6.1.2 How did she die

How did Sissi die?

The Empress Elisabeth of Austria, or Sissi for short, still fascinates countless people today. Her life ended in a tragic death, but do you actually know how exactly the Empress died?

The empress was accompanied by a longing for death

  • Today many legends surround the life of the former Austrian Empress Elisabeth (1837-1898). Surely you also know the Sissiver films of the 1950s with Romy Schneider in the leading role. Through these films, the name Sissi became popular even though the Empress called herself Sisi or Lisi.
  • Sissi is said to have repeatedly suffered from depression throughout her life and often saw no meaning in her life. Her son Rudolf died of a suicide in 1889 and from then on her life was overshadowed by depressive moods and an almost death-longing melancholy, which she repeatedly expressed in her numerous poems that she wrote herself.

Sissi died of a murder

On September 10, 1898, Sissi was under the false name Countess von Hohenems in Geneva to meet the lady of the Rothschild banking family. Later she wanted to travel on a ship across Lake Geneva to Caux. Before the ship cast off on Lake Geneva, the Empress and her lady-in-waiting went for a walk nearby, which was to be her undoing.

  • Suddenly she was overwhelmed by the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni. He rammed a sharp file into her heart and ran away. Sissi fell to the ground, but did not notice the small, sharp puncture immediately. Also, no blood leaked through her clothing. Sissi therefore thought that the anarchist was just some madman who knocked her to the ground with a punch. Accordingly, she got up again soon afterwards and went to her ship as planned.
  • On the ship, however, the emperors collapsed due to their injury. For herself this breakdown apparently came very suddenly, because her last words are supposed to "But what has happened to me now?" have been. She was then taken back to the hotel, where she succumbed to the effects of the stab wound.
  • The file as a murder instrument was only an emergency solution for the anarchist, as he actually wanted to do the deed with a revolver or at least a dagger, but could not financially afford either. So you can imagine that he had to hit the heart with the file very precisely and purposefully in order to actually kill the victim with this tool.

The tragic thing about Sissi's death is the fact that she died in a murder that was actually aimed at another person. Sissi was traveling under an alias and it was only by chance that the anarchist found out that she was in Geneva. He actually wanted to murder the French prince Henri Philippe d’Orléans, who, however, had changed his travel plans just that day and did not stop in Geneva. His goal was therefore not the person of the empress herself, but basically simply the fact that she was a noble and well-known person in the area, with whose murder he as an anarchist could set a great, politically motivated sign.

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