Carl Sauter, II
1909. Carl Sauter II (1876-1948) takes over from his father and continues the international focus of the company for a good stretch of time. His most notable contributions to the company are in improving production methods, modernizing the factory, and expanding the production volume. The company experiences phenomenal growth during the 1920’s. However, with the advent of the National Socialist movement to Germany, the fortunes of Sauter Company start to decline.
The situation comes to a head when Mrs. Sauter – publicly confronted by the leader of the local Nazi party why her grandsons are not attending Hitler Youth Sunday Morning Meetings- loudly states at the overflowing town restaurant, for all to hear: “My grandsons will always attend Church over Hitler’s Youth Program.” A few months later, all but the youngest ones of Sauter sons are drafted to the Eastern Front of the Germany Army. The regional Nazi party representatives decide to put Sauter out of business. The government stops production at the factory and forces it to produce war materials.
While many other companies in the German music industry aligned themselves with the new powers, the Sauter family’s religious and moral stance had no room for compromise. It came at a terrible price. Of the sons drafted in retribution, two fall in action on the Eastern Front. The third son remains missing in action and is believed to be dead until a knock on the door early on a Sunday spring day in 1956, and there stands a man who is starved to the bones but alive. He had been in Russian captivity but had survived these many years.
However, the Sauter family is not one to give up and while having both lost family members and been stripped of any business advantages, the decision is made to again rebuild the company into a premier piano brand across the world.