Heinrich Ritter von Wittek

Heinrich ( until April 10, 1919 Knights of ) Wittek (born 29 January 1844 in Vienna, † April 9, 1930 in Vienna 1, Schottengasse 3, Melker Hof ) was high official, Christian Socialist politician, kk Minister of Railways and 1899/1900 for four weeks, Prime Minister of the Austrian part of Austria -Hungary.



Henry was the eldest son of Johann Marcellin Knights of Wittek (1801-1876), the educator of the future Emperor Franz Joseph I and his brothers. Henry was the playmate of Ludwig Viktor of Austria, the youngest brother of the Emperor. Through this courtly relations it enjoyed a certain protection during the monarchy.

Wittek had three sisters, Sophie ( * 1844), Johanna (* 1860), the painter was and wife of Minister Rudolf Freiherr Schuster of Bonnott, and Maria Annunziata ( 1867-1951 ), who worked under the name Irma Wittek as a writer.

Ministry officials

Heinrich Wittek was after the visit of the Vienna Schottengymnasiums and the study of law at the University of Vienna, Dr. jur. included in the civil service represented in the Imperial Council kingdoms and countries ( Cisleithania ). He distinguished himself as an expert on the railways and in 1886 at the Imperial Ministry of Commerce appointed section chief. In 1895 he was briefly Minister of Commerce. During his tenure in the Ministry of Commerce, he was with the preparations for transferring the railway agendas of the Ministry in the founded in 1896 kk Ministry of Railways is concerned, in which he described as Section Chief also changed itself; Here now are the agendas of k.k. Austrian State Railways worked under the direct authority of the Minister.

Minister of Railways

November 30, 1897 to May 1, 1905, he was appointed by Franz Joseph I, under five Cisleithanian Prime Minister Minister of Railways. He was successful in the expansion of the railway network and campaigned for social concerns of railwaymen. In his tenure as Minister of the Vienna city railway was opened in 1898-1901. He brought the project in 1901 New Alpine cars, the largest civilian investment projects of the Austrian half of the empire in the last twenty years of the monarchy, successfully through parliament ( the opening of the new railway lines found among ministers rather than later ). At his instigation a him directly subordinate Railway Construction Authority was established in the Ministry and decided on a ticket tax.

From December 21 1899 to January 18, 1900 officiated Wittek, as "transitional solution " for Ernest von Koerber, even briefly as Prime Minister of the Austrian half of the empire. It approved a liberal Viennese electoral rules that lay within the meaning of the Christian Social.

In two of the under construction new Alpenbahnen problems arose: in the Pyhrnbahn by water drops in Bosrucktunnel and at the Bohinj railway by geological features and water drops in the Bohinj Tunnel. For these and other additional costs was not made ​​provisions in the budget of the Ministry of Railways.


Wittek had, as the Viennese newspaper Neue Freie Presse summed up on 2 May 1905, made ​​on the basis of its supposed too little depth to the needs of the economy rail policy, various groups in the Imperial Parliament to the enemy. Now when the relevant subcommittee of the House of Representatives at the Project New Alpenbahnen substantial budget overruns noted for which no parliamentary approval had been obtained, said railway construction director Karl Wurmb his resignation. The parliamentarians held but, according to the newspaper, Wittek for the actual policy makers so that all fractions except the Christian Socialists appeared against him, and this did not consider it feasible to support Wittek. Even his fellow ministers did not want to speak for his whereabouts in the government. Wittek therefore submitted his resignation request, which was adopted by the Emperor on 1 May 1905.

The acting as a mouthpiece for the Christian Social Party Vienna daily Empire Post commented on May 3, 1905, the resignation Wittek so that Wittekschen failures are actually more spawn of Koerberschen total Cabinet, as errors Wittek, who had always a capable work force, a good professional and a worthy representative has been the general state interests in the railway policy. The paper recalled that the private railways are, have been very dissatisfied with the technical improvements that Wittek was required of them. The budget overruns on the railway construction were due to the fact that experts and parliamentarians had too superficial calculates the cost of new buildings train at their decision and therefore judged to be low. In addition, the Journal speculated the resignation Wittek could also have to do with the fact that ministerial posts ( parliamentarization of the Cabinet ) should be free to give the government the inclusion of strong faction representatives the support of a majority of the Imperial Council. The Christian Social Party but would certainly not want to ruin their reputation through participation in the government. The Viennese mayor Karl Lueger had Wittek select on 5 May 1905 by the Christian Socialist majority in the City Council an honorary citizen of Vienna.


The Privy Council, Minister out of service, Dr. Heinrich Ritter von Wittek was appointed by the Emperor on August 16, 1905, together with other men earned as a member of the manor for life. From the Imperial Council Election 1907 Wittek was until the end of the XI. Legislature, 1911, christian social member of the House of Representatives. He took it the mandate of Karl Lueger. Belonging to the mansion rested during his deputies activity.

Wittek was on 11 April 1930 on the Hietzinger cemetery in the 13th district of Vienna, close to Schonbrunn Palace, in Group 6, grave No. 65, at his parents' grave (1876, his father, his mother Elise 1891 ) buried. 1951 here his sister Maria Annunziata was buried.