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The Founder

Kurt A. Körber
Kurt A. Körber
(Photo: Körber Foundation)

Kurt A. Körber was “an important and to an even greater degree successful entrepreneur. He was a publicly active philanthropist with a highly idealistic commitment to the community. And he was an individual of independent political judgement with a strong sense of sharing responsibility as a citizen for his city, his country and the world for peace among people and nations and for harmony between man and nature.”

Helmut Schmidt in “Die großen Stifter” (The Great Founders), Siedler Verlag 1997

Biographical data

1909

Kurt A. Körber is born in Berlin on 7th September.

1924

Registration of his first patent, a transmitter-reader scale for radios; more than 200 further patents follow. Begins apprenticeship as electrician with Allgemeine Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft in Chemnitz.

1928

Student of Electrical Engineering in Mittweida.

1935

Joins Universelle-Werke J.C. Müller & Co. in Dresden, appointed Technical Director in 1940.

1940

Kurt A. Körber becomes a member of the NSDAP.

1942 – 1944

Universelle is involved in the manufacture of armaments as a strategically important business for the war effort; approx. 3,000 foreign and forced workers are used.

1945

Kurt A. Körber remains in office under the Soviet occupying power and presses ahead with the civilian reconstruction of the company.

1946/47

New beginning in Hamburg: in July, Kurt A. Körber begins with repair work of cigarette machinery and manufacturing of hand-operated tobacco cutters.
He establishes the Universelle Department of Hanseatischer Lehrenbau AG in Hamburg-Bergedorf.

1957

Establishes the Foundation for the reconstruction of the Thalia Theater.

1959

Establishes the Kurt A. Körber Foundation with the aim of creating an Academy of Management Training for Industrial Practice.

1960

Awarded Honorary Doctorate rer. pol. at the Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen. Establishes the Hamburg State Opera Foundation.

1961

Establishes the Bergedorf Round Table to discuss issues of the free industrial society.

1965

Awarded the Diesel Gold Medal by the German Association of Inventors.

1969

Establishes the Hauni Foundation.

1981

Merger of the two foundations to form the Körber Foundation.

1983

Awarded the Medal for Services to Foundations by the Federal Association of German Foundations.

1987

The corporate group becomes Körber AG (public limited company).

1989

Awarded Honorary Doctorate by the Technical University of Dresden.

1991

Made Honorary Citizen of the City of Hamburg.

1992

Kurt A. Körber dies in Hamburg on 10th August.

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