Of Course Nazi Goebbels’ Step-Grandchildren Are Private Billionaires
It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.
If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.
- Joseph Goebbels
As Bloomberg relays:
“My dear son! By now we’ve been in the Fuehrerbunker for six days already, Daddy, your six little siblings and I, to give our national socialistic lives the only possible, honorable ending,” she wrote. “Harald, 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!”
Harald and his half-brother, Herbert, would inherit the industrial empire built by their father, Guenther Quandt, which had created Mauser firearms and anti-aircraft missiles for the Nazi war machine. Among their most valuable holdings during the war was their stake in the car manufacturer Daimler AG. They also bought a stake in Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) a number of years later.
Herbert’s widow Johanna Quandt, 86, and their children Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt, are in the public eye to this day as dominant shareholders in BMW. The billionaire daughters of Harald Quandt – Katarina Geller-Herr,61, Gabriele Quandt, 60, Anette-Angelika May-Thies, 58, and 50-year-old Colleen-Bettina Rosenblat-Mo – have not maintained such a high profile.
The four sisters inherited about 1.5 billion deutsche marks ($760 million) in the wake of their mother’s death, Inge, in 1978, according to the official family biography, “Die Quandts.” Their wealth is managed through Harald Quandt Holding GmbH, a Bad Homburg,Germany-based family investment company and trust. According to the CEO of the firm, the family wishes to remain “We invest our money globally and if it’s $1 billion, $500 million or $3 billion, who cares?”
The four sisters and the two children of a deceased sibling share a fortune worth at least $6 billion, giving each of them an approximate net worth of $1.2 bilion. They have, however, never appeared individually as billionaires on international wealth rankings.
Bloomberg writes of the Quandt family:
The rise of the Quandt family fortune shares the same trajectory as Germany’s quest for global domination in the 20th century. It began in 1883, when Emil Quandt acquired a textile company owned by his late father-in-law. At the turn of the century, Emil passed the business to his eldest son, Guenther.
The younger Quandt saw an opportunity with the onset of war in 1914. His factories, already one of the biggest clothing manufacturers for the German state, quadrupled their weekly uniform production for the army, according to “Die Quandts.”
After Germany’s surrender four years later, Quandt put the company’s wartime profits to use. In 1922, he bought a majority stake in Accumulatoren-Fabrik AG (AFA), a Hagen-based battery manufacturer. Six years later, he took over Berlin-Karlsruher Industriewerken AG (BKIW), a Berlin-based manufacturer that made sewing machines and silverware. The factory, once one of Germany’s largest weapon producers, had been forced to retool as part of the country’s disarmament agreement.
“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,” Rudiger Jungbluth, author of “Die Quandts,” said in an interview at a Bavarian restaurant in Hamburg last November.
Held in an internment camp in Moosburg an der Isar for over a year before being judged a “mitlaufer” – that is, a Nazi follower who wasn’t formally involved in the regime’s crimes – in denazification hearings in 1948, Guenther Quandt faced no further repurcussions. “He was lucky that he wasn’t as prominent as someone like Flick or Krupp,” said Scholtyseck, referring to the German industrialists Friedrich Flick and Alfried Krupp, who were sentenced to prison terms at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.
Guenther died in 1954 while in Cairo, leaving his business empire in the hands of his two surviving songs, Harald and Herbert. Their most notable assets include AFA and Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (renamed Industrie-Werke Karlsruhe AG after the war – as well as stakes in Daimler-Benz and potash miner Wintershall AG.
The brothers in the next decade increased their holdings in Daimler, and Herbert saved BMW from collapse in the 1960s after becoming its largest shareholder and backing the development of new models.
The Empire combined to manage $18 billion in assets, the majority of the money controlled by the firms was invested by third parties.
As Bloomberg ends their piece:
“Magda killed her six children in the Fuehrerbunker. 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 said in the interview. “It’s a sad truth that forced laborers died in Quandt companies,” said Stefan.
The acknowledgment didn’t prompt a public distancing from the men that made their family Germany’s richest. The families’ offices in Bad Homburg are named after Guenther and Harald Quandt, and the Herbert Quandt media prize of 50,000 euros is awarded annually to German journalists.
“They have to live with the name. It’s part of the history,” said Scholtyseck. “It will be a constant reminder of dictatorship and the challenges that families have to face.”