Exactly 100 years ago today, on July 5, 1914 the Austrian magazine “Wiener Bilder” leaded on the front page with a photograph, which became an icon of photography for the coming decades. It shows allegedly the capture of Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife and provided the pretext for Austria-Hungary’s invasion of Serbia, which then led to World War I.
But was the detained person really Gavrilo Princip? Who was the photographer? How did it come into the media? Questions upon questions! We get the right answers by the Austrian editor and photo historian Anton Holzer, who published his research under the headline “The Murderer, Who Wasn’t”:
To make a long story short: It wasn’t Gavrilo Princip on the photo, but his schoolmate Ferdo Behr, mistaken for the assassin. The photographer remains anonymus, but the CZERNOWITZER, who brought this photo into orbit was PHILIPP RUBEL, who ran a small postcard publishing company in Vienna, Porzellangasse 60. Above all, Philipp Rubel is related to our fellow member Ken Cutler, who wrote to me in 2012:
“A complete bio of Philipp Rubel, from my standpoint is as yet not possible. What I do know is that he was one of 12 sibs from Cz. He moved to Vienna, married twice and his daughter, Erika, came to the US in 1939 and stayed with my cousin Stanley for about 1 year. Stan lost track of her and I tracked her down and found her son and his children, she passed by the time I found her. Philipp and his wife Sabine were killed or died in the Shoah and Erika made an application for reparations in Austria. I have the address where Philipp and I believe other family members lived from researches and it’s the address indicated at his death. That address matches the letterhead on his letters to Stan’s mother, Helen. He was born 12 Dec 1871 and died 26 Oct 1938. That address was 1090 Porzellangasse 60, Wien, Austria. You have me hooked now, what is the mystery??”
What a thrilling story, but unfortunately, dear Ken, although I tried hard, I didn’t succeed to discover more on Philipp Rubel. On the other hand I’m positive, that you – and others – will enjoy Philipp’s contribution to WW I.