Carl Heinrich von Siemens

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Carl von Siemens around 1900

Carl Heinrich Siemens , from 1895 from Siemens , (* 3. March 1829 in Menzendorf , Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz , † 21st March 1906 in Menton , French Republic ) was a German industrialist and brother of Werner von Siemens .


Grave of Carl von Siemens in Cemetery III of the Jerusalem and New Church Congregation in Berlin
Restored gravesite of Maria, Carl and Werner von Siemens in Cemetery III of the Jerusalem and New Church Congregation
Carl von Siemens around 1870

Carl Heinrich Siemens (spelling also Karl ) was born in 1829 as the eighth of a total of 14 children of the landlord Christian Ferdinand Siemens (1787–1840) and his wife Eleonore Henriette Deichmann (1792–1839) in Menzendorf ( Mecklenburg ). The father came from the old Goslar city ​​dynasty Siemens (mentioned in a document in 1384). After his parents' death in 1840, he was raised by his brother Werner, who was 12 years older than him, and who also aroused his enthusiasm for technology. After finishing school he found employment in a cement factory in 1846, but then switched to the telegraph construction company Siemens & Halske founded by his brother in 1847 and worked for them in Paris and London before moving to Russia on behalf of the company in 1853 .

Siemens & Halske set up a nationwide telegraph network here on behalf of the Russian Empire from 1852. Carl took over the management of the construction work and built up the Russian business of the Siemens group, which in 1855 even set up a branch in Saint Petersburg . The branch's income was mainly secured by the 12-year repair and maintenance contract for the telegraph network, which also earned Siemens the title of official purveyor to the court. Carl married Marie von Kap-herr , the daughter of a German-born Russian businessman, and besides his work in the brother's group, he tried his hand at becoming an entrepreneur: in 1861 he built the Gorodok glassworks on his Chmelewo estate on Lake Ilmen . However, the company made no profits in the two decades of its existence and finally had to be liquidated in 1881.

The cause of the failure may also have been due to Carl's health problems, which prompted him to move to the Caucasus in 1867 and take over the management of the copper mine in Kedabeg in the Russian government of Elisabethpol (now Azerbaijan). Werner and Carl had bought the copper mine in Kedabeg in 1864 at the suggestion of their brother Walter, who was busy building the telegraph lines in the Caucasus, which - overcoming some difficulties - initially operated as a "private business" separate from the company under the management of the brothers Walter and Otto had been.

After the death of his wife and daughter Eleonore in Berlin joined Carl 1869 turn to London to help with the & Siemens Brothers Co. , the sea cable build for the Group, corporate responsibility, however, had the older brother Carl Wilhelm Siemens ( "William") share. Looking for new challenges, Carl therefore returned to Petersburg at the beginning of the 1880s, where he first set up a cable factory. In addition, he was a Russian citizen since 1883, and in the following decade he succeeded in gaining a monopoly in the field of electrical street lighting for Siemens with the “Society for electrical lighting”.

In the 1880s, Carl Siemens' factories in Petersburg, like the Siemens group as a whole, fell behind the business models of the competition, especially Emil Rathenau's AEG . In the correspondence between the brothers Carl and Werner, the keyword "money Jews" was occasionally mentioned, Carl rose to violent anti-Semitic outbursts.

In recognition of his business achievements, Carl was raised to the nobility by Tsar Nicholas II in 1895 . From 1889 Carl von Siemens owned the Gostilizy (also: Gostilitzy) estate near St. Petersburg, which he bequeathed to his daughter Marie von Graevenitz , who managed it until 1918. Since 2011, a bronze plaque commemorates Carl von Siemens and Marie von Graevenitz at the house of Pope's father Viktorin in Gostilizy, which the Berlin sculptor Hans Starcke modeled based on a design by the art historian Jörg Kuhn . It was commissioned by the Werner Siemens Foundation founded in 1923 by Marie von Graevenitz and her sister Charlotte in Switzerland.

After his brother Werner retired in 1890 for reasons of age, Carl returned to Berlin to take over management of the company together with his nephews, Werner's sons Arnold and Wilhelm . In 1897, at Carl's instigation, the group was converted into a stock corporation, a step that the company founder Werner, who died in 1892 , had always opposed with regard to his ideal of a family business "à la Fugger ", and Carl became the first chairman of the supervisory board of Siemens & Halske AG.

