Ludwig Roselius (2 June 1874 – 15 May 1943) was a German coffee merchant and founder of the company KAFFEE HAG. He was born in Bremen and is credited with the development of commercial decaffeination of coffee. As a patron, he supported artists like Paula Modersohn-Becker and Bernard Hoetger and turned the street Böttcherstrasse in Bremen into an artwork.
During the Third Reich, "Politically a conservative, Roselius had a positive attitude towards National Socialism and supported Hitler, with whom he had a private meeting in Bremen in 1922."
Apparently he had later a falling-out with Hitler - though not with the Nazi ideology - because Roselius believed in the existence of or lobbied for the creation of a purebred "Lower German race" ("Lower" as a geographical term - as in "Lower Saxony") and Hitler did not.
Dr Roselius took an early interest in the aircraft industry and in 1925 he became Chairman of Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau A.G.; in early 1933 he handed over to his brother Friedrich who died in 1941. In 1938 the Bremen based company was reconstituted as Focke-Wulf Flugzeugbau GmbH and Roselius' HAG group increased its holding to 46%. Lorenz A.G., a subsidiary of I.T.T., came in with 28% and supplied the latest technology. At this time a substantial capital injection was made.
In 1934 Dr Roselius had his left leg amputated due to bone cancer. He also suffered from recurring fevers and other illnesses. In early 1935 his youngest daughter married tenor Ivo Götte. When Dr Roselius met Ivo's sister Barbara, who had just completed her state examinations in mathematics, physics and philosophy with distinction at Kiel University, he immediately offered her a position with the concern. Although she had intended to commence her Ph.D. in philosophy, she accepted the offer. Over time she became his carer, companion, and closest collaborator. He needed someone to look after him on his many worldwide voyages and help him with his books and many publications. Barbara's academic credentials complemented his 'streetwise' business acumen. They became a formidable team. Roselius credited Barbara with having saved his life when Hitler denounced the art and architecture in his Böttcherstasse and Roselius's Nordic views at the September 1936 Nuremberg Nazi party rally. Later, his daughter recognized that Barbara had been responsible for Dr Roselius finding his way back to a more moderate political outlook. Barbara looked after Dr Roselius for the final nine months of his life in the Hotel Kaiserhof, Berlin and held his hand shortly before he died. They were very much in love but it was always a platonic relationship.
- Dieter Pliegensdörfer; Volker Bergmann; Willi Elmers; Manfred Fittkau; Michael Jung; Michael Wolf; Wolfgang Günther. Wellblech & Windkanal. Arbeit und Geschäfte im Bremer Flugzeugbau von den Anfängen 1909 bis heute. Steintor, 1989, ISBN 3926028513
- Leidig, Ludwig. Bombshell. sbpra, 2013, ISBN 978-1-62516-346-2