Life and Death of Prince Alfred of Prussia (1924-2013)
Google translation of an article which appeared in a Costa Rican newspaper La Nación on the
El último príncipe de Barranca or The last prince of Barranca © 2013. Grupo Nación S.A. Derechos Reservados or © 2013. Nation Group SA Rights Reserved
Alfredo of Prussia , Saxony and Altenburg is the name of the last Prince of Prussia , who lived in Costa Rica much of the twentieth century and little more than a decade of this century . His story , far from the noble grandeur , ends in a cemetery vault Purral , Goicoechea .
His father , the first German prince to die in Costa Rica was called Sigismund, and agonized on November 14, 1978 in the heat of Monsignor Sanabria Hospital in Puntarenas , as the administrator of their estates and their right hand, Florentino Vindas , what accompanied in complete impotence.
Sigismund of Prussia, nephew of the last emperor of the greater Germany , grandson of Queen Victoria of England , and nephew of the last Russian czar , honey exporter and owner of a generous plot of over 100 hectares in San Miguelito, Barranca , came to the medical center with lung ailment and did not come out . Those who knew him in life blame Redskin smoking cigarettes nonstop, and the forensic report confirmed the cause of death : emphysema.
Just hours before his death, his son Alfredo , an amiable bachelor , 53, had visited the hospital to see him and then returned to the Jesusita island in the Gulf of Nicoya , where he worked as manager of the only hotel on the island . The news of the death of his father would come by telegram .
While the message waiting for Alfredo on the island , or perhaps when he crossed the gulf towards the islet , Vindas funeral proceedings began . He bought a coffin in Puntarenas , booked a plot in the cemetery of Esparza , the day after his death , the body of Sigismund arrived at the cemetery. They came to dismiss his wife Charlotte , his closest associates and a Lutheran pastor who traveled from San Jose.
For over a decade , the remains of Sigismund endured the loneliness of the grave until, in 1989 , came to accompany his wife 's ashes . It was the last member of the family who would lie there. His daughter had returned to Europe much sooner, and Alfredo spent his last years in Purral , Goicoechea .
Just over 80 years after the princes came to Costa Rica , the son , the second and last Prussian prince of the country , passed away from the project that wanted to raise his father , although by then the family farm no longer exported honey . The house in San Miguelito was dismantled and Alfredo , an elder of 88 years when he died , had long without visiting the grave of his parents in Esparza.
Alfredo of Prussia , Saxony and Altenburg died and was born in very remote places that are probably Central European geographers few that have heard of it. His mother gave birth to a August 17, 1924 at the Finca Santa Sofia, in Guatemala , in the years when his father tried his luck as coffee . After failing the agricultural experiment , the family returned to Germany , but his return was short-lived and , in 1927 , arrived in Costa Rica .
In this country , Sigismund purchased land in Canyon , at that time, had only 20 acres . The change was brutal . Charlotte was born in the castle of Altenburg and her husband , in the Ducal Palace of Kiel , but in Costa Rica started from scratch with floor and wood stove .
Alfredo and Barbara came from 3 to 7 years old, and now it's impossible to know what they thought of the new country . For more prince who is a child, prefer a pasture full of orange or a corridor guarded by Renaissance paintings ?
One of the photographs held that childhood shows a blonde girl with braids and a barefoot boy , but impeccably groomed , perched in a tree next to his mother and Alejandro Carvajal , foreman of the farm. Although San Miguelito began as a two-room house , in the early 30s and was a wooden house on two floors, with a vast library of books sent refreshed from Europe and a gazebo on a mezzanine overlooking the Gulf of Nicoya.
Life was being nice to the princes . From Barranca out Stanol with honey for export to Europe , and the children received lessons with a German governess .
The Prince Alfred never intended to live to attend his father 's farm Sigismund, in Canyon .
In 1938 , Alfredo and Barbara crossed the Atlantic to see her paternal grandmother. Sigismund had one condition : that Alfredo off to boarding school in Switzerland , to avoid Nazi indoctrination German schools . Barbara had completed high school at the Colegio Superior de Senoritas , so he could stay with his grandmother in the family mansion Hemmelmark , northern Germany .
Then came the Second World War. Crossing the Atlantic was almost a suicide mission by the siege of the submarines , but both children were able to negotiate the conflict away from home.
In Costa Rica , the honey exports were suspended , and Sigismund 's past as a German - military during the First World War, it became a suspect when the country declared war on the Axis . However, no one came to look at Barranca to send to concentration camps in San Jose.
The 1950s brought changes to the Prussian family . The Princess Barbara had decided to remain in Europe with his grandmother , freely exercising his title and , in 1954 , married the Duke of Mecklenburg -Schwerin .
If your wedding, held in the castle of Glücksburg with 130 guests from the nobility , thought much or little in Barranca, did not say never .
