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von Schaffgotsch coat of arms

The von Schaffgotsch family is one of the oldest still existing Silesian noble families, dating back to the 13th century. They were first mentioned in the St. Gallen book of documents in 804 and 809 and originally domiciled in the Margraviate of Meissen, Franconia and Tyrol. Around 1240 the first Schaffgotsch appears in a Silesian document as Sibotho ""de nobili Familia Ovium" (Ovium means sheep, the Latin translation of the German word Schaf(f)). According to tradition Sibotho came in the entourage of Hedwig of Andechs and Henry I the Bearded. One of his successors, knight Gotsche II. Schoff (died 1420), bought large possessions in the foreland of the Riesengebirge Giant Mountains and Iser Jizera Mountains at the end of the 14th century, namely the Kynast and Greiffenstein dominions. In 1403 he donated the Cistercian provost's church Warmbrunn. The family cherished him, the originator of the wealth, by adopting the sobriquet Gotsch. Later both names were connected to Schaffgotsch. His son Hans (died 1469) was the first in the family to be chancellor, court judge and governor (German: Landeshauptmann) of the principality Schweidnitz-Jauer (Świdnica-Jawor). With his sons Anton, Kaspar and Ulrich the family split into three branches.

Anton (died 1508) established the Bohemian branch, whose lines Seifersdorf and Kreppelhof-Reußendorf-Ullersdorf died out in the 17th century. 1674 they became Bohemian barons and 1681 counts. The most important representatives of this branch were Christoph Wilhelm (1687-1768), who was Landeshauptmann (governor) of Silesia, Johann Ernst Anton (1685-1768), senior burgrave of Prague, Johann Prokop (1748-1813), bishop of Budweis České Budějovice and Anton Ernst (1804-70), bishop of Brünn Brno. This line, which until 1945 mostly resided in Eastern Bohemia, died out in 1993.

Philipp Gotthard Graf von Schaffgotsch

The line of Ulrich (1453-1543) ceased to exist in 1661, his dominion Greiffenstein however was attained by Christoph (1552-1601), grandson of Kaspar (1476-1534), already in 1578. He was the first ancestor of the Silesian branch of the family, which was split up into the lines Kynast-Warmbrunn and Wildschütz in 1766. The latter was located in Austrian Silesia and died out in the first half of the 20th century.

Christophs son, Hans Ulrich (1595-1635), like his father of Protestant faith, was the only Schaffgotsch who married into a dynastic house, since his wife Barbara Agnes was a princess of Liegnitz Brieg (which makes her a descendant of the House of Ascania through her mother. Princess Anna Marie of Anhalt-Zerbst, who was the daughter of Joachim Ernst, Duke of Anhalt. Through her father, she is descended from Dukes of Silesia and Władysław II the Exile[1]) He received all rights of a Silesian sovereign and was awarded with the title Semperfrei by the emperor. As a imperial general he served under Wallenstein, but signed the first Pilsen Revers, which was interpreted as betrayal by the emperor. Hans Ulrich was beheaded and the family lost all their possession. His son Christoph Leopold (1632-1703) converted to Catholicism and retrieved all estates except Trachtenberg. In 1654 he became count and was imperial legate in Poland. In 1683 he accompanied John III Sobieski at the Battle of Vienna as the ambassador of the emperor. He was court tutor and court judge in Schweidnitz and Jauer, furthermore chamber president and upper governor (German: Oberlandeshauptmann) of Silesia. His son Johann Anton Gotthard (1665-1742), ennobled to imperial count (German: Reichsgraf), was director of the Silesian district authority (German: Oberamt).

After the capture of Silesia by Prussia Phillipp Gotthard (1715-95) became bishop of Breslau. In the following generation Johann Nepomuk Gotthard (1732-1808) received the title "Erblandhofmeister". The family became a member of the Prussian House of Lords. In the first half of the 19th century the family split up again, this time into a Upper Silesian (Koppitz) and Lower Austrian (Niederleis) branch. The Upper Silesian line, which owned the biggest coal mines in the German part of Upper Silesia, became one of the largest industrial dynasties in Germany. The branch in Lower Silesia, with its large possessions in and around the Riesen- and Iser Gebirge Giant and Jesera Mountains, was considered the second wealthiest family before World War I. Before World War II the last lord of the estate, Friedrich (1883-1947), with 27.668 ha owned the sixth largest enterprise in Prussia.

After World War II most members of the Schaffgotsch family were expelled from their home and the properties confiscated by the Communists.

View of the Giant Mountains and the Schaffgotsch owned comital estates in the 18th century


  1. ^ Duchess Barbara Agnes von Schlesien-Liegnitz
  • Das schlesische Elysium, Arne Franke, Deutsches Kulturforum östliches Europa e.V., p. 16-19 (German)
  • A. Kuzio-Podrucki, Das Haus Schaffgotsch. Das wechselvolle Schicksal einer schlesischen Adelsdynastie, Tarnowskie Góry 2009, ISBN 978-83-61458-32-6 (German)
  • A. Kuzio-Podrucki, Schaffgotschowie. Zmienne losy śląskiej arystokracji, Bytom 2007, ISBN 978-83-923733-1-5, (polish)
  • About Family Schaffgotsch on the website: Silesian gentry and aristocracy (English)

External links



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