By on September 29, 2011

The Quandt family, major shareholder of BMW, and one of the richest in Germany, is finally and belatedly confessing to its Nazi-past. Patriarch Günther Quandt was an early member of the Nazi party, he joined 1933, after Hitler’s election. During the Third Reich, Quandt company empire was kept running by more than 50,000 slave laborers. Many businesses that were taken away from Jewish owners ended up in the hands of Quandt. He even had odd family ties with the Nazi elite. His second wife Magda, which he had married when she was half his age, divorced him eight years later, only to marry propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, with Adolf Hitler as a witness. While other German carmakers, first and foremost Volkswagen, came to terms with their past, the owners of BMW denied it until recently. When the German Forced Labor Compensation Program was established, the family declined to make a contribution, claiming they had no reason to do so.

In 2007, a documentary aired on German TV and linked the family to the Nazis. The film revealed not only the slave laborers, but also that Günther Quandt had convinced Nazi contacts to send a Belgian competitor to a concentration camp after he refused to sell his company to Quandt. The documentary created only a minor scandal in Germany, because Quandt’s Nazi past had been known. A family spokesman said the allegations were “not incisively new.” However, the Quandts had up to then steadfastly denied all allegations.

The documentary prompted the Quandt family to do what other German companies had done many decades ago: Employ a historian to examine the family’s history during the Third Reich.

A Bonn historian received access to the family archives and concluded in his 1,200 page report that “the Quandts were linked inseparably with the crimes of the Nazis. The family patriarch was part of the regime.”

Hundreds of slave laborers died or were executed. At the end of the war, Günther Quandt’s former wife Magda killed her six children in the Führerbunker, then committed suicide with her husband Goebbels.

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99 Comments on “BMW Owners Finally Admit Nazi Past...”


  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    The past cannot be changed, but I applaud the Quandt family for coming clean about their ancestor’s roles in wartime atrocities. I am hopeful this news will lead today’s Quandts to heed their moral compasses and use their considerable wealth to improve the world we share.

    • 0 avatar
      paul_y

      This.

      Better late than never – the past can’t be undone, but apology has no statute of limitations. It was a dark time for any business in Germany at the time, and I imagine that a lot of what went on was rationalized on fear more than righteousness for a long time. That doesn’t excuse anybody from their decisions, but it’s not a simple situation to empathize with, either.

      I’m glad the Quandts have acknowledged BWMs past. It’s nothing to be proud of, but what’s done is done, and acknowledging what has happened is a big step toward making amends with victims.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        This is actually has nothing to do with the actions of BMW (which was an aircraft engine and motorcycle manufacturer during WWII), and all to do with the Quandt family which acquired a majority of BMW in 1960.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Exposing BMW as a Nazi holdout in the 21st Century, is like exposing cotton plantations in Natchez Mississippi as Confederate holdouts in the 20th Century.

        Bavaria is where Hitler started. Bavaria is where Nazism was born. Bavaria is the first name in BMW.

        These folks used ignorance as a facade so they could pretend not to be responsible for their actions. Like a rich family in Natchez, the Quandts could depend upon other’s conscience to not be asked what their roles were in the atrocities – not their own conscience, or lack of.

        BMW profited from slavery. They are finally admitting it.

        Now how about Mitsubishi admitting the same, or other Japanese corporations who profited from American POW slavery?

        Why does this matter?

        Because there cannot be any honest progress without honest admissions. A lie sucessfully covered up is more powerful than a lie that is exposed. A lie that is not exposed is an evil capable of coming back to life. A person with a hidden evil cannot be forgiven, and without forgiveness, cannot be saved.

        But c’mon! How can anyone with a working knowledge of history be surprised by this?

      • 0 avatar
        mattd44

        BMW’s past? BMW had nothing to do with it. In fact, BMW had already acknowleged forced labor in BMW factories and paid into the fund. This has to do with Guenter Quandt’s business dealings 15 years before his son Herbert invested in BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      forraymond

      Shouldn’t someone be charged with War Crimes? crimes against Humanity? Return what was stolen during the War?

      How could they keep companies they took, art, jewels, lives?

      Justice should be served.

  • avatar

    The Quandt’s made their fortune in WW1 by massively delivering substandard-quality cloth for German soldiers.
    They have been renowned war profiteers long before Hitler came up.
    Pecunia non olet.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    paul-y
    “Its nothing to be proud of”
    really? How about, They should be ashamed as hell.
    As far as making amends with the victims, it’s a little late, since due to their stalling, the victims that survived have mostly died of old age.
    Their behavior is disgusting.

  • avatar
    ott

    Was anyone really surprised by this? Most factories in the US were feverishly feeding the American war machine during WWII, so why would Germany be any different?

    • 0 avatar

      Funny, I did a lot of research on WWII era military production by the US auto industry for my series last Memorial Day here on TTAC about the Arsenal of Democracy and I seem to have missed the part where US factories used Jews and other “undesireables” as slave laborers.

      Yes, all countries’ industries serve their military interests, and yes, GM and Ford had operations in Germany that supplied the Third Reich. The world is a complicated place and saints are rare. Still, your attempt at moral equivalence between America and Nazi Germany is repugnant.

      • 0 avatar
        investable

        +1

        To say that “that was war” is just a real easy way out.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Thanks Ronnie, you took the keystrokes right from my fingers. The US policy of Japanese internment and property confiscation was reprehensible, and a little know part of American World War II history. But he didn’t herd them into war production factories and worked them without medical care, proper food, or shelter, until they had no more value as a worker, to be shipped to a death camp for extermination.