Alfredo returned to Switzerland in 1946. After a brief stay in Costa Rica went back to Europe to study agronomy now and finally returned to San Miguelito four years later, but with no intention of living for the farm .
What were those plans Alfredo ? He worked two years with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE ) in Cachi Dam , then Ambosmares coordinated logistics for a company of sea and air transport . Played a similar role in S. Central Services A. , where he coordinated industrial imports that the company was from Germany.
His last job before his father 's death Sigismund was as administrator of Isla Jesusita , an establishment with 20 rooms on a small island in the Gulf of Nicoya. It was there , in the seaside hotel where Alfredo learned his father 's death .
The princes Sigismund and Carlota , Alfredo 's parents had come to this tropical banana republic in 1927 , after breaking relations with German royalty . The center of the dispute was a young twenty-something who claimed to be Anastasia Romanov , daughter of the last Russian tsar , the same Fox Studios rescued princess in a film of the 90s .
Sigismund was a cousin of the Romanov family , and had shared childhood games with Anastasia and her siblings before the dynasty was overthrown by the Russian Revolution of 1917 . Although most of royalty rejected their claim , Sigismund found the girl , who later became known as Anna Anderson - so like his cousin that he had no doubt she was Anastasia .
Twice tested : first , asking when they had last seen Anastasia and him, and then with 18 questions that only the princess know. Satisfied with the answers, says U.S. historian Marie Flory Stravlo Rican origin , who is investigating the issue for 15 years and have two books ready - , Sigismund faced half of the princes and dukes of the continent , for whom she was a impostor.
As his family forbade mention the subject , Sigismund and his wife Charlotte were bags and sailed to Central America. Even from a distance, the prince contacted Anderson with other European nobles and exchanged correspondence with her and another woman who claimed to be Olga Romanov , sister Anastasia . When the case picked up steam again in 1957 , Sigismund of Prussia was one of the strongest defenders of the young Anderson. Until death , he argued that the European nobility had rejected unfairly Anastasia and Olga . So did his son, Prince Alfred.
If anything matching prince who saw the child run around Canyon and then met an adult, is that Alfred of Prussia lived detached from the material.
Alfredo was neither the prince nor pauper. The same driving a boat in the Gulf of Nicoya , wearing wedding dress for her niece in Germany . He could talk of anthroposophy in the halls of residence in Barrio Amon and climbing volcanoes in Guanacaste . If one day sent condolences to the royal family using shirt four days ago, was not surprising . During his lifetime , he managed to balance two people in one body : Alfredo of Prussia , Saxony and Altenburg , and Alfred the Barranca , who lived in a house in San Pablo de Heredia , who never had a driver.
A few months after the death of his father, Alfredo moved to St. Paul with Noel Martinez , a cabinetmaker friend who cooked and helped with the house. His home was simple and , in all that you ask or want a prince , Alfredo just needed gas in your car to be happy.
At age 60 , in 1984 , married a wealthy Czechoslovakian named Maritza Farkas , who toured the United States and Europe. However, the prince always preferred the quiet life of Heredia and the Pacific breeze . So while his wife went up and down aircraft , Alfredo drove through the country. In those years , his mother , Carlota traveled to Hemmelmark to meet his daughter and die in comfort. His remains returned to Costa Rica to stand alongside those of Sigismund in 1989. His daughter Barbara died in 1994 in Hemmelmark .
The same driving a boat in the Gulf of Nicoya , wearing wedding dress for her niece in Germany .
Alfredo 's life changed in 1996 when the death of his wife, with whom he had no children . " His misfortune was to marry a woman with money," says Heinz Hoffmann , a German friend of Prince since the late 70's, who still lives in the country. After battling cancer, Farkas died in the United States , and Alfredo inherited properties in Escazu , New York and Spain .
Before her, Alfredo economic fullness never met . " His life was austere , first , because I had a lot of money and , second , because I was used to a simple life ," recalls the writer Alfonso Chase , friend of Prince from 1961 to late 90s . Norbert Sequeira , colleague of Prince in Central Services Company , sheds light on another aspect of his personality to his former partner , Alfredo was a very gullible person .
Unused to handle money , when the prince was widowed septuagenarian delegated the administration of their assets in Diego Contreras and Saenz , a Spanish who had met through his former wife . But Alfredo began a legal battle against the Spanish just happened the century , Contreras would have sold as property of the estate , as executor, was administered only to protect the interests of the prince. Alfredo Contreras wanted to reinstate those properties , which won in 2008. The Nation tried to seek the opinion of Contreras to be referring to the facts through his lawyer, but this said it no longer has contact with the Spanish .
At 75 years old , said Alfredo fear for his life , while his friends were concerned about his mental health. In Mayra Mendez neighbor confided that an ETA commando group chasing him. Alfredo also mentioned that " his enemies wanted to take poison frogs through the windows of the car ," according to his friend Carlos Bornemiza before the public notary Hinrichs Maikel Gerardo Quiros, on October 21, 2006 .
