Family drama in Aldi

Babette Albrecht. Photo:
Babette Albrecht enjoys the limelight and does not mind flashing her wealth. That is no treat in the Aldi family. Photo:
By Reidar Molthe

12 April 2019 11:30

Family drama in Aldi

An old family feud in the German Albrecht family (Aldi) threatens after a testament from the deceased Cäcilie Albrecht excludes Babette Albrecht from any influence in the retail giant valued US$ 40 billion.

Babette Albrecht (60), widow of Berthold Albrecht, has previously been accused of abusing the company's assets. Now she has been excluded from any influence in the group by matriarch Cäcilie Albrecht.

Decades of intrigue and drama threatens to escalate the family feud in the German Albrecht clan who is behind the supermarket chain Aldi.

The late Cäcilie Albrecht, who was regarded by many as the family's "grand lady" and who owned more than 61 percent of the company's shares, has made clear in her will that the widow of the son Berthold Albrecht, Babette Albrecht, must be held out of any influence in the company's decisions. The same goes for the five children of Babette Albrecht, writes The Guardian.

"With this document, I try to preserve our family's philosophy, which is to serve and develop Aldi Nord, to override our own interests and to pursue a moderate lifestyle," wrote Cäcilie Albrecht in her will.

Founded in 1946

The Aldi chain was founded in 1946 by the brothers Theo and Karl Albrecht, who named the chain after themselves: The name Aldi stands for "Albrecht discount”. However, in 1960, the company split into two separate companies; Aldi Nord and Aldi South, when the brothers could not agree on the sale of cigarettes. One would ban it, the other not.

Aldi Nord has stores in France, Spain, Holland and Denmark, while Aldi Syd operates primarily in the UK, Switzerland, China and Australia, writes The Guardian.


In the West Germany's 1970s, the left-wing extremist group Rote Armee Fraction (RAF) was very active, and the group was responsible for series of attacks, bombings and abductions of prominent people in the German business community.

In 1971 Theo Albrecht was kidnapped by Rothe Armee. He was released after 17 days and seven million DM in ransom money.

After the kidnapping, the family decided to withdraw from the public eye to such an extent that only outdated black and white photographs of (most) family members exist. Except those seeking the limelight, like Babette.

The Happy Widow

Berthold Albrecht, son of Aldi’s co-founder Theo Albrecht, died in 2012. In connection with the brother's death, Theo Albrecht Junior tried unsuccessfully to put Berthold’s wife, Babette, out of influence in the company, without much success.

Babette Albrecht did not comply with the unwritten rules and was often called “the happy widow”.  She and her children had the habit of acting in public at any given opportunity, and at the same time broadcasting their wealth. Babette Albrecht has participated in everything from the German version of Wild with Dance to the Oktoberfest. For many in the Albrecht clan, such a behavior is unacceptable and Babette Albrecht's family has now been excluded from joining Cäcilie Albrecht's funeral as well as taking part in any business plans of Aldi.

Sources: Retail News, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, Aldi.  

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