1945
Destruction and a New Beginning

A bomb attack destroys much of the publisher's premises.

In March 1945, large portions of the publisher's premises are destroyed by a British air raid on Gütersloh. However, only one of the 17 presses is completely destroyed, so the publisher is able to open for business again soon after the end of the war, when it begins printing announcements and schoolbooks commissioned by the British military government. On March 27 , the British military government grants the company a publishing license after it demonstrates it has “impeccable political convictions” and a “basic job-specific knowledge.” After all, as cultural media books and magazines are expected to play an important role in “re-educating” Germans to embrace the democratic spirit. Heinrich Mohn (1885-1955) initially keeps quiet about certain “sponsoring memberships” of Nazi organizations, including the SS and the League of German Girls (BDM). He is forced to hand over management of the company to Reinhard Mohn (1921-2009), who falls under the Allies’ youth amnesty in view of his age – he was born in 1921. The military authorities don’t give much importance to the fact that he lacks sufficient “basic job-specific knowledge,” as Reinhard Mohn notes in 1947: “The only thing that is important to the British authorities is to have a person at the publishing company who is responsible for all incidents.”

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