Bad Ischl, November 15, 2018. The eighth “Tree of Peace” that was planted by Archduke Markus Emanuel Salvator of Austria, a member of the Tuscan line of the House of Habsburg, and Marek Sobola is growing in the Imperial Villa (German: Die Kaiservilla) in Bad Ischl in Upper Austria, which was the summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria, known as Sissi. Archduke Markus planted the eighth “Tree of Peace” in this important place in the history of the First World War. On June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the next in line to the Austro-Hungarian thrones, was shot by the Serbian assassin Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. The Imperial Villa suddenly became the absolute centre of world attention amidst a torrent of diplomatic activity. Following the murder of the Crown Prince and his wife, Emperor Franz Josef signed Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum to Serbia at his desk in the Imperial Villa. Franz Josef’s final act of state on July 28, 1914 was to sign the manifest “To my Peoples” (German: An meine Völker) at his desk in the Imperial Villa. The manifest, explaining why he had been forced to declare war, was published the following day.
The Tree of Peace in Bad Ischl is Quercus rubra – originally a North American tree. In this way Marek Sobola has expressed honour to the country in which his great-grandfather had laboured as a worker before 1914.