Public event

Book presentation and discussion:
Persecuted, 'Aryanised', compensated? How the Hermann Tietz department store group became Hertie

In 2021, the non-profit Hertie Foundation commissioned the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte (GUG, Business History Society) with conducting an academic study of the history of the Hertie Foundation. The independent research was carried out by Prof. Dr Johannes Bähr, Associate Professor of Economic and Social History at Goethe University in Frankfurt, and Prof. Dr Ingo Köhler, Director of the Hessian Economic Archive in Darmstadt. The results were published as a book, titled Verfolgt, “arisiert”, wiedergutgemacht? Wie aus dem Warenhauskonzern Hermann Tietz Hertie wurde(English: Persecuted, 'Aryanised', compensated? How the Hermann Tietz department store group became Hertie), launched on 6 December 2023 at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt.

In the 1920s, the Hermann Tietz department store group embodied modern department store culture like no other. After the Nazi regime came to power, the company was seized from its Jewish owners. Under the management of former employee Georg Karg, who took over the group as part of the seizure, Hermann Tietz became the Hertie limited company. Bähr and Köhler reconstruct the circumstances of this early “Aryanisation”. They also shed light on the fate of the Tietz family after the loss of their company, as well as the development of the Hertie Group up to the disputes over restitution and compensation in the immediate post-war years. Based on a wide range of sources, including previously inaccessible documents, the two scholars draw the first detailed picture of this “Aryanisation” process and its consequences.

As part of the book launch, Bähr and Köhler will present the results of their study at the Hertie School on 1 March in the Henrik Enderlein Forum. Following the presentation, they will engage in a discussion with Prof. Ruth Ditlmann, Professor of Psychology and Public Policy at the Hertie School, and Alexander Busold, founder of the Her.Tietz Initiative and Hertie School alumnus. Moderating the discussion will be Prof. Dr Cornelia Woll, Professor of International Political Economy and President of the Hertie School.


Johannes Bähr

  • Prof. Dr Johannes Bähr studied history and political science in Freiburg and Munich. He received his PhD in 1986 and habilitated at the Freie Universität Berlin in 1998. Bähr is Associate Professor of Economic and Social History at Goethe University in Frankfurt.

Ingo Köhler

  • Prof. Dr Ingo Köhler studied history and literature in Bielefeld. He received his PhD in 2003 from the Ruhr University and habilitated at the University of Göttingen in 2012. Köhler is Managing Director of the Hessian Economic Archive in Darmstadt and Adjunct Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Göttingen.

Ruth Ditlmann

  • Ruth Ditlmann is Professor of Psychology and Public Policy at the Hertie School. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin in the Migration, Integration and Transnationalization Department and a Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University in the Department of Psychology and Social Policy.

Alexander Busold

  • Alexander Busold is a Hertie School alumnus and founded the Her.Tietz Initiative, which is committed to raising awareness of Hertie’s history during Nazi times, especially the antisemitic repressions against the Tietz family. For this engagement, he received the Alumni Achievement Award. Alexander studied public policy, economics and management in Germany, India, and Argentina.

Cornelia Woll

  • Prof. Dr. Cornelia Woll is President of the Hertie School and Professor of International Political Economy. Woll came to the Hertie School in 2022 from Sciences Po in Paris, where she had served in many roles since 2006, including President of the Academic Board, Professor of Political Science, Co-Director of the Max Planck Sciences Po Center.