Amid the confusion that generated the feeling persecuted , Alfredo relied on a Croatian named Ivan Bukvic , known as Danko . It is unclear whether this known before the prince or if it was a recent friendship , but no friend of Alfredo reminds the Croatian before 2000.
The Nation tried to talk to Bukvic . He searched his home in San Jose , he left a message written there and finally , by email and by phone , said he would not comment.
In 2000 , Prince Bukvic bought property in San Pablo de Heredia , of 990 square meters - per ˘ 30,000 , and Alfredo also named as his sole heir , as stated in the protocol of the notary Manuel González Bonilla .
By then , the prince still maintained contact with some of his friends. In early 2000 , sent from Andalusia , Spain , an affectionate postcard Mayra 's family , her neighbor Heredia, and in 2002 was the office of a friend to help him to send a telegram of condolences to England by the death of the Queen Mother.
In 2001 , Bukvic received an unlimited general powers of Alfredo sum that even stipulated the possibility of acting in Spain .
One afternoon in 2002 , the prince told her neighbor Mayra would come to dinner around 7 p . m . , which was normal for it was all their meals at home Mendez Jimenez family since 1995. " I told him fine, but it never came. It was already 8 p . m . and did not appear, then I called the house of Danko ( Bukvic ) . That man answered me and said, ' No, he stays here ,' "says the woman .
In Purral , Goicoechea , Alfredo turned to his host. The August 23, 2003 signed a last will in which Bukvic ordered to ensure his remains for three days when he came to die , to confirm his death with a doctor after that time and then they cremated his body to scatter the ashes " Prince that are " in the Gulf of Nicoya. The mandate was " delegated and very personal ."
A year later, Bukvic 's son , Ivo , Alfredo received from Generalissimo power , this time with permission to act in Germany . The prince gave sworn son of Charlotte and Sigismund, with the intention of check could require the inheritance of his maternal grandfather, as recorded in the notary's protocol Edwin Daniel Leiva Jara.
The German detached , the Island Hotel hippie Jesusita , who may have lived in a palace with her sister Barbara Europe but chose to return to rock in the Pacific Ocean , but developed a sudden voracious "appetite inherited " when he turned 80 . Who never bragged with his title, now said to have noble ashes . To do so would claim ownership an elder prince is something that died with Alfredo .
Visits to see it got complicated. Carlos Bornemiza , old friend Alfredo , testified before the notary public Hinrichs Quiros when he attempted to telephone Bukvic house to inquire about his friend, the Croatian told " not to call back ( ... ) because I re- call kill " .
Jorge Jimenez , son of Mayra and Alfredo former neighbor in San Pablo de Heredia , managed to get to see Prince in 2006. Remember a little room on an upper floor , zinc lined tins without ceiling, with a cot rather run and no closet .
The conditions described are consistent with what they saw three judges of the Family Court of San Jose. In the judgment of 2007, after a domestic violence charge filed by an old friend of the prince, Isabel De Ménorval , say they've found a dirty floor , awkward access to the bathroom, located on the lower - , small and uncomfortable bed and walls " lined not " that allowed the passage of the cold wind Purral .
In the visit, the judges took several clean data : Alfredo sold an apartment in New York and gave money to the children of Bukvic to buy properties in Coronado , the prince was still receiving a monthly pension from Germany and told them that had Bukvic shortly before traveling to Europe to find out about a " large inheritance ." In addition , judges seemed logical that Alfredo took refuge in Bukvic , believing that no one else wanted to help. Even , the document cites " the alleged victim manifested not be a victim of domestic violence." As the prince insisted he was at home , the judges were limited to ordering the Croatian condition the room. This is stated in the resolution 485-07 issued by the Family Court on March 29, 2007 .
At 75 years old , said Alfredo fear for his life , while his friends were concerned about his mental health.
Moreover, in February 2008 finally ended the legal battle against the former executor Spanish Diego Contreras and Saenz , a process in which Alfredo was represented by Bukvic , as assignee of heritable rights as their prince and general agent . The Criminal Court of the First Circuit sentenced to eight years in prison for crimes of falsifying and estelionato ( who commits fraud in a contract conceals the obligation previously made on a well ) , as recorded in the subsequent judgment , on appeal , 2008-00759 of Division III .
One day before the Criminal Court of the First Circuit judgment in this case , and to "honor a gentleman's agreement ," the prince had returned Bukvic actions Panorama Exclusive Properties , a society where Maritza Farkas had key properties and which returned , at the hands of Alfredo , his old goods executor had sold . This transfer of shares stated in the protocol of the notary public Edwin Daniel Jara Leiva.
