The initial funders
The Brost Foundation is known and recognized as a reputable nonprofit and nonpartisan organization. It has chosen to support CORRECT!V as our initial funder.
The Brost Foundation was founded in Essen on July 1st, 2011 from Anneliese Brost’s legacy. It possesses an endowment of around €300 million. The proceeds finance projects that aim to build bridges across generations, maintain the Brost family’s publishing legacy and give underprivileged people more rights, opportunities and recognition.
The Brost Foundation follows the example set by Anneliese and Erich Brost, who advocated the improvement of living conditions, promoted international exchange and worked to build our democracy.
Anneliese Brost witnessed the founding of the WAZ Group before later assuming leadership herself. She began as an employee, later married the social democrat and journalist Erich Brost before becoming head publisher. The Brosts were among the most important founding figures in West German press history. Along with others, they helped overcome the Nazi past and turn Germany into a democratic state.
Anneliese Brost – Ilja Höpping / WAZ FotoPool
Anneliese Brost, publisher of the WAZ Group until her death
Anneliese Brost was born on September 4th, 1920 in Bochum as the only child of Heinrich and Johanna Brinkmann. While her father was a horse trader, her mother acted as the family’s political head: she was a social democrat and women’s rights activist. Anneliese Brost grew up in a time marked by political instability, unemployment, violence, inflation and hunger.
After the Second World War Anneliese Brost worked as a secretary for the Westfälische Rundschau newspaper which began publication on March 20th, 1946. At 25 years of age she was part of the team that founded the paper. At the Rundschau she met her later husband Erich Brost.
Erich Brost was a member of parliament for the SPD in the Free City of Danzig until 1939 when the city was invaded by the Nazis. He was forced to flee to England where he started working as a journalist in the resistance, reporting from England, Scandinavia and Poland.
Erich Brost was among the first Germans to return from exile when he left London to arrive in the Ruhr area on June 8th, 1945. He was a key figure in the establishment of a free press in postwar Germany. Under Allied authorization he set up the “German News Service” which later became the “Deutsche Presseagentur” (dpa – German Press Agency). He was also involved in rebuilding Radio Hamburg which went on to become NDR. From 1947 he was the first editor in chief of the Neue Ruhr Zeitung. He also represented the SPD at the Allied Control Council in Berlin.
In November 1947 Brost was offered the license to establish an independent daily newspaper in the British zone. On April 3rd, 1948 the first edition of the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) was published with the “License 192”. Jakob Funke left his position as local head of the Neue Ruhr Zeitung to join Erich Brost as a full partner, receiving 50 percent of shares in the company.
The first employee at the WAZ was Anneliese Brost. By the time the newspaper moved into a new headquarters in Essen she had become the boss’s right hand. After their marriage in 1975 she took on his name. That same year the WAZ became the WAZ Mediagroup to which the Westfälische Rundschau also belonged.
This new formation was a success. Business boomed under the leadership of Anneliese and Erich Brost. The WAZ Group established and bought dozens of daily and weekly newspapers, over 100 popular magazines, specialty publications and hundreds of client magazines. Anneliese Brost referred to the WAZ as her child with Erich Brost. She assumed its management after his death in 1995 shortly before his 92nd birthday. In the following 15 years Anneliese Brost led the company as publisher.
After her death at the age of 90 on September 8th, 2010, her heirs sold her shares in the WAZ Group to the family of Jakob Funke. The company was subsequently renamed as Funke-Mediengruppe.
Anneliese Brost’s legacy lives on in the group’s newspapers and in her charitable foundations.
Management of the Brost Foundation
The renowned hematologist Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Heit is the chairman of the Brost Foundation.
Bodo Hombach is deputy chairman. A former Chief of Staff in the Federal Chancellery and director of the WAZ Group, he is responsible for Anneliese and Erich Brost’s journalistic legacy.
Dr. Thomas Sacher is the third chairman. A lawyer by trade, he is one of the few European legal experts accredited by the International Court of Justice in The Hague and is also an advisor to the United Nations.