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Zsófia Military Hospital

One of the most beautiful badges about which we know very little. During the Great War, a huge medical capacity had to be operated to care for the wounded and sick soldiers. Most of the institutions were located in temporary buildings or places designed for other purposes. Noble palaces, factory buildings, and schools housed the sick and wounded. One such institution was the Zsófia military hospital.

I was able to find out very little about this hospital. According to an internet source, it operated in the school building at 42-46 Hernád utca in Budapest. It took its name in December 1916. Today, the Gábor Baross Primary School and Facultas Human High School operate in this building, in Budapest VII. district.

The identity of the namesake “Zsófia” is unclear. Hospitals were named after persons of the royal house or aristocratic ladies, and often after the institution that temporarily housed the hospital. Only the name Zsófia appears on the badge. Perhaps it refers to a person of the ruling house? There were three more well-known Sophies in the environment of Franz Joseph. First is his own mother, Archduchess Sophie, who was Bavarian, came from the Wittelsbach family. The second is the emperor’s first-born daughter, who was born in 1854. Both were long dead by the time of the Great War. Baroness Sophie Chotek, who was the wife of Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne, could also be mentioned. But in July 1914, she too died in the famous assassination attempt against her husband. Among the three, the most likely namesake seems to be the noble mother. The dating of December 1916 is of course strange: the registration took place after Franz Joseph’s death.

The date 1916 is written on the badge, which coincides with the name registration according to the sources. Above the monogram we see a ducal crown, which again refers to the royal family. The photo shows the school building today.

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