The Aldi Story – Karl and Theo Albrecht

Theo and Karl Albrecht are probably Germany’s

most mysterious characters. They built up a global business imperium, were able

to accumulate a fortune of billions, they became the richest Germans. When Theo

Albrecht died in 2010 and his brother Karl in 2014 they had managed to create a

trade chain with 4300 stores in Germany alone starting from their mothers small

corner shop which the ran since 1946. Today this concern determines the prices

for our staple food and has had an immense influence on German food culture and

overall consumption mentality.

But to the public the Albrechts remain unknown. Until their deaths they live a life in the shadows. For decades they have been hiding systematically. There are only a couple of blurry pictures in existence.


“The Aldi Story” is the first film to offer an intense insight in the life of the brothers as well as their personalities. The two grew up in poor circumstances in the working-class neighborhood Schonnebeck in Essen where their mother ran a small corner shop. To Mrs. Albrecht it was a sideline to support her family. Karl is born in 1920 followed up by Theo two years later. The boys are bound and determined to emerge from their poverty. By chance they discover the „Aldi concept“: A small range of products for small prices. This idea will change the shopping behaviour of a whole nation dramatically and at the same time grant the

Albrecht-brothers tremendous wealth. During their lifetime they are considered

the richest Germans. But when Theo is kidnapped in 1971 this fortune becomes a

burden. Following up this traumatic event the two brothers withdraw from the

public completely. No pictures may be taken and even in their own company they

are only known by their closest associates.


This film tells the story of how the Albrechts managed to conquer the food market but also how the company changed the brothers. For the first time the families of Karl and Theo have provided the filmmakers with private pictures. They show the young Albrecht-brothers  in 1938 and 1939

with their parents and the corner shop in Schonnebeck, the origin of the Aldi imperium. Elaborate reenactments show key scenes from the lives of the brothers. Close associates have their say as well as leading journalists who have been researching in the environment of the family for years. They offer a deep insight in the lives of Karl and Theo Albrecht and the imperium that they created.


FIRST BROADCAST: Tuesday, December 9th 2014, 8:15

PM on ZDF.


Length 1x 45'
Year 2014
Genre Documentary
Format 16:9 HDTV
Director Sebastian Dehnhardt, Manfred Oldenburg
Boadcast ZDF