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Hyppolite Wawelberg Wawelberg.JPG
Hyppolite Wawelberg

The Wawelbergs were a Polish family whose banking house was active in both Congress Poland and the Russian Empire.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Congress Poland former state in Eastern Europe

Congress Poland or Russian Poland, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland, was a polity created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna as a sovereign Polish state. Until the November Uprising in 1831, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Tsars of Russia. Thereafter, the state was forcibly integrated into the Russian Empire over the course of the 19th century. In 1915, during World War I, it was replaced by the Central Powers with the nominal Regency Kingdom of Poland, which continued to exist until Poland regained independence in 1918.

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.


Hyppolite Wawelberg

Wawelberg Bank building, St. Petersburg Wawelberg bank.jpg
Wawelberg Bank building, St. Petersburg

The Russian branch was founded by Hyppolite Wawelberg (1843–1901). The first Wawelberg Bank had its origins in a loan office that began operating in the early 1840s. In 1869 young Hyppolite Wawelberg moved to St. Petersburg where he launched a new venture, the Wawelberg Bank. Hyppolite Wawelberg's Polish-Jewish connections (Wawelbergs were Jewish) remained strong, and the bank was generally known as having two separate centers - in Warsaw and in St. Petersburg. The first location of Wawelberg Bank was 25 Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg (House of the Parish of Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral, now housing Stockmann department store and SAS - Scandinavian Airlines System offices). Hyppolite Wawelberg made a fortune in Russia though he was equally well known as a generous philanthropist.

Bank financial institution

A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates credit. Lending activities can be performed either directly or indirectly through capital markets. Due to their importance in the financial stability of a country, banks are highly regulated in most countries. Most nations have institutionalized a system known as fractional reserve banking under which banks hold liquid assets equal to only a portion of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations intended to ensure liquidity, banks are generally subject to minimum capital requirements based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords.

Loan transfer of money that must be repaid

In finance, a loan is the lending of money by one or more individuals, organizations, or other entities to other individuals, organizations etc. The recipient incurs a debt, and is usually liable to pay interest on that debt until it is repaid, and also to repay the principal amount borrowed.

Office room where people perform their duties or a position within an organization

An office is generally a room or other area where an organization's employees perform administrative work in order to support and realize objects and goals of the organization. The word "office" may also denote a position within an organization with specific duties attached to it ; the latter is in fact an earlier usage, office as place originally referring to the location of one's duty. When used as an adjective, the term "office" may refer to business-related tasks. In law, a company or organization has offices in any place where it has an official presence, even if that presence consists of a storage silo rather than an establishment with desk-and-chair. An office is also an architectural and design phenomenon: ranging from a small office such as a bench in the corner of a small business of extremely small size, through entire floors of buildings, up to and including massive buildings dedicated entirely to one company. In modern terms an office is usually the location where white-collar workers carry out their functions. As per James Stephenson, "Office is that part of business enterprise which is devoted to the direction and co-ordination of its various activities."

The new Polish Kingdom (Polish : Królestwo Polskie; Russian : Korolevstvo Polskoe), as created by the Congress of Vienna, was a Polish entity but was in personal dynastic union with Imperial Russia, since the reigning Romanov Tsar was also king of Poland. Though based in St. Petersburg, the Wawelbergs were instrumental to the development of finance in the Polish Kingdom. They were to Congress Poland what the Medicis were to Florence, the Fuggers to Augsburg, the Rothschilds to France, and the Mellons to the late-19th-century United States.

Polish language West Slavic language spoken in Poland

Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish-language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Congress of Vienna Early 19th century conference of ambassadors of European states to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe

The Congress of Vienna, also called Vienna Congress, was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from November 1814 to June 1815, though the delegates had arrived and were already negotiating by late September 1814. The objective of the Congress was to provide a long-term peace plan for Europe by settling critical issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The goal was not simply to restore old boundaries but to resize the main powers so they could balance each other and remain at peace. The leaders were conservatives with little use for republicanism or revolution, both of which threatened to upset the status quo in Europe. France lost all its recent conquests while Prussia, Austria and Russia made major territorial gains. Prussia added smaller German states in the west, Swedish Pomerania and 60% of the Kingdom of Saxony; Austria gained Venice and much of northern Italy. Russia gained parts of Poland. The new Kingdom of the Netherlands had been created just months before, and included formerly Austrian territory that in 1830 became Belgium.

