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VW/Audi setting up fund for slave laborers (news)

In message <006101bdb42e$76da5f80$05bae6d0@hull.cardinalventures.com> "Brandon Hull" writes:

> This press release just triggered a recollection of a piece in "Automobile
> Quarterly" describing the history of VW in occupied Germany following the
> war.  The gist of the story was that VW's plants, distribution networks and
> personnel had been completely eradicated.  A small cadre of British
> officers, as part of the Allied effort to jump start the German economy,
> recognized the market potential of the Beetle and re-started VW from
> scratch.

That might have been the effect, but I don't think anyone was that

In the immediate aftermath of the final collapse, the Western zone was
utterly anarchic.  Military discipline was all there was, for a
substantial period.  The Allies were torn between revenge-like emotions,
and the early realisation that the Soviets were only an hour's drive
from Frankfurt/Main.  Personally, I would love the chance to study the
society that was created at that time - a major influence was the 'ideally
administrated society' - a creation of British bureaucrats who knew
they'd never be allowed such experiments at home.  Of course, with the
EU now spreading its tentacles into our daily lives, these fragments
of bureaucrats' Nirvana are coming home to the UK.

Anyway - the key was "Beschaeftigung" - something to do.  The Beetle
was easy to build and the whole German war economy had become used to
doing without 'essential' raw materials.  Hanomag in Hannover was not
too badly damaged, and could build engines.  Wolfsburg and Brauschweig
could be got back into operation fairly easily, and even Conti in
Hannover was still able to make 'ersatz' tyres.  There was nothing else
to do, so they got on with what there was.

For anyone interested, and visiting Germany, I recommend the four
models of the town of Hannover that are kept in the Altes Rathaus.  One
is from the 17th century, one from 1939, one from 1945, and one from
the early 1970s.  The 1945 model has wires suspended over it so you can
see where the streets had been.

 Phil Payne
 Phone: 0385 302803   Fax: 01536 723021
 (The contents of this post will _NOT_ appear in the UK Newsletter.)