Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck
Overview
 
Guido Georg Friedrich Erdmann Heinrich Adalbert Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck, from 1901 Fürst Henckel von Donnersmarck (b. Breslau, 10 August 1830 - d. Berlin, 19 December 1916) was a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 nobleman
German nobility
The German nobility was the elite hereditary ruling class or aristocratic class from ca. 500 B.C. to the Holy Roman Empire and what is now Germany.-Principles of German nobility:...

, industrial magnate
Business magnate
A business magnate, sometimes referred to as a capitalist, czar, mogul, tycoon, baron, oligarch, or industrialist, is an informal term used to refer to an entrepreneur who has reached prominence and derived a notable amount of wealth from a particular industry .-Etymology:The word magnate itself...

, and one of the richest men of his time. Unaware of Henckel's personal quirks, which included a pathological devotion to his deceased first wife, US Ambassador James W. Gerard found him affable and politically reasonable at a time when many German conservatives were extreme nationalists.
Born in Breslau, Silesia
Province of Silesia
The Province of Silesia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919.-Geography:The territory comprised the bulk of the former Bohemian crown land of Silesia and the County of Kladsko, which King Frederick the Great had conquered from the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in the 18th...

, he was the son of Karl Lazarus Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck (1772–1864) and his wife Julie, née von Bohlen (1800–1866).
Encyclopedia
Guido Georg Friedrich Erdmann Heinrich Adalbert Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck, from 1901 Fürst Henckel von Donnersmarck (b. Breslau, 10 August 1830 - d. Berlin, 19 December 1916) was a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 nobleman
German nobility
The German nobility was the elite hereditary ruling class or aristocratic class from ca. 500 B.C. to the Holy Roman Empire and what is now Germany.-Principles of German nobility:...

, industrial magnate
Business magnate
A business magnate, sometimes referred to as a capitalist, czar, mogul, tycoon, baron, oligarch, or industrialist, is an informal term used to refer to an entrepreneur who has reached prominence and derived a notable amount of wealth from a particular industry .-Etymology:The word magnate itself...

, and one of the richest men of his time. Unaware of Henckel's personal quirks, which included a pathological devotion to his deceased first wife, US Ambassador James W. Gerard found him affable and politically reasonable at a time when many German conservatives were extreme nationalists.

Career

Born in Breslau, Silesia
Province of Silesia
The Province of Silesia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1815 to 1919.-Geography:The territory comprised the bulk of the former Bohemian crown land of Silesia and the County of Kladsko, which King Frederick the Great had conquered from the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy in the 18th...

, he was the son of Karl Lazarus Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck (1772–1864) and his wife Julie, née von Bohlen (1800–1866). When his older brother Karl Lazarus Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck died in 1848, his father transferred his numerous mining properties and ironworks in Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 to Guido.

Henckel also had a sister, Wanda (1826–1907), who married in 1843 Ludwig, Fürst von Schönaich-Carolath. Friedrich von Holstein
Friedrich von Holstein
Friedrich August von Holstein was a statesman of the German Empire and served as the head of the political department of the German Foreign Office for more than thirty years.-Biography:...

 claimed that the father of one of her sons was either a waiter or a coachman; "One must choose between the two," Holstein wrote.

Henckel lived in Paris in the 1860s with his mistress (later wife), Pauline Thérèse Lachmann, Marquise de Païva, known as La Païva
La Païva
Esther Lachmann, later Pauline Thérèse Lachmann, later Mme Villoing, later Mme la Marquise de Païva, later Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck, and generally known as la Païva was the most successful of 19th century French courtesans...

, the most successful of 19th century French courtesan
Courtesan
A courtesan was originally a female courtier, which means a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person.In feudal society, the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and social and political life were often completely mixed together...

s. He engaged in stock market speculations, and Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

 sometimes found his shady contacts politically useful. Henckel purchased for his mistress the Château de Pontchartrain in Seine-et-Oise
Seine-et-Oise
Seine-et-Oise was a département of France encompassing the western, northern, and southern parts of the metropolitan area of Paris. Its préfecture was Versailles and its official number was 78. Seine-et-Oise was abolished in 1968....

.

Like many other Prussian business and political figures, Henckel was a reserve officer, and during the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 of 1870-71 he was military governor of Lorraine
Lorraine (province)
The Duchy of Upper Lorraine was an historical duchy roughly corresponding with the present-day northeastern Lorraine region of France, including parts of modern Luxembourg and Germany. The main cities were Metz, Verdun, and the historic capital Nancy....

