New East Digital Archive

Serbia unveils monument to Franz Ferdinand assassin

Serbia unveils monument to Franz Ferdinand assassin
Graffiti depicting Gavrilo Princip in Belgrade (Image: Goldfinger under a CC licence)

1 July 2015

A statue of Gavrilo Princip, the assassin who shot dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914, has been unveiled in Belgrade.

Hundreds of people attended the ceremony in the Serbian capital on Sunday 28 June, the anniversary of the assassination and St Vitus Day, a Serbian national holiday.

The death of Franz Ferdinand, the Austro-Hungarian crown prince, set in motion a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the First World War.

Princip is a controversial figure in the Balkan region. Many Serbs regard him as a freedom fighter who helped throw off the Austro-Hungarian imperial yoke in the region, whereas outside of Serbia he is often viewed as a nationalist fanatic and a terrorist. Serbian president Tomislav Nikolić described Princip as a “symbol of the idea of freedom”.

The bronze statue was a gift from Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic.