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At the beginning of the century there once lived a child in Erfurt, not knowing yet that later on its life would be connected with the life of two other children growing up in the same Thuringian town in the midth of Germany. It was eight year old Hans Domizlaff who hid his passion behind an imaginary aunt, when his teachers were surprised at his ability to paint a picture of a steamboat in stormy sea.
The other two children: Hermann and Philipp Reemtsma, sons of Bernhard Reemtsma, who had bought a small cigarette factory named DIXI. At first the company was seated in a seven room flat, later on in an old arms factory close to the cathedral. Maybe the boys went to the same school, maybe the same teachers threatened them with bamboo canes. They even might have played together, games of indians and soldiers or robbers and policemen amongst the walls of the Thuringian town. Years later, when they had grown up to become young men, they fought for the life of a nation.
In the spring of the year 1920 - the Kaiserreich had been burnt to ashes during World War I - a young handsome fellow meets Philipp Fuerchtegott Reemtsma at the Leipzig fair. After a long talk on advertising, products and brand design, Reemtsma asks Hans Domizlaff to cast a critical eye on his cigarette manufactory in Erfurt. Within the following ten years Domizlaff will be creating some of the most successful German cigarette brands before World War II. Philipp and Hermann Reemtsma are expanding the 'Reemtsma Cigarettenfabriken' into one of the biggest ventures in Europe.
Within two days and two nights, he created his first cigarette brand: the 'R 6'. It was born in 1921. In contrast to other brand names like 'Abdullah', 'Salem' or 'Königin von Saba', it proposed a rational, level-headed image. A narrow ribbon, plain signets and ornaments upon a single-coloured box alluded to the oriental origin as well as to the production and harvest of the raw materials. The factory's name and logo were the dominant elements on the front side. The brand name appeared in the upper edge of the ornaments. In 1924 the brand had to be taken from the market: inflation had propelled the prices of cigarettes made from superior Macedonian and Thracian tobaccos beyond the buying power of limited incomes.
But 'R 6' - just like 'Ernte 23' - was to have a tenacious life. After several relaunches they became the most successful brands before and after world war II. Now they are Reemtsma's oldest brands on the European market, and 'Ernte 23' is still in the Top Ten in Germany without any advertising since 1984!
In 1923 Reemtsma was converted into a joint stock company. The firm moved from an old armament factory to barracks in Altona-Bahrenfeld, on the outskirts of Hamburg. Equipped with air-conditioning and an automatic blending plant for the preparation of the various blends, the factory became a model of ultra-modern cigarette production. The brands 'Gelbe Sorte', 'Senoussi', 'Ova', 'Ernte 23' and 'R 6', designed by Hans Domizlaff, have been among the most popular cigarettes for more than sixty years.