Karl Hans Albrecht, Jr., was born on
February 20, 1920, in the industrial city of Essen, Germany. His Mutter ran
a small grocery store, and the boys had no intention of following Vater into
the mines of the Ruhr Valley. After World War II, in which Karl served on the
Russian front and Theo in Rommel's Afrika Korps, they took over Mama's little
store and made themselves a pile of Deutschmarks. In 1962, the brothers split
up the business into Aldi Nord (Theo) and Aldi Süd (Karl). Aldi Nord also owns
Trader Joe's markets in the U.S.
Karl was Germany's wealthiest person
at the time of his death, with an estimated worth of US$25 billion. He built
his own golf course so he wouldn't have to interact with others. He established the Elisen Foundation to support cultural
causes, and his Oertel trust, which controlled a portion of Aldi Süd, also donates to medical research. At least that means
he was just reclusive and not a miser.
Karl Albrecht died on
July 16, 2014, at the age of 94. No one outside of his family knew about it
until after he was buried. His wife, Maria, died in 2013. As far as we know, he
is survived by a daughter, Beate Heister; a son, Karl Jr.; and at least one
grandchild, Peter Max Heister.