People at Allianz

Humans in the company: management in times of the Nazi-regime and fates of Jewish employees.
Allianz's management
Kurt Schmitt

Kurt Schmitt (1886 - 1950)

 Director General of Allianz, 1921-33

Kurt Schmitt's energetic course of expansion in the 1920s had made Allianz the largest insurance company in Germany. In 1933, Schmitt became Minister of Economic Affairs in Adolf Hitler's government. In 1935, he resigned from this post as he was unable to implement his political ideas and his health was failing. After his recovery, he returned to Allianz and in 1938 became General Director of Munich Re.

Hans Hess (1881 - 1957)

Director General of Allianz, 1933-48

Schmitt's successor, Hans Hess, maintained a very distant relationship to National Socialism. Unlike many other German company directors, he did not join the Nazi party. Hans Hess concentrated on the internal organization of the company, creating a corporate structure that was both efficient and viable in the long term.

Hans Hess
Eduard Hilgard

Eduard Hilgard (1884 - 1982)

Member of the Allianz Board of Directors, 1923-44, and Head of the Reich Insurance Group, 1934-45

Eduard Hilgard, as a functionary of the insurance association, provided support for the management's actions. He represented the interests of private insurers toward the state and the party. In 1934, Hilgard became the head of the newly founded Reichsgruppe of insurance companies. The Reichsgruppe, the successor to the former umbrella organization of the insurance industry, was created in line with Nazi ideology.

The "National Socialist German Workers Party" was the party of Adolf Hitler. It was founded in 1920 and was the only political party permitted in Germany after the Nazis seized power in 1933. Among the defining features of its ideology were racism, anti-semitism, opposition to democracy, and aggressive territorial expansion. It grew from a splinter group to a mass-based organization with 8.5 million members.
Founded in 1934, the Reich Insurance Group (Reichsgruppe Versicherung) was the central association and umbrella group for Germany's insurance companies. It was headed by Eduard Hilgard, a member of Allianz's board of directors.
  • 1921-44 Member of the Allianz Board of Directors
  • 1933 Vice Chairman of the Allianz Board of Directors
  • 1933 Chairman of the Reich Private Insurance Association
  • 1934 Head of the Reich Insurance Group
  • 1944 Retired from the Allianz Board of Directors
  • 1948-53 Member of the Allianz Board of Supervisors
  • 1913 Joins Allianz
  • 1917 Member of the Board
  • 1921-33 Chairman of the Board
  • 1933-35 Reich Economics Minister
  • 1935-45 Member of the Allianz Board of Supervisors
  • 1938-45 Chairman of the Board of Münchener Rückversicherung
  • 1945-49 Denazification
  • 1917 Hired by Allianz as an organizational director
  • 1918-48 Member of the Allianz Board of Directors
  • 1933-48 Chairman of the Allianz Board of Directors
  • 1948-54 Chairman of the Allianz Board of Supervisors
Jewish employees at Allianz
James Freundenburg and his wife Erika in Marienbad, April 30, 1929.

James Freundenburg and his wife Erika in Marienbad, April 30, 1929.

James Freudenburg (1875 - 1944)

Director of the Frankfurt branch, 1924-34

In 1934, James Freudenburg had to step down from his post as Chairman of the Board at a Frankfurt subsidiary of Allianz. He was forced to retire in 1936 at the age of 61. James Freudenburg was not able to leave Germany - he was deported and murdered in Auschwitz in 1944.

Maximilian Eichbaum (1881 - 1958)

Director of the Magdeburg branch

Maximilian Eichbaum was director of Allianz's branch office in Magdeburg. He lost his post in 1935. Plans to assume the management of an Allianz subsidiary in Austria did not come to fruition. In 1937, Eichbaum and his family emigrated to South Africa, where Allianz found him a job with an associated insurance company.

Martin Lachmann

Martin Lachmann (1880 - 1941)

Subdirector of Allianz in Berlin until 1939

It was in an atmosphere of denunciations, racist assaults launched by party organizations and the public, and increasing legal restrictions that companies gradually dismissed their Jewish employees.

At Allianz, this meant that by 1938, contracts with Jewish agents, such as Martin Lachmann from Berlin, were no longer renewed. Although members of his family had already emigrated to Sweden in the mid-1930s, Martin Lachmann was reluctant to leave Germany.

When living conditions for the Jewish population became ever more oppressive from 1938 onwards, he finally decided to emigrate. But his efforts were in vain. Martin Lachmann had to stay in Germany and was later deported to Minsk. He died while on the way there.

Hugo Kettner (1877-1955)

Director at Allianz in Frankfort 1923-37, Director General of Frankfurter Versicherungs-AG 1945-46

In January 1936, Hugo Kettner was forced into an early retirement at the age of 58. He had been a director at Allianz's regional branch in Frankfurt since 1923. His retirement came shortly after the promulgation of the so-called Nuremberg Laws, which prohibited marriages between Jewish and non-Jewish Germans. Kettner had a Jewish wife and had become vulnerable in his executive position. In 1945, he was appointed by the American military government as head of Frankfurter Versicherungs-AG. In 1947, he moved to the supervisory board remaining there until he reached the age of 75 in 1953.

Hugo Kettner
  • 1875 Born in Brunswick on December 11.
  • 1919 Joined Allianz.
  • 1923 Director of the Stuttgart office. Director of the Frankfurt office.
  • 1936 Forced into retirement during the expulsion of Jews from Germany's economic life.
  • 1943 Deported on September 20. James Freudenburg was murdered in Auschwitz on January 10, 1944.
  • 1923 Member of the Board of Wilhelma Insurance in Magdeburg, which merged with Allianz in 1923.
  • 1924 Director of Allianz's Magdeburg office.
  • 1930-35 Member of the Board of Allianz.
  • 1937 Forced into retirement in October at the age of 56 during the expulsion of Jews from Germany's economic life. Emigration to South Africa. Maximilian Eichbaum worked in South Africa with an Allianz-related insurance company until 1943, when he became an independent insurance agent.
  • 1907 Allianz insurance salesman in Berlin.
  • 1920s-early 1930s One of Allianz's most successful insurance agents.
  • 1939 Contract with Allianz canceled during exclusion of Jews from Germany's economic life.
  • Martin Lachmann was deported to Minsk, where he was murdered on November 16, 1941.

Gerd Modert
Corporate Historian

Phone +49 89 3800 66062