The empty “noble” gesture of Hugo Boss

Boss

There is a popular misconception that Hugo Boss designed the SS uniforms. This is not true, the uniforms were designed by the  artist and senior SS officer called Karl Diebitsch, in cooperation with a graphic designer called Walter Heck. The uniforms were based on older uniforms with a few alterations.

SS

However it was Hugo Boss who got the lucrative order to produce the uniforms. He had been a member of the Nazi party since 1931.

By 1933, he could  advertise the fact  that he made clothes not only for the SS, but also for the Hitler Youth and the SA.His relationship with the Nazis made him a very wealthy man.

During the war it was difficult to find employees so he decided to start using force labour, it is estimated that he used 140 Polish and 40 French forced laborers.

Even though Boss’s factory wasn’t part of a concentration camp,and his labourers were not considered  prisoners, the conditions were dreadful.

Poster

It would have been relatively easy and cheap for Hugo Boss to make life for his workers more bearable, but he chose not to.

The food was insufficient given the hours they had to work. And during air raids, the workforce was not allowed into shelters, but had to stay in the factory.There were no special treatments for children and pregnant women,

The most poignant story that indicates how desperate the workers felt is that of  Josefa Gisterek, a Polish woman.Sho was sent to work at Boss in October 1941. In December, she ran away . back home to give  her father a helping hand to raise her siblings, but she was captured by the Gestapo and transported to Auschwitz and then to  Buchenwald, where she was beaten.

Hugo Boss found out where she was, and  he used his contacts in the Nazi party to get her returned to Metzingen. Why did he did this is unclear, maybe he felt he had some responsibility for his workforce, but I doubt that.

When Josefa returned, the factory foreman worked her mercilessly, which resulted in her getting a breakdown.

After that Josefa was given three months’ leave, and was allowed to see a doctor, but on 5 July 1943, she committed suicide.Boss who probably felt some guilt : he paid for the funeral expenses, and the travel costs for her family to attend.

funreal

Although this may appear to be some sort of a ‘noble’gesture, if Hugo Boss would have treated his workforce more humanely, Josefa would not have fled in the first place.

Hugo Boss died in 1948 but his company became one of the biggest fashion houses in the world and to this day is still a multi billion dollar company.

This is something I just can’t understand, if you take for example Oskar Schindler, he died a poor man and all that remains of his company is a museum, whereas companies like Boss,VW,C&A and BMW who all had an active part in the atrocities during WWII have become mega companies, how is that even possible?

 

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Source

Zwangsarbeit in Metzingen

 

 

 

 

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Hugo Boss-Fascist Fashion

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In 1923, Hugo Boss founded his own clothing company in Metzingen, a small town south of Stuttgart, where it is still based. In 1924 he started a factory along with two partners. The company produced shirts, jackets, work clothing, sportswear and raincoats. Due to the economic climate of Germany at the time, Boss was forced into bankruptcy.

Boss joined the Nazi Party in 1931, two years before Adolf Hitler came to power. By the third quarter of 1932, the all-black SS uniform (to replace the SA brown shirts) was designed by SS-Oberführer Prof. Karl Diebitsch and Walter Heck (graphic designer).

KarlDiebitsch

The Hugo Boss company produced these black uniforms along with the brown SA shirts and the black-and-brown uniforms of the Hitler Youth.

Berlin, Kaserne der LSSAH, Vergatterung

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Some workers are acknowledged to have been French and Polish prisoners of war forced into labour. In 1999, US lawyers acting on behalf of Holocaust survivors started legal proceedings against the Hugo Boss company over the use of slave labour during the war. The misuse of 140 Polish and 40 French forced workers led to an apology by the company.

In 1945 Hugo Boss had a photograph in his apartment of him with Hitler, taken at Hitler’s Obersalzberg retreat.

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The Hugo Boss company was one of 15,000 clothing companies that produced uniforms for Nazi Germany.

Because of his early Nazi Party membership, his financial support of the SS and the uniforms delivered to the Nazi Party, Boss was considered both an “activist” and a “supporter and beneficiary of National Socialism”. In a 1946 judgment he was stripped of his voting rights, his capacity to run a business, and fined “a very heavy penalty” of 100,000 DM ($70,553 U.S. dollars).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.

He died in 1948, but his business survived.

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Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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