Nowadays many companies refrain from openly discussing their collaboration with the Nazi regime and who can blame them? After all, it’s bad for business to have your image associated with a dictator who time and time again has been portrayed as the most evil man in history, due to the atrocities committed by the fascist during World War 2.
What is even worse is that people are slowly starting to forget that WW II actually took place and, as the old saying goes, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Two generations later and the international politics are already starting to fall into the same old traps that lead to a world at war in 1939. But we digress.
Naturally, considering that the Nazi party exercised control over virtually every industry in Germany and since it was beginning to look like they were going to be the winners of the conflagration, many corporations sided with them. Some even played both sides, as you are about to find out. From the hundreds of companies that aided Hitler in his world domination plans, let’s find out the top 10 most famous ones that still exist today
1. Hugo Boss was responsible for making the Nazi fashionable
That’s right, if you were wondering who was responsible for the intimidating, highly functional and professional looking uniforms of the SS troops, it was Hugo Boss. After adhering to the Nazi party, the company received a hefty, exclusive contract for the manufacturing of the Hitlerjunge (Youth Division) and SS (storm troopers). At that time the company was only eight years old and a contract of this magnitude represented an immense boon. In fact, due to the increasing demand of uniforms, Hugo Boss came up with the idea to “recruit” slave laborers from the concentration camps in France and Poland.
2. Volkswagen built the Beetle model according to Hitler’s specs
Ferdinand Porsche, the head of the VW and Porsche automaker met Hitler in person in order to negotiate the full rights over a “people’s car” (Volkswagen). Hitler liked the concept and suggested that this automobile should have a streamlined profile, something that would look like, I don’t know, a beetle maybe? That’s right, the VW Beetle was Hitler’s idea. Not only that, but Ferdinand Porsche and Himmler had a direct line, so the former could order more slave laborers from Auschwitz for his factories when required. Sources say that 4/5 workers in Porsche’s production centers were recruited from concentration camps.
3. Bayer developed and manufactured Zyklon B
Not only was IG Farben responsible for the manufacturing of the toxic gas utilized to kill millions of people, but apparently they also invested quite a bit of money in Dr. Mengele’s sinister experiments, that were performed on prisoners. The immense profits generated by the Zyklon B gas business enabled the Bayer division to separate from IG Farben in the post war period and become a standalone company. Another clear act of Anti-Semitism attributed to Bayer (which of course they deny) is stealing the credit for the invention of the aspirin from Arthur Eichengrun (an employee of the company) due to his Jewish roots and awarding it to a “proud Aryan”, Felix Hoffman.
4. Siemens played a major role in the construction of gas chambers
If IG Farben manufactured the gas, Siemens constructed the place where it can be used. The gas chambers were erected with Siemens technology, but the workers were actually prisoners of the concentration camps. Essentially, they were building the execution chambers for them and their families based on Siemens’ blueprints.
5. Coca-Cola created the Fanta beverage for the Nazi soldiers
Coca Cola is just one of the companies who turned a hefty profit from both sides during the Second World War. But when the German branch of the company exhausted the supply of syrup necessary for the Coke back in 1941 and the embargo imposed by the U.S. did not permit them to acquire more, Coca Cola invented a new beverage to quench the thirst of Hitler’s troops, Fanta. Think about that when you see the next Fanta flavor promoted by exotic women having fun on the beach.
6. Ford supplied vehicles to both the Axis and the Alliance troops
In case you did not know, Henry Ford was very open about his Anti-Semitic views and he even published several works on the global dangers posed by the Jewish people. But he wouldn’t let his convictions stand in the way of profit, so during World War 2 the automaker sold vehicle to both sides. Another interesting fact is that Hitler also granted Henry Ford the Grand Cross, which was the greatest award that a foreign supporter of the Nazi could hope to receive.
7. Standard Oil fueled Hitler’s Luftwaffe division
The Tetraethyl leaded gasoline that the German Luftwaffe fleet required was only manufactured by three oil corporations in the whole world at that point, Standard Oil being among of them and also the only one that agreed to aid the Nazi. It is speculated that without their involvement, the feared Luftwaffe division would have never been airborne.
8. Random House was instrumental for the publication and distribution of Nazi propaganda
Every dictatorship needs a good propaganda machine and Bertelsmann A.G. – the parent corporation of Random House – was just the one to do it. Among other works published by Random House we have the “Sterilization and Euthanasia”, a book that enforces the idea that the onslaught of the Jewish people is in accordance to Christian ethics.
9. IBM supplied the Germans with state of the art monitoring technology
A war cannot be conducted without an effective way to keep track of all aspects, including transport, supplies, funding, so on and so forth. Following the report posted in NY Times about the invasion of Poland and the “immediate removal” of approximately 3 million Jews, IBM took the “strange” decision to increase the manufacturing of fast alphabetizing equipment. Why would they possible do that unless…oh!
10. Last but not least, Allianz utilized the insurance money to fund Hitler’s war machine
It comes as no surprise that Allianz collaborated with the Nazi regime if you take into account that the CEO of the insurance company at that time – Kurt Schmitt – was also appointed the economics minister of Germany. But in addition to the funding and financial counseling he provided Hitler, Schmitt also did a couple of other nasty things like insuring the Auschwitz camp, paying the life insurance policy of German Jews to the Nazi instead and much, much more!