BREAKING THE SILENCESven Quandt, who said: "We must finally try to forget this."
He once inherited a fortune that consisted primarily of stock in Varta, which emerged from the Afa battery company. But Sven Quandt didn't want to be reminded of Afa's history. The manager of a car racing team who once took part in the Paris-Dakar rally,Johanna and Stefan Quandt, as well as Susanne Klatten, who together own more than 46.6 percent of the shares in BMW,Many people know about this part of the family history. Indeed, the story of the Quandts saving BMW became one of the legends of the postwar economic miracle. The question of how they came into the money to purchase the BMW shares was secondary -- at least until the ARD film posed it once again.The Quandts are one of Germany's last corporate dynasties that have not yet dealt with their past. They continued a deplorable tradition among German companies that had spent decades avoiding examinations of their past.
Many companies purged the Nazi years from their internal history books, while their executives ignored the period in speeches to employees.
The past, they hoped, would simply go away.
Quandt added: "Every family has its dark sides."While my family was reduced to ashes....and I am struggling all my life.
I have a great interest in Berlin.
Although I was aware that my father had studied there,in fact he had an apprenticeship at I.G. Farben,years before the World War II.
He spoke and wrote Hoch Deutsch ,which confounded the Nazi,he ran into in the chemical factories he worked for, years later in Brazil.
I only learned in 1994,after locating documents in Poland about my father's family,that my grandfather had moved there in 1926 and died there in 1927. Then my grandmother moved to Berlin in 1930,while my father's brother,the architect Wladislaw Bornstein,was working in Koln.I was never able to find out so far what happened to them.I only have few photos.
In 1992 I was contacted by a German citizen from Leipzig.
He told me that his father owned a hotel there and that the property
next door belonged to the Bornstein family,and that I was the direct
He warned me to act fast,as otherwise documents would be faked to take over.I was not able to act fast.
Memory in Berlin has never been easily approached. The fight over the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was long and bitter, and disagreements over the planned monuments to the gay and to the Sinti/Roma victims of the Holocaust have likewise overshadowed both projects.
It took two decades and a second cornerstone laying ceremony, but on Friday, construction at the 'Topography of Terror' got underway. The site is to document the headquarters of the SS and the Gestapo. more...
BMW's Quandt Family to Investigate Wealth Amassed in Third Reich
By Julia Bonstein, Dietmar Hawranek and Klaus Wiegrefe
Germany's wealthy and reclusive Quandt family, a major BMW shareholder, has gone on the defensive. For decades the family repressed its Nazi past, but a new documentary film provides new photos of old revelations that have prompted the Quandts to confront their own history of using slave laborers in factories during World War II.In a talk Stefan Quandt gave at the Technical University of Karlsruhe in 2001, he said that his grandfather "expanded our family's entrepreneurial thinking and action by investing in companies; his strategy was diversification." Quandt did not mention ugly words like arms production and forced labor in his lecture.One of the prosecutors in the Nuremberg trials, Benjamin Ferencz, now says that if today's evidence against Günther Quandt had been presented to the court at the time, "Quandt would have been charged with the same offences as (German industrialists) Flick, Krupp and the directors of IG Farben."http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,511193,00.html