Albert Ballin
Overview
 
Albert Ballin was a German businessman. He was born into a modest Jewish family of Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 with origins in Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

.
His father was part owner of an emigration
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 agency that arranged passages to the United States, and when he died in 1874, young Albert took over the business. He developed it into an independent shipping line, saving costs by carrying cargo on the return trip from the US. This brought him to the attention of Hamburg America Line
Hamburg America Line
The Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien Gesellschaft was a transatlantic shipping enterprise established in Hamburg, Germany during...

, who hired him in 1886, and made him general director in 1899.

Although extremely successful in developing the business, as a Jew, and only being the director, but not the owner of a company, he was not accepted by all of Hamburg society.
Encyclopedia
Albert Ballin was a German businessman. He was born into a modest Jewish family of Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 with origins in Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

.

Business

His father was part owner of an emigration
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

 agency that arranged passages to the United States, and when he died in 1874, young Albert took over the business. He developed it into an independent shipping line, saving costs by carrying cargo on the return trip from the US. This brought him to the attention of Hamburg America Line
Hamburg America Line
The Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien Gesellschaft was a transatlantic shipping enterprise established in Hamburg, Germany during...

, who hired him in 1886, and made him general director in 1899.

Although extremely successful in developing the business, as a Jew, and only being the director, but not the owner of a company, he was not accepted by all of Hamburg society. Nevertheless, he was respected and admired by the Kaiser (Wilhelm II) and was designated as being "hoffähig" (welcomed and acceptable at court) an honor given to few by Wilhelm. Ballin's home in Hamburg still stands and has a suite of rooms that were built specifically for the Kaiser, to be used when he visited Hamburg. Many different ship companies began to include ocean liners among their fleets, to add luxury and comfort to sea travel. Due to bad weather conditions in the winter months the transatlantic ocean liners could not operate at full capacity, and Ballin thought of a scheme to increase the occupancy by offering idle ships to travel agencies in Europe and America in the winter.

The first modern cruise, which defined the journey not just as transport but as the actual reward, commenced on 22 January 1891, when the SS Auguste Victoria (named after the German empress
Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein
Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein was the last German Empress and Queen of Prussia. Her full German name was Auguste Victoria Friederike Luise Feodora Jenny von Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg.She was the eldest daughter of Frederick VIII, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein and Princess...

) set sail to cruise the Mediterranean for six weeks. The competitors initially sniggered at Ballin, who organized and supervised the voyage personally, but the project was a huge success. In order to accommodate the growing demand, another three of the SS Auguste Victoria’s sister ships operated as cruise liners, and in 1899 the Hamburg-America Line commissioned Blohm & Voss to construct the first purpose-built cruise ship, the Prinzessin Victoria Luise
Prinzessin Victoria Luise
Prinzessin Victoria Luise was a passenger ship of the Hamburg-America Line of some . She is credited with having been the first purpose-built cruise ship...

. It was the very first cruise ship, one exclusively tailored for the needs of well-to-do passengers.

In 1901 Ballin built the Emigration Halls (now the Museum "BallinStadt") on the Hamburg island of Veddel
Veddel
Veddel is a quarter in the Hamburg-Mitte borough of the Free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg on the homonymous island in the Elbe river, in northern Germany. In 2006, the population was 4,944.-Demographics:...

 to accommodate the many thousands of people from all over Europe who arrived at the Port of Hamburg every week to emigrate to North and South America on his company's ships.

Ballin frequently traveled on the ships in his fleet and often spoke to passengers traveling with him to find out about the ships in his fleet and what improvements to make to future Hamburg Amerika ships. Ballin would take these improvements in hand and make sure that they would be placed on both his current and future liners.

World War I

Ballin acted as mediator between the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 and the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in the tense years prior to the outbreak of World War I. Terrified that he would lose his ships in the event of naval hostilities, Ballin attempted to broker a deal whereby the United Kingdom and Germany would continue to race one another in passenger liners but desist their attempts to best one another's naval fleets. Consequently the outbreak of war deeply disillusioned him. Many of the Hamburg-America Line's ships were lost or suffered considerable damage during the hostilities.

Discouraged at the destruction of his work building the Hamburg-America fleet, and perhaps fearing the loss of his ships, Ballin committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills two days before the armistice
Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)
The armistice between the Allies and Germany was an agreement that ended the fighting in the First World War. It was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a complete defeat for Germany, although not technically a surrender...

 ended World War I. Ballin's fears were soon to be realized; the company's flagships, the triumvirate SS Imperator
SS Imperator
SS Imperator was an ocean liner built for the Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien Gesellschaft launched in 1912. She was the first of a trio of successively larger Hamburg America ships that included and built by the line for transatlantic passenger service...

, SS Vaterland
SS Leviathan
SS Leviathan, originally built as SS Vaterland, was an ocean liner which regularly sailed the North Atlantic briefly in 1914 and from 1917 to 1934...

 and SS Bismarck
RMS Majestic (1914)
RMS Majestic, launched in 1914 as SS Bismarck, was, at 56,551 gross tonnage, the largest ship in the world until the completion of the in 1935. Originally slated to be the third and largest member of German HAPAG Line's trio of transatlantic liners, her completion was delayed by World War I...

 were ceded as war prizes to Great Britain and the United States.

Honors

The SS Albert Ballin was named in his honor, as is the Ballindamm, a street in central Hamburg. A postage stamp was issued by the Deutsche Bundespost
Deutsche Bundespost
The Deutsche Bundespost was created in 1947 as a successor to the Reichspost . Between 1947 and 1950 the enterprise was called Deutsche Post...

 in 1957 in commemoration of Ballin's 100th birthday.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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