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“Quandt-’em” Mechanics: Kicking the Tires at BMW, Mercedes-Benz

Quandt Family Values: BMW heir Harald Quandt (in uniform) with his mother, half-sisters and stepfather Joseph Goebbels.

COMMENT: We’ve received many e-mails about the recent Bloomberg News story excerpted below. 

In addition to detailing that fascism wasn’t some kind of freak occurrence, we’ve noted the spawning of the Bormann capital network from the political and economic forces underpinning Nazi Germany. Controlling the German core corporations as well as powerful interests around the world, the Bormann group is preeminent on the world economic landscape.

Noting that BMW is controlled by the heirs of Joseph Goebbels (whose stepchild inherited the Quandt industrial empire), the Bloomberg story notes that Mercedes-Benz also has significant capital participation by the Quandts.

In FTR #155, we presented Paul Manning’s research indicating that the Bormann network features the heirs of key Third Reich officials and military officers, hierarchically structured along lines deriving from the power structure of the Third Reich itself.

The Quandt story excerpted below provides significant depth to Manning’s reportage on the Bormann group and the Underground Reich.

We also noted (in AFA #3) that Quandt served as the corporate cover for Eichmann deputy Alois Brunner’s postwar work for the Gehlen spy outfit. (The August, 1944 document detailing the Third Reich’s plans to go underground provided for German heavy industry to give accused war criminals jobs to help them survive.) 

 

 

Twilight of the Gods?

“Nazi Goebbels’ Step-Grandchildren Are Hidden Billionaires” by David de Jong; Bloomberg News; 1/28/2013.

EXCERPT: In the spring of 1945, Harald Quandt, a 23-year-old officer in the German Luftwaffe, was being held as a prisoner of war by Allied forces in the Libyan port city of Benghazi when he received a farewell letter from his mother, Magda Goebbels — the wife of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

The hand-written note confirmed the devastating news he had heard weeks earlier: His mother had committed suicide with her husband on May 1, after slipping their six children cyanide capsules in Adolf Hitler’s underground bunker in Berlin. . . .

. . . Quandt was released from captivity in 1947. Seven years later, he and his half-brother Herbert — Harald was the only remaining child from Magda Goebbels’ first marriage — would inherit the industrial empire built by their father, Guenther Quandt, which had produced Mauser firearms and anti-aircraft missiles for the Third Reich’s war machine. Among their most valuable assets at the time was a stake in car manufacturer Daimler AG. (DAI) They bought a part of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) a few years later.

While the half-brothers passed away decades ago, their legacy has endured. Herbert’s widow, Johanna Quandt, 86, and their children Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt, have remained in the public eye as BMW’s dominant shareholders. The billionaire daughters of Harald Quandt — Katarina Geller-Herr, 61, Gabriele Quandt, 60, Anette-Angelika May-Thies, 58, and 50-year-old Colleen-Bettina Rosenblat-Mo — have kept a lower profile.

The four sisters inherited about 1.5 billion deutsche marks ($760 million) after the death of their mother, Inge, in 1978, according to the family’s sanctioned biography, “Die Quandts.” They manage their wealth through the Harald Quandt Holding GmbH, a Bad Homburg, Germany-based family investment company and trust named after their father. Fritz Becker, the chief executive officer of the family entities, said the siblings realized average annual returns above 7 percent from its founding in 1981 through 1996. Since then, the returns have averaged 7.6 percent.

“The family wants to stay private and that is an acceptable situation for me,” said Becker in an interview at his Bad Homburg office. “We invest our money globally and if it’s $1 billion, $500 million or $3 billion, who cares?” (Italics added.) . . .

Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile by Paul Manning; pp. 26-27.

EXCERPT: . . . . A smaller con­fer­ence in the after­noon was presided over by Dr. Bosse of the Ger­man Arma­ments Min­istry. It was attended only by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Hecko, Krupp, and Rochling. Dr. Bosse restated Bormann’s belief that the war was all but lost, but that it would be con­tin­ued by Ger­many until cer­tain goals to insure the eco­nomic resur­gence of Ger­many after the war had been achieved. He added that Ger­man indus­tri­al­ists must be pre­pared to finance the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Nazi Party, which would be forced to go under­ground, just as had the Maquis in France. (Italics added.) . . .

