It was a very positive experience that will continue to influence me for a very long time.
Aldo ten Geuzendam
Karl Friedrich Meckel was born the third and youngest son of master bricklayer Leonhard Meckel and his wife Marie Meckel (née Freimann) on the 4th of January 1905 in Ludwigshafen (Rhine).
After attending elementary school, he began his commercial apprenticeship at Sulzer Heating in Mannheim, which he successfully completed on the 1st of April 1923.
During his apprenticeship he also attended commercial school and completed his A-levels (Abitur) in 1921.
This was followed by a visit to the commercial college of Mannheim, passing the gifted baccalaureate before the Ministry of Education and visits to the University of Mannheim and the University of Heidelberg as student.
His career lead him from sales manager at the Palatine Newspaper GmbH, followed by a position as branch manager at the company Dr. Fritz Schulza, to the Knorr’s Hirth GmbH where he worked as regional manager, and lastly to the Munich newspaper GmbH where he attained a post as company director.
He developed his first publishing activities in 1932 when he founded the "Deutsche Kulturgemeinschaft" (German Culture Community), which was disintegrated by the NSDAP in 1934.
In the years that followed, he worked as an advertising manager for the Volksgemeinschaft GmbH and the Landesbauernschafts Publisher GmbH and started his own business, the Trifels publishing company, on the 1st of May 1939.
Fields of activity of the publishing company were fiction, teaching aids and the publication of a directory for trade, commerce and industry (HGBV), precursor of today’s "Gelbe Seiten" (yellow pages).
This was followed by other company foundations, namely that of the Neuer Berliner Buchvertrieb (New Berlin book distributors) and a mail-order bookshop in Leipzig, the latter of which was mainly entrusted with the distribution of the "Wiesbadener Volksbücher" in the territory of the German Reich and the Alsace.
This emerging community of businesses was completely destroyed in the war, meaning that Karl Friedrich Meckel was left with nothing after his service in the war and the return from French captivity in 1946.
Characterised by traumatic experiences in the prisoner of war camp Rennes/Brittany, Meckel first developed the idea of a foundation that follows the christian belief of international understanding.
By mutually knowing and understanding the elite youth, misconceptions and intolerance towards opposing and isolated nations were to be erased with the help of the common ground of a Christian western cultural asset. Never again should it be possible for a closely-related family of nations to tear each other apart in such gruesome manner; to severely harm one another as it had happened in the past.
True to himself, Karl Friedrich Meckel pursued this goal to its realisation while at the same time working 20 hours a day, remaining devoted to it until his death.
But let’s return to the year 1946 et seq.
The publishing activity continued in 1947, among others, with the publication of items such as the "Handwerkszeitung" and the journal for inland waterway transport "Das Rheinschiff". The chaotic conditions in the French occupation zone led to the creation of an advertising company in Mannheim, the Trifels publishing company in Frankfurt/Main and the Trias advertising company in Frankfurt/Main (former American occupation zone). The Frankfurt Group dealt exclusively and very successfully with the publication of telephone directories.
At the same time, a number of other start-ups have been created, which were to fill partly economic, partly cognitive fields of activity.
Lasting success, however, was only achieved by the Trifels publishing company (a sole commercial enterprise), leading to a total fusion into the Frankfurt Group in the mid 1950s. Karl Friedrich Meckel only expanded again in 1967 when he acquired the SARAG GmbH and extended the Trifels area by adding the Saarland.
On the 23rd of October 1969, his eventful and benevolent life ended at the age of 64.