The dark history of Porsche-Porsche and the Nazi regime.

When you think of a sports car, one of the names you think of is Porsche. When you see a Porsche driving by , there is no second guessing to what car it is.

The Dutch police used Porsches between 1962 and 1996. n the early 1960s the absence of a speed limit indications on Dutch motorways saw serious accidents on the rise, so the Rijkspolitie(State police) was tasked with finding a suitable vehicle for high speed patrol. The list of requirements was exacting: it had to be mechanically reliable, it had to handle, it had to stop on a dime and, of course, it had to have an open top. Apparently this last one was so that, unlike any other police force in the world, its officers could stand up in their cars to direct traffic. The choice they made was Porsche.

But Porsche didn’t start of as a manufacture of sport and race cars.

Part of Hitler’s vision for his new Germany was to build an affordable motor vehicle for the population, and he tasked the entire German automotive industry with creating it. Porsche submitted his design in 1934 and, in 1935, was awarded the contract by an impressed Hitler. In fact, the Führer was so pleased that he wanted to name the Wolfsburg factory where the car was to be built the ‘Porsche Plant’, but Ferdinand rejected the offer and the name was changed to the Volkswagen Plant (‘Volkswagen’ meaning ‘people’s car’).

In June 1934, Porsche received the contract from Hitler to design the people’s car (or “Volkswagen”), following on from his previous designs such as the 1931 Type 12 car designed for Zündapp. The first two prototypes were completed in 1935.

A small car which would be cheap enough for all Germans. Hitler liked the idea and ordered the manufacture of Stadt des KDF.-Wagens under the organization of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront.

German Press Ball, January 1939. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, fourth from the left, presents the Volkswagen tombola prize to Mrs. Elsa Ellinghausen, the lucky winner.

With Hitler’s approval, Porsche and his business partner Albert Speer set up a factory in Fallersleben, a town 30 miles (48 kilometres) northeast of the city of Braunschweig, and because of the war, all production from this camp was to be used for military purposes only. In 1942, Porsche and Speer started a project to see how they could use concentration camp inmates for cheaper, and large-scale production of their cars, in order to benefit their industry. The prisoners of Arbeitsdorf were skilled workforce used for construction tasks, building a casting plant and other facilities and receiving better captivity conditions in return.

So on 8 April 1942 a new concentration camp, Arbeitsdorf, was opened with 800 inmates from the Neuengamme concentration camp. The camp commands of Neuengamme and Arbeitsdorf were united in the person of Martin Weiss, the camp commander of Neuengamme at this time. On 26 April 1942 inmates from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and on 23 June inmates from Buchenwald arrived.

In mid-July 1942, the camp was taken over by Wilhelm Schitli, the officer formerly in charge of the prisoners’ barracks (Schutzhaftlagerführer) at Neuengamme concentration camp. The Arbeitsdorf camp was disbanded in the first half of October 1942 because the Ministry of Armaments and Munitions had not approved Volkswagen’s plans for operating an aluminium foundry at the site. The building that had been constructed to contain the foundry was used later for other purposes. Nonetheless, as regards the SS plan to use concentration camp prisoners for armaments production, the Arbeitsdorf concentration camp proved to be an important experiment in the systematic exploitation of concentration camp prisoners for industrial purposes.

This clearly also indicates that Albert Speer was actively involved in setting up concentration camps, and was responsible for at least the deaths at Arbeitsdorf. Speer always denied any involvement in the Holocaust.

Porsche produced a heavy tank design in 1942, the VK4501 also known as “Tiger (P)”.

Due to the complex nature of the drive system, a competing design from Henschel was chosen for production instead.

Ferry Porsche’s life was intimately connected with that of his father, Ferdinand Porsche, Sr., who began sharing his knowledge of mechanical engineering already in his childhood. With his father he opened a bureau of automobile design, in Stuttgart in 1931.

Ferry volunteered to join the SS on December 17, 1938, later claiming, falsely, that he had been conscripted by Himmler to design the Schwimmwagen. He would continue to deny having volunteered until his death.

In November 1945, the Porsche family was asked to continue the design of the Volkswagen in France and to move the factory equipment there as part of war reparations. Whilst in France, Porsche was also asked to consult on the design/manufacture of the upcoming Renault 4CV, which led to serious conflict with the recently appointed head of Renault, the former resistance hero, Pierre Lefaucheux.

Differences within the French government and objections from the French automotive industry put a halt to the Volkswagen project before it had even begun. On 15 December 1945, French authorities arrested Porsche, Anton Piëch, Ferdinand’s son in law, and Ferry Porsche as war criminals, under rightful suspicion of collaboration as personal friends of the former fuhrer. While Ferry was freed after 6 months, Ferdinand and Anton were imprisoned first in Baden-Baden and then in Paris and Dijon.

