1903 - 1947
Gehe & Co. AG, Dresden
Gehe & Comp., the drug and paint business, founded in Dresden in 1835 by the merchant Franz Ludwig Gehe, is opened to the capital market as Gehe & Co. AG.
Capital stock of the public limited company: 2 million marks.
Shares approved for trading on the Dresden Stock Exchange.
A new company building is constructed on the previously-acquired Leipziger Strasse site 7/13 (120 x 20 metres) in Dresden.
The company continually expands in Dresden where it was founded. Administration, wholesale and pharmaceutical production are combined together in a newly built, easily accessible location, along Leipziger Strasse in Dresden. The old facility on Königstrasse is closed.
1 May 1910
The first edition of the Gehe Digest [Gehe Codex] is produced, which provides information on the composition, usage and production of all pharmaceutical specialities.
1910 - 1912
Capital increases provide a financial foundation to set up and develop customer-oriented sales of “drugs and paints, pharmaceutical and chemical products” across Germany.
First World War
The company loses a large proportion of its management. Exports are at a standstill. Germany no longer receives raw materials. Fast recovery after the end of the war.
Purchase of grounds in field areas of Naundorf, Kötitz and Dresden-Trachau.
Buoyant trading, rising turnovers. The difficulties of importing foreign raw materials are reduced. The ongoing problems in obtaining important raw materials prevents the further development of manufacturing activities. Capital increase from 3 to 6 mil. marks. Plans to move a factory to Dresden-Trachau are postponed because of construction difficulties.
Acquisition of the pharmaceutical specialities wholesaler Reihlen und Scholl, Stuttgart. This is continued until 1933 as C. H. Burk, the Stuttgart branch of Gehe & Co., together with the shipping firm of Reihlen & Scholl, Stuttgart. Incorporation into the Stuttgart branch.
A branch is established in Munich.
Operations begin at the Dresden-Trachau factory.
The publisher Gehe-Verlag GmbH, Dresden is founded, which handles sales of the Gehe Digest [Gehe Codex]. From 1925, the sales of Schwarzeck publishers are handled.
Publication of the medicinal plant cards in Dresden.
Gehe capital stock: 12 million marks.
Extension of the trading premises in Leipziger Strasse and the construction and refurbishment of the Stuttgart branch is completed.
Installation and extension of the factory in Dresden-Trachau.
Gehe factory PLC in Aussig begins operations.
The shareholders' meeting of 2 August 1923 decides upon an increase in the share capital to 58,000,000 marks through the issuing of new ordinary shares. 28,000,000 marks are fully paid up and of the remaining 30,000,000 marks, 25% is paid.
3/14/16 August 1923
Emergency money issued: emergency banknotes worth 200,000 marks; Dresdner Bank, Dresden und Gehe & Co. AG
To rationalise operations, the branch in Munich is closed.
Gehe-Verlags GmbH, Dresden becomes Schwarzeck-Verlags GmbH, Dresden.
10 February 1925: Première of the first film of the factory.
A street in Dresden is named after Dr Rudolph August Luboldt.
The business year is characterised by a considerable increase in turnover, but also by a substantial increase in expenses. Salary and wage increases induced by collective agreements and the associated costs play a significant part in this. The increase in costs is not reflected by any “increased value”. Potential profits are negatively affected by important items being priced at a lower level while at the same time competition is proving to be unusually "tough".
To round off the area on Leipziger Strasse, Dresden, the residential building Ludwigsstrasse 1 is acquired.
The Chemnitz/Saxony shipping office is opened in Arndtstrasse 11.
Opening of the Gieger & Treuheit shipping/branch office in Zufuhrstrasse 9, Nuremberg.
The Chemnitz shipping office has developed “as hoped”.
Expansion of the long-standing supply depot.
