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BMW family admits using slave labor for Nazis

JTA

September 28, 2011 | 11:44 am

BMW Head Quarters in Munich Germany

BMW Head Quarters in Munich Germany

The family that owns BMW has admitted to using slave labor during World War II.

Some 50,000 forced laborers are estimated to have worked in the factories of industrialist Guenther Quandt producing arms for the Nazis, according to a study commissioned by the Quandt family.

Gabriele Quandt, grandson of Guenther Quandt, told the German newspaper Die Zeit that it was “wrong” for the family to ignore this chapter of its history.

The independent study by the Bonn-based historian Joachim Scholtyseck concluded that Guenther Quandt and his son Herbert helped bolster the Nazis, according to the newspaper. The three-year study was commissioned in response to public outrage over a German television documentary that made the accusation; the documentary had access to the company’s files from the Third Reich period.

Guenther Quandt also is accused of taking over Jewish-owned companies during the war with the blessing of the Nazis.

The Quandt family bought shares of BMW 15 years after World War II.

Guenther Quandt became a Nazi Party member on May 1, 1933. He died in 1954.

The family still owns a majority of shares in the luxury carmaker.

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