Museum of Industry and Agriculture, Warsaw Krakowskie Przedmiescie, Warsaw.JPG
Museum of Industry and Agriculture, Warsaw

By 1900 Hyppolite Wawelberg was at the helm of the Wawelberg Bank and held the title of honorable citizen of St. Petersburg, an appellation that could be passed on like a title of nobility. He was also a member of the management board of the Warsaw Bank of Commerce (Bank Handlowy w Warszawie). Back in St. Petersburg he was a member of the treasury of the Jewish Colonist Society, honorable member of the Jewish Educational Society (Общество распространения просвещения среди евреев) and benefactor of the Roman Catholic Beneficial Society (Римско-католического благотворительное общества).

Russian nobility privileged social class in the Russian Empire

The Russian nobility originated in the 14th century. In 1914 it consisted of approximately 1,900,000 members.

Management Coordinating the efforts of people

Management is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body. Management includes the activities of setting the strategy of an organization and coordinating the efforts of its employees to accomplish its objectives through the application of available resources, such as financial, natural, technological, and human resources. The term "management" may also refer to those people who manage an organization.

In 1875, in Warsaw, Poland, Hyppolite Wawelberg co-founded the Museum of Industry and Agriculture (Muzeum Przemysłu i Rolnictwa w Warszawie). It was in a physics laboratory there that, in 1890–91, Maria Skłodowska (Marie Curie), future investigator of radioactivity and future double Nobel laureate, did her first scientific work.

Museum of Industry and Agriculture

The Museum of Industry and Agriculture is a former museum of technology and agriculture at 66, Krakowskie Przedmieście in Warsaw, Poland.

In 1895 Hyppolite Wawelberg founded the Warsaw Mechanical-Technical School with his faithful friend and collaborator, Stanislav Rotwand (Cтанислав Ротванд, Stanisław Rotwand), an 1860 alumnus of the University of Saint Petersburg law school.

Michael Wawelberg

Warsaw building Western Bank.JPG
Warsaw building

Michael Wawelberg (Михаил Ипполитович Вавельберг; 1880 – after 1929) received a classical educational at the St. Nicholas Imperial Gymnasium in Tsarskoe Selo (Царскосельская Императорская Николаевская гимназия), from which he graduated in 1899. His father Hyppolite Wawelberg donated 500 roubles for the gymnasium's own charity, which at the time was a considerable sum of money.

in 1903 Michael Wawelberg graduated from the University of St. Petersburg law school. That year he also took over the management of the Wawelberg Bank, which in 1912 was renamed the St. Petersburg Commercial Bank (Петербургский Торговый банк). In 1913 a branch was founded in Poland and became a publicly traded company – the Western Bank (Bank Zachodni) in Poland). The Wawelbergs later lost control of it due to Russian Bolshevik-induced turmoil.

In 1910 the St. Petersburg Commercial Bank purchased a building with a lot underneath it[ clarification needed ] in one most prestigious locations, at the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and aristocratic Malaia Morskaia ulitsa (7 and 9 Nevsky Prospekt ). The bank announced an open competition for the building's design. The competition was won by young Russian architect Marian Peretiatkovich (Peretyatkovich).

Naom Sindalovskii quotes a telling local St. Petersburg legend about building's construction. According to the legend after the building was constructed and the client (Michael Wawelberg) inspected it and could not find any deficiency with the work, he ordered to change the doors anyway because the door sign said "push." That's not what I do in life, said Wawelberg, I only pull things toward myself.

In 1917, on the eve of the Bolshevik putsch, Michael Wawelberg lived in Tsarskoye Selo at 66 Boulvardnaia ulitsa (66 Boulevard Street; ул. Бульварая, 66; Soviet name: Октябрьский бульвар, Oktiabr'skii Boulevard). He was the chairman of the Commercial Bank and director of the board of Donetsk and Grushev Coal and Anthracite Mines (директор правления Донецко-Грушевского акционерного общества каменно-угольных и антрацитовых копий).

He fled Russia after 1917 and then disappears from the public view. Most likely he settled in Poland or spent some time there, because in Andrei Serkov's book on Russian Free Masonry he mentions that two free masons, Alexander Erdman and Michael Wawelberg (М. И. Вавельберг), as they considered themselves Russian, petitioned Grand Master of the Polish Lodge with a request to allow them to found the Russian Lodge in Warsaw.

In St. Petersburg the Wawelbergs are best remembered because of the Wawelberg Bank building still popularly known as the House of Wawelberg (Дом Вавельберга) at 7/9 Nevsky Prospekt.

See also

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