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Bernhardt Rohe


2002 Inductee from Mining's Past

Bernhardt Rohe was born on July 9, 1909, in Fischbach, Germany. He worked in a Munich factory that manufactured compressors and diesel engines to finance his studies in engineering at the University of Frankfurt, where he eventually earned a degree in Business Administration. After graduation, he joined a consulting firm and entered a five-year training program to further his education.

After the outbreak of World War II, Rohe served as an officer in the German army until 1944, when he went to Spain because of his opposition to the Nazi regime. There he met and married his wife Mary, an employee of the U.S. Embassy. The couple emigrated to the United States after the war, where he became a U.S. citizen and joined American Metal Corporation at a copper smelter south of New York City.

In 1950, he was transferred to Industrias Peñoles de Mexico to work in the Minerals Purchasing Department in Monterrey. During the course of promotions to the positions of Manager of the Metals Department, Commercial Manager, General Manager of Peñoles, General Vice President, and Executive Vice President and General Manager, he gained an intimate understanding of the vital need to integrate the Mexican mining industry into the national economy. As an ardent supporter for promoting Mexican nationals into positions of authority within the industry, he gained the respect and admiration of his peers. He was instrumental in raising Peñoles from a small company with little value into a major mining corporation, with the construction of the Laguna Complex in Torreon and, despite strong opposition, the resumption of underground mining at Guanajuato. With these steps, Mexico was able to resume its place as the leader in world silver production. Affectionately known as Bernie among his peers, Rohe was very fond of his adopted country, staunchly defending Mexico and his positive vision for the country’s future at all forums he attended. Upon retiring from Peñoles, he moved with his wife Mary to Hunt, Texas, where he died on July 28, 1992.

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