Casimir Johannes Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

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Casimir Johannes Ludwig Otto Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (born January 22, 1917 in Frankfurt am Main , † February 21, 2010 in Hamburg ) was a German entrepreneur and CDU politician .

Life and family

Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was the third of his father's five children from two marriages. His parents Otto Konstantin Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (1878–1955) and Elisabeth Princess zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg (1890–1963) divorced in 1923. In 1930 the mother married the entrepreneur Richard Merton . Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg grew up as the stepson of the social reformist Merton, a Jewish entrepreneur whose father Wilhelm had founded Metallgesellschaft AG in Frankfurt. His brothers were Franz (1910–2001), who was the state curator of Bavaria, August-Richard (1913–1939), who was murdered by the Gestapo in Berlin , and Gottfried (1920–1941), who died in Russia at the end of the third year of the war . His half-sister Alexandra (* 1932) worked with the dentist Dr. Ortwin Beck (1915–1995) married and lives in Rottach-Egern .

Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg married the Hamburg entrepreneur's daughter Ingrid Alsen (1915–1966) on April 21, 1939, who was killed in a car accident; the marriage was divorced on October 18, 1949. Children from this marriage are Christian-Peter Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (* 1940), the former chairman of the supervisory board of Villeroy & Boch AG in Mettlach an der Saar, and Leonille-Elisabeth Fürstin zu Ysenburg and Büdingen (* 1941). On May 1, 1950, he married the British Iris Ryle (1917-2004) in London, the marriage was divorced on May 6, 1987 in Frankfurt am Main. From this marriage the two sons Richard-Casimir Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (* 1952) and John-Charles Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (* 1953) emerged. On February 13, 1988, he married Beatrix von Eichel (* 1942) in Nidda. This marriage remained childless.

After graduating from high school, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was committed to the Reich Labor Service for nine months. He then did an apprenticeship as a banker and until 1949 was an authorized signatory and general representative of a cement factory. From 1950 to 1952 he worked with his own company in London, then from 1953 to 1982 in managerial positions at Frankfurter Metallgesellschaft AG, including deputy chairman for 22 years. Since 1973 he was chairman and later honorary chairman of the supervisory board of Albingia-Versicherungs-AG . Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was a co-founder and long-time president of the World Wildlife Fund in Germany as well as a professor of music at Tel Aviv University and president of the Steuben-Schurz Society from 1975 to 1980 . Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg lived in Hamburg-Eppendorf from 2004 until his death .

Political career

Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg had been involved in various positions with the CDU in Hesse since 1970 . From 1976 to 1998 he was state treasurer of the Hessian CDU. From 1979 to 1983 Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was a member of the European Parliament.

Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was a representative of the conservative wing of the CDU and, together with the former mayor of Berlin Heinrich Lummer , acted for many years as (deputy) honorary president of the right-wing conservative association Die Deutschen Konservativen , which was headed by the journalist Joachim Siegerist , who had a criminal record for sedition and was classified as right-wing extremist by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Wittgenstein said he had known Joachim Siegerist for over 40 years. He was a member of the Atlantik-Brücke association and an honorary member of the CDU's economic council.

Involvement in the donation affair of the Hessen CDU

Main article: CDU donation affair

Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was treasurer of the Hessian CDU from 1976 to 1988. In 2000, his involvement in a donation scandal by the Hessen CDU during his time as treasurer became public. In 1983, together with the later Federal Minister of the Interior Manfred Kanther and the financial advisor of the Federal CDU Horst Weyrauch, he managed to get 20.8 million marks into secret accounts in Switzerland. At the beginning of the 1990s, the assets were transferred to the account of a Liechtenstein foundation with the code name “Wren”. Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg allowed millions of euros to flow back into the budget of the Hessian CDU from abroad. It has not yet been possible to clarify where the money originally came from. One assumption is that it is money from the " Citizens' Association ".

When the scandal became public, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg spread the legend that the money came from “Jewish legacies” to the Hesse CDU. The then chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany , Paul Spiegel , said he was "deeply indignant" and "angry" about it. The then Saxon Prime Minister Kurt Biedenkopf (CDU) called the behavior of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg "almost unbearable".

Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was charged with infidelity together with the former Interior Minister Manfred Kanther and Horst Weyrauch . Kanther and Weyrauch were convicted. The proceedings against Prince zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg were separated on March 15, 2004 and discontinued in 2005 for health reasons.


  • Anne-Dore Stein: The scientification of the social: Wilhelm Polligkeit between individual care and population policy in National Socialism , Wiesbaden 2009, ISBN 978-3-531-16614-8 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Anne-Dore Stein: The scientification of the social: Wilhelm Polligkeit between individual care and population policy in National Socialism , Wiesbaden 2009, p. 169.
  2. Casimir Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein , Bebra-Verlag, viewed on February 25, 2010.
  3. ^ Prince Wittgenstein Chair for International Exchange in Music
  4. Interview with Casimir Prince Wittgenstein in: Conservative German newspaper. 31/2007, p. 4 ff., Here p. 6.


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