The dynasty behind the BMW luxury carmaker, the Quandt family has admitted that they used slave labor, took over Jewish firms and did business with the highest echelons of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party during World War II.
Gabriele Quandt, whose grandfather Guenther employed an estimated 50,000-forced laborers in his arms factories and acquired companies through the Nazis’ program of “Aryanization,” said it was wrong for the family to ignore this chapter of its history, according to Die Zeit.
Die Zeit reported that Guenther and his son Herbert were responsible for Nazi injustices.
Moreover, Guenther Quandt used the Nazi regime’s “Aryanisation” program to gain control of Jewish-owned companies. He also received the title of “Wehrwirtschaftsfuhrer”, that is “leader of the armament economy”, by Hitler himself.
The family said it still plans to award the Herbert Quandt Media Prize since of the ‘values he conferred’ in the ensuing 40 years ‘made him very much a role model for me,’ said Stefan Quandt.
According to Wikipedia, BMW was an ailing company and in 1959 its management suggested selling the whole concern to Daimler-Benz.
Herbert Quandt was close to agreeing to such a deal, but changed his mind at the last minute because of opposition from the workforce andtrade unions. Instead he increased his share in BMW to 50% against the advice of his bankers, risking much of his wealth. He was instrumental in turning the company around.