London, Sept 28 (ANI): The dynasty behind the BMW luxury car marker has admitted that they used slave labour, took over Jewish firms and did business with the highest echelons of the Nazi party during World War II.
A TV documentary titled "The Silence of the Quandt Family" that aired in Germany in 2007 has forced the Quandt family, which is a major shareholder in the BMW Group, to commission an independent study on their ancestors' actions during World War II.
The 1,200-page study carried out by historian Joachim Scholtyseck concluded that the patriarch of the family, Guenther Quandt, cooperated willingly with the Nazi regime, of which he became a member only a month after Adolf Hitler's rise to power,
He also "employed" 50,000 slave workers in his factories that churned out machinery for the German army, the Daily Mail reports.
It study also found that Guenther acquired companies through the Nazi program of 'Aryanisation' of Jewish-owned firms.
The company grew rich in the Nazi era. In 1937, Hitler bestowed on Guenther the title 'Wehrwirtschaftsf?hrer'-leader of the armament economy, and his business supplied weapons using slave labourers from concentration camps in at least three factories.
The study showed that the Quandt firms also used Russian POWs as slave labourers and that Guenther and his son Herbert knew about them.
Herbert even employed Ukrainian slaves on his weekend retreat outside the Reich capital, the paper said.
Guenther was described as an 'opportunist' who enthusiastically helped the regime to rid Berlin industries of Jewish workers before the start of the war.
In 1946 Guenther Quandt was arrested and interned. He was judged to be a 'Mitlaufer', or fellow traveler, someone who accepted the Nazi ideology but did not take an active part in crimes. He was released in January 1948. (ANI)