        There is a massive difference between what BMW, VW, Bayer, et al did in World War II versus American manufacturing.

      • 0 avatar
        laphoneuser

        Couldn’t have said it better, Ronnie.

      • 0 avatar
        BMWfan

        You mean the way Nike and other American companies used child labor in Asia? And this is well outside of a war situation. I’m not here to support or rationalize anything that is or was done to exploit people, but there is enough culpability to go around. My Grandfather was in the German army, and when he did not salute a superior officer fast enough, he was thrown in jail for 3 months, fed boiled pork with the hair still on it. and stale bread. It was a vicious regime all the way around.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Right on!
        This has a taint of other long hate battles that people seem to want to rage on forever.
        The McCoys vs the Hatfields.
        Some old Italian hurt another old Italian and we have the continuation of the mob wars carried on fathers down to sons.
        We have Kids strapping on bombs to repay a wrong a thousand years earlier.

        Look…I like Japanese cars and people…regardless of WW2.

        I wasn’t asked to be born.
        I am NOT going to repay every Indian or Black person for horrors of others before me.
        I will not carry on battles and wars begun before my birth nor carry hatreds against people(s) I have no hatred for.
        My own actions, my own failures…are job number one enough for me.
        I have enough of my own demons to fight every day.

        I will judge each of you, and all people, as you act today and not how your forefathers acted.

        The sins of the father are not the sins of the son.

      • 0 avatar
        evan

        Anyone who draws a moral equivalency argument between Nike and the Third Riech is an first class %$#@. Seriously, say that to the face of a WWII survior.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @BMWFan

        I wasn’t aware of clothing manufacturers rounding up children based specifically on their religion, separating them from their parents at gun point, tattooing them like cattle with a serial number, then working them to death, or if they did not work fast/hard enough sending them to gas chambers to die.

        Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Just ask Serbia/Croatia, Dafur, or Somalia where genocide is still going on today. Or how about the native peoples of Brazil who are about to have their ancestral homes destroyed, along with a million acres of rain forest in the name of progress.

        I’m not a lilly livered hippy greenie – far from it. There has to be some balance.

        My father fought in World War II. Was among the first US troops into Buchenwald, it changed him forever. Anything that can scar a man for 50 plus years has to be unspeakably horrible and doesn’t even come close to a textile sweat shop.

      • 0 avatar
        BMWfan

        @Evan & @APaGttH,

        You read, but you do not comprehend. There is a significant difference.

      • 0 avatar
        ott

        @ Ronnie Schrieber:

        Totally not what I meant to convey with that post. I meant to say that the US converted most of its industry to the war effort providing jobs and incomes for millions of Americans. Hitler converted German factories to build his weapons as well, though he did it in the most dispicable, disgusting and inhumane way possible. And yes, repugnant too. Let’s all hope we never have to relive a chapter of History like that one.

      • 0 avatar
        Mig56

        This is not about all the ‘what about”. This is about a family who still is buried in the billions a Nazi sympathizer.

        I agree with Ronnie: ….” your attempt at moral equivalence between America and Nazi Germany is repugnant”……..and I add ignorance beyond comprehension.

    • 0 avatar
      jerseydevil

      not using institutionilized slave labor. Perhaps worse the slaves, they were literally worthless, since they didnt cost anything. If one died, so what? get another.

      • 0 avatar
        KitaIkki

        @BMWfan,
        Did “Nike and other American manufacturers” grab the children at their homes and *forced* them to work in their factories? Did they gas the children after they can no longer work?

        Would you prefer the poor teenagers be unemployed and hungry?

      • 0 avatar
        KitaIkki

        @BMWfan,
        Did “Nike and other American manufacturers” grab the children at their homes and *force* them to work in their factories? Did they gas the children after they can no longer work?

        Would you prefer the poor teenagers be unemployed and hungry?

      • 0 avatar
        BMWfan

        @KitaIkki

        Of course they didn’t. Unless you are of German ancestry, you have no concept of the shame and embarrassment the majority of the German people feel over what occurred during WWII. My Grandfather told me many stories of German soldiers who did not want to go along with the atrocities that were being committed. The senior German officers would then take a member of the soldiers family, hold a gun to their head and ask them what they planned to do next. Everyone has morals and balls until they see a member of their family with a gun to their head. For you to say that child laborers should be happy to have a job is an insult, and shows a total lack of understanding of the situation. I would much rather pay an extra few dollars for a pair of sneakers and know that the workers that made them are being treated like human beings, instead of like a commodity. If you are a parent, how would you feel if one of these workers was you child?

      • 0 avatar

        BMWfan,

        My Grandfather told me many stories of German soldiers who did not want to go along with the atrocities that were being committed. The senior German officers would then take a member of the soldiers family, hold a gun to their head and ask them what they planned to do next.

        According to Daniel Goldhagen’s research, while there are no records of German soldiers being punished for refusing to commit atrocities, there are records of soldiers who asked to be relieved of that duty and were assigned to other tasks without recrimination.

        The notion that there were just a handful of bad Nazis and everyone in the Wehrmacht did the dirty work because they had a gun at their head is not supported by the historical record.

        Unless you are of German ancestry, you have no concept of the shame and embarrassment the majority of the German people feel over what occurred during WWII.

        Perhaps enough shame and embarrassment to tell one’s grandchild stories so they didn’t think that Opa was a monster and war criminal.