“The crisis years of German industry and trade, however, also did not fail to leave their mark on Gehe. This could particularly be seen with the passing of dividends between 1930 and 1935”. Nevertheless, the reconstruction of German industry could be observed very quickly and clearly at Gehe. Despite ending 1932 and 1933 with losses of 0.7 and 0.5 mil. respectively, a net profit of 0.11 mil. was reported in 1934. Moreover, even in loss-making years, hidden reserves could be accumulated through considerable depreciation of assets and other depreciations, although with a capital stock of 4.31 million, the legal reserves always amounted to 0.76 mil.”1
1 Dresdner Bank, 2, 1942-1992, Die Wirtschaft, Prag, Newspaper Article, Gehe & Co., 4. Sept. 1943.
“Right from its inception, the emergency decree issued by the government in mid-1930, which regulated the work of the health insurance providers and the provision of medicines for its members, had an effect on our industry which was not inconsiderable.” As far as the domestic industry is concerned, there is no recognisable decrease in turnover".
This development continues in the year under review, 1931. As a result, all efforts are concentrated on foreign trade, in order to find something of a balance with the decreasing domestic development. However, these attempts are also proving unsuccessful, as the continual outflow of foreign credit leads to the catastrophe in July of the year under review. “The ensuing domestic and foreign events in the areas of trade and currency saw exports slacken and further reductions in domestic trade. ... We are currently adapting the business through significant organisational changes.”2
2 Annual report, 1931
The economic crisis, which also continues in 1932, results in a further decline for Gehe's domestic turnover in marks. In domestic trade, the decrease in the total sales is mainly caused by the 10 per cent price cut ordered by the government for price-bound items. Exports experience a decrease in both value and quantity, which can be explained by the difficulties arising from the decline of many monetary systems and the resulting exchange and policies restricting trade with the affected countries.3
3 Gehe annual report, 1932
The production of the Dresden-Trachau factory is combined with the production in the Leipziger Strasse.
The C. H. Burk branch of Gehe & Co. in Stuttgart is amalgamated in terms of location and staff with the Reihlen & Scholl shipping office, in Gaisburgstrasse, Stuttgart.4
Establishment of a shipping office in Advokatenweg 40, Halle/Saale. The Halle-based associations of pharmacies and pharmaceutical wholesalers (Reichsverbandes des pharmazeutischen Großhandels e. V., Berlin and the Reichsverbandes des Deutschen Drogen- und Chemikalien-Großhandels e. V.) complain about the planned establishment of the branch in 1933.
4Gehe annual report, 1933
The company Productos Quimicos Gehe is founded in Barcelona. Its task is to organise Spanish trade.
1 May 1935
Company's centenary celebrations. A simple factory party is held to mark the occasion.
The drug wholesale warehouse and factory for pharmaceutical and chemical products of Gehe & Co. Maltyl is the most well-known own-brand product.
Equity capital: 4,000,000 marks
Employees including branches and shipping offices: 560
Domestic representatives: 39
Foreign representatives: 95
Establishment of a shipping office in Breslau5
Acquisition of the specialty company Dr. Georg Rosenberger Nachf., Wrocław.
Sale of the factory in Dresden-Trachau, which has been shut down for years.
Expansion and improvement of the factory complex.
A large number of new productions begin and the production programme continues to develop.
Sale of the premises in Naundorf/Kötitz.
The expansion of the factory complex continues. All investments are financed with internal funds.
Remaining property is sold in Naundorf. Domestic trade turnover increases. The foreign trade turnover of the previous year cannot be achieved.
30% of GEHE shares are in the possession of Dresdner Bank.6
6Dresdner Bank, 1, 1934-43, Report from Dresdner Bank, Dresden to Dresdner Bank, Berlin
Takeover of the Kassel branch of the company Dr. Otto Krause, Magdeburg. It is continued under our company.
Acquisition of the Chemnitz site in Ottostrasse 11, from which the Chemnitz branch operates.
Acquisition of the Dresden site in Ludwigstrasse 3 - 5 to round off the site of the head office in Leipziger Strasse, Dresden.
Branches in Chemnitz, Halle, Kassel, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Wrocław.
