Henckel von Donnersmarck

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Family coat of arms of Otto Hupp in the Munich calendar of 1901

Henckel von Donnersmarck is an Austro-German noble family . It has its origins in the former Upper Hungarian landscape of Spiš (today Spiš in Slovak ), where the ancestors once lived as Hungarian-German settlers.

The family, aristocratic since 1593 , rose to great wealth first through trade in Austria, then through mining in Upper Silesia .


The progenitor of the family is a 14/15 Henckel de Quintoforo from Donnersmark in today's Slovakia was mentioned in the 19th century and owes its Latin as well as its German name to the market that took place there on Thursdays.

The German and Hungarian King Sigismund von Luxemburg gave the brothers Peter, Jakob and Nikolaus Henckel de Quintoforo a coat of arms on August 1, 1417 in Constance , at the time of the Constance Council taking place there .

Lazarus I. Henckel von Donnersmarck “the Elder” (1551–1624) went to Vienna and began trading in goods and money as a factor in a company in Ulm. From 1581 he built up his own company for wholesaling cattle, cloths and wine Vineyard and later other lands. A Hungarian nobility confirmation for the entire family with "de Quintoforo, aliter von Donnersmarckh" took place on April 27, 1593. Between 1595 and 1600 Lazarus I granted high credits for the Turkish wars to the imperial court chamber and in 1603 participated in the copper mines in Neusohl . In 1607 his nobility diploma was confirmed, in 1608 he received the Bohemian Inkolat , in 1615 he was raised to the rank of baron. As the financier of Emperor Rudolf II, he laid the actual basis for the family's rise. Although he adhered to the Lutheran faith, he held high offices in Vienna (councilor, city court assessor). Shortly before his death, Emperor Ferdinand II pledged the Silesian lordships of Beuthen , Oderberg and Neudeck to him in 1623 .

His son, Lazarus II (1573–1664), called Lazy , acquired the pledged goods in 1629 as his property. On December 18, 1636 in Regensburg, Emperor Ferdinand II raised him to the status of an Austrian-Austrian baron and at the same time an imperial baron with the name of Henckel von Donnersmarck on Gfell and Wesendorf . On July 29, 1651, he was raised to the status of hereditary-Austrian count in Innsbruck by the Tyrolean Prince Archduke Ferdinand Karl . On March 5, 1661, Emperor Leopold I in Vienna awarded him the title of Bohemian Count.

In 1670 the family divided their inheritance into the Fideikommisse Beuthen and Tarnowitz-Neudeck. It suffered by the Catholic line Bytom - Siemianowitz and the Protestant line Tarnowitz - Neudeck . On November 14, 1697, the "elevation" of Beuthen to free class rule followed in Vienna .

Count Carl Lazarus from Neudeck (1772–1864) operated hard coal mining on his property and built iron and zinc works and rolling mills. His son Guido inherited this, took over the previously leased companies on his own and expanded them considerably by founding joint stock companies, such as the United Königs- and Laurahütte . He owned 27,500 hectares of land and in 1913 was the second richest person in Prussia after Gustav Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach with an estimated fortune of 254 million marks . On January 18, 1901 in Berlin, Count Guido received the Prussian title of Prince as Count Henckel, Prince of Donnersmarck, from the German Emperor Wilhelm II . The emperor had been friends with Guido for a long time, whom he regularly visited for hunting at Neudeck Castle . On May 8, 1916, he set up the Fürst Donnersmarck Foundation in a notarial act to support people with disabilities, then known as the “Foundation Fürst Donnersmarck Institute in Berlin”. The Guido Mining Museum is named after Prince Guido . He died in 1916 and did not live to see the cession of East Upper Silesia to Poland as a result of the Treaty of Versailles . The family was expropriated by the communists in 1945 .


Lazarus I. Henckel von Donnersmarck acquired the Lower Austrian winery Nussdorf ob der Traisen in 1591 and started an extensive wine trade. The estates and lordships of Gföll ( Gföhl ), Wesendorf and Weißenkirch also came first as a pledge and finally came into his possession. In 1623, Emperor Ferdinand II, in his capacity as King of Bohemia, gave him the lordships of Beuthen , Oderberg and Neudeck in pledge; his son Lazarus II acquired them as property in 1629. From 1697 the former Duchy of Bytom was converted into a free class rule for Count Leo Ferdinand, which after the First Silesian War in 1742, like almost all of Silesia, fell from Austria to Prussia .

In 1670 the family inheritance was divided into the Fideikommisse Beuthen and Tarnowitz-Neudeck . The first representative of the Protestant Tarnowitz-Neudecker line was Carl Maximilian Count Henckel von Donnersmarck, who had the old castle in Neudeck redesigned in the Renaissance style between 1670 and 1680; in the 18th century it was converted to Baroque style and expanded in the 19th century in the Tudor style . In 1868, Prince Guido had a new, second castle built, Neudeck Castle. In 1945 the property was expropriated and the castles destroyed.

The Upper Silesian possessions also included Tarnowitz , Siemianowitz (where the Laura Hut was built in 1835 ), Annaberg , Polish Krawarn , Nakło Śląskie and Grambschütz , as well as the Moravian-Silesian Oderberg and the Lower Silesian Romolkwitz and Hirschhügel Castle in Thuringia. Wolfsberg Castle (Carinthia) has been owned by the family since 1846 .

coat of arms

The family coat of arms shows in a divided shield a growing gold-crowned blue lion above in gold, below three (2: 1) silver roses in red. The lion grows on the helmet with the blue and gold covers .

Known family members

Count Guido Henckel, Prince of Donnersmarck (1830–1916), owner of mines, ironworks and large landowners


Web links

Commons : Henckel von Donnersmarck  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Rudolf Martin: Yearbook of the wealth and income of the millionaires in the Kingdom of Prussia. 2nd vol., Berlin 1913, quoted from: Rudolf Vierhaus , Bernhard vom Brocke (ed.): Research in the field of tension between politics and society. History and structure of the Kaiser Wilhelm / Max Planck Society. DVA, Stuttgart 1990, ISBN 3-421-02744-7 , p. 45.