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The War Begins – The Defenestration of Prague (May 1618)

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Then they immediately attacked the two aforementioned lords furiously and violently, so I think, Count Thurn, Count Joachim Andres Schlick, together with some others took Lord Slawata, and Lord Wilhelm Popel, Hans Litwin v. Rziczan, Lord Ulrich Kinský, Lord Albrecht Smirzický and Lord Paulus Kepler violently grabbed Lord Martinicz. They pulled them back and forth from the oven to the opposite window through the entire Bohemian chancellery and screamed: “Now we are going to have justice against these enemies of our religion.” And then Lord von Martinicz said loudly: Yes, well, because it is for the sake of God and the Catholic religion as well as for the emperor's sake, we want to patiently endure it all." The members of the Utraquist estate disregarded this comment and their begging and replied: “Yes, in a minute we will lead in the wicked Jesuits, as well."

And so the aforementioned persons themselves threw Lord von Martinicz—without his hat, which had a beautiful cord embellished with gold and precious jewels and which had been snatched out of his hand—still wearing his black canvas coat and his rapier and dagger, out of the window so that he fell into the rocky castle moat, thirty cubits below. He called out faithfully, "Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, Mother of God, remember me!” However, as he repeatedly called out the holy names “Jesus-Mary,” this horrifying toss and fall did not only not cost him his life, but, through the intercession our most precious and dear Lady and the grace and mercy of God, he sustained only slight injuries. It was then generally said, also among pious, god-fearing souls who themselves had clearly observed this and convincingly claimed, that our most holy and praiseworthy Virgin Mary the Mother of God was seen in the air above Lord von Martinicz, who was the first to fall, and, as his admirable patron, was seen to catch him by spreading her cloak beneath him and softening his fall to the earth, saving him from certain death and preserving his life and health. Which, although Lord von Martinicz himself did not so clearly perceive it, is no less true. He recalls well, that he called out both holy names, because he had long wished and hoped to be crowned as a martyr, and it truly seemed to him as though the highest heavens had opened themselves to him and that he should soon enter there in eternal glory.

Then they smashed the fingers of Lord Slawata’s right hand, with which he tried to hold on, until they were bloody and he also devoutly called upon the Lord our God, saying “God have mercy on me, a sinner!” Then they threw him through the same window without his hat, in a black velvet coat and his rapier, so that he, too, fell to the earth, rolling about eight cubits farther and deeper than Lord von Martinicz, with his head wrapped up in his heavy coat. Finally the third, Lord M. Philip Fabricius, a councilor of the Holy Roman Empire and secretary of the kingdom of Bohemia, [was thrown from the window], mostly because Lord Albrecht Hans Smirzitský, who had also previously plagued him in his writings, demanded this. He, too, was thrown from the window into the moat without his hat and wearing his coat, and also called diligently to God: "Lord have mercy on my soul!” And in this case the primary actor was Ehrenfried Berbisdorf with others, who had also torn at his hair and his beard.

Source: Documenta Bohemica Bellum Tricennale Illustrantia. Tomus II. Der Beginn des Dreißigjährigen Krieges. Der Kampf um Böhmen. Quelle zur Geschichte des Böhmischen Krieges (1618-1621). Academia Prag. Verlag Hermann Böhlaus Nachf.: Vienna-Cologne-Graz. Pragae, MCMLXXII, pp. 42-49.

English translation: Ellen Yutzy Glebe

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