Together, with his sister Louise, Ferry took over the management of the company. Early on, the workshop was primarily used for automotive repair. Additionally, they commercialized water pumps and lathes.

Ferry Porsche with the 1000th Porsche car in 1951

In time, they obtained two contracts for automobile design. One was for the construction of racecars for the Cisitalia racing team. The other was for the design of their own car, which later became known as the Porsche 356.

One fact that is often overlooked is that aside from Ferdinand Porsche and his son in law Anton Piëch, there was a third person at the foundation of the Porsche company ,Adolf Rosenberger.

In 1931, he founded the Porsche GmbH together with Ferdinand Porsche and Dr. Anton Piëch.With Rosenberger’s financial backing, Ferdinand Porsche and Anton Piëch started the company with some former co-workers including chief designer Karl Rabe. Rosenberger was also instrumental in the creation of the Auto Union concern, being credited with influencing Porsche’s choice of a mid-engined design for the Auto Union racing cars.

Rosenberger’s racing career ended abruptly in 1926, after a serious accident at the Grand Prix in Berlin left three people dead; he was severely injured. He instead began investing in real estate in his hometown of Pforzheim, then partnered with Porsche to help finance their race-car designs and turn them into drivable prototypes.

Despite Rosenberger’s contribution to the development of German automobiles and German auto racing, when Hitler came to power in Germany, Rosenberger, a Jew, was arrested for “Rassenschande” (racial crimes), and imprisoned at KZ Schloss Kislau near Karlsruhe. He was released, by the goodwill of a colleague, Baron von Veyder-Malberg, Rosenberger’s successor at Porsche, had intervened with the Gestapo in Karlsruhe, successfully lobbying for his release. But Rosenberger still had to pay the Gestapo 53.40 reichsmarks [$455] for his time in “protective custody,” as the euphemism went. Despite later claims to the contrary, Ferdinand Porsche and Anton Piëch did nothing to secure their cofounder’s freedom.

Rosenberger was forced to leave Germany immediately. He emigrated to France, and later to Great Britain, representing Porsche GmbH in both of those countries. He immigrated to the United States in 1939 and in 1944 he became a US-citizen under the name of Alan Arthur Robert. He moved to California, where he was active in motorsports and the automobile business. He died in Los Angeles, California, in 1967.

During the Nazi era, the role in the auto history of many Jews, like Adolf Rosenberger, along with Josef Ganz, Siegfried Marcus, and Edmund Rumpler was written out of history.

sources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesdigitalcovers/2022/04/14/nazi-billionaires-book-excerpt-how-adolf-rosenberger-porsches-jewish-cofounder-was-driven-out-of-the-company-by-the-nazis/?sh=1032f08a458e

https://www.kz-gedenkstaette-neuengamme.de/en/history/satellite-camps/satellite-camps/fallersleben-arbeitsdorf/

https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt16gzb17.11#metadata_info_tab_contents

https://newsroom.porsche.com/en/history/porsche-rijkspolitie-netherlands-holland-police-911-356-14036.html

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Paris-Rouen: Concours des voitures sans chevaux- The first motor car race.

I can’t say I am a great fan of car races. To be honest I don’t get the fascination of the F1-Formula One. However, I have to admit that despite my lack of enthusiasm for the sport, I am still proud that the current world champion is a Dutch man.

It made me think though where did it all start?

Surprisingly enough it goes back further then I expected .It was n this day in 1894, 128 years ago, the first car race took place. It was called “Paris-Rouen: Concours des voitures sans chevaux” translated it means race of cars without horses. The race was between Paris and Rouen.

The contest was organised by the newspaper Le Petit Journal and run from Paris to Rouen in France on 22 July 1894. It was preceded by four days of vehicle exhibition and qualifying events that created great crowds and excitement. The eight 50 km (31 mi) qualifying events started near the Bois de Boulogne and comprised interwoven routes around Paris to select the entrants for the main 126 km (78 mi) event.

Pierre Giffard was editor of Le Petit Journal, a very popular magazine of the time. Through it he had organised cycling competitions to attract public attention, and now he decided to do the same for the motor car. Writing under the pseudonym “Jean sans Terre”, in the issue of Le Petit Journal for 19th December, 1893, he proposed organisation of a competition for Voitures sans Chevaux (Carriages – or ‘Cars’ – without Horses) during the following year. First prize was to go to the car which the Judges deemed best to be “without danger, easily handled, and of low running cost”. Initially the objective was to cover 50km (31 miles) in three hours, later amended to four because many would-be competitors deemed the original average speed of 10mph “dangerously high”. The final route from the Porte Maillot, Paris, to Rouen would total 126km, nearly 80 miles. Each car’s finish in terms of coachwork and painting was considered immaterial – all that was required was that the car should move under its own power.

