The von Zech-Burkersroda Family
Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda (1805 - 1872)
Count Ernst Lothar Julius von Zech-Burkersroda inherited the Manor of Börln from his father. Born on 7th February 1885 in Dresden, he read Law in Leipzig and at Heidelberg University where he was a member of the student organisation Corps Saxo-Borussia Heidelberg. Later, he studied in Berlin and Halle, completing his studies in 1906. Count Julius made his career in the diplomatic service, entering the diplomatic service of Prussia in 1909 and being appointed Adjutant to his future father-in-law Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg in 1914. In 1917 he went to Munich and in 1922 was Ambassador to Finland. From 1925 he was in the Southern Europe Division of the Foreign Office and in 1928, was appointed Ambassador to The Hague, where he remained until 1940.
The Manor consisted of the village of Börln with Radegast and Frauwalde. As the Count and his family were not there very often, the castle was used as a summer holiday residence. The estate was leased, agricultural land and fields of some 600 Ha and forests of some 400 Ha.
This property remained in the possession of the von Zech-Burkersroda family until expropriation in 1945. The family had a very long connection with the manor. The Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony who owned it between 1620 and 1635 was a 7th great grandfather of Count Julius. There was another connection to the royal house: his 3rd great grandfather was Count Friedrich August von Cosel (1712 - 1770), a son of King August the Strong and his mistress Countess Anna von Cosel.
Count Julius followed a career in the diplomatic service and was ambassador in Finland, thereafter in The Hague where he remained until 1940. Although he was a member of the Party, he was not an admirer of the Nazi regime. He made himself unpopular in Holland for assuring the Dutch that the German Army would not invade their country. On 10th May 1940 the country was invaded and on 7th June 1940 Count Julius was placed on early retirement.
He thereafter lived in Börln until the end of the War in 1945 with his wife Countess Isa (named after her Swiss-French grandmother Isabelle), a daughter of the Reichs-Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg who was in office until 1917 and tended his beloved castle park almost daily.
At the end of the War, the Russians arrested Count Julius after questioning him for half a day in Schloss Börln and he died apparently on 19th January 1946 in the Speziallager 4 in Bautzen. The Provincial Governor of the Region of Wurzen informed the family that the War Commandant had confiscated the Manor of Börln. He has no grave. All of his possessions were expropriated by the Soviet regime or stolen, mostly by villagers. He is remembered in Börln as a kind man who served his country and who obtained much pleasure from his house and garden. The restoration of these and regular conducted tours, will ensure that he is never forgotten in Börln.
Countess Isa and her daughter Margarethe von Kirchbach (18.08.1975) were transported to the Island of Rügen and escaped to join the younger daughter Countess Gisela von Zech-Burkersroda (25.11.2003 in Munich), having also fled to the West. The only son, Friedrich, died on 15.11.1938 aged 22 in Davos, Switzerland as a result of tuberculosis and was buried in the family cemetery behind the church in Börln.
Although the Börln male line of the family became extinct, the Goseck line had male descendants. One of these is Count Georg von Zech-Burkersroda who until 2012 was and Dean of the Cathedrals in Naumburg and Merseburg. Although he was born in Goseck, his maternal grandmother Louisa von der Borch was a von Zech-Burkersroda of the Börln line, a sister of Count Julius. So it was, that the two lines were united.
Countess Isa von Zech-Burkersroda nee von Bethmann-Hollweg
Countess Isa was much loved in the village. She looked after about 100 refugee children that were taken into the castle. She even cut up her valuable carpets to make slippers for the children. Children whose fathers were soldiers far away from home were invited to listen to her reading Christmas stories. Although she was a daughter of the former German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, she was as at home in large cities like The Hague as she was in the country and in the castle in Börln. She was transported along with other aristocrats from the region and with her daughter Margarethe von Kirchbach to the Island of Rügen from where they escaped and made their way to her brother. Her other daughter Countess Gisela was a nurse in the War, was shot in the leg and removed the bullet with the aid of a pair of nail scissors. She was later able to reach her mother and sister.
Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda (1885 - 1946), Corps student in Heidelberg, 1904. Copyright (C) 2015 Corps Saxo-Borussia
Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda (1885 - 1946) in his study, most likely in Schloss Börln
Countess Isa lost all her possessions and lived after the War in a small house on the grounds of her son-in-law's property (Reinhard von Kirchbach, a minister of the Lutheran Church, air pilot in WWII) in northern Germany, built with a donation from the Pope who tried to rescue Count Julius who was, however, already dead. Countess Isa lost her beloved husband, her house and everything that stood in it but she often reminded her children that possessions are not the most important things in life. Countess Isa will also not be forgotten in Börln.
