Alina Strickmann

Obituary: Dr Hans-Gerhard Kampf

Dr Hans-Gerhard Kampf as Managing Director of Klasmann Werke in the 1980s.

We mourn the loss of our former Managing Director Dr Hans-Gerhard Kampf, who died on 19 November 2016 aged 93.

During his 32 years of service for the company, Dr Kampf held various management positions at the former Heseper Torfwerk GmbH and later Klasmann Werke GmbH, and was Technical Director from 1971 until he retired in 1988. “The death of Dr Kampf means the loss of a great character who made a decisive and lasting mark on our company’s internal and external activities, a person who enjoyed the greatest respect of our own staff and of many people outside the company,” stated Norbert Siebels and Moritz Böcking, Managing Directors of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group. “He managed our company with great commitment and vision and played a key role for the success of the Klasmann-Deilmann Group.”

Dr Hans-Gerhard Kampf was born on 17 November 1923, obtained a PhD in Engineering and joined what was then Heseper Torfwerk GmbH on 16 July 1956, i.e. during the lifetime of our company founder Georg Klasmann. In an anecdote about Dr Kampf’s interview for the job, Georg Klasmann is quoted as saying: “Everything went off fine. I am only a little concerned that he asked about working hours. But I think he will prove to be quite OK.” To begin with, Dr Kampf was in charge of the technical office and was made an authorised signatory on 26 September 1961 – in other words, at a time when mechanical engineering was one of the company’s major business units. As he was the first employee at the company to have a doctorate, he was soon referred to by all and sundry simply as “the doctor”.

Dr Kampf on his way to Scotland in the early 1960s.

In 1971 the companies were reorganised and the name changed to Klasmann Werke GmbH. On 29 June of that same year, Dr Kampf was appointed a member of the management board. From 1972 to 1988, he also served on the supervisory board of Torfforschung GmbH. Between 1972 and 1988, he represented the interests of the German peat industry and peat science on the board of the International Peat Society (now the International Peatland Society, IPS) on behalf of the German Peat Society DGMT. On 30 June 1988, Dr Kampf left our company to enjoy his well-earned retirement. In one of the farewell speeches made at the time, the speaker praised the way in which Dr Kampf used to state his opinion: “’It always took some time to come, but when it did come, it came with astounding but unwavering calmness, and frequently amazed the listeners with its blithe candidness.”

Ernst Siebels, who later became Managing Director, and Dr Hans-Gerhard Kampf (r) on a flight to Scotland.

The staff at Klasmann-Deilmann appreciated his strength of character, his sense of humour and his unshakable composure. When he retired from the company, these characteristics were quoted as being “some of the decisive factors for your success: your popularity with the people on the factory floor and the respect you are shown. Amongst other things, that is evident from the fact that when speaking of you, nearly every employee does not quote Dr Kampf, but simply says: ‘According to doc’, or ‘the doctor said’.

We shall cherish and honour the member of Dr Hans-Georg Kampf.