. During the negotiations for the French war indemnity in 1871 he advised Bismarck that France could easily pay it - and indeed, the indemnity payments were completed ahead of schedule in 1873.

After Henckel's return to Germany with his wife in 1877, Bismarck occasionally entrusted him with discreet political or financial transactions. In 1884, for instance, Henckel arranged a loan for Bismarck's old friend, Prince Orlov, at that time the Russian ambassador in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

.

Henckel maintained a well-stocked game preserve on his estate at Neudeck
Neudeck
Neudeck may refer to:*the former estate of Paul von Hindenburg, today Ogrodzieniec, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, a village in northern Poland* the former estate of Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck , today Świerklaniec in Upper Silesia...

 in Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

. When Kaiser Wilhelm II visited Neudeck for a shoot in January 1890, he was able to kill 550 pheasants in a single day.

As an investor in the publishing company, in 1894 Henckel was unwillingly drawn into the dispute between the editor of Kladderadatsch
Kladderadatsch
Kladderadatsch was a satirical German-language magazine first published in Berlin on May 7, 1848, and appearing "daily, except for weekdays". It was founded by Albert Hofmann and David Kalisch, the latter the son of a Jewish merchant and the author of several works of comedy...

 and Geheimrat Friedrich von Holstein of the Foreign Office. In a series of anonymous articles the journal had held up to ridicule Holstein, Alfred von Kiderlen-Wächter and Philipp zu Eulenburg. Kiderlen challenged the editor of Kladderadatsch to a duel and wounded him, but Holstein was not satisfied. He issued a similar challenge to Henckel, who maintained his innocence and declined to fight. Wilhelm II wisely refused to force Henckel to fight Holstein, for, years later, two junior officials of the Foreign Office asserted that they had been the authors of the Kladderadatsch articles.

Wilhelm II granted Henckel the title of Fürst
Fürst
Fürst is a German title of nobility, usually translated into English as Prince.The term refers to the head of a principality and is distinguished from the son of a monarch, who is referred to as Prinz...

in 1901. The same year he declined appointment as Prussian Minister of Finance upon the death of Johannes Miquel.

In the years preceding World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 Henckel was estimated to be the second-wealthiest German subject, his fortune exceeded only by that of Bertha Krupp
Bertha Krupp
Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach , born Bertha Krupp and commonly known by this name outside Germany, was a member of the Krupp family, Germany's leading industrial dynasty of the 19th and 20th centuries...

 von Bohlen und Halbach.

In 1916 he founded the Fürst Donnersmarck Foundation in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 with the donation of about 620 acres (2.5 km²) of land and four million Goldmarks, an institution instituted to make scientific use of the experiences gained in World War I and to apply these insights in a therapeutic way, and now supporting the rehabilitation, care, and support of the physically and multiply disabled as well as research supporting that care.

Marriages

His first wife was Pauline Thérèse Lachmann
La Païva
Esther Lachmann, later Pauline Thérèse Lachmann, later Mme Villoing, later Mme la Marquise de Païva, later Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck, and generally known as la Païva was the most successful of 19th century French courtesans...

 (b. Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, 7 May 1819 – d. Neudeck, 21 January 1884), a courtesan
Courtesan
A courtesan was originally a female courtier, which means a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person.In feudal society, the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and social and political life were often completely mixed together...

 better known as La Païva
La Païva
Esther Lachmann, later Pauline Thérèse Lachmann, later Mme Villoing, later Mme la Marquise de Païva, later Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck, and generally known as la Païva was the most successful of 19th century French courtesans...

. They married in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 on 28 October 1871. Besides the château of Pontchartrain, Henckel gave her the famous yellow Donnersmarck Diamonds - one pear-shaped and weighing 82.4 carats (16.5 g), the other cushion-shaped and 102.5 carats (20.5 g). Horace de Viel-Castel
Horace de Viel-Castel
Marc-Roch-Horace de Salviac, Baron de Viel-Castel, known as Horace de Viel-Castel , was an art lover and collector, and director of the Louvre until 1863. A Bonapartist, he staunchly supported Napoleon III...

 wrote that she regularly wore some two million francs' worth of diamonds, pearls and other gems.

It was widely believed, but never proved, that La Païva and her husband were asked to leave France in 1877 on suspicion of espionage. In any case, Henckel brought his wife to live in his castle at Neudeck in Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia
Upper Silesia is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia. Since the 9th century, Upper Silesia has been part of Greater Moravia, the Duchy of Bohemia, the Piast Kingdom of Poland, again of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as of...

