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  • Helmut Horten was a German entrepreneur who built up and owned the fourth-largest chain of department stores in Germany - the Horten AG. The son of a judge he was apprenticed in a Düsseldorf department store belonging to Leonhard Tietz before working for the Duisburg department store of the Gebrüder Alsberg company. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Horten was able to acquire the company from the Jewish owners, Strauß and Lauter, who fled to the United States. He was aided in this transaction by the banker Wilhelm Reinhold of the Commerz- and Disconto-Bank. The bank was to become a partner in the newly formed Horten & Co. Until 1939 Horten acquired several other department stores and enjoyed a good relationship with the Nazi government despite the fact that his grandfather, the Catholic saint Titus Maria Horten died in custody in 1936. Horten was able to acquire the distribution rights to certain goods which were scarce due to war. After the Second World War Horten was interned by the British Army in 1947 in Recklinghausen. Following a hunger strike he was released in 1948. He soon continued with the consolidation and expansion of his company, which he still owned.

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