Bettina’s family is an eclectic, wistful dynasty full of Old-World-Charm and German melancholia. From high aspirations and accomplishments to patrician eccentricity and some outright mad- and sadness, from profound thinkers to pragmatic doers, the family endured in often tumultuous times. 

From Bettina’s philosophical father who loathes social media, to her unconventional activist/professor/writer-mother Barbara; From the Renaissance-Man-grandfather with movie-star looks who flew some of Germany’s first private planes and built beautiful violins, to Bettina’s elegant grandmother who gave her Chanel No. 5 on her sixth Birthday and hung chains of pearls around her neck at three.

From the stylish, aristocratic great-aunts with flapper-do’s, dogs, and whimsical leopard-fur coats to the quintessence of the German real estate magnate, Bettina’s great-great-grandfather Georg Leib without whom the Campanile in Venice would not stand today.

From Georg Leib’s philanthropist-wife Anna, whose funeral was attended by 2000 people in Munich’s Old Cemetery, to Bettina’s great-great-uncle Max Niedermayer, the Royal Privy Councillor who became an honorary citizen of Landshut after cleaning up Munich’s filtration system.

From her great-uncle Karl Wenschow, who developed the map-relief technique, to Bettina, who is working on developing ‘something’ that measures up :o)

Here are some of Bettina’s family members, from the good, the great, the sad and bad:



The Royal Councillor of Commerce
Bettina’s Great-Great-Grandfather



Georg Leib, (born March 9th, 1846 in Wallerstein, died 1910 in Munich) was the Royal Councillor of Commerce to Bavaria’s Prince Regent Luitpold. He started his career as a scaffolding specialist, and later ran a successful real-estate company in Munich. He was the head of the Bavarian County Administration. There are two streets named after him, one in Munich and one in Haar, a suburb of Munich.

After the trademark tower of Venice, San Marco’s Campanile, collapsed in 1902, Georg Leib donated the scaffolding and other means to rebuild the tower. At the time, the majority had decided to tear the tower down. Georg Leib was the first philanthropist to donate to the cause of rebuilding Venice's tower because he believed it was a hallmark of Venice. Leib also built the scaffolding for the Dome of Milan (Milan Cathedral), the original Thalkirchner Bridge, and he built one of the first sanatoriums in Germany, named after him in Haar, Munich. The latter was the first institution of the kind in Germany. Georg Leib was one of the builders of St. Joseph's Cloister in Munich. He donated his services and scaffolding to build St. Anton's in Munich, and was awarded the Royal Prince Regent's Medal for his efforts.

Georg Leib is buried in the Old Cemetery (Alter Südlicher Friedhof) in Munich (grave section 31-1-2). Georg Leib's sister married the royal privy councillor Max Niedermayer, who became an honorary citizen of Landshut. Georg Leib's descendants were his grandson Otto Leib, and granddaughter Lea von Langsdorff.




The Philanthropist
Bettina’s Great-Great-Grandmother



Anna Leib, wife of Georg Leib. In her short life, she tirelessly aided those in need in Munich. When she died at 46 after long illness, 2000 people attended her funeral in Munich at the Old Cemetery.



The Royal Privy Councillor
Great-Great-Uncle Max Niedermayer



Royal Privy Councillor to Prince Regent Ludwig III of Bavaria. Niedermayer worked with famed chemist and hygienist Max-Joseph Von Pettenkofer to improve Munich’s hygiene and drinking water, and prevent spread of diseases.

Later, Niedermayer introduced a new irrigation system in its entirety to the city of Landshut. Consequently, he became an honorary citizen of Landshut. 



The Bavarienne 
Great-Great-Aunt Sophie Niedermayer



Georg Leib’s sister. Married to Max Niedermayer, Royal Privy Councillor. Family lore has it that she was tough, fair, and always kept the family together.



The Cartographer
Bettina’s Great-Uncle Karl Wenschow



Karl Wenschow invented the famous Wenschow-relief-technique for maps in the field of cartography. He developed a procedure, now named after him, for creating shaded relief. The procedure requires a three dimensional model of the terrain carved with precision routers from a block of plaster. The model is then obliquely illuminated and photographed from a distance of 40 to 50 m using a special camera.

Due to his technique Wenschow relief maps have gained worldwide recognition. Wenschow was the most popular school map in the USA. Distinguished for his excellent execution of the relief, nature-like, harmonizing, earth-like colors and high readability of the typical Wenschow related typefaces.

From the 1960s up until the 1980s Wenschow maps were distributed by Denoyer-Geppert in Chicago, USA. In 1984, however, Denoyer-Geppert was taken over by RandMcNally. Despite the takeover, Wenschow still printed and designed school maps for Rand McNally for many years after. Even now you can still find Wenschow maps in a lot of university and college libraries throughout the USA and Germany.



The Renaissance Man
Bettina’s Grandfather



Otto Leib was an actor under famed director Erwin Piscator in Berlin, an aircraft engineer, a crafter of violins, one of the first private pilots in Germany, a photographer, a passionate motorcyclist, free thinker, and a true gentleman. And, he was the first man to treat little B like a princess: when mother Barbara ‘nixed’ getting little B’s ears pierced by claiming she was “absolutely and entirely too young” for the procedure, Grandpa Otto waited for Barbara to leave the house and said to Bettina: “Well now, let’s go out into Munich and get your ears pierced.” A similar scene unfolded shortly thereafter with Bettina’s first Barbie. Mom Barbara nixed it, because she “did not like Barbies and the concept of them,” only to come home to what was to be little B’s first Barbie and the beginning of a beautiful collection. Thanks Grandpa!


Lady with the Pearl Necklace: Omi
Bettina’s Grandmother





Ruth Leib was petite, stylish and mixed Prussian-Protestant-values with a Parisian flair for style. Apart from introducing little Bettina to pearls, en pointe ballet slippers, and Chanel No.5 all before she was seven, Ruth played a wicked card game of Sixty-Six. She also loved playing dress-up with Bettina.


The Flapper
Bettina’s Great-Aunt



Lea Von Langsdorff was the quintessential free-spirited flapper. She was a dog-fanatic, wild-at-heart, and, according to family lore, quite naughty at times.



The Patrician Pilot
Bettina’s Great-Uncle 



Hans Von Langsdorff was one of the first private and artistic pilots in Germany. He taught grandpa Otto how to fly by asking him to “pop onto his plane” so he could get the hang of it. 



The Adventurer
Bettina’s Great-Uncle



Georg Leib III was the oldest brother and loved traveling, particularly to Africa. He married Ilse von Lülsdorf.



The Stylish Aristocrat
Bettina’s Great-Aunt



Ilse Von Lülsdorf: Whoever carries off a leopard print coat like this, in German weather, scores serious style points.




The Eccentric
Bettina’s Mother, Barbara


Senior lecturer, writer, activist.



The Philosopher
Bettina’s Father

If there is a book or an article on the topic of time, he has read it.