Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

News & Supplemental  

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

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.) 



“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.)  . . .



6 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.



    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.



    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
  6. I’ve just start­ed a book enti­tled: Nazi Bil­lion­aires, The Dark His­to­ry of Ger­many’s Wealth­i­est Dynas­ties by David DeJong, pub­lished in 2022 by Mariner Books. DeJong weaves the var­i­ous sto­ries of these dynas­ties quite expert­ly from the ear­ly days of the Quandt fam­i­ly with Gunter start­ing out with muni­tions then mar­ry­ing Mag­da who lat­er mar­ried Joseph Goe­bells. It also dis­cuss­es Friedrich Flick and his muni­tions firms as well as Augus­tus Von Finck and the Mer­ck Finck bank as well as Allianz and Munich RE insur­ance com­pa­nies. Some dis­cus­sion also gets into the Dr. Oetk­er food pro­duc­tion fam­i­ly. Key to the dis­cus­sion is their involve­ment in the Aryanizaion of busi­ness­es owned by Jew­ish fam­i­lies and the mea­gre com­pen­sa­tion giv­en to them. Some dis­cus­sion also gets into con­nec­tions to peo­ple long famil­iar to those who fol­low the goings on of peo­ple in the FTR Rogues’ Gallery: John J. McCloy, JF Dulles, Her­mann Abs among oth­ers. A very worth­while read indeed!

    Posted by Brad | January 10, 2023, 9:45 am

Post a comment