Baroness Bertha von Suttner, the Austrian 1905 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, has been an icon since the enormous success of her book Lay down your arms, published in 1889. As her fame grew internationally, she turned into a “modern day celebrity”. Stamps and coins bear her image, streets, schools and squares are named after her. Films and books about her life are mementos for her achievements.
Last year two busts were unveiled in commemoration of the centenary of her Nobel Peace Prize. One in the Peace Palace in The Hague, a classic reflection in bronze of Bertha as we know her a stout matron-like lady, looking stern and focused on the path to promote the case of the pacifist movement. The other bust, unveiled in The Hague City Hall, is quite different and presents a rather joyous Bertha vibrating with life and enthusiasm. In the last bust we see a glimpse of the young Bertha, ready to find her way in life.
Here we present some images of Bertha von Suttner, showing her change from an Austrian countess, dressed for a ball in Viennese aristocratic circles to the formidable warrior for peace, the lady in the long black dress and widow’s cap she wore after the death of her husband in 1902. Her face mirrors the struggles , the battles she fought to promote her ideals. Her last words were “Die Waffen nieder, sagt es allen!".
"Lay down your arms, tell it everybody!"
A selection of relevant publications from the Peace Palace Library collection
- Eyffinger, A.C.G.M., “The Stars of Eternal Truth and Right”: Bertha von Suttner’s Campaigning for Peace, Social Justice, and Womanhood, Oisterwijk, Wolf Legal Publishers, 2013.
- Hamann, B., Bertha von Suttner: ein Leben für den Frieden, München, Piper, 1986.
- Simensen, A.S., Kvinnen bak fredsprisen: Historien om Bertha von Suttner og Alfred Nobel, Oslo, Cappelen Damm, 2012.
- Stiehm, J.H., Champions for Peace: Women Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, Lanham, Rowman and Littlefield, 2014.