Suttner, Bertha von

NOVELIST, PEACE ACTIVIST (AUSTRIA)
BORN 9 Jun 1843, Praha - DIED 21 Apr 1914, Wien: Zedlitzgasse 7
REAL NAME Kinsky, Bertha
GRAVE LOCATION Gotha, Thüringen: Hauptfriedhof (Kolumbarium (ashes))

Bertha von Suttler was born in Prague as Bertha Kinsky. She was the daughter of lieutenant general Franz de Paula Josef Graf Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau and his wife Sophie Wilhelmine von Körner, who was fifty years his junior. Her father died before her birth and her mother moved to Brno. She was privately taught in literature and philosophy and was a good pianist and singer.

Her first novella "Endertraüme im Monde" was published in "Die Deutsche Frau". She trained her voice with Gilbert Duprez in Paris in 1867 and with Pauline Viardor in Baden-Baden in 1868 but she was frightened of the stage and never became a professional. In 1872 she was engaged to Prince Adolf zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein but he died at sea on his way to the USA.

She found employment as a tutor to the four daughters of Karl von Suttner in Vienna. She fell in love with the elder brother Arthur, but Suttner disapproved of a marriage. In 1876 she became secretary and housekeeper to Algred Nobel in Paris. Nobel seems to have approached her romantically, but she returned to Vienna and secretly married Athur von Suttner in 1876 in Vienna. They eloped to Mingrelia where they lived in simple circumstances. In 1882 they moved to Tblisi. By 1885 Arthur's parents accepted her and they returned to Austria where they lived at Schloss Harmannsdorf.

She worked as a journalist and her pacifist opinions became clear from her novel "Die Waffen Nieder!". In was translated in many languages and made her famous. In 1902 her husband died. In 1904 she spoke at the International Congress of Women in Berlin and in the USA she visited a peace congress in Boston and she met President Theodore Roosevelt. She had corresponded with Alfred Nobel until his death in 1896 and in 1905 she won the Nobel peace prize.

She continued her work as a peace activist. Shortly before the First World War broke out she died of cancer in Vienna. In her will she had stated in 1907 that she wanted to be cremated in Gotha. This happened and her ashes are still at the Hauptfriedhof in Gotha.

Related persons
• corresponded with Dunant, Henry
• was pupil to Viardot-Garcia, Pauline

Sources
Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
• Gorys, Erhard, Thüringen, Artemis Reis- en Cultuurgids, Kok Lyra, Kampen, 1996
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertha_von_Suttner

Images

The ashes of Bertha von Suttner at the columbarium of the Hauptfriedhof in Gotha.
Picture by Androom (06 Mar 2009)

 


Svetlá, Karolina

Published: 2 Oct 2016
Last update: 2 Oct 2016