Skip to main content
Else Fernau began as a trainee in the Hirsch Pharmacy in 1944 and decided to study to become a pharmacist.

The Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung is a non-profit foundation established in 1983 by Else Kröner, who was born as Else Fernau. The foster-daughter of company founder Dr. Eduard Fresenius, she was the longtime owner of the company. When she died in 1988, the foundation became her sole heir. 

Dedicated to the support of medical research and medical-humanitarian development projects, the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung has so far supported some 2,300 projects with a total value of about €520 million.

The Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung is the major shareholder of Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA. There is no connection between the foundatin’s philanthropic activities and the business activities of the Fresenius health care group. Accredited as non-profit, the Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung is subject to regulatory supervision under the law governing foundations.

Benefactor Else Kröner

The foundation’s benefactor was born as Else Fernau in Frankfurt, Germany on May 15, 1925. After the death of her mother, she was raised in the home of a local pharmacist, Dr. Eduard Fresenius, proprietor of Frankfurt’s Hirsch Pharmacy and founder of the Fresenius company in nearby Bad Homburg. The pharmacist, whose marriage remained childless, raised her like his own daughter; in 1944 she began as a trainee in the Hirsch Pharmacy and decided to study to become a pharmacist. Two years later, before Else Fernau could complete her studies, Dr. Fresenius died and bequeathed her the pharmacy as well as the Fresenius company. The business had been devastated by the war, and had lost most of its workforce.

Disregarding advice that she should decline the legacy, Else Fernau assumed responsibility for the pharmacy and the company when she was only 21. The Fresenius company was heavily indebted, and all but 30 of the original 400 employees had to be let go. She succeeded in saving the company, and along with Dr. Hans Kröner, who later became her husband, rebuilt and significantly expanded Fresenius. In the mid-1960s the couple took important, visionary business decisions that assured the company’s development.

Then followed decades of strong growth, which saw Fresenius become a competitor on the international market and a leader in such specialist areas as infusion solutions and dialysis products. Else Kröner headed the management of Fresenius until 1981, when it was converted into a joint stock company and she became Chairman of the Supervisory Board. She held that post until her death on June 5, 1988.


Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung
Postfach 1852
61288 Bad Homburg
T +49 6172 8975-0
F +49 6172 8975-15 (German)