1918 >> The Crucible Years
The First World War leads to a painful collapse; war bonds fail and the losses have to be financed with the sale of rights in Swedish ore mines. The Company is able to survive thanks to the coal and domestic fuel business in Germany.
Emil Possehl dies on 4 February 1919. The sole heir to Company assets is the Possehl Stiftung, a foundation. Since that time, the foundation has promoted cultural, social and charitable activities in its home city of Lübeck in the name of its founder.
After the financial turbulence of the 1920s, the Company begins to recover in the 1930s. New branch offices and production companies, freight and insurance agencies join the Possehl Group. The core business with steel, coal, and other fuels is built back up.
The Second World War leaves deep wounds; the Company loses all of its foreign holdings and a large part of its markets. The branches in the Eastern areas of influence of Germany are lost, as are assets in foreign countries. The head offices in Beckergrube, along with all records, are also reduced to rubble and ashes in the midst of the war.