Tradition and responsibility

The history of the Freiherren Waitz Group

The Waitz family originated from Thuringia (Gotha and Schmalkalden) and the family had already been involved in entrepreneurial pursuits in the early modern period.

Today, the family's entrepreneurial activities date back to the mining officer Jacob Sigismund Waitz (1698-1776), who leased the Saline Sülze in Mecklenburg and which was enteoffed in 1750 with the Mehlbach at Weilmünster silver mine from Nassau-Weilburg. In 1775 he became a Hessian Minister of State and during the Seven Year War, he was temporarily in charge of government business. In 1764, he was elevated by Kaiser Franz to imperial free baron status that can be inherited. In 1774, Friedrich the Great appointed him to the position of Prussian minister of state. Jacob Sigismund Waitz was a member of the science academies in Berlin, Göttingen und Stockholm. 


His heirs continued with the entrepreneurial activities and many of them also held offices in numerous high minister positions. In 1795, for example, Friedrich Sigismund Waitz von Eschen signed the Basel peace treaty between France and Hessia-Kassel. At the end of the 18th century, the beginning of the 19th century, the family purchased more mining fields and various real properties, which to this day is  in part still being used for agriculture and forestry. In connection with mining, potassium alum plants and chemical factories have been in operation and porcelain is manufactured. In the 20th century, the Group added camera production to it portfolio of products, it became heavily involved in winder power and at the end of the century got more and more into machine manufacturing. The last lignite mining operation was discontinued in 2003. The open-cast mining areas are being re-cultivated and are being integrated for use as nature areas, recreational parks or for building construction. 

The composition of the Group's activities has undergone continuous change over the last 250 years and will continue to do so in the future.