. . . . From this day, Ger­man indus­trial firms of all rank were to begin plac­ing their funds—and, wher­ever pos­si­ble, key manpower—abroad, espe­cially in neu­tral coun­tries. Dr. Bosse advised that ‘two main banks can be used for the export of funds for firms who have made no prior arrange­ments; the Basler Han­dels­bank and Schweiz­erische Kred­i­tanstalt of Zurich.’ He also stated, ‘There are a num­ber of agen­cies in Switzer­land which for a five per­cent com­mis­sion will buy prop­erty in Switzer­land for Ger­man firms, using Swiss cloaks.’

“Dr. Bosse closed the meet­ing, observ­ing that ‘after the defeat of Ger­many, the Nazi Party rec­og­nizes that cer­tain of its best known lead­ers will be con­demned as war crim­i­nals. How­ever, in coop­er­a­tion with the indus­tri­al­ists, it is arrang­ing to place its less con­spic­u­ous but most impor­tant mem­bers with var­i­ous Ger­man fac­to­ries as tech­ni­cal experts or mem­bers of its research and design­ing offices. (Italics added.)  . . .

 

Discussion

5 comments for ““Quandt-’em” Mechanics: Kicking the Tires at BMW, Mercedes-Benz”

  1. And here is yet another German brand, that is a well known today, and with a foundation built on making uniforms for the 3rd Reich.

    V

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413371/Shameful-truth-Hugo-Bosss-links-Nazis-revealed-As-Russell-Brand-thrown-party-accusing-fashion-designer-helping-Hitler.html

    Shameful truth about Hugo Boss’s links to the Nazis revealed: As Russell Brand is thrown out of a party for accusing fashion designer of helping Hitler

    Brand was thrown out of GQ magazine’s Men of the Year Awards after-show
    He told crowds: ‘It was Hugo Boss who made uniforms for the Nazis.’
    But pictures have emerged of him wearing designer’s clothes months ago

    By Guy Walters

    PUBLISHED: 17:26 EST, 5 September 2013 | UPDATED: 02:23 EST, 6 September 2013

    There’s nothing like the presence of some Nazis to ruin a perfectly good party.

    On Tuesday night, the comedian Russell Brand was thrown out of GQ magazine’s Men of the Year Awards after-show for making jibes about the event’s sponsor, Hugo Boss, and the fashion company’s historic links to the Nazi party.

    While on stage, Brand told the gathered celebrities and politicians, ‘If anyone knows a bit about history and fashion, you know it was Hugo Boss who made uniforms for the Nazis.’

    He then added, with less than subtle irony, ‘But they looked f***ing fantastic, let’s face it, while they were killing people on the basis of their religion and sexuality.’

    But it has emerged that Brand himself is not averse to a spot of the designer’s sharp tailoring – having apparently been snapped wearing a jacket by the German fashion firm in February.

    Dark past: The firm founded by Hugo Boss made uniforms for the Nazi Party
    Russell Brand goose-steps and makes a Nazi joke at the GQs

    Shortly afterwards, Brand was kicked out by the magazine’s editor, Dylan Jones. According to the comedian’s Twitter feed, the two men exchanged angry words, with Jones saying, ‘What you did was very offensive to Hugo Boss.’ Brand replied, ‘What Hugo Boss did was very offensive to the Jews.’

    Although Hugo Boss has made no public comment, its executives are doubtless furious, not least because the £250,000 spent sponsoring the event seems to have bought nothing but another round of bad publicity about the company’s past.

    Of course, Brand’s claim is not new — such stories about the fashion label’s murky past have been doing the rounds for years.
    Hugo Boss. After the war he was punished as a Nazi supporter. He died in 1948

    But the connection between Hugo Boss and the Nazis has been peddled so often, and with so many variations, that the true story is almost completely obscured.

    Brand’s outburst this week provides a perfect opportunity to set the record straight.

    The first myth to torpedo is that Hugo Boss designed the smart black uniforms for the dreaded SS.

    Although it is tempting to suppose that the evil glamour of these outfits must have been the product of a fashion designer, there is no truth to it at all.

    In fact, the uniforms evolved from earlier Prussian styles. The designs continued to evolve with modifications from the foundation of the SS in 1925 to its disintegration two decades later.

    The infamous black uniform itself came into being in 1932 and is said to have been designed by an artist and senior SS officer called Karl Diebitsch, who worked with a graphic designer called Walter Heck.

    Neither man worked for Hugo Boss.

    So, if Russell Brand was implying, as I infer from his remarks, that Hugo Boss created the Nazi uniforms, he is plain wrong.

    Perhaps Brand meant that Boss simply manufactured them. In which case he’s right. But there’s more to it than that.