Giffard’s entry window closed on 30th April, 1894, by which time no fewer than 102 entries had been received. Their listed means of propulsion contains some wondrous aspiration. Rousselet of Paris entered a car powered by ‘gravity’, Roussat of Paris power source was described as ‘hydraulic’, Victor Popp’s was ‘compressed air’, Leval’s was “Baricycle moved by the weight of the passengers”. Loubiere’s was by “multiple system of levers”, De Prandieres of Lyons enigmatically ‘Automatic’, while Cesar Barthelemy of Yebles cited a ‘system of pendulums’. Others entered machines variably propelled by ‘system of levers’, a ‘combination of animate and mechanical motor’, ‘electro-pneumatic’, ‘weight of passengers’, ‘high pressure gas’ and… ‘self-acting’… The vast majority, however, cited petrol, or steam.

The run to Rouen was fixed initially for 1st June, but was then postponed to 7th June, before it became very apparent that most competitors would never be ready in time. So a vote was held to fix an alternative date, and by 68 votes to 13 the date of 22nd July was chosen.

69 cars started the 50 km (31 mi) selection event that would show which entrants would be allowed to start the main event, the 127 km (79 mi) race from Paris to Rouen. The entrants ranged from serious manufacturers to amateur owners, and only 25 were selected for the main race.

The race started from Porte Maillot and went through the Bois de Boulogne. The distance from Paris to Rouen was 126 km.

The official winners were Peugeot and Panhard as cars were judged on their speed, handling and safety characteristics, and De Dion’s steam car needed a stoker which was forbidden.

The order of the finishers was as follows:

  1. De Dion (Steam) – Count Jules-Albert de Dion
  2. Peugeot (Petrol) – Georges Lemaitre
  3. Peugeot (Petrol)
  4. Panhard et Levassor (Petrol)
  5. Peugeot (Petrol)
  6. Le Brun (Petrol)
  7. Panhard et Levassor (Petrol)
  8. Panhard et Levassor (Petrol)
  9. De Bourmont (Petrol)
  10. Peugeot (Petrol)
  11. Vacheron (Gasoline)
  12. Peugeot (Gasoline)
  13. Panhard et Levassor (Petrol)
  14. Roger (Petrol)
  15. Le Blant (Steam)

Count de Dion was the first to arrive in Rouen after 6 hours 48 minutes at an average speed of 19 km/h (12 mph). He finished 3 min 30 sec ahead of Albert Lemaître (Peugeot), Auguste Doriot (Peugeot) (16 min 30 sec back), Hippolyte Panhard (Panhard) (33 min 30 sec) and Émile Levassor (Panhard) (55 min 30 sec).The winner’s average speed was 17 km/h (11 mph).

It is funny to see that the winning car used steam as the fuel for the engine. Maybe a good alternative for electric cars?

sources

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/1894_Paris-Rouen_Race

https://www.goodwood.com/grr/race/historic/2019/6/the-1894-paris-rouen-trial-the-race-that-wasnt-a-race/

https://group-media.mercedes-benz.com/marsMediaSite/en/instance/ko/Competitive-motorcar-race-from-Paris-to-Rouen-on-22-July-1894-The-birth-of-motorcar-racing-125-years-ago-closely-associated-with-Mercedes-Benz-from-the-outset.xhtml?oid=43973577

Paul Newman Race driver

newman

Paul Newman is one of my all time favourite actors. You sometimes here people say “They just don’t make ’em like that anymore” this definitely applies to Paul Newman.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is still one of my favourite movies(even despite that bizarre bicycle scene)

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But Paul Newman was so much more then just an actor aside from entrepreneur, philanthropist he was also an accomplished race driver.

From the 1970s onward, Newman became a driver for the Bob Sharp Racing Team, and was even inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame.

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Despite being colorblind, Newman won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing, and his race teams won several championships in open-wheel IndyCar racing.

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Newman began racing cars in 1972, three years after completing the movie “Winning,” in which his character, Frank Capua, was a struggling race car driver who turned his career around by winning the Indianapolis 500.

The movie’s subplot involved a three-way love triangle between Capua, his wife Elora (played by Newman’s real-life spouse Joanne Woodward, whom he married in 1958) and rival Luther Erding, portrayed by Robert Wagner.The film grossed about $14 million. But what it did for Newsman’s second career was priceless

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Newman’s greatest accomplishment as a driver was a second-place finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in ’79, driving a Porsche 935. He remained active in endurance racing, making his last start at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in 2006 at the age of 81.

Newman was posthumously inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame at the national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 21, 2009.

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I am passionate about my site and I know 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. Thank you. 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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