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Đorđe Vajfert (Serbian Cyrillic: Ђорђе Вајферт, German: Georg Weifert; 15 June 1850, Pančevo – 12 January 1937, Belgrade) was a Serbian industrialist of German descent, Governor of the National Bank of the Kingdom of Serbia and of the National Bank of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes[1]. In addition, he is considered the founder of the modern mining sector in Serbia.

Biography

Weifert on the 1000 Serbian dinar bill.

Georg Weifert was born in Austrian Banat to a Danube Swabian family. From an early age Đorđe Vajfert worked with his father, Ignatz Weifert in Belgrade, in brewing. Theirs was the first brewery in the Kingdom of Serbia. He graduated from the Braumeisterschule in Weihenstephan, near Munich. Then he returned to Serbia and took over the brewery of his father, which he expanded. With the profits he bought a coal mine in Kostolac, then a copper mine in Bor, a Steinberg works at Zaječar and finally a gold mine. With the proceeds from the mines, he was the richest man in Serbia and was considered the greatest industrialist of the future Yugoslavia.

In 1890 Vajfert was appointed Governor of the National Bank of Serbia. He served in this capacity from 1890 to 1902, and again from 1912 to 1914/1918[1]. During this period he acquired a good reputation maintaining the value of the Serbian dinar and in credit. After 1918, because of his good offices, Vajfert was appointed Governor of the National Bank of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes[1]. His best-known arrangement as Governor was the conversion of the Austro-Hungarian currency into the new Yugoslav dinar. This also led to great criticism, as the former Serbian dinar was exchanged 1:1 in the new dinar, the Austrian money into a 4:1 ratio - this led to substantial losses of property of those Yugoslavs who formerly lived in Austria-Hungary.

Đorđe Vajfert was an important patron and supporter of humanitarian and cultural institutions. He donated his prized collection of ancient coins and his private library to the University of Belgrade. In Vršac he was honorary president of the local fire department. In Pančevo, from where his parents Ignatz and Anna originated, he left the Roman Catholic Church a small chapel known as Anina crkva (the Church of Anna), in memory of his mother.

Đorđe Vajfert died in 1937. The heir to his business empire was his nephew Ferdinand Gramberg. Since 2001, his portrait is depicted on the 1000 Serbian dinar note.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c Governors (1884 - 2004) at the National Bank of Serbia web site
  2. ^ Banknotes Withdrown from Circulation on the National Bank of Serbia web site
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