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ULLSTEIN , family of German publishers whose newspaper and magazine empire was at one time one of the largest in the world. The Ullstein company was founded in 1877 by leopold ullstein (1826–1899), the son of a wholesale paper merchant of Fuerth, Bavaria. Ullstein left his father's paper business in 1848 and went to Berlin, where he founded his own wholesale paper firm and became a progressive member of the Berlin City Council (1871–1877). In 1877 he bought up the failing Neues Berliner Tageblatt and brought it out as an evening paper with the name Deutsche Union. A year later Ullstein bought the Berliner Zeitung. In 1904 this paper, which reflected Ullstein's liberal political views, was merged by his sons with the Berliner Zeitung am Mittag. The new paper's circulation reached the unprecedented figure of 40,000 and made the Ullstein company one of the biggest publishers in Germany. All five of Ullstein's sons entered the family firm. hans (1859–1935) was legal advisor for many years; louis (1863–1933) was business head after his father's death, and franz (1868–1945), who was editorial director, was the guiding force behind the company for many years. The younger sons, rudolf (1873–1964) and hermann (1875–1943) joined the firm after their father's death, Rudolf becoming technical director and Hermann managing the magazine and book departments. In 1887 Louis Ullstein founded the Berliner Abendpost; in 1898 the three eldest sons founded the Berliner Morgenpost and raised its circulation to 600,000, the largest of any German daily. They made the Berliner Zeitung am Mittag the first German newspaper to be sold by street vendors instead of by subscription. They also produced a series of other newspapers, including the Berliner Allgemeine Zeitung, the Montagspost, the Vossische Zeitung, and Tempo. In addition, the Ullsteins had their own picture and news services, radio equipment, music division, dress pattern division, movie studios, and even a zoo to serve one of their children's papers. The other major ventures of the Ullstein company were its book publishing house (Ullstein, renamed Propylaeen in 1919) and magazine empire. They published the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, a new type of paper with many illustrations, photographs and drawings, from 1894 with a circulation of two million. In 1919 the Ullsteins began publishing on a large scale, producing many other magazines on the sciences, the arts and literature, broadcasting, automobiles, and aviation. The advent of Hitler, however, spelled the end of the Ullstein enterprise. In 1934 the family was forced to sell the colossal empire to a Nazi-backed consortium for one-fifth of its value and the company became known as the Deutscher Verlag. In 1938 Franz and Hermann immigrated to the U.S.; Rudolf went to England in 1939 and to the U.S. in 1943. After World War ii, the American authorities in West Berlin rebuilt the Ullstein plant and appointed Rudolf Ullstein as chairman. By 1957 the Berliner Zeitung and Morgenpost, owned by the Ullstein group, had the largest circulation in West Berlin. In 1960, however, the controlling interest in the group was sold to Axel Springer and the Ullstein family interest in the concern came to an end.


H. Ullstein, Rise and Fall of the House of Ullstein (1943). add. bibliography: P. de Mendelssohn, Zeitungsstadt Berlin (1959; revised edition 1982); H. Ullstein, Spielplatz meines Lebens (1961); W.J. Freyburg and H. Wallenberg (eds.), 100 Jahre Ullstein 18771977 (1977); E. Linder (ed.), Presseund Verlagsgeschichte im Zeichen der Eule: 125 Jahre Ullstein (2002); S. Nadolny, Ullsteinroman (2003).

[Stewart Kampel /

Archiv Bibliographia Judaica (2nd ed.)]