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Her.Tietz Initiative


Senior Fellow Alexander Busold founded the Her.Tietz Initiative. The Her.Tietz Initiative is committed to an open handling of the Nazi history of Hertie, an active commemoration of the victims of the Shoah, and to fighting Antisemitism today.

The motivation – “Missing Knowledge about Hertie´s Past in the School”

The members of the Her.Tietz Initiative are students as well as alumni of the Hertie School of Governance. Their graduate school is predominantly financed by the Hertie Foundation, one of Germany’s largest charitable foundations. The foundation’s wealth originates from the company “Hermann Tietz,” a warehouse chain founded  by the Jewish Tietz family at the end of the 19th century, later renamed to “Hertie.” Most of the students, staff, and faculty of the Hertie School of Governances are not aware of the origin of the name Hertie and the Antisemitic expropriation of the Tietz family.

The goals – “Understanding the Past and Countering Antisemitism Today”

Most of the students, staff and faculty of the Hertie School of Governances are not aware of the origin of the name Hertie and the antisemitic expropriation of the Tietz family.

The goals of thre initiative are:

  • to contribute to an active and open commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust, especially in times of growing right wing extremism and populism;
  • to facilitate a better understanding of the history of the Tietz family as an example of Antisemitic societal attitudes, a lack of civil courage in the general population and the effects of antisemitic politics aimed at erasing Jewish life – which are perpetuated through the ongoing secrecy surrounding Hertie’s history during National Socialism;
  • to strengthen resilience to todays growing Antisemitism and right-wing populism trough an active discussion of this topic within the Hertie School community and beyond.

The approach – “Research, Commemoration & Transparency”

Further Research
Some scientific studies on the history of the Hermann Tietz department stores have already been conducted, but not all are public available. The Her.Tietz Initiativ advocates for the disclosure of these studies, and for further research on the history of the Tietz family.

“Aryanization” describes the Antisemitic expulsion of Jewish Germans from economic, scientific, and in general public life following the racist ideology of National Socialism.

Public Commemoration
The Initiative thinks it is important to make this topic permanently visible to all people entering the Hertie School building with a public information board and with additional information on the websites of the Hertie Foundation as well as on the website of the Hertie School.

Transparent Communication
In their opinion, communication of this topic should not stop with the installation of the information board. The Hertie community should be actively informed about the story of its name, e.g. though a series of events or an address during the orientation week of new students.

Read more about the initiative’s demands to the Hertie Foundation as well as the Hertie School of Governance here.

Watch their Video


Events and Activities of the Initiative

The initiative held their first Tietz Lecture as a webinar on October 9th, 2020. The topic of this lecture was “Addressing Antisemitism One Year After the Attack in Halle.” You can find out more about his event here, and you can rewatch the whole event here.

Press Coverage

The initiative and its activities attracted a large media echo – in national and international media outlets: