The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday on a new book claiming that the designer of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, a car tainted by its Nazi associations, was actually designed by a Jew, Josef Ganz, who unsurprisingly never got the credit.
The Post understandably zeroes in on the irony of a Jew being responsible for the car Hitler envisioned as the "people’s car," but I can’t help but fixate on the fact that yet again, a Jew is revealed as being central to the 1960s counter culture.
According to [Dutch journalist Paul] Schilperoord, "In 1929, Josef Ganz started contacting German motorcycle manufacturers for collaboration to build a Volkswagen prototype. This resulted in a first prototype built at Ardie in 1930 and a second one completed at Adler in May 1931, which was nicknamed the Maikäfer (May-Beetle)."
Ganz’s design was greatly innovative, with features such as an independent suspension system for each wheel, which was "a revolutionary step for the 1920s," Schilperoord notes. With a rear-mounted engine and a unique, streamlined chassis, his car was highly distinctive, too.
Although Porsche and Hitler made no mention of Ganz’s contribution, Schilperoord claims that "Hitler’s" Beetle, which came into production 10 years later, could only have derived from Ganz’s work.