Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI

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Paul Franke died in 1950 at the age of 62 and Reinhold Heidecke in 1960, at the age of 79. Both of them had lived to see their firm's first great setback. The factory in Brunswick had been unable to avoid turning over its precision work to the services of the armaments industry in the Second World War. It is true that "Franke & Heidecke" continued to supply neutral countries with Rollei cameras, which were coveted throughout the world, during the early years of the war, but everything appeared to be over in 1945.

Forty percent of the factory buildings and more than half of the machinery lay in ruins, and the patent had lapsed, in common with those of all German factories. There seemed to be no way out. However, the name Rolleiflex was pleasant music in the ears of the victorious powers after the Second World War, bringing back prewar memories. They were among the first customers of the production processes, which were taken up again slowly under extremely difficult conditions. Only a few days after marching into Brunswick, the commander of the occupying forces issued the order to complete the work in progress and use the remaining stocks in the unmachined parts store. This laid the foundations for postwar production. The good name of the Rolleiflex, which politics and the dark days of the war had been unable to destroy, was a great help in the company's reconstruction.

The factory was soon booming again and became one of the most important currency earners for an economy, which was on its knees. By 1950, "Franke & Heidecke" already employed 1000 people, more than ever before. After the death of Paul Franke, his son, Horst, followed in his father's footsteps and took over as the company's commercial director.

Business expanded until the beginning of the sixties.

Then, difficult times began, not only for the German photographic industry as a result of the influx of cheap Japanese products. In 1964, Dr. Heirich Peesel took over the management of the company which had been called "Rollei-Werke" since 1962, the name which it is still well-known today. Peesel succeeded at first, thanks to an extremely aggressive pricing policy, in pulling Rollei out of the recession. He reorganised the company completely and made it successful again.

 Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI

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Personal note: I have not been able to update the Rollei page due to development works on other classic 35mm bodies have really taken me a lot of my personal time and attention.So - If anyone of you wishes to volunteer himself in further development of this site, you can use the current page as a good template. I will sponsor the web hosting as well as help you out with the site design.

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