Monday, January 07, 2008

Who Knew the Nazis Were So Fashionable?

I just discovered this link over at It's a piece about five brands the Nazis gave us.

The list includes:

1. Volkswagen -- At this point, is there anyone who does not know that Volkswagens were little Nazi-mobiles designed by none other than Ferdinand Porsche?

Porsche's partner in masterminding the Beetle was also the mastermind of World War II: that crazy, affable buffoon Hitler. Hitler specifically wanted a cheap, sturdy vehicle everyone in Germany would be able to drive. Being the opportunistic businessman that he was, Porsche quickly whipped up the Volkswagen Beetle and lobbied heavily for the Fuhrer's approval. Soon, Porsche had his slave labor factories churning them out by the thousands, and eventually, flying out of dealerships.
2. IBM -- Yeah, I didn't know about this one, but it's kind of creepy.

According to a book a guy wrote about it, as soon as the Nazis invaded a country, they would overhaul the census system using IBM punch cards. Then they'd track down every Jew, Gypsy and any other non-Aryan until they were all rounded up onto cattle carts. And, next stop wasn't Space Mountain.
3. Bayer -- Once proud partial owner of the company that churned out Zyklon B, which means that Bayer was invested not only in getting rid of headaches and other physical ailments, but also in snuffing out Jewish vermin.

On one hand, the company that actually manufactured the gas was just partially owned by IG Farben, and Bayer was just one part of IG Farben. It's like the way we don't think of General Electric as a military contractor, because they make so many other things.

Bayer, though, has continued some of its old douchebaggery into the modern era. First off, Aspirin was invented by a Jewish man, Arthur Eichengrun, whose name Bayer still refuses to acknowledge. To this day, the "official" history of the company denies Eichengrun's involvement in the invention of aspirin, and states that an Aryan invented the drug, because as we all know, Aryans are better at everything.

One such Bayer-employed Aryan was a nice, thoughtful fellow by the name of Josef Mengele, who Bayer sponsored to seek out medical discoveries in the important field of torturing people to death.
4. Siemens -- Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten about this one. These guys think it's cool to trademark the name "Zyklon" for a range of home products. No, that's not offensive at all.

Though they weren't the only company at the time supplying the German war effort, they were certainly the most prolific. Siemens was in charge of Germany's rail infrastructure, communications, power generation ... the list goes on. If the Reichstag was the brain behind the war, Siemens was definitely the right hand that stroked Hitler to ecstatic glory.
5. HUGO BOSS -- Now, this came as a shocker. I had never heard this, but apparently SS soldiers and even Hitler Youth were stylin' in Hugo Boss uniforms. I just bought a Hugo Boss shirt for someone this past holiday season. It's nice to know that I spent $155 on Nazi wear.

Members of the Hitler Youth were also decked out in Boss wear, teaching children an early lesson in looking good whilst beating up minorities.


tikkunger said...

Interesting post but you spent $155.00 on a shirt! Oy vey!

Monica said...

I know...shame on me. And on a graduate student's salary...

Jew For Jesus said...

Hitler did horrible things but to continue hold these companies guilty for what their owners did in the past is just ridiculous.
What about forgiveness?
These events happened over 50 years ago...let it go.

Monica said...

Oh, sweet "jew for jesus," you are not a very critical reader, are you? Two things:

1. This post has everything to do with irony, and virtually nothing to do with holding "these companies guilty" (and I'm not sure what you mean by that anyway). However, if in fact you meant "hold these companies responsible," I think they ARE responsible for the choices they make now. They are responsible for making right what was done wrong in the past. For example, the fact that Siemens very recently tried to trademark the name "Zyklon" for a range of home products, including ovens, has everything to do with the present. And, yes, I do think they should be responsible. And, yes, I do think that is wrong, as did most of the world, which is why they were forced to change it.

2.It's called irony. I never said one thing in this post about not buying a Volkswagen or wearing Hugo Boss. I simply find it ironic, even darkly amusing, that someone so invested in Holocaust memory and memorialization loves the brand Hugo Boss. Irony. Look it up.

Next week perhaps I'll create some petitions to try to put these companies out of business, since that was so clearly what this post was about to begin with.

Regardless, thanks for stopping by, "jew for jesus."

Michelle said...

"douchebaggery"... nice... I like it.

Monica said...

Yeah, Michelle, I agree. I am going to try to incorporate "douchebaggery" into my daily vocabulary :)