Karel Schwarzenberg in Prague, 1989.

The Legacy of Karel Schwarzenberg

Former Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg embodied values often played against each other: patriotism and openness to the world, noble ideals, and a connection to the people. He fought for Europe and against chauvinistic populism.

Significant figures in Czech history have been endowed with lasting tributes: František Palacký is known as the “Father of the Nation,” while Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk is the “President-Liberator.” Karel Schwarzenberg should be remembered as an educator of contemporary Czech society and as an example of generosity. This Czech aristocrat was an enhancer of public life. One of the great advantages nobles received was education. Education was even more valuable than castles and lands. It made their recipients responsible for everything they inherited and that was entrusted to them. It enabled them to remain faithful to the spiritual and moral values of family tradition. Karl Schwarzenberg was primarily educated in patriotism by his father. The main author of the document in which the Czech nobility courageously declared its loyalty to the Czech nation and Czechoslovak statehood during the Nazi threat, the elder Schwarzenberg also participated in resistance against the Nazis.

„Karel Schwarzenberg spent his life opposing those who wanted to tear the Czech nation away from a uniting Europe.“

Tomáš Halík

Harassed by the Nazis and later by the communist regimes, the family had to leave their homeland. When Karel Schwarzenberg answered the call to serve his homeland after the fall of the communist regime, he described himself as a forester and an innkeeper. A forester cares for the beauty and health of the natural environment. An innkeeper cares for an environment where people feel comfortable.

Excerpt from the sermon delivered by Monsignor Tomáš Halík at the funeral mass for Karel Schwarzenberg in Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral. Schwarzenberg was a member of the board of European Voices.

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