chapter  10
12 Pages

Bertelsmann A.G.

Bertelsmann A. G. was founded by Carl Bertelsmann in 1835 and began as a small printing company in Gutersloh, Germany. For its first 80 years, the company concentrated on the publishing and printing of Protestant hymnals and religious pamphlets. With only ISO employees, the company managed to progress and develop until the start of World War 11. Bertelsmann's support of a church resistance group during the ascent of Adolph Hitler led to the closure of the company in 1943. By war's end, most of Bertelsmann's assets had been destroyed. It was nothing more than a bombed-out printing factory.l

In 1946, Reinhard Mohn, a 22-year-old German lieutenant and great-grandson of Bertelsmann, returned to his hometown of Gutersloh in northern Germany. As Studemann (1992) wrote:

The scene he encountered there was repeated a thousandfold across post-war Germany: bombed out towns, hungry and helpless people. Mohn's father was ill, his brother still missing in Russia; little was left of the family printing business.2