Leopold Hoesch
Manfred Oldenburg & Lukas Hoffmann
1 x 45'
The computer king from Paderborn
Heinz Nixdorf

His empire is not in California's Silicon Valley, but in the East Westphalian province, in his hometown of Paderborn. The entrepreneur, born in 1925, embodies the German economic miracle like no other. And he takes up the fight with the giants of the computer industry. He owes his rapid rise above all to one quality: his unconditional will to perform.

Heinz Nixdorf recognises early on that the computer is the technology of the future. His vision is a computer that fits in every office and on every desk. At a time when the industry giant IBM mainly serves large customers with huge computers, he concentrates on medium-sized businesses. In a basement workshop in Essen, Nixdorf develops the prototype of his vision with a tube computer.

As early as the end of the 1950s, he moved his company headquarters to his hometown of Paderborn and left his mark on the region like no other. He turned the small provincial town into an IT stronghold. Nixdorf drives the local infrastructure forward: several motorway connections and an airport are built. He wants to make the region independent of the Rhineland. And with the construction of the Ahornsportpark, he gives expression to his great passion: sporting competition. He hires top athletes to keep his company and the whole of Paderborn fit. Because the whole region and especially his employees are close to his heart.

Heinz Nixdorf gives a lot, but demands one thing in return: absolute commitment. A demand that justifies his success, but which also repeatedly puts him and his health at great risk and ultimately costs him his life. In 1986, the restless entrepreneur died of a heart attack at the Cebit computer fair at the age of only 60. In 2015 he would have been 90 years old.

In Paderborn, almost 30 years after his death, he is still present everywhere. The former company building is now the largest computer museum in the world and attracts over 100,000 visitors a year. Wincor Nixdorf is a leading international provider of IT solutions and continues to produce ATMs and POS systems worldwide. The ideas and ideals of entrepreneur Heinz Nixdorf also live on in two charitable foundations: the Heinz Nixdorf Foundation and the Westphalia Foundation. Both are headed by his son Martin Nixdorf.

WDR Television, Friday, 12 June 2015, 8.15 to 9.00 p.m.


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