Property: the company owns its own sites in Dresden, Stuttgart and Chemnitz, namely:
in Dresden: the factory in Leipzigerstrasse 7/13, Ludwigstrasse 1, with an area of around 20,200 m² (of which around 9,700 m² is built on),
in Stuttgart: the factory in Gaisburgstrasse 27/29 with an area of around 4,000 m² (of which around 1,300 m² is built on) and
in Chemnitz: the Otto-Strasse 11 site, with a size of 1,300 m² (of which around 600 m² is built on).
Dresden is the site of the administrative and trade buildings together with several well-equipped factory buildings for the production of chemical and pharmaceutical preparations as well as the processing of crude drugs.
The Stuttgart plant mainly serves wholesale outlets and, to a limited extent, production.
The Chemnitz site contains a branch of the company.
Further regional offices and shipping departments can be found in hired premises in Halle, Kassel, Nuremberg and Wrocław (2) as well as Barcelona.
Holdings: With a capital of 20,000 reichsmarks, the company has 100% ownership of Schwarzeck Verlag GmbH, Dresden, where scientific works, particularly the well-known Gehe Digest [Gehe-Codex] are published.7
Willy Sennewald, Dresden
Wolfgang Haschke, Dresden
Heyden AG, Dresden, acquires 30% of the shares in Gehe & Co. AG from Dresdner Bank.8
Heyden AG takes on the presidency of the supervisory board of Gehe & Co. AG.9
As a result, Chairman Wilhelm Sennewald, and the board member and director, Wolfgang Haschke, retire.
7Dresdner Bank, 1, 1934-43, Exposé Gehe & Co. Aktiengesellschaft, Dresden, 10 Feb. 1940
8Dresdner Bank, 1, 1934-43, Letter from the privy councillor Dr Jungel, chemical factory of Heyden AG, Radebeul-Dresden to Director Busch, Dresdner Bank, 22 Feb. 1940.
9Dresdner Bank, 1, 1934-43 Dresdner Bank, Berlin to Director Busch, Dresdner Bank, Dresden, memo, 27 Mar. 1941
The business year of 1941 brings an increase in turnover both domestically and abroad, which is distributed evenly to the head office and the individual shipping offices; exports continue to increase.
Chairman Dr Herbert Stommel, chemist, and Director Heinrich Vallée, business graduate, both formally of Heyden AG, become members of the management board.
Discussion over the “transfer” of Gehe capital to southern Germany.10
10Dresdner Bank 2, 1942-1992,Dresdner Bank, IV 109314
In the business year of 1942 we achieve a further increase in turnover through both the head office and the shipping offices. The increase in turnover is shared between the provision of medicines as well as the drug, plant product and factory departments. [...]
Acquisition of (office) equipment to improve production and operation facilities. [...]
The company organises trade through seven branches.
The Stuttgart branch, the company C. H. Burk, becomes an independent GmbH, while retaining the company name.
This independent branch ensures the survival of Gehe in West Germany.
Last AGM in Dresden; annual report of 1943.
13 February 1945, 11 am
Large parts of the administration buildings and the factory complex in Dresden are destroyed by bomb attacks.
Large parts of the library of the Gehe Foundation in Dresden are destroyed by fire.
The Kassel branch ceases operations because of bomb damage.
The Nuremberg branch is destroyed by bomb attacks.
Reserve depot in Eisenach (first the American zone, then the Russian zone)
From March 1945
War-related decline in the national rail network. Development of a company transport organisation for wholesale in the Halle area. (Langguth report)
16 April 1945
American forces take control of the city of Halle.
17 April 1945
Branch in Halle: contact is made with the American occupying powers. Permit required for trade is obtained.
Beginning of May 1945
Dr Böhlhoff leaves Dresden because of hostilities.
29 May 1945
Dr Böhlhoff is given his notice from Dresden.
1 July 1945
Change in the occupying forces in Eisenach. The result: Dr Böhlhoff no longer has access.
Opening of the Sulzbach-Rosenberg branch (American sector) as a temporary factory following the destruction of Kassel and Nuremberg. Continuation in order to meet the economic conditions created through the occupation and to retain and further develop business in the American zone.
Head of the branch: Dr Herbert Stommel.
