Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Volkswagen Boss Sorry About Nazi Gaffe

Volkswagen Boss Sorry About Nazi Gaffe

Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess Wednesday apologised for making a play on words with a Nazi slogan at a company meeting, insisting he was keenly aware of the German firm's roots in the Third Reich.

The expression "Ebit macht frei" was made in an internal Volkswagen management presentation in connection with operating margins from various company brands, Diess said.

Tajani's apology came amid another controversy involving Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess, who recently evoked the Nazi phrase "Arbeit macht frei" (Work sets you free) with comments at a company event.

No German audience would fail to spot the reference to Auschwitz, where more than a million people were murdered by the Nazis - the overwhelming majority.

"It was in no way my intention to put this statement in a false context", he said.

The "Arbeit macht frei" phrase is from the National Socialist regime led by Nazi leader Adolph Hitler and was placed at the entrance of several concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Dachau.

"It was in fact, a very unfortunate choice of words and I am deeply sorry for any unintentional pain I may have caused", Diess wrote in a post on his LinkedIn page.

Volkswagen was founded in 1937 by the German government with a mandate to mass-produce affordable vehicles.

Diess apologized, explaining he was trying to make the point that VW's more profitable units had more financial freedom.

Volkswagen's first factory was built in 1938 in Wolfsburg by the Nazi party.

"The history of the Volkswagen group and the resulting responsibility is an important part of its corporate identity", the supervisory board said in the statement.

Diess took to social media this week to apologize for the gaffe.

Like this: