The coverage by the European papers of the funeral of Archduke Otto has been heavy, and I have even caught a few video snippets of the Ruritanian rituals. Hapsburgs prefer to be buried in pieces, no doubt hedging their bets for the final coming against putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak. It was watching the ceremony for Otto's heart, in Budapest, that sparked the memory of an old family anecdote.
My Austrian great-grandfather had fought in the Great War and was no longer young when Anschluss came in 1938. It was still possible to be largely ignorant of the world in those days, particularly if you lived on an isolated farm half way up a mountain. However, the time came when the new Nazi regime reached even the most rural areas, and inhabitants were summoned to the village to hear rousing speeches and be registered for conscription. All of this must have been deeply puzzling for the old boy until the village band struck up a familiar tune. With gusto he sang out "Gott beschütze unsern Kaiser .." not twigging that someone had changed the lyrics to "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles" since he'd last sung it over twenty years previously. After an uncomfortable interrogation by the local Nazis he was released. He received his call-up in 1945, aged 64, and wisely hid in the forest for a few months until the madness had ended.
I think last week was the last time any of us will ever hear the words of Haydn's old Kaiserhymne sung again.