Emil Altmann, born according to the Israelite Community in Vienna on April 29, 1895, and Ernst Kühne, husband of Wilma Altmann, established the shop Altmann & Kühne on June 20, 1928. It quickly became the fourth prestigious chocolatier in Vienna and soon became the most exclusive producer of fine chocolate delicacies in the city. Over the following years, Altmann & Kühne expanded to open two more shops in Vienna's city center, in addition to the original store on Graben 30.
1928 - 1938
The ascent was rapid. Emil Altmann recognized the importance of good advertising and participated in numerous fairs, exhibitions, and even a promotional film. Among these projects were a propaganda film for the Austrian Railways as part of the "Buy Austrian Goods" campaign and a project called the "Advertising Train," aimed at inspiring travelers to visit Vienna. As a result, A&K quickly gained recognition even beyond the borders of Austria. Even the Duke of Windsor, the former Prince of Wales, couldn't resist inquiring whether his favorite variety was still available.
Terrible times began when Mr. Altmann was forced to flee the country due to his faith and the nationalist movement in Austria. Entries and diary excerpts from that period revealed a dark chapter. The only glimmer of hope was the managing director, Mrs. Rosina Menczer, who was responsible for all three branches before the war. With unwavering determination, she kept the business alive, resorting to selling flea market goods and procuring food through black market "hoarding." In the end, only the first store at Graben 30 remained, where it stands to this day.
During the war, Mr. Kühne passed away, and Mr. Altmann returned to Vienna for the first time in 1946 after his escape to New York. It took another 4 years until Mr. Altmann regained sole procuration of the business from Mrs. Menczer. Waste no time, Altmann launched a vigorous advertising campaign once again to promote the luxury items of Confiserie Altmann & Kühne. Over the years, prominent figures like Romy Schneider and Hans Moser indulged in their products. The era of Emil Altmann and widow Wilma Kühne came to an end in 1969 when the business was taken over by the Kral family.
In 1983, the business was taken over by Dr. Stefan Schick, a senior chef hailing from a family of hoteliers. Until this very day, Mrs. Petra Heytmanek-Schick has been managing the business. She has preserved the classic elements of Altmann & Kühne, which are still savored by both Viennese locals and people from all around the world. A year before the 80th-anniversary celebration, she faithfully restored the shop, including the original chandelier designed by Josef Hoffmann, a former member of the Secession, who co-designed the store on Graben in 1928.
Just as Grete Altmann once wrote in 1928, "A&K is not just a brand, but a symbol of Vienna." The diligent team at Altmann & Kühne continues to carry forward this longstanding tradition even today. Our vision is to offer a gift to our citizens and guests from all around the world. This joy is visually conveyed through our Naschkasterl, gustatorily experienced through our handcrafted chocolates made from original recipes, and kinesthetically felt through the act of giving something special to oneself or someone else.
Dive deep into the fascinating history of our company by discovering the wonderful book written by Ms. Sylvia Festa. Learn more about our beginnings, our rise, the challenges we've overcome, and how we rebuilt ourselves. It's an inspiring journey through time that you wouldn't want to miss. Get your copy today and let yourself be enchanted by our compelling story!