Copyright (C) von Kirchbach Family
Armorial bearings of the von Zech-Burkersroda family
Countess Isa von Zech-Burkersroda née von Bethmann-Hollweg (1894 - 1967)
Copyright (C) 2015 von Kirchbach Family
Countess von Zech-Burkersroda's wartime experiences can be read in German in this document:
Countess Isa von Zech-Burkersroda née von Bethmann-Hollweg and her father Reichs-Chancellor Theodor von Bethmann-Hollweg in Berlin. Copyright (C) von Kirchbach Family
Text and all images unless specifically mentioned Copyright (C) 2016-26 Roderick Hinkel
Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda (1885 - 1946)
The von Zech-Burkersroda family can be traced back to Bernhard Zech, son of a Weimar clothmaker, who elevated himself to the position of Government Secretary and later Minister of State in Dresden. In 1716 the Elector Karl IV raised him and his descendants into the Holy Roman Empire nobility. His son of the same first name was a Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Privy Councillor and President of the Empire Curate Court and was raised by the Emperor Karl VI in 1722 to status of Baron of the Empire. As Curate of the Empire he succeeded in 1745 attaining the title for himself and his descendants of Count.
The last Countess von Zech, née Baroness Louise Christiane Dorothea von Zech, whose mother was a von Burkersroda from Kötzschau, adopted the Amtshauptmann (Captain) Johann Christian August von Burkersroda of the House of Kötzschau. In 1815 his name and armorial bearings were combined with those of the Counts von Zech.
Julius von Burkersroda, since 1815 Count von Zech otherwise named von Burkersroda, was born in Weißenfels (Saale) on 19th July 1805. He as a Royal Prussian Chamberlain and Privy Councillor, Member of the Prussian House of Lords, former Provincial Government Marshall of the Province of Saxony and Imperial Knight of the Order of St. John. Count Julius was descended - as is the current owner of Schloss Börln - from Heinrich von Schleinitz, (1449) Lord of the Manors of Schleinitz, Seerhausen, Dahlen and Saathain, also Watzschwitz (Jahnishausen), Knight (recorded 1408 - 1466), Lord Steward of the Elector Friedrich the Meek he was his 9th great-grandfather.
Count Julius was in fact descended from three of the eleven children of Heinrich von Schleinitz, the siblings:-
- Hans von Schleinitz (30.04.1501), Lord of the Manors of Seerhausen and Dahlen;
- Georg von Schleinitz, Lord of the Manors of Ragewitz, Stauchwitz, Grubnitz and Altoschatz, owner of the Vogtshaus in Oschatz (the oldest house built of stone in central Germany), knight with Duke Wilhelm in Jerusalem;
- Margarethe von Schleinitz, wife of the knight Thilo III von Seebach, Lord of the Manors of Weberstädt, Hennigsleben, Grumbach and Rockensüßra, Groß.-und Klein-Fahner.
On 14th October 1834 he married Augustine Margarethe von Haeseler; a son was born of this marriage, Julius Ludwig August Count von Zech-Burkersroda, from whom the Goseck branch of the family is descended. Count Julius purchased the Manor of Börln for 180,000 Taler in 1838. In 1841 the marriage ended in divorce.
Kötzschau, Goseck, Eula, Diehsa and other estates remained in his possession. From 1843 he represented the Merseburg Part of the Wittenberg Electoral Area in the Parliament of the Prussian Province of Saxony, hitherto he had been a Parliamentary Deputy for the Merseburg Monastery. From 1845 to 1860 he was Parliamentary Marshall of the Province of Saxony and was granted lifelong membership of the Prussian House of Lords. Count Julius was alone for ten years then on 16th December 1851 he was married in Merseburg to Thekla Marie Anna von Krosigk. Her family owned the Manor of Großböhla, not far from Börln. A son was also born of this marriage: Count Friedrich Ludwig von Zech-Burkersroda who was born on 18th February 1853 in Bündorf and inherited Börln. Count Julius died on 17th June 1872 and was buried in Bendorf near Merseburg.
Count Ludwig von Zech-Burkersroda (1853 - 1927)
Ludwig Count von Zech-Burkersroda inherited in 1872 when his father died, Börln, Radegast and Kötzschau, whilst his half-brother inherited the possessions in the Goseck region. He was a Royal Saxon Chamberlain and, like his father, an Imperial Knight of the Order of St. John. In a periodical about the level of income of German citizens of 1912/13 the family counted amongst the north German millionaires. On 18th February 1880 he was married at Schloss Gamig to Margarete Caroline Therese Eugenie von Lüttichau and appears to have started modernising the castle of Börln in the same year, in the Wilhelminian "Gründerzeit" style. During his lifetime, the Bismarck Oak Tree was planted, in 1895. He died on 30th December 1927 in Börln; his widow died on 10th January 1931, also in Börln.
Portrait of the Court Chamberlain Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda, 1841. Artist: Louis Ferdinand von Rayski. Gemäldegalerie, Dresden