“I will show you that wonders are possible.”
28 July 1909 – 3 November 2005 (Star sign Leo)
Aenne Burda was born was born as Anna Magdalene Lemminger on 28 July 1909 in Offenburg, in the South-West- German province of Baden.
Anna was the daughter of a train locomotive driver and her mother was a housewife.
Her father was an engine driver, a position that in Germany made him a member of the civil service and attracted social status, if not wealth. She always described herself as a “daddy’s girl” whose relations with her mother were usually fraught.
She attends a convent school, is a middle-school graduate and then completes a commercial apprenticeship.
When Anna was 17, she renamed herself to “Aenne” like the heroine in her favourite song by author Simon Dach “Annchen von Tharau” (Annie of Tharaw).
After school she became a cashier at the Offenburg electricity company, where she had to demand payment of debts by Burda, the local printing and publishing company.
There she meets Dr. Franz Burda son of Franz Burda, the founder of the Burda printing company
and a year later, on 9 July 1931 they got married.
The couple had three sons, Franz (1932), Frieder (1936) and Hubert (1940)
By Western standards, the family’s income was modest, although she could afford to hire a nanny and a housekeeper.
She spent 25 years being a housewife and taking care of the children.
Perhaps it would have lasted longer, if not for one case which abruptly changed her life.
At 40, Aenne found out that her husband had been cheating with his secretary for a long time and that she had child. On top of all her husband gave his mistress one of the printing shops and the fashion magazine Effi Moden. But with the help of a lawyer Aenne took the magazine from her husband’s mistress and became the head of it. At that time, magazine did not bring income and was not popular.
The first issue was published in 1950. In the postwar period, women in Germany dreamed of inexpensive, comfortable to wear and beautiful clothes, and already in the first six months the magazine circulation grew from 100 thousand to 500 thousand copies. Aenne wisely forgave her husband, who later became a junior partner in her business, and the magazine received a family name.
The new concept was quite simple: comfortable and elegant outfits, quality patterns, recipes and tips for improving the home. The magazine was designed for ordinary women with an average income level. Aenne did not blindly followed fashion trends, she was searching for her own style.
The latest years of life
Until the age of 87, she ran the business on her own, and after her death in 2005, her younger son Hubert inherited the fashion empire.
The hometown of Aenne – Offenburg – is called jokingly by Burdapesht, and one of its streets received its name.
Aenne Burda died in her native Offenburg, Germany, at the age of 96 on 3 November 2005 from natural causes.