BMW owner’s family pledges millions to memorialize Nazi laborers


(JTA) — The family that owns BMW has pledged nearly $7 million to memorialize forced laborers in Nazi Germany.

The Quandt family admitted in September to using slave labor during World War II.

An estimated 50,000 forced laborers, including Jews from Nazi concentration camps, worked in the factories of industrialist Guenther Quandt producing arms for the Nazis, according to a study commissioned by the family.

In August, Stefan Quandt reportedly visited a former Nazi forced labor camp in Berlin that had supplied workers to a factory owned by his grandfather, Guenther Quandt, and was impressed with its memorial center, according to the German language Bild-am-Sonntag newspaper.

The donation to the Berlin-Schoenefeld memorial center is Germany’s largest from a private individual for historical purposes, the newspaper wrote. 

Stefan Quandt told Bild-am-Sonntag that he was impressed with the "great commitment and historical knowledge" of the memorial’s employees and volunteers.

Guenther Quandt also is accused of taking over Jewish-owned companies during the war with the blessing of the Nazis. He became a Nazi Party member on May 1, 1933. He died in 1954.

The Quandt family bought shares of BMW 15 years after World War II and still owns a majority of shares in the luxury carmaker.

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