The crimes committed during World War II remain in the memories not only of its victims, but those who cooperated with the Nazi regime, like Germany’s industrial complex.
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG was founded in Munich on March 16, 1916, during the First World War and it is celebrating its 100th anniversary, yet it has not shied away from talking about the darkest hour in its history.
The Bavarian automaker expressed its “profound regret for the enormous suffering” caused during World War II, when it used Nazi slave labor in its factories.
BMW’s owner at the time, Gunther Quandt, along with his son, Herbert, manipulated political pathways in the Nazi party and were friendly to Adolf Hitler, taking advantage of the Holocaust and businesses seized from Jews to manufacture weapons, artillery, ammunition and U-boat batteries. The company is responsible for retaining some 50,000 forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners.
“Under the National Socialist regime of the 1930s and 40s, BMW AG operated exclusively as a supplier to the German arms industry“, wrote BMW, which reminded everyone that it became “the first industrial corporation to initiate a public debate about his chapter of its history with the publication of a book entitled ‘BMW – Eine Deutsche Geschichte (BMW – A German History)’.“
“Since the 1990s, the BMW Group has been actively engaging in efforts to promote openness, respect and understanding between cultures“, the firm explained.