Orbituary for Dr. Rödger
Actually Dr. Rödger had planned to make his scientific career by becoming a professor. But his father succeeded in convincing him that the company provides a framework to work scientifically. The decision in favour of Lysoform turned out to be Dr. Rödger’s personal piece of luck as over the years Lysoform offered him an extraordinary platform for self-fulfilment by satisfying his diverse professional, cultural, social and economic interests and skills. Thus, the „company“ became an essential part in his life in addition to his family.
His experience as M.D. for hygiene and microbiology helped him to re-organize the laboratory, especially to increase staff capacities, to extend the microbiological lab and to modernize it.
These measures enabled Lysoform to practise fundamental research in addition to performing diverse microbiological routine examinations. In 1987 the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) launched a standards project for developing European methods for verifying the efficacy of disinfectants and corresponding procedures. In 1991 Dr. Rödger got involved – in the first instance nationally and 1999 internationally as well. He was appointed German delegate in the international committees of CEN, OECD and ISO. The high standard in the Lysoform laboratories enabled Dr. Rödger to take part in numerous international ring trails affecting most diverse scientific objectives in the field of microbiology. Dr. Rödger’s extraordinary professional competence together with his exceptional talent to get into perceived and slightest details as well as his energy, his diligence and accuracy brought him international recognition. Not only his expertise as expert for the neutralisation of biocidal substances but also his pleasant character and his diplomatic skills succeeded in overcoming political and personal vanity in order to come to a solution serving the cause. Because of these character traits he contracted many “business friendships” and some of them even resulted in real personal friendships.
Dr. Rödger’s patriarchal and at the same time caring business management was affected by both Prussian-protestant mentality and Saxonian-liberal generosity.
Furthermore, Dr. Rödger’s acting always was to be understood as self-conception being a doctor. Terms such as help – convince – motivate describe his acting well. As far as his personal demands are concerned Dr. Rödger was very humble. However, if interests of others were concerned, he often would be surprisingly generous and knowing.
That way Dr. Rödger supported and sponsored with private and Lysoform financial funds e. g. the reconstruction of Berlin Palace, the soccer club 1. FC Union Berlin and committed himself to support the young academics at Lysoform and in the students‘ fraternity Fridericiana (CC) and Turnerschaft Berlin (CC).
The practiced personnel policy was based on confidence and for more than 30 years affected by different principles: Make the competence and reliability of female employees accessible, take advantage of the senior employees’ experience, include the opinion and comprehension of employees from different cultures and language areas in the daily business and always have an open ear for (private) concerns of the staff.
After he had started being responsible for the technical-scientific field only in 1981, Dr. Rödger took over Lysoform’s management in 1988 and I got the opportunity to accompany him. Dr. Rödger modernised the technical equipment in the production and extended storage capacities substantially.
The formaldehyde crisis called for disinfectants with new efficacy concepts which both had to meet the ecological and the economic requirements.
Dr. Rödger handled this challenge extraordinarily well and until today the results have been forming the basis for a successful product range.
The political turn offered a new opportunity of which Dr. Rödger became aware and used immediately. On November 15, 1989 already, our sales representatives visited health care facilities located between the river Elbe and river Oder.
It was Dr. Rödger’s decision to sell our products at an exchange rate of 1:1 (1 Mark : 1 DM). This decision was accepted by our new customers very gratefully at that time and the company has been partially benefitting from it until today.
To us, the time of reunification was accompanied by strong emotions and activated Dr. Rödger’s inherent spirit to help and to provide information. Those altruistic character traits resulted in different business ventures in the „new Länder“. The most important and most successful commitments were building up and assisting actively two medical laboratories: MDI und IMMD.
Also politically Lysoform took a stand. Amongst others we have been supporting the so-called forced labourer initiative.*
After the time of reunification Dr. Rödger developed a particular interest in the new markets in Poland, the successor states of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, India and China.
With a lot of energy he made use of his interest in other cultures in order to build up business relationships in those countries by travelling quite often more than 150 days per year. By doing so it always was his target to generate revenue not only at short-term but to acquire customers of long duration who often became his friends. His helpfulness went even so far that he provided not only one business partner the opportunity to legally find a home from home in Germany.
The last big challenge, which Lysoform had to face, was the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Rödger made the right decisions. It filled him with deep satisfaction that Lysoform contributed visibly to humans’ health and preventive measures won professional recognition!
The Lysoform-staff are striving to continue opening doors for the company even without Dr. Rödger and to tread paths to pursue Dr. Rödger’s human and business heritage in the future.
This reflection on our Lysoform-life is not to end without a personal word:
Dear Hajo, The first employment contract you have co-signed for Lysoform was my contract appointing me „assistant to the technical-scientific manager“ as your dad (Dr. Johannes Rödger) was of the opinion that you and me will certainly cooperate for any length of time (what a clear sight!).
Over the years we became companions, intimates, close friends, fraternity brothers! To me it felt like we were the only ones paying tributes to each other every now and then – which admittedly was not unimportant for us.
I will especially miss the intellectually demanding debates on principles and sometimes also about questions of detail whose significance often remained a mystery to third persons.
Why have you left us so early? I and all others will miss you!
Berlin, March 2021
* meaning: compensation paid for the „slave workers“ during the Nazi Time in Germany