      • 0 avatar
        BMWfan

        @Ronnie Schreiber,

        Are you implying that my Grandfather was a liar? I can tell from your post that you have never served, and have no concept of what occurs during war. You are smug sitting in you chair recounting the opinions of others to justify your position. Since this has degenerated into personal attacks, I will no longer respond to any additional posts, however, I will say that since you apparently have a need to insult the relatives of others, my opinion of you has changed considerably.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        The entire issue is being misunderstood…or intentionally ratchet up for the reason of flaming emotions.

        NOBODY is suggesting there were NOT horrible sins comited.
        What I am trying to do is keep it real.
        The people TODAY, the children of the unholy, are NOT colored by these sins of the dead.
        IF to speak or suggest otherwise is to brand innocent with the wrongs of other guilty.
        YOU yourselves would NEVER want to pay for sins NOT committed by yourselves.
        You will be the first to stand up and shout your innocence and demand to be judged by what you do.

        So all I am asking…demanding…is you do the very same for others and stop the drive by shootings here.

        It is not only wrong, it is cowardly.

      • 0 avatar
        BMWfan

        @Trailertrash,

        I will respond to you sir, because you understand. You comprehend! No one can undo the heinous and cowardly acts that were committed during WWII by the third reich. Anyone who says that they were justified, or carried out under the context of war, is sub human in my opinion. My point, which you seem to be one of the few to understand, is that there are people being exploited everyday, here and now, yet very few seem to care for their plight. The atrocities that are being committed today can be rectified, those that occurred in the past, unfortunately, cannot. I honestly expected more from a so called “journalist” who I would expect to read between the lines and not have to spell out everything for them. I bowed out because I missed the memo where we had progressed in the discussion to insulting relatives. I am truly disheartened that a purported wordsmith would rely on Google or other internet searches to divulge as fact, what actually occurred during war. There are many things that we will never know. Tales of bravery and unimaginable horror that unfortunately will never see the light if day. You sir, are TrailerGold.

      • 0 avatar
        KitaIkki

        @BMWfan,
        Since the “child labor” isn’t forced to work for Nike, it stands to reason whatever the condition is at the Nike factory, it’s better than the alternative. It’s easy to be smug and claim to want to “pay a few dollars” more, but the reality is that if it weren’t for Nike, some of the “child labor” and their family would be starving. Why do you want to deny employment to willing workers?

        Have you actually visited any of the Nike factories?

        It’s absurd to equate voluntary employment with slave labor.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      So Rosie the Riveter who volunteered and earned wages was just like the dying skeletal prisoner?

      Do you really have a single ethical bone in your body or do you just think you do?

      Your statement is radically stupid.

  • avatar
    lw

    See, now doesn’t that feel better? I can imagine the first meeting..

    Dieter – “Hi my name is Dieter”
    Group – “HI DIETER!”
    Dieter – “I played a integral role in and profited from mass Genocide”
    Group – “Welcome Dieter. Please sit down”

    Sure they should be ashamed.. Maybe everyone here whose grandfather didn’t personally kill at least three Nazis should be ashamed of a family that didn’t do enough?

    Maybe I should cry myself to sleep tonight because I’m not personally preventing the atrocities that are happening this very moment around the world?

    Humans are imperfect. God made us this way for a reason.

    • 0 avatar
      another_pleb

      “Humans are imperfect. God made us this way for a reason.”

      I agree with the first clause, but using a “god” character as a reason for humanity’s imperfection is a cop-out.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        I think you’ve missed the point. Nobody is excusing human behavior via the “God” character. The whole point of faith-based religion is that humans are born imperfect and must strive to be more like the deity, thus (theoretically) improving said imperfect humans in the judgment of a given religion. May seem like a catch-22, but that’s the point.

      • 0 avatar
        another_pleb

        Humans should try to do the “right thing” because it’s the right thing to do, and that, in and of itself, is sufficient.

        Being tempted to do bad things by demons or not doing them due to fear of divine wrath is just an irrelevant if amusing story based on human culture’s tendency to personify complex ideas such as good and evil.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I was going to give Günther the benefit of the doubt as, while we all like to think we’d have been Jan Gies or Col. Claus Graf v. Stauffenberg or Oskar Shindler, the reality is 99.9% of us would have kept our heads down and gone along to get along.

    That said: Günther Quandt had convinced Nazi contacts to send a Belgian competitor to a concentration camp after he refused to sell his company to Quandt.

    Yeh, string him up.

    • 0 avatar
      jerseydevil

      Yes, that was the Nazi way. Do what we want or we kill you. THis was wbusiness was done in under the Nazis. However, I wonder which american companies profitted from these german national policies. Seems a no brainer. Products at a low price. American indistrialists lust over opportunities like that. Hear no evil…

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        Do what we want or we kill you.

        If they were just going to kill me – who knows, maybe I’d make a brave stand. The gruesome torture on the other hand – yeh, I’m pretty sure it would only take one knuckle smashed with a hammer* and I’ll do pretty much whatever they want.

        * And who knows, just showing me the hammer – and certainly seeing it done to someone else – yeh… I’d cave.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        The Nazis did not have to threaten.
        All they had to do is become the leaders of the Germans and the Germans did what came naturally to them.

        I’ll add – “at that time.”

        Because I don’t wish to believe that the Germans could still turn each other in, rat fink, and squeal on each other except for real reasons like, you know, environmental laws and because what the other person did was really, really irritating.

        Then after turning in their neighbors, they’ll graffiti something about how wrong it was to do what they just did in a public rest room stall.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    Did Henry Ford ever apologize for being a Nazi sympathizer and supporter? Or Prescott Bush for doing the same??

