Friday, 19 February 2010

Sad times

With the start of WW1, in the summer of 1914, the directors of C Brandauer & Co Ltd found themselves in the difficult position of being a Company half-owned by an Austrian family. The Brandauer family had with others founded the Company over 50 years earlier but due to the nature of WW1 they would now be seen as the enemy by the British.

The directors of C Brandauer & Co Ltd met every quarter for a board meeting and the first one after the declaration of war is dated Monday November 1914, at 12 o'clock. Minute 500 is indeed a very sad one and is as follows:

Mr Joseph H Petit [Chairman] reported that the War between England and Germany had necessitated the removal of the names of Mr Frederick C J Brandauer and Mr Hermann Brandauer from the Directorate of Messrs C Brandauer & Co Ltd on account of their nationality until the conclusion of the War as their positions as Directors interfered with the conduct of the business of the Company.

That Mr Frederick C J Brandauer and Mr Hermann Brandauer be removed from the Board of Directors until the conclusion of the present War. The Board found it expedient on account of competition to be in a position to declare themselves an entirely British Company.

I know that this decision caused great sadness and anxiety to both families as they had worked together for three generations and corresponded extremely regularly with each other. It took some years after WW1 had ended to sort out the complicated Company affairs between the two families and the War Office but in the mid-1920s C Brandauer & Co Ltd became totally owned by the Petit family as it is to this day.

However, communication between the Petit and Brandauer families did not finish in 1914 as the archive shows and lasted for many years to come. There was a gap in the 1950s, 60s and 70s but in the 1980s my Father, Mr Joseph Adrien Letiere Petit, found the Brandauer family, still in Vienna. Since finding the Brandauers I have met them at the factory and in Vienna and we share archival information, which is marvellous. Finally, we are looking forward to meeting the current generations of the Brandauer family at the 150th anniversary celebrations in 2012.

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