It all began with a grand passion — for books and art. In 1945, thirty-year-old typesetter Gerd Hatje received a highly coveted publishing license from the French-American military government.
Thirsting for knowledge, starved by the intellectual and cultural devastation that was the legacy of the Nazi regime, Hatje was finally able to build what he called a “private university” entirely in accordance with his ideas. Hatje’s publishing company, Humanitas Verlag, released novellas, novels, and pieces of world literature, printed on the typically thin post-war paper — but “con amore.”
In 1947 the ambitious new company was renamed Verlag Gerd Hatje and quickly acquired considerable renown on the gradually solidifying publishing scene in West Germany.
By the 1950s the enthusiastic young publisher had begun identifying the themes for his books, which remain the heart and soul of his publishing house to this very day: the fine arts, modern architecture, and international design.