History of the Foundation

The Possehl Foundation is established by decree of the Lübeck Senate on 17 May 1919. In the years before the National Socialists seized power in 1933 the activities of the Possehl Foundation were limited by the company’s changing financial fortunes. Politically and economically this was a time of great upheaval, and the Foundation did not have much room for manoeuvre; but it did not go under like most of the endowments and charitable foundations of the period. The first substantial grants were recorded in 1927. After 1933 the Possehl Foundation was degraded to a vehicle for Nazi social policies. Its articles of association were amended and “elections” were replaced with “nominations” by the mayor of Lübeck. In the economic revival after the war the Possehl Group also flourished. This is the period in which the Foundation emancipated itself from the direct influence of the town. This relationship is one which requires continuous adjustment to this day. Almost two thirds of all the funding distributed since 1950 – some €390 million – were spent in the past decade. Since its inception, the biggest questions confronting the Possehl Foundation have concerned the relationship between the Foundation and the state, between the work of a charity and the responsibilities of the welfare state.

To mark its centenary, the historian Axel Schildt wrote a history of the Possehl Foundation. “POSSEHL – History and Character of a Foundation” was published in May 2019 by the Murmann Verlag.


Possehl Foundation Lübeck

Beckergrube 38 – 52
D-23552 Lübeck
E-Mail: possehl-stiftung(at)possehl.de
Tel.: +49 (0)451 148-200

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Our publications

More about the Foundation

Here you can find our annual reports, Emil Possehl’s will, our art catalogues and publications to mark the 100th jubilee of the foundation.


Emil's bequest

Our articles of association

The Foundation only supports non-profit and charitable causes and “promotes all that is good and beautiful in Lübeck”.