Descendants of Goebbels's wife - underground billionaires
History Quandt's industrial empire began in 1883, when its founder Emil Quandt inherited a textile company from his stepfather. Shortly before the beginning of the twentieth century, Emil handed the company over to his eldest son, Gunter. After a decade and a half, the First World War began, and the Quandt manufactory became the largest enterprise for tailoring uniforms for German soldiers.
The war ended miserably for the Germans, but not for everyone - Günther Quandt met the German revolution with a millionaire. After the death of his first wife, who left him two sons, Helmut and Herbert, in 1921, Gunther Quandt married a second time. His chosen one was Magda Ritschell, who in the same year bore him a son Harald. Soon after the establishment of the Weimar Republic, he invested money earned on the tailoring of the form in the purchase of a controlling stake in the battery manufacturing factory in the city of Hagen. Six years later, he acquired the Berlin-Karlsruner factory, which was engaged in the production of automobiles, as well as blocks of shares of Daimler AG and BMW concerns.
In 1927, Gunter’s eldest son, Helmut, dies from complications after appendicitis is removed. After 2 of the year, in 1929, Magda filed for divorce, and after 2 of the year, at the end of 1931, he married a member of the Reichstag, a prominent member of the Nazi Party, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels’s best man at the wedding was none other than Adolf Hitler himself, who became the German chancellor of 1933 and appointed him minister of propaganda. Despite the second marriage of Magda, Gunter Quandt continued to communicate with his ex-wife and her new husband, and in 1934, his younger son Harald moved to Goebbels. After Hitler came to power, Günter Quandt joined the NSDAP, and his acquaintance with Goebbels helped the industrialist to obtain large state contracts. In 1937, Hitler assigned him the title of Wehrwirtschaftsführer, which was conferred on the heads of large military enterprises. And in 1939, the war began.
Quandt's enterprises had a wide range of services to the Third Reich - they produced batteries for submarines and V-2 ballistic missiles, Mauser pistols, ammunition and air defense missiles. Slave labor of Jews and prisoners of war was widely used at its factories - according to studies of recent years, about 50 thousands of people passed through Quandt factories. Revenues from military products and the takeover of assets alienated from their Jewish owners made Günter Quandt one of the richest people in Germany. In the 1939 year, his youngest son Harald Quandt joined the Wehrmacht and served as a Luftwaffe pilot until he was captured by the Allied forces in the 1944 year.
In the spring of 1945, while in prison in the Libyan port of Benghazi, he received a farewell letter from his mother. “My dear son! For six days now, my dad and six children have been in the Fuhrer’s bunker to give up our national socialist lives in the only correct, courageous way, Magda wrote,” Harald, dear son, I want to tell you what I learned in life: be true! True to yourself, true to the people, true to their country! " The second message was written by the hand of her husband. “It seems that you are the only one who can continue the traditions of our family,” wrote Goebbels, who became Reich Chancellor after Hitler’s suicide, but only for one day.
It is difficult to say what feelings Harald experienced while reading these lines - soon after they were written, Joseph and Martha Goebbels poisoned their six children with potassium cyanide, and then poisoned themselves. But it is known for certain that in 1947, the lieutenant of the Luftwaffe Harald Quandt was released. A year earlier, in 1946, his father Gunter was arrested for aiding Nazism, but was acquitted at the Nuremberg trials as Mitläufer, which meant someone who did not share Nazi ideology, who was forced to cooperate with the regime, could not prevent the crimes of national socialism. Punishment was only a year of forced labor. His eldest son, Herbert, who worked throughout the war as director of the Petrix GmbH plant, which used slave labor for women, including Polish Jews from Auschwitz, was not generally tried. After the liberation of 1948 in January, Günther once again headed his industrial empire, the products of which were widely demanded during the post-war economic recovery.
In 1954, Gunter Quandt died during a trip to Cairo, his legacy was equally divided between his sons Herbert and Harald. Over the next ten years, the brothers significantly increased their stake in Daimler AG. Herbert invested a large amount and saved BMW concern from bankruptcy, as a result of which he received a controlling stake in the company. In 1967, Harald died in a car accident, his assets were received by a widow, Inge Quandt. After Harald’s death, the relationship between his brother, Herbert and Inge, deteriorated sharply, and in 1970, a lawsuit began on the division of assets. As a result, Herbert received 14 percent of Daimler AG shares, which in 1974 sells to the Government of Kuwait for about a billion German marks. On 1978 on Christmas Eve, Inge Quandt died of a heart attack, and after 2 of the day her second husband shot himself in the head, leaving five children orphaned, two of whom were not yet eighteen at that time. Herbert Quandt, the eldest and last surviving son of Gunter, survived his brother by 15 years. He died in the 1982 year, dividing the inheritance between six children from three different marriages.
At the moment, the assets of the Quandt family are estimated at about 15 billions of dollars, the share of each family member is about 1,2 billion dollars, while none of the descendants of Herbert Quandt have ever been seen on any list of billionaires. The assets of Harald's four daughters are combined into a group of investment funds that generate annual dividend income. The youngest sister, Patricia Halterman, passed away in the 2005 year four days before her 38 birthday, leaving behind two heirs. Her mansion in New York was sold in 2008 for 37,5 million dollars. Her sisters lead a non-public life. One of them, Collin-Bettina Rosenblat-Mo, maintains a fashionable studio and jewelery salon in Hamburg. At the age of 24, she converted to Judaism and married a Jewish businessman, whose father passed through a concentration camp. Another sister, Katrina Geller-Herr, owns an equestrian center in Hamburg, and also sponsors Olympic champion Lars Nyberg.
The main assets of the BMW concern are Herbert's widow, Johanna Quandt, along with her children Stephen Quandt and Susan Klatten. In an interview, Susan tried to explain the behavior of her relatives to the fact that they did not get the wealth as easily as some people think: “Magda killed her six children in the bunker, and our father loved her brothers and sisters, very much. something like that, you think it can’t be worse. " The fact that slave labor was used in Quandt’s factories was called “the sad truth”. However, many such explanations are not enough. In the movie "Silence of Quands" it is mentioned the fact that the family and its subordinate structures donate annually to finance political parties (primarily the ruling CDU-CSU) of the order of 4 million dollars. 50 more thousand euros is the prize for the annual "Herbert Quandt Prize", which is awarded for achievements in journalism. At the same time, the film points to the fact that the family has never been seen in donations to the All-German Foundation for Victims of Forced Labor under Nazism. Apparently, the heirs of Günter Quandt believe that, since he was found not guilty, they also have nothing to apologize for. However, after the resonance caused by the film “Silence of Quandt” family members promised to tell the story of their dynasty in detail, which they did: in 2011, the book “BMW. The History of the Quandt Family that Revived the Company” appeared on the shelves of bookstores.
This story is fairly common in the industrial dynasties of Germany in the second half of the twentieth century, when people who had grown rich during the war years had to defend their capital and good name. This also applies to the Volkswagen concern, whose main plant was founded personally by the Führer, and the brand Hugo Boss, the founder of which at one time sewed a uniform for the SS. The question is more likely not in the lack of repentance for the unjustly acquired capital (the majority of Quandts were born after the war), but in a misunderstanding of their historical role in relation to those on whom their ancestors made their capital, which they then inherited. Therefore, as long as those who were forced to work day and night for food during the years of Nazism, the descendants of those who made a fortune with their help will always be focused on the earth.
- Vladimir Kabeev