Skip Navigation

Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach

Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (August 7, 1870 - January 16, 1950), Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (March 29, 1886 - September 21, 1957)

Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach, the fifth son of seven children of Gustav (1831 - 1890) and Sophie (1837 - 1915) von Bohlen und Halbach, attends grammar school in Karlsruhe before studying law and politics. After gaining his doctorate in 1893 he joins the Baden civil service, moving to the Foreign Office in Berlin in 1897. In 1899 he is appointed diplomatic secretary to the embassy first in Washington and then in Peking. In 1904 he is summoned to the Prussian legation in the Vatican and it is in Rome that he first meets Bertha Krupp.

Bertha Krupp, the elder daughter of Friedrich Alfred Krupp (1854 - 1902) and Margarethe Krupp (1854 - 1931), initially receives private tuition together with her sister Barbara (1887 - 1972) at Villa Hügel. The sisters then attend a housekeeping school for young ladies in Baden-Baden. After the death of her father in 1902 Bertha Krupp becomes the owner of the company, which from 1903 becomes a stock corporation but continues to be family-owned. Since Bertha Krupp is still a minor, her mother, Margarethe Krupp, exercises her rights as owner. In 1906 Bertha Krupp marries the counselor of legation Gustav von Bohlen und Halbach, who is granted the right by royal Prussian decree to bear the name Krupp as a prefix to his own family surname. The couple have six sons and two daughters: Alfried (1907 - 1967), Arnold (1908 - 1909), Claus (1910 - 1940), Irmgard (1912 -1 998), Berthold (1913 - 1987), Harald (1916 - 1985), Waldtraut ( b. 1920) and Eckbert (1922 - 1945).

Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach is appointed to the supervisory board of Fried. Krupp AG at the end of 1906 and acts as its chairman from 1909 to the end of 1943. In this period the economic development and product range of the Krupp Group are greatly influenced by the general political events: the expansion of the munitions business in World War I, the change in production as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, the financial crisis of the company in 1924/25 and its involvement in the national socialist autarchy and armaments policy with a further change of production. Major new products in this period are the stainless acid-resistant steels developed at Krupp (NIROSTA, V2A), the WIDIA engineering materials used in particular for tools, as well as locomotives and motor vehicles. The number of employees in the Group fluctuates strongly: between 168,000 at the end of World War I, 30,300 in the Great Depression in 1932 and 243,300 in 1943.

Gustav and Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach are deeply committed to the social tradition of the company. The company benefits, in particular the building of workers' housing estates, are continued. A foundation is set up for domestic health care. Convalescent homes are available for sick employees and their families, as well as a dental clinic. After the early death of their second son, the Arnoldhaus maternity clinic is founded. The tradition of Krupp family members paying visits to long-standing employees on special occasions, e.g. golden weddings, is continued.

Bertha and Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, 1927

Bertha and Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, 1927

The Krupp family von Bohlen und Halbach, 1931

The Krupp family von Bohlen und Halbach, 1931

Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach makes an impact beyond the bounds of the company - thanks no doubt in part to his former diplomatic activities. In 1921 he is appointed Prussian state councilor, in 1924 president of the supervisory board of the Bank für Deutsche Industrieobligationen - a bank established to handle the reparations - and from 1934 onwards he serves on the management board of the imperial rail company Reichsbahngesellschaft. From the establishment of the scientific institute Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften (today Max-Planck-Gesellschaft) he is closely involved in its development, first as its senator and then as first vice president. Together with his wife he fosters the work of the German museum of natural science and technology in Munich. In 1931 he becomes president of the imperial association of German industry and in 1933 reorganizes it according to new principles of leadership. In 1934 he resigns from this office. Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach did not actively support Hitler or the NSDAP before 1933. However, when Hitler is elected chancellor he speaks out in favor of the existing state, out of a sense of loyalty to his country. Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach only becomes a member of the NSDAP in 1940 when Adolf Hitler presents him with the golden badge of honor of the NSDAP on his 70th birthday.

At the end of 1943 Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach resigns as chairman of the supervisory board of Fried. Krupp AG. His oldest son Alfried becomes sole owner when the company is converted into a sole proprietorship. In 1945 Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach stands trial before the international court of law in Nuremberg in the trial against major war criminals. However, following a car accident in December 1944 and several strokes he is no longer fit to stand trial. For many years Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach - together with a nurse - takes care of her invalid husband in a small building next to the Blünbach residence where they lived from the summer of 1944 and which has been confiscated by the Allies. After the death of her husband in 1950 Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach returns to Essen to witness the resurgence of the company. Although Villa Hügel is no longer the family home, after the departure of the Allies it once again becomes a representative meeting place for the company, where Alfried and Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach receive guests from all over the world.

To the top