Anyone who, like Walter Blüchert, grew up in times of severe hardship knows what it’s like when the most fundamental things in life are scarce. When times are hard, however, it is all the more apparent how much strength an individual can impart when they – to borrow from Hölderlin – offer a helping hand to a fellow human in times of danger.
Walter Blüchert was born in Berlin shortly after the end of the First World War and was badly injured in the Second World War. During this period, he encountered many people whose tremendous dedication and tireless commitment helped new life rise from the rubble. These encounters not only influenced his career as a successful publisher – they also gave him confidence in tough times and spurred him on to ‘keep giving something back from my own prosperity’ as a benefactor.
In ambitious post-war Germany, Walter Blüchert – a publishing clerk – found a job at the Weser Kurier newspaper in Bremen. The paper’s publisher, Hans Hackmack, had obtained a publishing licence from the military government of the American occupation zone in 1945.
While working in Bremen, his interest in publishing (which he had discovered before the war) grew further, causing him to establish the Blüchert-Verlag publishing house in Stuttgart in 1950. In the same year, he acquired the German rights to publish Walt Disney non-comic publications, with some 130 Disney titles appearing by 1962. From 1953 onwards, Disney books were published as licensed editions in the Bertelsmann-Lesering (Bertelsmann book sales club). Walter Blüchert also secured the rights to the German first editions of the global bestsellers The Famous Five and The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton, one of the world’s most famous British children’s authors. Even Loriot was amongst the first crop of authors and entrusted the publisher with the story of Reinhold das Nashorn (Reinhold the Rhino).