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      First…it is very important to understand the family did this research:
      “Gabriel Quandt said that it was wrong for her family to ignore this chapter of its past. The study, commissioned by the family, found that both Geunther and his son, Herbert, were responsible for Nazi injustices.”
      Auotblog

      Next, please try to stay in focus and if you are going to imply that Ford or Prescot Bush did as you say…please submit the facts so we can all see what the heck you are talking about and when//how it all fits in a time line.

      After all…it was well into the Nazi regime before anybody truly understood the horrors being committed.

      And it is one thing to have not spoken against the Nazis and another to have supported.

      Please give us whatever you are working from.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Henry Ford was a Nazi sympathizer, here is a quote:

        “He also was a celebrity pacifist and a major promoter of antisemitism in the early 20-th century USA, credited with having a major influence on the nascent Germany’s Nazi movement in the 1920-s by prominent Nazis. Hitler regarded him as “the leader of the growing Fascist movement in America”.”

        Also Ford AND GM were involved in war profiteering (this article is from the Washington Post):

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/nov98/nazicars30.htm

      • 0 avatar
        rudiger

        It’s always been a tad perplexing how many (if not all) Jews have refused to buy Ford products for decades (some, probably to this day, over a half century later) because of Henry Ford’s anti-semitic, pro-Nazi stance, yet seemingly have no problem purchasing high-dollar German cars that were built by people who were, quite obviously, much tighter with the Nazi regime than Henry Ford ever was.

      • 0 avatar
        Mig56

        Oh! So they didn’t know what was happening? Good grief.
        Not only did Goebbels and family know what was happening, they were appointed to the ministry. The family continued to deny everything until a documentary was run on German television. The had refused for years to pay reparations until they were forced to go public.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Regarding Prescott Bush’s position as a director of the Thyssen family-controlled Union Banking Corporation, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has this to say:

      http://www.adl.org/Internet_Rumors/prescott.htm

      And the Washington Post article that is linked to in the post above merely states that GM and Ford’s wartime activities in Germany were being scrutinized by Holocaust survivors. “Profiteering” on the part of either company has never been proven; in fact, the German operations of these companies were requisitioned by the Third Reich, and ADL-funded researchers have documented that there was no transfer of profits nor communication with Detroit after either company’s German operations were taken over.

      Move along, folks…nothing to see here.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        well…my point exactly.
        I get really irritated by the sudden urban folklore type attack.
        Remember…this is a Truth sight.
        enough of the innuendos and muck raking.
        simply deal with hard facts and if not, stop this dirt throwing.

        and point of fact…ANY company selling war materials and making a profit are by definition…war profiteers!
        Jeeeeeezus!

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Well said TrailerTrash. Stunning on how people are attempting to rewrite World War II history from Pearl Harbor (FDR let it happen so he could pull the United States into WWII, so sayeth the tinfoil hat wearing masses) to the use of nuclear weapons was unnecessary and didn’t save any lives, and Ford and GM helped the Nazi’s during World War II.

        Ya – the Germany operations continued to run as a Germany subsidiary and the German government happily sent currency to the United States, which would be use for lets think…oh ya, GM and Ford war production factories to produce more. D’uh.

        The innuendo is beyond stupid.

        Lots of companies from Germany have the stain of Nazi involvement. Shoot, Bayer owner 43% of the company that made Zyklon B. The VW “Thing” was little more than a World War II German staff car. BMW, Mercedes, they were part of Germany’s industrial machine. What were they supposed to do? Dissent? They’d be sucking in Zyklon B with the unfortunate souls in the death camps.

        It was war. War was Hell. BMW has not admitted their past. The next step is to pay reparations, do the right thing, and move forward.

        But finger pointing and going, “ya, well so and so did this,” seems like little more than a weak defense from BMW fanboys who don’t want to feel guilty when they climb into their 5-series to drive to work tomorrow.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Well RRocket, if you want to drag Ford and the Bush family into this, then you have to mention the Kennedy’s as well since Joe Kennedy was a well known Nazi sympathizer. We could go on an on, but since this article is about the Quandt family, not even BMW, why bother?

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        what APaGttH says in the first ‘graph.
        As long as there are humans, there will be conspiracy theory rewrites of history, the latest major US-based one being the 911 Truthers claims. History is a tough but fascinating subject and, at secondary school levels, not taught well enough or with an eye towards critical thinking about claims and conclusions.

  • avatar
    tiredoldmechanic

    This apology probably should have happened back in January. Of 1946.

  • avatar
    timmruss

    It is very interesting though at this time one would think VW as being more of a “Nazi supporter” STILL than BMW, a more internationl company with more diverse management and no ambitions to “conqure the world” unlike….

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    What I find hilarious was the Quandt family would have to employ a historian to figure out their role in the German war machine from 1933 to 1945.
    But before everyone gets all holier than thou on the Quandts, America got a transcontinental railroad and other properties through exterminating Indians, and Britain, in just one example slaughtering the Kikuyu of Kenya, because they occupied a sunny spot of land Brits fancied.
    Sounds more like a shakedown to me, as the lefties always bitched about the fact the Himmler told all industrialists to get their money out at the end of 1944 and East Germany didn’t (unsurprizingly) get any of that when it came back.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      No no no – it’s an inter-continental railroad. Didn’t you get the memo? :)

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      America did not have to be invaded by Canada or another country to end these practices. It is vitally important to recognize how America reverses and mends itself.

      There is no comparison between what America did and what the Germans did.

      Ethics is not that blind and stupid.