Bukvic maintained access to Exclusive Properties Panorama by other means : the January 29, 2008 was signed , along with Prince , a record of that corporation in which his administration was delegated to two managers who would generalísimos proxies , with power of everyone to act on their own. These two managers were Alfredo and the same Bukvic .
When Contreras , the former executor, took the case to Appeals after being convicted , the judges of the Court III evidenced in the resolution that had Bukvic family interest "in excellence simulate the conditions in which Alfredo housed and cared for , Prince of Prussia " . Alfredo reacted with " astonishment " during the debate prior to the criminal judgment as know " the true extent of assignment of hereditary rights in favor of Bukvic made ??" according to the statement adds the Division III 2008-00759 .
Still, Alfredo kept his position : he was comfortable with the Croatian and family.
Marie Flory Stravlo writer visited in 2009 the prince in her family home that the family court ordered a retrofit Bukvic Alfredo 's bedroom . The Bukvic was shown the room on the second floor which had private bathroom with hot water. The room, clean and with ceramic floor , had a double bed, family portraits and a closet . At that time , Alfredo told him that was fine and that " all I wanted was to be left alone and in peace."
Stravlo ensures that , at the time, Bukvic " complained about all the lies and slander that he had made against them ."
Before the prosecution, and referring to another complaint filed by Isabel De Ménorval in 2012 , the prince declared that " no one has abused me , I live very well with those people, and it bothers me that this lady ( the complainant ) is inventing these things. "
The Nation tried to contact Bukvic for comment on the facts of this report but it chose not to refer to them. In a reply, sent through email, said it would sue the middle if he published any false information , libel and slander . Also, the wife said Bukvic proceed legally if they only published the name of the family.
Bukvic and Alfredo had signed together a new last will to the notary Edwin Daniel Leiva. Dated May 3, 2010 , both agreed that whoever died first bury the other in the " cemeteries have at our disposal ." Thus, revoked any previous document . No more cremations or three day sails or double check with doctors, nor ashes in the Pacific. At 84 years Bukvic , meanwhile , was 71 years , the last Prussian in Costa Rica had arranged to be buried , basically wherever they could.
The Guadalupe Cemetery Board offers its customers the choice of where it will only keep - if there are any, the religious service that will honor the dead. Although Alfredo had at least three different temples funeral , the church of the Sacred Heart in Luján neighborhood , the parish of San Pablo de Heredia , and the German Lutheran Church in Rohrmoser - , the record of the pit E -12 1/2 , lower niche , does not appear any of them.
None of these services was organized by those who came to the cemetery to bury the June 3, 2013 - the day he died Alfredo - and, indeed , the three were officiated just over two weeks after the death of the prince, when his friends belatedly learned of his death .
Isabel De Ménorval was the first to receive reports of death in mid-June , then consulted with the Civil Registry and confirmed that Alfredo had died.
If those who accompanied the prince's body to the grave I cried , it was before entering the cemetery Purral . Once in the cemetery , the grave diggers interviewed for this story remind you who accompanied the body ( two seniors and a man who was around 30 years old) were expedited . " It seemed as if they had something in a hurry ," said Ramon Solano few months later , The Redeemer cemetery administrator of Purral . His colleague Amador Marcial confirmed his version.
That afternoon , the carriage was placed next to the pit E12- registered in the name of the daughter of Bukvic - , and passengers lowered the coffin with a speed that impressed panteoneros . Solano remembers even the largest of men playing with a dog distracted while the drawer down to the lower niche .
The last Prussian Canyon remained anonymous under his white gravestone , 85 years after his family arrived in Costa Rica , and now is little evidence of his life here .
It is not the house that helped rejuvenate the foreman Alejandro Carvajal in the San Miguelito, and the power plant launched Sigismund with Florentino Vindas loyal . The house of San Pablo de Heredia was demolished , and its space is occupied by a large gray building , the vast library of Sigismund was lost and dishes brought from Germany that Charlotte would be way loose parts , by some houses Barranca.
To attest to the passage of the princes for Costa Rica are photographs in the hands of friends, school notebooks when Alfredo was a kid , the leather-bound book where you wrote down your name who visited the farm of San Miguelito, and books , furniture , postcards and all those articles that when people are missing in life we want, humans tend to hoard .
The Prince Alfred was the same as any other mortal body , slightly stiffer than life , rotting underground.
In the middle of this September , and standing in front of the tombstone that helped prepare three months earlier, the gravedigger Amador Marcial stroked his head , moving his hair and smiled a little. I was confused .
The only distinction was a shy plaque which reads " Alfred of Prussia " , but otherwise , the tomb was similar to the hundreds which houses the cemetery : simple , unadorned , no frills. There is definitely a noble mausoleum . Marcial wrinkled face.
- What was I to know that this was a prince ?
Last Updated on 26 January 2016
By Allan Raymond
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