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Inhaltsangabe zu "Kunst and Albers Vladivostok"
Vladivostok blossoms. In 1891, construction of the Siberian Railroad begins here. The “Magazin” belonging to Gustav Kunst, Gustav Albers and Adolph Dattan grows even faster than the town: their store in Vladivostok, which was completed in1884, was the first German department store anywhere. Kunst & Albers sells agricultural machinery from Mannheim, beer from Munich, champagne from France, and the latest styles from Paris, but it also operates a wholesale trade in American flour and Sakhalin coal. Its buildings are the first to be wired for electricity east of the Urals. Kunst & Albers establishes more than 30 stores and small branches in towns, cities, and villages throughout the Russian Far East and Manchuria – and even has agents in Europe, Japan, and the USA.
Behind the scenes, however, the owners of the firm are locked in an internal power struggle lasting for years. But it is the outbreak of war in 1914, not internal conflict, that proves catastrophic for the enterprise. Although the owners are now Russian citizens, they count as Germans, and Germany is the enemy. A competitor begins a smear campaign. Many libelous newspaper articles appear, followed in 1915 by a novel, which depicts the sinister machinations of German secret agents under the cover of the firm. The author is the shady journalist, scientist, and adventurer Anton Ferdinand Ossendowski. His campaign against Kunst & Albers leads him to blackmail and a forged document that made history. Even the American government is fooled.
Adolph Dattan, co-owner and senior head of the firm in Vladivostok, is hit the hardest by Ossendowski’s intrigue: in 1915, he is banished to Inner Siberia, allegedly as a German spy. The junior head, Alfred Albers, is conscripted into the army. He experiences the 1917 Revolution at first hand in Petrograd. However, Kunst & Albers is able to survive into the twenties, in the ever increasing chaos of Vladivostok, until the Soviets finally choke it to death. The firm moves its business to neighboring China – where it actually ceases to exist in the Second World War.