  • avatar
    daviel

    The Sgt Schultz family “I know nothing…” – what else is new? They hire an historian to pretend they knew nothing. get a rope! One more reason to stay away from BMW

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Uh, to repeat an earlier post, the Quandt family didn’t have a majority ownership in BMW until fifteen years after the surrender. If you’re going to get on BMW for their war activities, you’ll have to do it separately from the Quandt’s.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    It is about time that on Rosh-Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, The BMW family decided to finally come out and just say it. Thanx. We were all aware.
    My synagogues parking lot today looked like a German dealership. BMW, Audi & Benz. All I could think of comedian quote:
    Sarah Silverman’s is also critical of Jewish people who drive German cars: ‘If Mercedes could only have seen into the future …The amount of money they would be making from Jewish consumers … maybe they would have helped not kill the Jews but instead, they helped, ugh, er, you know, facilitate a genocide of a people who would ultimately become their best customers…

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Forgiveness and trade with your former enemies’ sons and daughters is a great virtue.

      I drive a Nissan. My great uncle had serious health issues his entire life because of his experiences fighting in the Pacific. Should I STILL hold a grudge?

      Nazi Germany was execrable and required destruction. And we waged terrible war on them – including the killing (and incineration) of hundreds of thousands of women and kids in cities.

      Don’t ever forget the past. But obsessing over and expecting compensatory justice after 65 years is not healthy.

      • 0 avatar
        windswords

        The US had a choice at the end of the war: Let the vanquished live in squalor and taking the chance that another dictatorship (communist or otherwise) might take over; permanently “de-industrialize” Germany and Japan (this was seriously considered by the FDR administration); or rebuild them as democracies and trading partners. The US chose the 3rd option and I think it was the right one. That being said they have not always traded in a fair manner (and the US is as much to blame for letting them get away with it as they are for doing it).

        Off topic, as an avid armchair historian I would also like to point out that we make far too much mention of Nazi atrocities during the war and not nearly enough of those committed by the Japanese. I have often wondered if because of our politically correct inclinations we don’t like criticizing people who are not white Europeans or their descendants.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        windswords – +1
        I was just thinking about the lack of comment about Japanese atrocities – especially to prisoners of war (which the Germans, on the whole protected as per the Geneva Convention).

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      BMW is paying reparations to people at your synagogue by making the best cars in the world available for their pleasure.

      That’s how I look at it. I do blame Germans for killing both of my grandfathers during the war. That’s why I make a point of enjoying as many of their superb products as possible. Now they all work FOR ME.

  • avatar
    JJ

    As pointed out by 009 the Quandt family were involved with the nazi’s but didn’t actually own BMW at that time. They only acquired BMW later on after the war had long ended.

    AFAIK, the kraft durch freude wagen (veedub Beetle) was commissioned by Hitler, Mercedes used forced labour by captives of the regime and BMW remained relatively(!) clean, not least because they were simply flat broke at the time (to the extent that not long after the war Mercedes came close to taking over BMW).

    I’m glad the Quandts finally owned up to their past (albeit 6 decades too late) but I’m not sure if it’s right to link this rotten business to BMW as a company.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    Absolutely true in regards to Prescott Bush. There is no “internet rumour”. Assets that he controlled were seized not once, or twice but four times under the Trading with the Enemies Act. These documents are in the National Archives. That’s a fact.

    On October 20, 1942, under authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act, the U.S. Congress seized UBC and liquidated its assets after the war. The seizure is confirmed by Vesting Order No. 248 in the U.S. Office of the Alien Property Custodian and signed by U.S. Alien Property Custodian Leo T. Crowley.

    In August, under the same authority, Congress had seized the first of the Bush-Harriman-managed Thyssen entities, Hamburg-American Line, under Vesting Order No. 126, also signed by Crowley. Eight days after the seizure of UBC, Congress invoked the Trading with the Enemy Act again to take control of two more Bush-Harriman-Thyssen businesses – Holland-American Trading Corp. (Vesting Order No. 261) and Seamless Steel Equipment Corp. (Vesting Order No. 259).

    The documents from the Archives also show that the Bushes and Harrimans shipped valuable U.S. assets, including gold, coal, steel and U.S. Treasury bonds, to their foreign clients overseas between 1931-33.

    Here’s a thorough read:
    http://www.jordanmaxwell.com/articles/bits/images/union-bank/bush-nazi-link.pdf

    Copy of Vesting Order 248 here: http://www.mbpolitics.com/Bush2000/Vesting.htm

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      The documents from the Archives also show that the Bushes and Harrimans shipped valuable U.S. assets, including gold, coal, steel and U.S. Treasury bonds, to their foreign clients overseas between 1931-33.

      As Hitler wasn’t even Chancellor of Germany until 30 January 1933, that doesn’t seem all that incriminating.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        As Hitler wasn’t even Chancellor of Germany until 30 January 1933, that doesn’t seem all that incriminating.

        Exactly. The Nazi’s weren’t in power until Hitler became Chancellor on January 30, 1933. The overseas trading ended in – 1933. If anything, it exonerates not condemns.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Poor sources.

      One is a pdf of some poorly referenced article that someone downloaded from the Internet. The other is from the Federal Register, and simply reports the seizure of UBC’s assets, which is not disputed.

      I’m no Bush family lover, but when an organization that is doggedly devoted to exposing antisemitism clears Prescott Bush of Nazi sympathies, I tend to believe it.

  • avatar
    areader

    The better late than never practice is common. I’m waiting for the Jews to acknowledge their treatment of the Palestinians, and the Americans to acknowledge our cowardly support of this treatment.