For health reasons he retired from the company in 1904 and moved to Menton on the Côte d'Azur , where he died on March 21, 1906 shortly after his 77th birthday. The coffin with the remains was transferred to Berlin and buried between the graves of Marie von Siemens and Werner von Siemens, their son, who died in Gostilizy in 1900. The grave, which has existed since 1869 in Cemetery III of the Jerusalem and New Churches in Berlin-Kreuzberg, was redesigned in 1908 and received a larger than life marble figure of a female funeral angel. This sculpture, the work of the Wiesbaden sculptor Philipp Modrow , was destroyed in 1970. It was able to be recreated by the Berlin sculptor Matthias Richter on behalf of the Werner Siemens Foundation in 2012 on the basis of historical images and is now on the grave again.

Marriage and offspring

On November 24, 1855, Carl Siemens married Marie Kap-herr, the daughter of the St. Petersburg merchant and temporary representative of the Siemens & Halske company in Russia, Hermann Christian Kap-herr (1801–1877), who was raised in 1868 to the hereditary Hessian baron .

The marriage had five children:

  • Werner (1856–1900), who preferred working as a farmer to joining the company. His second marriage (1895) to the Swiss Eleonora Füssli (1874–1941), daughter of the portrait painter Wilhelm Füssli , had a son Werner (1896–1898), who died in childhood . The widowed Eleonora married Wilhelm's son Werner Ferdinand von Siemens (1885–1937) in 1923 .
  • Charlotte Lotti (1858–1926), married since 1884 to Axel Baron von Buxhoeveden (1856–1919), with whom she had five children.
  • Hermann (1859-1860)
  • Marie Maruscha (1860–1939), married since 1884 to Georg Baron von Graevenitz (1857–1939), with whom she had six children.
  • Eleanor (1868–1869)


  • Karl Burhenne:  Siemens . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 55, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1910, pp. 203-228. (there Karl Heinrich Siemens also biographed)
  • Wilhelm Rothert : General Hanoverian biography. Volume 2: In the Old Kingdom of Hanover 1814–1866. Sponholtz, Hannover 1914, pp. 445–462 ( Werner von Siemens and his brothers )
  • Karl von Siemens. In: Siemens yearbook 1929. VDI-Verlag, Berlin 1929, pp. 1–3.
  • Sigfrid von Weiher: Carl von Siemens 1829–1906. A German entrepreneur in Russia and England. In: Tradition. Journal for company history and company biography. 1, 1956, pp. 13-25.
  • Wilfried Feldenkirchen, Eberhard Posner: The Siemens entrepreneurs. Continuity and change 1847–2005. Ten portraits. Piper, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-492-04801-3 , pp. 44-59.
  • Bodo von Dewitz , Ludwig Scheidegger (ed.): The story of Gostilitzy. Palace and estate of Carl von Siemens near St. Petersburg. Thomas Helms Verlag , Schwerin 2009, ISBN 978-3-033-01533-3 .
  • 90 years of the Werner Siemens Foundation. Ed. Werner Siemens-Stiftung, Zug 2013, pp. 184–187.
  • Martin Lutz: Carl von Siemens. A life between family and global company. CH Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-64543-3 . ( Preview Google Books )
  • Bodo von Dewitz : Carl von Siemens. His life, his work and his family. Life's work in pictures. His life, work and family. His life's work in picture. Thomas Helms Verlag, Schwerin 2016, ISBN 978-3-944033-40-2 .
  • Shaping the future. The Siemens entrepreneurs 1847–2018. Published by the Siemens Historical Institute, Hamburg 2018, ISBN 978-3-86774-602-1 .

Web links

Commons : Carl von Siemens  - Collection of Pictures

Individual evidence

  1. The year: 1847 - How it all began. Siemens Historical Institute, accessed June 6, 2019 .
  2. a b Andreas Fahrmeir: Crisis Manager of Industrialization. Review. In: FAZ . July 10, 2013, p. 26.
  3. a b Hannes Koch: The early days of large corporations. Review. In: taz . March 9, 2013.
  4. According to Martin Lutz (2013), Carl reported to his older brother Werner in April 1882 after violent anti-Semitic pogroms in Russia: “From the Jews”, wrote Carl, “everyone suffers in the Russian western provinces. They are the masters there, which they will soon be in Germany. [...] All property will be in the hands of the Jews and the Teutons are their workers. [...] The Russians cannot be blamed for having the Try to keep Jews off their backs as much as possible, because in the face of the masses it is clear that the Jews will soon be their masters. ”The brother wondered:“ You have become a complete anti-Semite ”. (Werner to Carl on May 5, 1882)