Porsche Cars

Question

Can you tell me if Porsche cars used slave labor or had anything to do with the Holocaust?

Harry Mazal answers:

I am one of the persons who responds to such questions. I will try to give you some information about Ferdinand Porsche and the company that he created. I have used the following book for source material:

Small Wonder: The Amazing Story of the Volkswagen
Nelson, Walter Henry
c. 1965, Little, Brown and Company
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 65-10899

From pp. 77ff:

On Ascension Thursday, May 26, 1938, Adolf Hitler laid the cornerstone of the Volkswagen factory near Fallersleben, Lower Saxony. [...]

...Ferdinand Porsche was conspicuous in mufti, wearing a trench coat and no hat. [...]

Porsche commuted between his Bureau in Stutgart and his job in Wolfsburg, overseeing the construction of his plant. [...]

Nazi Germany honored its leading designer [Porsche] in 1938 with its own equivalent of the Nobel Prize. [...]

Orders from Berlin forced the factory to devote part of its capacity to building other war equipment, instead of concentrating on automobiles. Yet another factor may have been a human one. Today [1965] the factory is manned by free men; in World War II, two thirds of its workers were slaves. [...]

The labor force increased more than 600 percent, from 2732 in 1939 to 17,365 in 1944; the vast majority were foreign prisoners. Some were Russian and Polish prisoners of war; most were forced laborers from France, Belgium and Holland, and a few were court-martialled German soldiers sentenced to work at the plant. While treatment of the prisoners at Wolfsburg appears to have been better than elsewhere in Nazi Germany, it is a fact that many of those who arrived there were half-starved. ...Porsche designed a succession of tanks and other military vehicles, for which he was lavishly honored by the Third Reich.

I hope that this material is of some use to you.

Sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE

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