    • 0 avatar

      Can you give me a brief synopsis of the history of the “Palestinians” from the 17th to the 19th century?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I think he actually brought to light a bit of insight into the timing of the Quandt’s ‘confession.’ They’re reminding an increasingly openly antisemitic Europe that they were instumental in the Holocaust. For fun and profit?

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      The Palestinians get better treatment from the Israelis than they deserve.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        +1

      • 0 avatar

        Open-air apartheid prison camps sure are comfortable.

        +1. ldiot.

      • 0 avatar

        -cole-

        Apartheid? You mean like in the Palestinian Authority where selling land to a Jew is a capital crime? You mean like in Jordan, where Jews are not allowed, by law, to be citizens?

        While I won’t deny that there are civil rights issues in Israel regarding Israeli Arabs, the simple facts are that 10% of the Israeli population are Arabs and they enjoy full legal equality. They have the right to vote and about 10% of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, is made up of Arab politicians, many of who openly despise the state that pays their salaries. Israel is not a perfect democracy – I have problems with electing the Knesset at large instead of geographic representation – but only people without sense or with Orwellian newspeak intentions will conclude that Israel is an apartheid state.

        The argument that Israel is an apartheid state is just an attempt by those who hate Israel to tag it with a word that is radioactive, particularly on the political and cultural left. Meanwhile, those same folks are silent about the dearth of black faces in the Cuban regime, curious in a country where a majority of people have some African ancestry.

        It wasn’t the Israeli Jews who kept Palestinians in refugee camps (after the Palestinian leaders encouraged those refugees to become refugees to clear the battlefield for the invading Arab armies), it was Arab leaders and Arab societies that refused to assimilate Palestinian refugees into their countries.

        The 1940s created millions and millions of refugees. Millions of Volksdeutsch we evicted out of Poland and Czechoslovakia. Million of Hindus left Pakistan and similarly millions of Muslims left India. For the most part, those refugees were absorbed and assimilated. In those cases, the hosting societies did the right thing. In the case of the Palestinians, though, the hosting societies deliberately refused to ameliorate their refugee status so as to perpetuate the conflict with Israel.

        Perhaps more relevant to the topic at hand, from 1948 into the 1950s about 750,000 Sephardi Jews were made refugees from the Arab countries where they were born and lived for generations, by violence and threats of violence against Jews by Arabs aggrieved over the establishment of the State of Israel. That’s about the same number of 1948 refugees that Palestinians claim. Most of those Sephardi Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries went to Israel, where they were absorbed, albeit with some problems. Others went to France and the United States. Jewish communities in those countries assimilated those refugees, unlike how the Arab world treated Palestinians. The Arabs preferred to keep the Palestinians as outsiders to their societies, a festering sore and perpetual grievance to be used against Israel.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        When Palestine grants the same level of freedoms to non-Palestinians as Israelis grant Palestinians, I’ll listen to their claims of victimhood.

        The ball is in Palestine’s court and it is time they stop lobbying bombs back instead of the damn ball.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Since you brought it up, I can’t sympathize with a group that has fomented war with Israel from without in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, and from within on a constant basis since the late 19th century.

      An enemy sworn to your destruction should be crushed as long as such behavior continues. Similarly, when the behavior stops, you resume trade and normal relations with them.

      Sure, many Palestinians are good citizens of Israel and just want to make a living. But as a group, they are sworn to destroy the nation in which they live. Tell me how Israel could treat them better while its very existence is under constant threat by its own residents.

      As for the owners of BMW, they’re pretty late to the party, and their unpaid reparations have only enriched themselves. But I do tire of belated apologies made on the behalf of one’s ancestors, such as still happens today with the slavery issue in the US and Africa.

      • 0 avatar
        Advo

        I’m not sure how they became residents of a place they, as you say, want to get rid of. How did this happen?

      • 0 avatar

        Advo,

        Since you asked, a large number of “Palestinians” can trace their ancestry (well, they could, not saying they would) back to what is now Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq. Their families moved into what is now Israel as the Zionist enterprise created economic growth in what had been a mostly depopulated and desolate backwater in the Ottoman empire.

        Also, when the UN and other groups were giving out aid and free food in the refugee camps, it was a career move for nearby poor Syrians, Egyptians, and Lebanese to become “Palestinians”.

      • 0 avatar
        Advo

        Wikipedia as a source of information is always a bit suspect, but it seems like the whole area has continued to be affected by large scale immigration, even before World War II, after the initial ‘wave’ of the First Aliyah.

      • 0 avatar

        Advo,

        Immigration of Jews to Palestine after World War II was not much of a factor. I could be wrong but offhand I think no more than 100,000 of the 600,000 or so Jews in Palestine in 1947 were survivors of the Holocaust. Let’s face it, there were not that many survivors. Sociologist Samuel Heilman wrote a book about Holocaust survivors in the US and I think he said that a total of about 140,000 came to America so that 100,000 figure going to pre-state Palestine sounds about right.

        Most of the Jewish population growth in Palestine took place between the start of Aliyah ~1880 and the British “white paper” that cut off Jewish immigration in the 1930s. Arab population growth in Palestine grew likewise as the local economy picked up.

