The Depression was followed by a new and devastating world war. In 1945 Copenhagen was bombed by Allied forces, with airstrikes against the German occupying forces’ headquarters close to Einar Willumsen’s premises at Studiestræde 57. In 1940 Hitler ordered the invasion of Denmark. For a while, the Danish government continued to lead the country, but under German administration and occupation. This state of affairs had a direct impact on Einar Willumsen’s business. The factories in Copenhagen and Malmö could no longer operate properly together. The manager who had commuted on the Øresund ferry could no longer get to Sweden, leaving the factory in Malmö without technical leadership.
Denmark, like much of Europe, was cut off from the countries that supplied the firm’s raw ingredients, making the crisis even more deeply felt. Costs rose in general, but Einar Willumsen did not raise its prices, and its stocks of raw ingredients quickly dwindled. The minutes of the board meetings from the time do not openly reference it, but clearly, there was trepidation about the state of the world. The minutes also show that board meetings often shifted locations in Copenhagen for safety reasons. Communication with Malmö was intermittent.
Following the RAF bombing raid on Gestapo headquarters in Shellhuset in central Copenhagen in March 1945, Einar Willumsen’s board met and decided to evacuate the factory completely, as their premises were only a few streets away. Staff took cover in the cellars during the air raids and reemerged to help extinguish fires in the area between bombardments. The company’s stock of raw ingredients and other valuables were dispersed to various addresses around the city. However, in the event, the premises in Studiestræde suffered little real damage during the war. They were also under constant watch by staff, who were guarding a distillation still that was too large to move. In order to boost the flavour industry during the tough years of rationing, an Essence Manufacturers’ Association was founded in Denmark in 1945. Einar Willumsen was a founding member of the organisation. The hope for the firms who joined forces was that they could negotiate the lifting of some of the strict import regulations with the government. The association changed its name in 1991 to DFO, Dansk Flavour Organisation, and is still in operation today.