Economic Pioneer of the Post-war Period

Establishment and Expansion of the Horten Department Store Chain

Helmut Horten

Helmut Horten was among the exceptional entrepreneurial peronalites who brought econonic prosperity to the Federal Rupublic of Germany in the post-war period. At the end of the 1950s, Helmut Horten introduced the first German supermarket based on American consumptions habits.

An entrepreneur with a strong sense of social responsibility

Helmut Horten’s distinctive will, entrepreneurial vision, and financial acumen were key to his economic success. Always looking for projects that gave meaning and purpose to his life, Helmut Horten devoted himself to biological and medical challenges and the protection of human health. This interest benefited his employees. Helmut Horten set up a pension fund and a company-owned recreational centre for his workforce, which was exceptional for the time.

A retreat into private life at the height of success

At the height of his economic success, Helmut Horten withdrew from business. At the end of 1968, he moved to the Canton of Ticino with his wife, and in 1969, he sold the majority stake in his business. At the end of 1971, he sold the remaining investments of his department store chain.

Serving his foundations in his sunset years

After his retirement, Helmut Horten devoted himself to his foundations and the promotion of health care. In 1971, Horten founded the Villalta Foundation in the Canton of Ticino, which was renamed the Helmut Horten Foundation after his death. At his wife's request, he set up a charitable foundation in Carinthia in 1972.

Helmut Horten

1909 - 1987

Horten Shopping Centre




The founder in the press

Articles and scientific reports on Helmut Horten

Helmut Horten during the Second World War

An expert opinion on Horten's wealth and business development

Helmut Horten was regarded a "liberal", yet suspicions have been surrounding the build-up of his fortune repeatedly. In the course of this, Prof. Hoeres of the University of Würzburg prepared an expert opinion on Helmut Horten's asset accumulation and business expansion in the context of "Aryanisation" during the time of the "Third Reich".

The Helmut Horten Foundation considers it extremely important to review and understand its founder's history in the best possible way. A detailed review of Helmut Horten's life and actions during the Second World War can therefore be found in the original expert report and a related synopsis in an article published in the FAZ.

To the FAZ article (only available in German)

To the expert opinion (only available in German)

Horten House Duisburg in ruins

December 1942





Alain Robert

The Helmut Horten Foundation can reflect with pride on its 51 years of providing extensive support for medical advancement.

Buoyed by encouraging results from medical research, the Board of Trustees is committed to continuing their work over the coming decades with the same passion for research, patient well-being, and medical care that has distinguished the Foundation thus far.