Wittgenstein, Ludwig (Josef Johann)

Karl Wittgenstein (b. April 8, 1847 in Gohlis near Leipzig; d. January 20, 1913 in Vienna) was an entrepreneur.


The grandfather of Karl Wittgenstein, estate manager Moses Meyer, came from Laasphe in the former Wittgenstein kreis (county). He moved to Korbach before 1802, where he opened a dry goods store.

The Napoleonic effort of equality before the law for all Jews in the kingdom of Westphalia in 1808 decreed that all people should take a surname within three months. Moses Meyer took the name of his birthplace and thereafter was known as Moses Meyer-Wittgenstein.

Meyer-Wittgenstein's store became the biggest enterprise in the city of Korbach, but also shortly thereafter began to decline. He had a son, Hermann Christian (b. September 12, 1802 in Korbach; d. 1878 in Vienna) who moved the business to Gohlis at the end of the 1830s.

After Heinrich Christian converted to Protestantism he married Fanny Figdor in 1839. She came from one of the most important business families in Vienna.

Karl, born in 1847, was the sixth of eleven children of Heinrich and Fanny. Three years later the family moved to Vösendorf (Mödling district) in Austria, where his four younger siblings were born.

The family then moved in 1860 to Vienna, where Hermann Christian was involved in the furniture business. In 1865 Karl secretly left home and sought his fortune in the U.S., a violin was his only possession. There he earned a living as a musician and a waiter in bars. In 1867 he moved back home with a great deal of self confidence.

In Vienna he studied at the technical university and became a draftsman and engineer. He began at the mill in Teplitz, where he eventually became director in 1877 and then a few years later principal shareholder.

Karl married his wife, Leopoldine Kallmus, in 1873. They moved for one year to Teplitz in northern Bohemia, then they moved to a villa in the Vienna district of Meidling.

They had the following children:

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