    To answer the question fully, it is vital to know a little more about Hugo Boss himself.

    Boss was born in 1885, to parents who owned a lingerie and linen shop in the small town of Metzingen, 20 miles south of Stuttgart.

    After serving in World War I, Boss established his own clothes factory in 1924, which produced traditional outfits.

    It was certainly not designing couture, and its clothes, such as raincoats and sportswear, were functional.

    Among one of Boss’s earliest clients was a textiles distributor called Rudolf Born, which commissioned Hugo Boss to produce some brown shirts for an organisation called the ‘National Socialist Party’, later, to become better known as the Nazis.
    Style: Hugo Boss is now a global fashion powerhouse

    By the late Twenties, the growing Nazi Party had become a good client. And when the Party supplied Hugo Boss (as it did other manufacturers) the production templates for its uniforms, it appears that Boss did not see the relationship in anything but commercial terms.

    After all, Boss produced uniforms for many organisations, including the police and the postal service, and the apparently apolitical Boss was happy to make clothes for whoever paid their bills.

    However, on April 1, 1931, Boss took a step that would see his name — and brand — forever associated with Nazism. He joined the Nazi Party and was given the relatively low membership number of 508,889.

    Boss’s reasons for becoming a Nazi comparatively early were twofold. First, as a businessman, it made commercial sense, as it made it easier for Boss to win contracts from the Nazis who were increasingly coming to dominate every aspect of German life.

    Second, Boss believed that Hitler was the only man who could lift Germany out of its economic doldrums.

    Such a businesslike attitude was not exceptional. There were certainly better men who refused to do business with the Party, but though Boss was happy to sign contracts with them, he was not a rabid Nazi. He was simply a pragmatist.

    Partly thanks to his membership of the party, the Nazis were good to Boss. By 1933, he was able to advertise that he made clothes not only for the SS, but also for the Hitler Youth and the Brownshirts — the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party.

    Then in 1938, business skyrocketed when Boss won contracts to make army uniforms. By 1940, the company was turning over some 1,000,000 Reichsmarks, compared to 200,000 Reichsmarks in 1936.

    However, it was still far from being a major manufacturer. In 1940, Boss was employing some 250 workers, which made it a small to medium-sized firm.

    Like many, Boss found it hard to find employees during the war, and this is where the story does turn truly dark.
    Brand was kicked out of the awards after making the comments about Hugo Boss’s links to the Nazis

    Brand was kicked out of the awards after making the comments about Hugo Boss’s links to the Nazis

    Unable to fill roles, the company found itself employing forced workers from the occupied countries.

    During the course of the war, Boss used 140 such labourers and for a period of around eight months from October 1940, the workforce was swelled by 40 French prisoners-of-war.

    Although Boss’s factory was not part of a concentration camp — and his labourers were not prisoners — the conditions were dreadful.

    One former Boss labourer, a 17-year-old Pole called Jan Kondak, was forced to work in the factory from 1942 to 1945.

    He recalls the hygiene being very poor. ‘In the barracks there were lice and fleas.’

    He describes the food as insufficient given the hours they had to work. During air raids, the workforce was not allowed into shelters, but had to stay in the factory.

    Another labourer, Elzbieta Kubala-Bem, recalls being rounded up the Gestapo from her town in Poland in April 1940, and forced to work at Boss at the age of 19.

    She remembers the medical facilities as woeful. ‘There was no special treatment for children and pregnant women,’ she says, ‘and there was no way to visit a doctor. If we had a disease, we had to treat ourselves.’

    The most poignant story is that of a Polish woman called Josefa Gisterek, who was sent to work at Boss in October 1941. In December, Josefa fled back home to help her father raise her siblings, but she was captured by the Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz and Buchenwald, where she was dreadfully beaten.

    However, when Hugo Boss found out where she was, he used his contacts in the Nazi party to get her returned to Metzingen. Although his motivation for trying to save her isn’t clear, he did seem to feel some responsibility for his workforce.

    But when she returned, the factory foreman worked her mercilessly, and she had a breakdown.

    Josefa was finally given three months’ leave, and allowed to see a doctor, but on 5 July 1943, she gassed herself with an oven.

    Boss then did an almost unprecedented thing: he paid for the funeral expenses, as well as travel costs for her family to attend.

    Though this was a noble gesture, it would have been more decent and caring for Boss to have ensured his forced labourers were treated more humanely in the first place.

