Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sad Truths

"Magda killed her six children in the Fuehurerbunker. Our father loved his half-siblings very much. And when, like me, you have something like this in your family history, you think: It can't be any worse".
Gabriele Quandt
"It's  a sad truth that forced labourers died in Quandt companies".
Stefan Quandt

The children were poisoned with cyanide in Hitler's bunker during the closing...

Six dead children. In the dying days of fascist Germany, Hitler's underground bunker was crowded with his wife, their dog, six children, their mother and step-father, a doctor and perhaps others. It was the children's misfortune that their mother Magda Quandt, in her second marriage gave them Joseph Goebbels as a step-father, though he was a good father to them. Their mother, to prevent her children falling into the hands of the advancing Soviet army, killed them with cyanide.

"My dear son!" she wrote to her son Harold Quandt, then a 23-year-old officer in the German Luftwaffe ... "By now we've been in the Fuehrerbunker for six days already. Daddy, your six little siblings and I, to give our national socialist lives the only possible honorable ending. Harold, dear son, I want to give you what I learned in life: Be loyal! Loyal to yourself, loyal to the people and loyal to your country!"

In 1914, paterfamilias Guenther Quandt, first husband of Magda, invested in wartime profits at the onset of war with his textile factories producing a quadrupled weekly uniform production for the German army. He graduated to producing batteries, sewing machines and silverware. "The Quandts business grew in the Kaiserreich, it grew during the Weimar Republic, it grew during the Second World War and it grew strongly after the war", according to Rudiger Jungluth, author of Die Quandts.

Guenther Quandt took as his second wife Magda Ritschel and their son Harold was born in late 1921. Their marriage lasted until 1929, when they divorced, and two years later Magda married Goebbels and Hitler was best man at their wedding. Guenther Quandt joined the Nazi party when they took power in 1933, and Goebbels became propaganda minister.

The Quandt factories became vital suppliers for the German war effort. They made batteries for U-Boat subs and V-2 rocket launchers and Mauser firearms, ammunition and anti-aircraft missiles. "He was one of the leading industrialists in the Third Reich and the Second World War", explained Professor Joachim Scholtyseck, a Bonn-based professor of history.

Guenther Quandt appropriated assets from Jewish company owners. His son Herbert planned a factory that would make use of slave labour. After his death Guenther's sons took ownership of his business empire. They increased the business stake in Daimler, and saved BMW from collapse as its largest shareholder.

Today the daughters of Harald Quandt ages 61, 60, 58 and 50 have a net worth of $1.2-billion each. Quite the family history; a business empire that grew on war munitions production, that stole Jewish assets, that grew rich on slave labour. A family that lives uneasily with their history of family collaboration with Adolf Hitler and by that connection, the loss of scores of millions of lives, not the least that of 6-million Jews.

German history will always rankle with memory of the Holocaust. This family's connections, and its wealth positively reek with the stench of ill-gotten gains. If there was morality and remorse those riches would be surrendered to charitable enterprises that would attempt to make amends and restore hope in the hearts of the downtrodden, the oppressed, the world's poor.

An investment in medical research, in education. Anything would be better than sitting on that odious wealth.

Adolf Hitler with the Goebbels family: Newly discovered records show that a...

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