideals. There's a nice video of the interview here.
 
Also, nice photos of the Liechtenstein athletes at Vaterland here and here. Further photos at Volksblatt.
 
Source: Daniel Schwendener / Vaterland

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Prince Philipp and Princess Theodora Attend Showjumping Event

Photo: Screenshot
Prince Philipp and his granddaughter Princess Theodora were in Zurich, Switzerland, earlier today, where they handed out the prizes at the LGT Private Banking Challenge. The show jumping tournament is part of the Mercedes-Benz CSI Zurich. Prince Philipp and Princess Theodora already handed out the Challenge's award together last year. This year's challenge was won by Ludger Beerbaum and Zinedine. Other members of the Liechtenstein family such as Prince Philipp's wife, Princess Isabelle, or Princess Theodora's parents, Prince Alexander and Princess Astrid were likely also present for the event.

The whole LGT Private Banking Challenge show jumping event can be watched in the video below. The award ceremony starts at around 1 hour and 39 minutes.