History 1933 – 1971
1933After accession to power by the National Socialists, Julius Dietz, a staunch NSDAP supporter, is appointed as the new foundation commissioner. The foundation statute is “politically” adapted without consideration of the founder's will. Among other things, the requirement enshrined in the statute of tolerance for heritage, denomination and party status of employees (§ 56) is abolished. Fierce arguments arise between Julius Dietz and the regional administration on one side and the management of the companies and individual brave citizens such as Abbe’s daughter Grete Unrein on the other. They culminate in a lawsuit against the Thuringian Minister of the Interior, Fritz Wächtler, because of the forced changes to the statute.
American troops occupy Jena and the factories Zeiss and Schott. As they leave in June 1945, they take 122 key employees (scientists, engineers, the entire executive branch) and important documents with them to the West. Initially, the employees are detained in Heidenheim an der Brenz, and the documents are sent to the USA for evaluation.
15 November: Restoration of the statute that was valid before 1933.
The Zeiss employees, who were transferred to the West, start building an optical factory in Oberkochen under the name Opton. Schott employees build a new factory in Mainz in 1951/52. In Jena, Zeiss and Schott are dismantled by the Russian military power to a negligible residual stock of 6%. Material and personnel are transported to the USSR.
Renaming of “Opton Optische Werke Oberkochen GmbH” to “Zeiss Opton Optische Werke GmbH”.
The Jena foundation companies are expropriated and converted to state-owned enterprises.
Opton is applying to the Baden-Württemberg government to relocate the registered office of the foundation to Heidenheim. This is granted in 1949 by the Ministry of Justice. At the same time, the local Carl Zeiss Foundation continues to exist in Jena.