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His life his work

The death

His life

Chapter 8

The death

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Ludwig II laying in the coffin, in the chapel of the Residence in Munich


From 9 till 10 June 1886, the first attempt of capture failed pitifully because Ludwig, warned, had made the commission under arrest. Detained in comfortable conditions, it was to use to these sirs a copious meal and was installed them in the current administration buildings of the castle. They were released a short time later, without that the king knows. Count Dürckheim, last believer of Ludwig, arrived after the departure of the first commission, drafted with the monarch, by backdating it on June 9th to anticipate the announcement of the regency, a proclamation of appeal to his believers. Only the newspaper of Bamberg published it, because all the communications were already under control. We know by the daughter of Dürckheim that the king has never asked for poison during this lapse of time. The opposite information results from the report made by prince Eulenburg, agent of Bismarck, following the death of the king. It is the same report which is at the origin of the official version of the suicide and the murder by strangulation. It is him who will discover, many hours later, after numerous detailed examinations, the so-called marks on the neck of Gudden and the tracks at the bottom of the lake …

The day of June 11th is supposed to be for the king in the fear, because Dürckheim has just been called back in Munich by the war ministry. He is henceforth alone with some domestics. The second commission now arrived: she is introduced into the fortress, encircled by the gendarmes. We announce her that the king asked for a dinner in the Singers ‘room and that he is going to go out of his apartments to go there. It is not question of a false version concerning a key of the tower. The king possesses one pass for all the doors of the castle, he does not thus need this so-called key.

It shall be say later that Ludwig wished to seize it to throw itself then into the space. The tower about which it is a question can be only the small, being of use to the domestics, and not the big for which no key is necessary. By admitting would it why the king have waited for this key instead of throwing itself through the first come window? On the other hand, why to rise to the upper floor to reach the door of the small tower, instead of taking the one which is on the landing of its apartments, because the staircase of bottom communicates with that of the top? Finally, it is absurd to throw itself of a tower which leads directly on roofs, side gendarmes. Thus while making lunch Ludwig is captured, while he got ready to go up the main staircase.

He was quickly taken to the castle of Berg. The despair of the beginning, very understandable, gives up the place to the instinct of survival. The escape is already planned since Dürckheim left. Before arriving to Munich, he had time to warn the believers and to finalize the last details. Once arrived at Berg, Ludwig understands at once that he is considered as a dangerous individual because windows are fenced in, judases are drilled in doors … In spite of this isolation, the king can again communicate with the outside thanks to faithful domestics who make messages pass under the filled plates.

Ludwig knows that someone want it in his life and try to know all the details of its surveillance inside and outside of the castle. A first walk together with Gudden June 13th allows him to recognize places. Having finally agreed on a second excursion in the evening, Ludwig waits henceforth firmly.

At approximately 6:45 pm, Gudden and Ludwig go out, provide with umbrellas because the weather is always threatening. Gudden sends back in private conversation his male nurses who got ready to follow them. These see them going away and sinking farther towards the lake, in the direction of the exit of the park. This one is crossed by the lain in ambush gendarmes. This day there, it was formally forbidden whoever around to approach the castle.

A little farther, a horse car appointed by Dürckheim waits for the king, as well as a boat driven by the fisherman Lidl, asked to take Ludwig, as soon as he will have jumped in the water. During this night of storm, Hornig and his brother row beyond the strategic place, to protect the flight of the king.

It is approximately 6:55 pm when the king rushes in streams, leaving on the spot his doctor – it does not have one minute to lose. Regrettably, two shots leave since the twilight of the wood, and Ludwig collapses face downward across the boat of Lidl in which he got ready to rise. Frightened, this one pushes away the body in the water and disappears. As for Gudden, his case is very more complex than that of the king. A thing is sure, there was no fight between both men contrary to what was claimed by Eulenburg in his its famous report. Other certainty, Gudden died well after the king. It is clear that someone wanted to eliminate an embarrassing witness, that this one was or not informed of the escape attempt of Ludwig.

Several questions arise: 1. How to explain that king had no water in lungs? He was not thus able to drown himself, nor to have undergone a hydrocution, because the death in this last case occurs by drowning. 2. If the king had person killed Gudden and succumbed to a heart attack, how to explain that nobody heard anything cries for help of Gudden struggling, while the park was stuffed with gendarmes? Let us call back that Gudden, early in the afternoon, had ordered to sentinels to take place hidden on the road taken by him and the king (report of Zanders). It seems thus impossible that these gendarmes did not intervene at once, as they had received the order from it, if a “fight” had really burst between both men. For that reason the death of the doctor by the king is unthinkable, as well as a natural death of Ludwig. 3. If the king did not kill Gudden and all the same succumbed to a heart attack, how to explain that Gudden did not give the alert? And in that case, how and especially why the doctor would have died? 4. Why the “searches” for bodies were undertaken only from ten o’clock in the evening, while both men must have returned for eight hours? 5. Why were the bodies stored for six hours in a small shed of fishing instead of returning them directly to the castle? 6. Why was the doctor not authorized, come in a panic, to examine bodies, already covered with a sheet? 7. Why do narratives concerning the rescue of bodies out the lake diverge so much? 8. How prince Eulenburg, messenger of Bismarck, has been able to notice the day after the tracks of strangulation on the neck of Gudden, while meticulous analyses had revealed nothing? 9. How has Eulenburg been able to locate clearly the following morning at the bottom of the lake of the tracks that he declared to be tracks of fight, while the storm and the searches had already erased everything? 10. Why we did not realize the autopsy of Gudden in a case of not natural death? 11. Why the gendarme Klier and Lauterbach who patrolled in the park not far from Gudden and from the king, they declared to have seen nothing and heard anything? 12. Why was it looked for both men everywhere in the park, except in the zone where they have been seen to come down? 13. Why did we make swear under oath to the direct and indirect witnesses not to reveal anything of what they had seen or listened this night there, at the risk of exile or of death ? 14. Why telegrams left Berg in the evening of the drama were falsified? 15. Why most of the witnesses were they exiled in America? How to explain the premature and mysterious death of the others? These questions and number of others always stay without answer if we want to admit the official thesis. Ludwig II of Bavaria’s murder is on the other hand the only historically plausible version. © Copyright 2015 Elisabeth Fontaine-Bachelier

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