German car maker Audi reveals Nazi past

German car giant Audi’s predecessor company used slave laborers from concentration camps during World War II on a massive scale, a new report has found.

An historical investigation commissioned by the company — the last German auto company to do so, preceded by Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW — found that when Audi was operating under the name Auto Union, it struck a deal with the SS, by which more than 3,700 inmates from Nazi concentration camps were put to work for the company.

The 500-page report, authored by historians Martin Kukowski and Rudolf Boch and published Monday, revealed that the Nazi SS divisions built seven labor camps for this purpose.

WW II German tank production line

Another 16,500 laborers — not interned in concentration camps — also were made to work for the car company in the Saxon cities of Zwickau and Chemnitz, in addition to 18,000 at a plant in Bavaria where more than 4,000 died, the report noted.

“More than 20,000 forced laborers were used in the production of Auto Union in their Saxon works, including almost one-fifth from concentration camps,” said the study authors, who also found that disabled workers were sent to concentration camps to be executed.

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