        By the late 19th century, pogroms in Russia and events like the Dreyfuss trial in France convinced many European Jews that there was no future for Jews in Europe. There was large scale emigration of Jews from eastern Europe, primarily to the United States, but also to western Europe and to what was then Palestine.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I’m waiting for the BBC to admit to stealing television from Paul Nipkow.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    If this is about the Quandt family and not BMW, then why is it on TTAC? This ain’t the history channel.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Here’s the first 3 parts of The Silence of the Quandts with English subtitles (I guess he/she is working on translating the other 4)
    Oh, and don’t forget to click on the little CC button to make the translation appear.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/originalrhombus#p/a/u/2/shkgyrual2g

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    “There is a massive difference between what BMW, VW, Bayer, et al did in World War II versus American manufacturing.”

    Please explain how BMW got away all these years with not paying anything into the compensation fund for slave labor, while VW -which did not even exist as a business until after the war – paid all that they did.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Prescott Bush figures prominently in the lore of the “unified conspiracy theory”. You know, blah blah blah, Trilateral Commission, blah blah blah, Masons, blah blah blah, “new world order”, blah blah blah, Hitler, blah blah blah, aliens at Area 51.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    GM still won’t open up its war time archives and Ford is still not too keen on admitting that Henry Ford was given the Grand Cross of the German Eagle by the Nazis.

    The thing is, the invasion of Poland, France and Russia would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the cooperation of GM to build all the Opel Blitz trucks needed for the invasion(s).

    When asked by the Roosevelt administration to shift over to war time production after Pearl Harbor, GM was reluctant at best and took quite a bit of convincing to do so.

    BMW played a role in WWII for Germany, just the same way that GM did, but things get even more weird from there, seeing how German forces met up with Russian forces who were driving American Studebaker trucks that were given to them as a part of the Lend Lease Act!

    There’s no clear way to see through the fog of the war, or how it ended and the ramifications that it still has on the world to this day.

  • avatar
    obbop

    “There’s class warfare, all right, Mr. (Warren) Buffett said, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    Evidenced in every society/culture/country on the planet.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    if you are going to imply that Ford or Prescot Bush did as you say…please submit the facts so we can all see what the heck you are talking about and when//how it all fits in a time line.

    This article summarizes some of the case against Ford:

    According to the US Army report of 1945, prepared by Henry Schneider, German Ford began producing vehicles of a strictly military nature for the Reich even before the war began. The company also established a war plant ready for mobilization day in a “‘safe’ zone” near Berlin, a step taken, according to Schneider, “with the…approval of Dearborn.” Following Hitler’s 1939 invasion of Poland, which set off World War II, German Ford became one of the largest suppliers of vehicles to the Wehrmacht (the German Army). Papers found at the National Archives show that the company was selling to the SS and the police as well. By 1941 Ford of Germany had stopped manufacturing passenger vehicles and was devoting its entire production capacity to military trucks. That May the leader of the Nazi Party in Cologne sent a letter to the plant thanking its leaders for helping “assure us victory in the present [war] struggle” and for demonstrating the willingness to “cooperate in the establishment of an exemplary social state.”…

    …In May of 1942, the Superior Court of Cologne finally put Ford Werke in “trusteeship,” ruling that it was “under authoritative enemy influence.” However, the Nazis never nationalized Ford’s German property–plant managers feared it would be turned over to Mercedes or the Hermann Goering Werke, a huge industrial network composed of properties seized by the Reich–and Dearborn maintained its 52 percent share through the duration of the war. Ford Werke even set aside dividend payments due to Dearborn, which were paid after the war. Ford claims that it received only $60,000 in dividend payments. It’s not possible to independently verify that–or anything else regarding Dearborn’s wartime economic relationship with Cologne–because Ford of America was privately held until 1956, and the company will not make available its balance sheets from the period…

    …An account by Robert Schmidt, the man appointed to run Ford Werke in 1939, states that the company used forced laborers even before the Nazis put the plant in trusteeship. His statement, sent to a Ford executive in England immediately after Germany’s surrender, says that as of 1940 “many of our employees were called to the colours and had to be replaced by whatever was available…. The same applies to 1941. Some 200 French prisoners of war were employed.” In a statement to the US Army in 1945, Schmidt said that the Gestapo began to play an important role at Ford Werke after the first foreign workers arrived. With the assistance of W.M. Buchwald, a Ford employee since the mid-thirties, the Gestapo carefully monitored plant activities. “Whenever there was the slightest indication of anti-Nazi feeling, be it amongst foreigners or Germans, the Gestapo tramped down as hard as possible,” Schmidt told the Army…

    …The Treasury Department found that Ford headquarters in Dearborn was in regular contact with its properties in Vichy France. In one letter, penned shortly after France’s surrender, Dollfus assured Dearborn that “we will benefit from the main fact of being a member of the Ford family which entitles us to better treatment from our German colleagues who have shown clearly their wish to protect the Ford interest as much as they can.” A Ford executive in Michigan wrote back, “We are pleased to learn from your letter…that our organization is going along, and the victors are so tolerant in their treatment. It looks as though we still might have a business that we can carry on in spite of all the difficulties.”…

    http://www.thenation.com/article/ford-and-f%C3%BChrer?page=full

    Here is another piece exonerates Ford: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/ford.html But it should be noted that its author was paid by Ford for this version of the story. (The Ford family denies most of the claims about their ties to the Nazis during the war, and hired this author to clear their name.)

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think it’s fair to characterize “the Ford family” based on Henry’s actions. Edsel was no friend of Germany. In 1940 he agreed to make 9,000 Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, 6,000 of which were going to go to England, then at war with Germany. Henry repudiated the deal. Still the incident shows that the “family” as it was (remember, Henry only had one child, Edsel, the family was small, even today there are only about 50 Ford cousins who own stock in the company) was not on the same page as Henry. Edsel’s son Henry Ford II was, as far as I can tell, philosemitic. Max Fisher was his best friend and FoMoCo, under the deuce, set up a factory in Israel. One of the Fords, I think it’s Billy’s cousin Benson Jr., is married to a Jewish woman and donated a Torah scroll to the temple they attend. FoMoCo’s current president for North America is Jewish and the corporate treasurer is an orthodox Jew.

