On Hitler’s 127th birthday I am not going to spend much time on him because I don’t think I will be able to add any historical value. However I will be mentioning a number of companies, some who are still household names, that supported Hitler and the Nazi regime in any way,shape or form.
But before I go into that I will be asking a moral question and I hope you will indulge me by answering it.
This is a question which is often asked by psychologists
If you could travel in back to the time when Adolf Hitler was a baby, knowing what you know about him, would you kill him?
But now back to the sponsors of Hitler, again I try not to judge and stay factual as much as possible. However given the fact of the size of the companies and the respect they have nowadays it maybe difficult for me not to judge.
Nowadays a well respected fashion house. Not that many people know that it started off as a “Fascist” house. Hugo Boss was a member of the Nazi party and a sponsoring member of the SS. In fact he designed the uniforms.
IBM via its subsidiary Dehomag became the main provider of computing expertise and equipment in Nazi Germany. Dehomag gave the German government the means for two official censuses of the population after 1933 and for searching its data.
Dehomag leased and maintained the German government’s punched card machines. Dehomag general manager for Germany, Hermann Rottke, reported to Thomas J. Watson in New York.
IBM established a special subsidiary, Watson Business Machines, to deal with railway traffic in the General Government during the Holocaust in Poland. The German Transport Ministry used IBM machines under the New York-controlled subsidiary in Warsaw, not the German subsidiary. It was legal for IBM to conduct business with Germany directly until America entered the war in December 1941.
AGFA.BASF,BAYER and HOECHST were all part of IG Farben, The company that used slave labourers in their plants during WWII and was the company that manufactured Zyklon B.
Henry Ford was the most famous of Hitler’s foreign backers, and he was rewarded in the 1930s for this long-lasting support with the highest Nazi decoration for foreigners. It is reported that Henry Ford sent Hitler a cheque for $50,000 on his birthday until his last today 127 years ago. The picture below is of Henry Ford receiving the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Nazi officials. 1938
Ferdinand Porsche, the man behind Volkswagen and Porsche, met with Hitler in 1934, to discuss the creation of a “people’s car.” (That’s the English translation of Volkswagen.)
Hitler told Porsche to make the car with a streamlined shape, “like a beetle.” And that’s the genesis of the Volkswagen Beetle… it wasn’t just designed for the Nazis, Hitler NAMED it.
During World War Two, it’s believed that as many as four out of every five workers at Volkswagen’s plants were slave laborers. Ferdinand Porsche even had a direct connection to Heinrich Himmler, one of the leaders of the SS, to directly request slaves from Auschwitz.The company VW still tends to breach laws nowadays.
Coca-Cola, specifically Fanta. Coke played both sides during World War Two… they supported the American troops but also kept making soda for the Nazis. Then, in 1941, the German branch of Coke ran out of syrup, and couldn’t get any from America because of wartime restrictions.
So they invented a new drink, specifically for the Nazis: A fruit-flavored soda called Fanta.It became the official Nazi drink.
Siemens took slave laborers during the Holocaust and had them help construct the gas chambers that would kill them and their families. Good people over there.
Siemens also has the single biggest post-Holocaust moment of insensitivity of any of the companies on this list. In 2001, they tried to trademark the word “Zyklon” (which means “cyclone” in German) to become the name a new line of products… including a line of gas ovens. Siemens never learned their lesson, in 2008 they received a record fine from the US authorities in relation to a bribery scandal. The total cost came to about $2.5 Billion.
I highlighted these companies because their brands still enjoy a global appeal.
There were more companies who supported the Nazi regime, some who were forced to others who only did it for commercial interests.
It is sad to see that 7 decades after the war some companies still put the commercial interests ahead of humanity.
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