Audi Finally Acknowledges Its Disturbing Past

Company employed thousands of slave laborers, with 4,500 dying at its plant.

Joining other German automakers including BMW, Daimler andVolkswagen, Audi AG has finally come forward and acknowledged the darkestchapter in its history. During the rule of the Nazi party in the 1930s and 40s, Audi’s forerunner company, Auto Union, employed thousands of slave laborersin various plants in eastern Germany and Bavaria. The company’s “father,” Richard Bruhn, who continued to lead the company even after WWII, was a Naziparty member.

According to a recent study conducted by historians Martin Kukowskiand Rudolf Bosch, Auto Union employed 18,000 slave laborers in an undergroundplant in Bavaria, in addition to 16,500 people in eastern German plants. 3,700concentration-camp inmates were among the slave laborers, and 4,500 workersdied while working at the Bavarian plant. Audi has recognized its wartime guiltand contributed widely to a fund set up by the German industry to compensateslave workers.

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