      I also don’t think it’s fair to say that the Ford family hired that author to clear their names. To begin with, Simon Reich was only one of a number of historians who worked on the project and they were hired not by the Ford family but rather by the company. I can’t remember the name of the person offhand, but I do know that at least one FoMoCo sponsored historian who looked into Henry’s anti-semitism from earlier one (eg. The Dearborn Independent) was pretty scathing about the old coot’s obsessions.

      I’m pretty sure that the Ford family knows that Henry was a crackpot about many things. He almost ran the company into the ground more than once and the family blamed him for how he treated Edsel.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I don’t think it’s fair to characterize “the Ford family” based on Henry’s actions.

        It would seem that you didn’t understand the points raised in the article. It isn’t just about Henry Ford.

        Edsel was no friend of Germany

        Treasury was investigating Edsel for violations of the Trading With the Enemy Act. They were in the process of pursuing a case against him when he died in 1943.

  • avatar
    vb9594

    I just wanted to leave a quick note to thank Ronnie Schreiber for his intelligent and well written comments about this topic.

  • avatar
    kkt

    ANY company selling war materials and making a profit are by definition…war profiteers!

    No, profiteers aren’t just making ordinary profits during wartime. They are jacking up the price to unreasonable levels just to make the largest profits possible. Unpatriotic at the very least to take advantage of your country’s misfortune.

  • avatar

    As it has said here before by others, you simply can’t compare Nazi Germany with the US.

    The trouble with Germany started far earlier than WWII. The Nazis were not some early tea-party-like right wingers, they simply were decided to eliminate
    a) democracy
    b) everyone staying in their way.

    They announced it openly, 1933 they won an election (about 30% gave them their vote) and power (due to an opposition, too diverse to act), and then they did what they announced, brutally.

    Immediately, after they came to power they started to jail (KZs were certainly not for Jews exclusivly), kill (yes, even their own SA leadership), forced to emigrate (everybody who could afford it), silenced all others opposing that regime by simply changing laws. “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer”, was the parole valid until 1945. Law, justice, sanity, everything was down the drain then.

    After that, nobody really had a chance to change this, whether he was a local GM, Ford, Mercedes boss or even a simple farmer. Yes, even farmers had to use forced labor, each and every business that was relying on workforce. Of course, GM and Ford had to use forced labor, too (GM in Rüsselsheim about 20%, in Brandenburg 40 of their workforce).

    That’s why you don’t read anything about a successful counter force within Germany against Hitler and his regime, aside from some heroic, suicidal efforts more or less limited to single persons or small groups.

    As already has been stated here before, the Quandt family is not BMW. They acquired a majority on deadly sick BMW well after WWII and, by their money, saved that company.

    But, and that’s the difference: this family got rich already in WWI by delivering substandard cloth and uniform material unfit for service, killing soldiers. There is not much use in an army winter coat, for example, that soaks so much that you freeze to death when in the field and forced to use it.

    Although many others might have done the same in other countries at the same time I would not call this acceptable. Personal greed is no force majeur. That’s why such people are called “war profiteers” and not people making some profit in a war.

    What I also do dislike about the Quandt approach is that they supported Hitler BEFORE he came to power (c.f. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnther_Quandt , the German version).

    Aside of that, the Quandt business decisions always were successful, since WWI. So, don’t hesitate to invest as the Quandts do.

  • avatar

    Everyone seems to have a pretty strong opinion here without having actually seen the documentary, which actually has nothing to do with BMW. The Quandts made their money in the years up to World War II primarily through a corporation that made batteries (eventually becoming the firm using the VARTA brand name). Like many German industrialists, the family had no problem with supporting the Nazis, and were particularly enthusiastic when it came to war production as all those machines would need batteries. Old Man Quandt signed a contract with the SS to obtain concentration camp inmates as workers, with expected turnover of 75 days as the chemicals would kill them all since they were given no protective gear. In addition, forced labour (usually civilians from occupied countries) was used and the program showed a Danish man in his 80s who ended up at the battery plant and suffered ill health for his life. The land is so toxic it can never be used productively again. There is a memorial in front to all those who died there, to which the Quandts refused to donate anything. Old Man Quandt should have been charged with war crimes, as were the equally disgustingly greed and ruthless Alfried Krupp and Friedrich Flick, but the documentary suggests that the British protected Quandt. Of course the United States arranged the pardon of Krupp and Flick soon after their imprisonment as they were seen as vital to building up Germany as a key Cold War ally. For car fans, Flick controlled both Daimler-Benz and Audi at one point. Quandt Senior and Herbert should have been hanged, but that is meaningless now. What is meaningful is that a family that is worth billions has never acknowledged how that fortune came to be until finally prodded by a television program. In the film, one of the Quandts (the only one who would even talk) says: “All families have dark sides.” Not like this, they don’t. For five years the filmmakers hunted down and pieced together the evidence from archives all around Germany since the Quandts refused access to their own files. So now we have a historian confirming all this after nearly five years more. Nothing in here or other news reports about what the Quandts could do to make some kind of amends.

  • avatar
    eldard

    Speaking of apologies, because the Japs don’t like to do that, in a global war scenario, after retaking Taiwan, guess who’s China gonna go after next?


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