Object of the company: wholesale in medication, chemicals and children's cereal-based foods.11
Report from 1 July 1945 by Dr Reichold to trustee Dr Georg A. Becker in Dresden concerning the Sulzbach-Rosenberg branch. Dr Reichold also works in the British and French zones and suggests transferring business from Sulzbach-Rosenberg to Dresden.
Registration with the trade register cannot take place because of the prevailing zoning. Nevertheless, they were legally recognised in the western sector. The court order states that the branches are not affected by proceedings in the GDR and remain in possession of the previous owners of the Sulzbach-Rosenberg site.
26 October 1945
Dr Böhlhoff is officially given his notice from Dresden.
At the instigation of the American military government, Dr Stommel retires as head of the Sulzbach-Rosenberg branch in October 1945.
31 December 1945: the Sulzbach-Rosenberg branch is entered into the trade register.
28 November 1945
Report by Director Wilhelm Merz from Dresden to Dr Böhlhoff, Kassel:
- The reconstruction of the factory in Dresden has been “energetically taken up”. Production continues on a modest scale.
- Mr Vallée leaves for Westphalia.
- Dr Stommel and Mr Vallée are no longer considered as belonging to the Gehe company. They have already been removed from the trade register as board members.
- Several hundred men are working in Dresden, predominantly carrying out clearance work.
The Dresden, Halle and Chemnitz branches become state supply depots.12
The companies of Heyden and Madaus in Dresden are, to a large extent, dismantled and transported to Russia. A small pharmaceutical production unit returns to operation at Gehe in Dresden. As a result, the Gehe production facilities are transferred to Rudolstadt and remain in operation until reunification.
9 October 1945
Report by Dr Böhlhoff/Kassel concerning the condition of the Kassel branch
- Premises destroyed/badly damaged
- Inventories are no longer available
- No money is available, as Kassel does not have its own account.
- Account is set up at Dresdner Bank for the Kassel branch to settle outstanding pharmaceutical accounts. Income: 12,000 reichsmarks; 8,000 reichsmarks in outstanding invoices.
- Purchase of products for around 11,000 reichsmarks
- A garage in Kassel-Harleshaussen is hired as a warehouse.
- Written matters are settled in a furnished room
- The receipts are written by the secretary from home.
11Report, Sulzbach-Rosenberg branch, 1945
12Berlin and Dresden chronicle of supply depots
Continuation of Gehe' s head office in Dresden, now called Heilchemie, as a company owned by the province in East Germany. The factories in Saxony are lost through expropriation and converted to state-owned factories. The branches in the western zones, namely Sulzbach-Rosenberg and Kassel, as well as the share in C.H. Burk GmbH in Stuttgart remain in the company's possession. These factories form the basis for the recovery of the company. The EGM of 14 September 1948 decides to move the headquarters to Munich (statement from Dr Theermann: in the end, Heyden has a share of around 33% in Gehe). The former chairman of Heyden, privy councillor Dr Jungel, looks after the formal transfer of the Gehe headquarters from Dresden to Munich. As the universal agent responsible for Heyden's finances, Dr Böhlhoff is simultaneously the chairman of Gehe and the managing director of the Schwarzeck publishing house. Over the course of time, the share increases to approx. 83% and other factories are bought out.
Share capital adjusted from DM 4,000,000 to DM 1,200,000.
As the result of a decree from the Saxony state government, the entry of Gehe & Co. AG is removed from the trade register by the Amtsgericht (local court) in Dresden.
14 September 1948
Resolution of the EGM of Gehe & Co. AG, Munich to move the headquarters from Dresden to Hansastrasse 134, Munich.13
Recovery of the company from the humblest of beginnings.
Up to this point, the share capital is 590,000 reichsmarks and 10,000 reichsmarks for Schwarzeck-Verlags GmbH.
11 October 1948
The headquarters of Gehe & Co. AG are transferred to Munich. The company establishes itself in Munich, as Bavaria – as the first West German state – regulates the administrative processes which enable the companies expropriated in East Germany to be established.
13Celesio Group archive, business licences, trade supervision, permits