    Still, by the standards of some employers, Boss did treat his labourers reasonably well — and paid them somewhat less meanly.

    After the war, Boss was ‘de-nazified’. He was classified as an active supporter of Nazism, was fined 100,000 marks, and was stripped of the right to vote and run a business.

    However, Boss appealed, and he was eventually classified as a ‘follower’, a lesser category, which meant that he was not regarded as an active promoter of Nazism.

    Boss died in 1948, but his business has lived on, albeit still stained by its association with Nazism. In 1999, the company finally agreed to contribute to a fund that compensated former forced labourers.

    The true story of Hugo Boss, his firm and its relationship with the Nazis, is rather less straightforward than Russell Brand would have it.

    He certainly did not design the SS uniforms, though he did produce them. It is, however, shameful that Boss, like so many other manufacturers, used forced labourers from occupied countries.

    Ultimately, Boss was not an evil man, but he did not do enough to stop evil happening.

    That is an important distinction and may not be one appreciated by a man as unsubtle as Russell Brand.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413371/Shameful-truth-Hugo-Bosss-links-Nazis-revealed-As-Russell-Brand-thrown-party-accusing-fashion-designer-helping-Hitler.html#ixzz2ePjh8tuF
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    Posted by Vanfield | September 9, 2013, 8:59 am
  2. @Vanfield–

    Aw, c’mon! Ol’ Hugo was just following, I mean, filling orders!

    All kidding aside, the inclinations at excusing his actions are indicative of one of the main psycho-social-political aspects of fascism.

    When one is part of the “bundle”–the “fascis”–one is simply doing what is expected, what “everyone” is doing.

    Also noteworthy is the strong probability that the company is a Bormann capital network entity.

    Note, also, that they are sponsoring the GQ function.

    The big German companies work like the divisions of an army–they coordinate their actions.

    Among the reasons that one hears so little of the horrible things Germany is doing to Europe concerns the fact that German firms withhold advertising from media outlets that go with the story.

    Those revenues are considerable. Just look at the ads for German firms everywhere–even sponsoring PBS programs.

    I guess Russell’s “Brand” was found to be in disfavor, under the circmstances.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | September 9, 2013, 2:32 pm
  3. On an automobile French site the other day, I learned from a commenter that most of the French automotive press is German-owned, an astonishing fact which I didn’t know about… I don’t read that press usually (except if I’m looking for a car) but that commenter was complaining about a habitual bias in said press toward German cars, for instance a new technology introduced on a car would be dubbed “innovative” if the car is German but “untested” if the car is French. I admit some German cars are very good (and only got better on the strength of the euro), while some are really not that good and way, way overpriced.

    Posted by d_lecler | September 9, 2013, 11:30 pm
  4. Another journalist who can’t read, Brand uses the verb “make”, that’s precisely what he’s saying, that Boss manufactured suits for the nazis… he made his fortune with the nazis and was a nazi plain and simple, as the rest of article goes on to explain with great clarity.

    Posted by d_lecler | September 9, 2013, 11:50 pm
  5. In case one was ever curious as to why “the Quandt family has supported the CDU with private donations for many years, independently of whether the CDU was part of the government or in opposition”, here’s one reason:

    Merkel Party Took BMW Money Before Emissions Call
    BERLIN October 15, 2013 (AP)
    By FRANK JORDANS Associated Press

    Germany blocked the introduction of tougher European Union emissions rules for cars shortly after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party received a large donation from three major BMW shareholders, according to newly released parliamentary records.

    Opposition parties on Tuesday cited the donation as evidence of an uncomfortably close relationship between Merkel and German automakers.

    Following weeks of German lobbying, the environment ministers of the EU’s 28 nations agreed Monday to seek further tweaks to the proposed emissions rules that come into force in 2020.

    Just days earlier, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union had received 690,000 euros ($935,900) from Susanne Klatten, her mother Johanna Quandt and brother Stefan Quandt. The Quandt family holds almost half of the shares in the Munich-based BMW, whose luxury cars on average emit well over the proposed limit of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.

    Merkel’s party insisted there was no link between donation and the pressure that her government put on other European countries to hold off on the emissions deal.

    “The Quandt family has supported the CDU with private donations for many years, independently of whether the CDU was part of the government or in opposition,” the party said in a statement.

    The opposition Left Party noted that the decision to block the new emissions rules would directly benefit German automakers such as Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW.

    “The suspicion that this corporation bought itself a favorable policy is hard to dismiss,” it said.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 15, 2013, 8:37 am

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