Carl Kupelwieser and Bertha Wittgenstein – the Lunz-Kyrnberg story
Carl, Leopold’s eldest son, had studied law in Vienna and ran a law firm. As a “smart dandy”, he was welcomed in the noble Viennese society of that time. So he came into contact with Ottilie Ida Bertha Wittgenstein, with whom he married. Insider knowledge thanks to his brothers, who worked in the iron sector, and good contacts with the Vienna Stock Exchange made it possible for him to buy iron shares at the right time. So he quickly made a lot of money not only through marriage, but also through speculation. Like many “noveau riche” of that time, he wanted to do the same as the nobility – so, in 1897, he bought a hunting estate for 175,000 guilders, the estate “Seehof-Hirschthal” estate in Lunz am See, and expanded his area by purchasing around 30 small farms. Bertha brought the “Kyrnberg” estate in Pyhra near St. Pölten into her marriage and also turned it into a model farm. On a trip to France, she scraped cheese cultures off the wall – in a kind of “industrial espionage” – and subsequently produced the Kyrnberger Gervais cheese, which was particularly popular in Vienna. Even Gauleiter Hugo Jury later wanted to incorporate this patent. Carl and Bertha liked to share their wealth and donated a lot to the general public: the agricultural school in Pyhra, the hospital in Scheibbs, the radium institute in Vienna and the biological station in Lunz am See. They were also great promoters of the arts. She and the Wittgenstein still owned many villas in Pörtschach, where Johannes Brahms often stayed, and Bertha, as his “fan”, designed a bust for him in Leonstain Palace. There, Carl had also welcomed participants of the international biologists’ conference that took place in Graz at the end of August 1910, led by his son Hans, who also visited the biological station in Lunz am See, founded in 1905, and then went on to Brioni in early September 1910. Brahms preferred the lakeside villas because there were too many snakes in the old castle. Bertha also had a villa built on Brioni based on Karl Wittgenstein’s plans. The villa itself no longer exists, only a balustrade by the sea, with a view of Pula, has remained. Bertha was a very unconventional woman and kept giving the finest anecdotes to smile about. For example, on a trip to a social event in Vienna, she had to change due to a delay in her train compartment. The presence of a strange male passenger did not prevent her from doing so – we will never find out whether he was really asleep or just pretending to be. She was also one of the first female automotive drivers, which was her doom. In 1923 she died in a traffic accident due to a technical defect – on a curve on the notorious Neunkirchner Avenue.
In the period of inflation after the First World War, the Kupelwieser family lost part of their great fortune, they could only keep the Seehof-Hirschthal and Kyrnberg estates, and also suffered during the National Socialist regime for so called “racial” reasons. Later on the manor in Lunz am See was owned and managed as a thriving forest company by Dipl. Ing. Hans Peter Kupelwieser, the grandson of Dr. Carl Kupelwieser. He died in 2013 at the age of 91. Since then it has been managed by the dedicated forester Bernd Puritscher for the heirs Hans and Paul Kupelwieser, Elisabeth Jungwirth, Johanna Eder-Kovar and Heinrich Kovar.