Entrepreneur Lucy Borchard. The outstanding Hamburger shipping entrepreneur Lucy Borchard (1877-1969). The pictures are digitalized building schematics of one of the several ships that have been named after her.
The outstanding Hamburger shipping entrepreneur Lucy Borchard (1877-1969). The pictures are digitalized building schematics of one of the several ships that have been named after her.
Lucy Borchard worked as a teacher until she married the shipping businessman Richard Borchardt in 1902. Three years later her husband turned his enterprise into the Fairplay tugboat company. When Richard Borchard joined the navy during World War I, Lucy successfully took his place directing the company. She stayed closely involved in their successful tugboat business after the war and her family became the sole owner of Fairplay in 1924. After the death of Richard in 1930, Lucy became the director of the company. Being a Jew herself, Lucy Borchard used Fairplay to help Jews flee the growing antisemitism they were confronted with in Germany. She smartly evaded the racist laws and gave Jewish citizens of Hamburg jobs in the maritime sector, that allowed them to emigrate to Palestine and escape Nazi persecution. She used her international connections to resist the pressure the Nazis applied on what they considered a “non-Aryan company”. In 1938, before the Nazis could expropriate her company, she managed to turn it into a Foundation, controlled by its workers – from which she enjoyed the greatest respect and sympathy. She was able to keep 3 ships of her company and went into exile in Great Britain. In 1940, her German nationality was taken away from her and the boats of her company that were still in Hamburg became property of the Kriegsmarine. In Exile Lucy Borchard created the Fairplay Towage & Shipping Co. Ltd. London. She never returned to Germany, but her son Kurt did so in 1947. In 1950 he managed to restore the German branch of the company. He became the director in Germany while Lucy kept directing the British branch in London. The Fairplay Towage Group is still Hamburg-based and is an international player in the towage business.