Press Release

Press Release | Gütersloh, 08/27/2021

Anniversary Exhibition ‘Our State. 75 Years of North Rhine-Westphalia’ Pays Tribute to Bertelsmann’s Post-War Founder Reinhard Mohn

  • Reinhard Mohn is presented as innovator of publishing after World War II and embodies Bertelsmann’s new beginning under democratic auspices
  • Exhibition at Düsseldorf’s Behrensbau runs from August 27, 2021 to May 23, 2022
  • Bertelsmann commemorates the 100th anniversary of Reinhard Mohn’s birth this year

Gütersloh, August 27, 2021 – From August 27, the anniversary exhibition “Our State. 75 Years of North Rhine-Westphalia” will highlight the history of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The “Culture and Media” section – one of eight “chapters” tracing the development of North Rhine-Westphalia since 1946 – gives special recognition to Bertelsmann’s post-war founder and long-time Chairman & CEO Reinhard Mohn as a pioneer of publishing and a democratically oriented entrepreneurial spirit. The exhibition can be seen in Düsseldorf’s Behrensbau on Mannesmannufer. It is the first to be hosted by the newly founded Haus der Geschichte Nordrhein-Westfalen (House of History, North Rhine-Westphalia).

Alongside other prominent figures in NRW media history such as Dietrich Oppenberg, founder of the “Neue Ruhr Zeitung,” Anton Betz, co-founder of the “Rheinische Post,” Erich Brost, founder of the “WAZ,” and Klaus von Bismarck, Director-General of the WDR from 1961 to 1976, Reinhard Mohn is presented in the exhibition as an example for a new beginning in North Rhine-Westphalian’s publishing and media landscape after the end of the Second World War. Mohn, who died in 2009, would have turned 100 on June 29 of this year. Bertelsmann has commemorated this anniversary in many ways, including with the new book “Reinhard Mohn – Entrepreneur, Leader, Visionary,” written by the renowned Bonn-based professor and business historian Joachim Scholtyseck.

Karin Schlautmann, Head of Bertelsmann Corporate Communications, says: “We are delighted and honored that Reinhard Mohn is being commemorated outside the company in the year of his 100th birthday and that his outstanding achievements are being placed in the historical context of North Rhine-Westphalia’s history as a state. Throughout his life, there was a close connection between him and the then newly founded state of North Rhine-Westphalia, to which we as a company remain committed to this day.”

The exhibition “Our Land. 75 Years of North Rhine-Westphalia” includes a portrait of Mohn painted by the Dutch painter Guus Hendrickx, which Liz Mohn made available to the exhibition organizers as a personal loan. Other objects and historical photos relating to Bertelsmann’s history in the 1950s and ‘60s are mostly from the Bertelsmann Corporate Archives. A copy of the “Bertelsmann Volkslexikon,” published in 1956, and the cover of a Glenn Miller record sold through Bertelsmann’s Schallplattenring in 1959 are on display. Other exhibits include a facsimile of the authorization certificate for Bertelsmann’s encyclopedia information service (Lexikon Auskunftsdienst), and two photos from the open-plan office of Bertelsmann’s Kommissionshaus Buch und Ton, which were also made available to the exhibition by the Corporate Archives. The photos in particular document the modernity of the new working world of the 1960s, which Bertelsmann stood for in those decades. It was important to the exhibition organizers that the history of North Rhine-Westphalia did not begin at “zero hour,” i.e. the formation of the federal state. And so, in the showcase dedicated to Reinhard Mohn and Bertelsmann, several issues of “Feldpost” editions of books for the German armed forces also recall the company’s history during the Nazi era.

Reinhard Mohn was born in Gütersloh on June 29, 1921; he represents the fifth generation of the Bertelsmann/Mohn owning families. After returning from captivity as a POW in the U.S., he took over the business of the medium-sized printing and publishing company C. Bertelsmann from his father Heinrich Mohn in 1947. In the decades that followed, he laid the foundation for Bertelsmann’s rise to become a global corporation with more than 130,000 employees in 50 countries. Reinhard Mohn died on October 3, 2009, at the age of 88, but continues to shape Bertelsmann’s corporate values, management philosophy, and entrepreneurial activities to this day.

More information about Reinhard Mohn, including other material and pictures, can be downloaded at: 

The exhibition “Our Land. 75 Years of North Rhine-Westphalia” runs until May 23, 2022; admission is free. For more information, please visit 

About Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has around 130,000 employees and generated revenues of €17.3 billion in the 2020 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world. Bertelsmann aspires to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. In 2021, Bertelsmann commemorates the 100th birthday of Reinhard Mohn, the Group's late post-war founder and longtime Chairman and CEO.