. He had a second estate at Hochdorf
Hochdorf
Hochdorf may refer to* Hochdorf, Lucerne, a municipality in Switzerland* Hochdorf , a district in the Canton of Lucerne, Switzerland* Hochdorf, Esslingen, a municipality in the district of Esslingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany...

 in Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia
Lower Silesia ; is the northwestern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia; Upper Silesia is to the southeast.Throughout its history Lower Silesia has been under the control of the medieval Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy from 1526...

.

His second wife was Katharina Slepzow (b. St. Petersburg, Russia, 16 February 1862 – d. Koslowagora, 10 February 1929). They were married at Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

 on 11 May 1887. They had two children, Guido Otto (1888–1959) and Krafft Raul Paul Alfred Ludwig Guido (1890–1977)

The prince commissioned a superb tiara for Princess Katharina, composed of 11 exceptionally rare Colombian emerald pear-shaped drops, which weigh over 500 carats and which are believed to have been in the Empress Eugénie's personal collection. The most valuable emerald and diamond tiara to have appeared at auction in the past 30 years, was auctioned by Sotheby's for CHF 11,282,500, CHF 2 million more than the highest estimate, on May 17th, 2011 in Geneva . The Donnersmarcks' jewellery collection was known to be on a par with, or even to have exceeded, those of many of the crowned heads of Europe.

Later life

Henckel remained interested in political affairs even in the last years of his long life. Beginning in the winter of 1913-14 he had numerous conversations with US Ambassador James W. Gerard
James W. Gerard
James Watson Gerard was a U.S. lawyer and diplomat.-Biography:Gerard was born in Geneseo, N. Y. He graduated from Columbia in 1890 and from New York Law School. He was chairman of the Democratic campaign committee of New York County for four years, and served as major of the National Guard of the...

, to whom he described his role in the French indemnity negotiations of 1871. He expressed his long-standing support for a protective tariff on agricultural products as well as government encouragement of German manufacturing interests. Henckel proposed that Gerard should take his second son, then nearly 24, to America to see the great iron and coal districts of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

.

With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Henckel advocated levying a war indemnity even larger than that of 1871. In 1915 he joined Fürst Hatzfeldt (head of the German Red Cross
German Red Cross
The German Red Cross , or the DRK, is the national Red Cross Society in Germany.With over 4.5 million members, it is the third largest Red Cross society in the world. The German Red Cross offers a wide range of services within and outside Germany...

), Bernhard Dernburg
Bernhard Dernburg
Bernhard Dernburg was a German liberal politician and banker. He served as Secretary for Colonial Affairs and head of the Imperial Colonial Office from May 1907 to 9 June 1910, and as Federal Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor of Germany from 17 April to 20 June 1919.-Background and banking...

, Hans Delbrück
Hans Delbrück
Hans Delbrück was a German historian. Delbrück was one of the first modern military historians, basing his method of research on the critical examination of ancient sources, the use of auxiliary disciplines, like demography and economics, to complete the analysis and the comparison between...

, Adolf von Harnack
Adolf von Harnack
Adolf von Harnack , was a German theologian and prominent church historian.He produced many religious publications from 1873-1912....

 and others in signing a petition opposing the annexation
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 of Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

.

Seeing through the military's glib propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 and increasingly anxious about Germany's growing war debt, Henckel von Donnersmarck died in Berlin in December 1916 at the age of 86.

Legacy

Following World War I, Neudeck passed to Polish sovereignty as Świerklaniec
Swierklaniec
Świerklaniec is a village in Tarnowskie Góry County, in the Silesian Voivodeship of southwestern Poland.-Geography:Świerklaniec lies approximately east of Tarnowskie Góry and north of the regional capital Katowice in the Silesia region....

; Hochdorf remained in German territory until 1945. Katharina Fürstin Henckel von Donnersmarck died at Koslowagora, today Kozłowa Góra, neighbourhood of Piekary Śląskie
Piekary Slaskie
Piekary Śląskie is a city in Silesia in southern Poland, near Katowice. The north district of the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Union - metropolis with the population of 2 million...

, in February 1929.

A decade later, during the preparations for the German invasion of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Guido's son, Guido Otto Fürst Henckel von Donnersmarck met with Oberstleutnant Erwin Lahousen of Abwehr (military intelligence) at Hochdorf on 11 June 1939 to offer the assistance of the entire forestry staff of his Polish estate. The offer was accepted. With the German defeat in 1945 and the coming of Communist rule, the family's estates were confiscated, and they went into exile in the West.

External links

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