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s p e c i a l
INTERVIEW with the COUNT of ŠTERNBERK
ZDENĚK FILIP MARIA EMANUEL JIŘÍ IGNATIUS STERNBERG WAS BORN ON AUGUST 15, 1923 IN
PRAGUE, AS THE DESCENDANT OF AN ANCIENT NOBLE FAMILY STERNBERG, THE OWNER OF THE
CASTLE ČESKÝ ŠTERNBERK AND CHATEAU BREZINA. HE WAS BORN AS THE SECOND CHILD AND ELDEST
SON OF JIŘÍ, COUNT OF STERNBERG AND HIS WIFE KUNHUTY, THE COUNTESS MENSDORFF-
What are your hobbies?
Usually, I only pursued temporary hobbies. In the past, I dedicated myself to genealogy
and then to art prints from the 30-
Did most of your siblings emigrated abroad after 1948?
My brothers emigrated in 1948 after the so-
Is it true that your mother came for a French aristocratic family Mensdorff-
Pouilly is very old aristocratic family line which came to Central Europe after the French Revolution. They got the name Mensdorff there but also kept the original Pouilly. The head family estate was in Boskovice in Moravia, where some descendants of Mensdorff family line are still live. My mother was from the other line which came from Chotělice in Nová Bydžova. My mother returned to Czechoslovakia where she lived for many years with my sister Karolína, after marriage named Wratislavová, who now lives in southern Czech republic. My mother died in 1989.
It is known that after the coup in 1948, your father became a castellan on its own castle...
Yes, it is a rarity that the communists have allowed my father to perform the function of castellan and guide. It was an exception that was enforced by local citizens. My father died in 1965 in South Tyrol, in today‘s Italy. Father received a permission to travel to Austria after many years where my sister Anna lived. She placed him into sanatorium in South Tyrol, where he died.
Your mother had an interesting name Kunhuta which had more female members of your family ...
The Kunhuta name was once widespread international name. This name is not directly related to Sternberg family line.
What interests your son Philip Sternberg?
My son Philip was born on October 29, 1968, he studied at the Faculty of Law in Vienna and the Faculty of Law in Salzburg. He has a law firm in Vienna. He is married and has a 16 year old daughter. My son already carries out most of the administration concerning Sternberg assets.
Where does your wife Alžběta Hrubá-
My wife Alžběta (1928) comes from Munich, but was born in von Berg. She comes from Červené Pečky near Kutna Hora. My wife lives with me at the castle Český Sternberg. She avoids photographers...
In 1968, you left for Austria where you worked in the famous food combine.
Yes, I was working in Vienna as Deputy Director General of food combine Mautner-
Near the castle Český Šternberk lives your nephew Jiří at the Jemniště chateau.
Yes, chateau Jemniště is a baroque palace from the 18th century, only 20 km from the castle Český Šternberk.
In 2005, you were awarded with the Medal of Merit II by president of the Czech Republic. For which activities have you received this award?
I dedicate myself to promotion of Czech cultural monuments and for this work I have received the award.
Impressive Šternberk castle in Moravia also belonged to your family line...
Yes, it was our property which due to different marriages became the property of other family lines already in the 14th century. At the end of the 17th century, Lichtenstein’s finally got the castle which was expropriated after World War II. by state.
And what happened to the Sternberg Palace in Vienna?
My father sold this palace, which is located in the center of Vienna on 43 Ungargasse,
in 1919 or in 1920 to the owner of Jewish origin. It was just after the demise of
But Sternberg Palace also exists in Prague...
We had two palaces in Prague. One at the Malostranske square which Leopold Sternberg
has sold in about 1910 to administration office. Well-
What are your current plans with the Český Šternberk castle?
I would like to gradually recover and improve the castle and forward it to the next generations. I do not have any interest in assets ambition; I rather feel satisfaction that we have managed to fix something. More than 100,000 visitors from around the world annually visit the castle. We have 15 exposures that are available to the public.
Interview by Martin Greenwald
Translation by Veronika Cervenak
Photo: George Velebir