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These 13 brands have controversial, dark origins

These 13 brands have controversial, dark origins
Slideshows1 min read

In addition to its €10 million donation, a JAB spokesperson told Business Insider that the company also plans "to provide €250 million to the Alfred Landecker Foundation over the next 10 years, which will become a rolling commitment in perpetuity."

In addition to its €10 million donation, a JAB spokesperson told Business Insider that the company also plans "to provide €250 million to the Alfred Landecker Foundation over the next 10 years, which will become a rolling commitment in perpetuity."

The Alfred Landecker Foundation's stated mission is to educate "current and future generations about the Holocaust and the terrible price paid when intolerance and bigotry reign." The foundation is named for Emilie Landecker's father.

The Alfred Landecker Foundation

Fashion designer Hugo Boss was an active member of the Nazi Party during World War II. So it's no surprise that his firm produced uniforms for both the SS and the Hitler Youth, sometimes using the forced labor of French and Polish prisoners.

Fashion designer Hugo Boss was an active member of the Nazi Party during World War II. So it

Source: BBC

L'Oréal founder Eugène Schueller was a member of La Cagoule, a fascist secret society bent on overthrowing France's democratic government in the years before World War II.

L

In 1925, Fred Koch Sr. founded Winkler-Koch Engineering Company, a predecessor to the modern-day Koch Industries. In her book "Dark Money," Jane Mayer wrote that Winkler-Koch went on to build refineries in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.

In 1925, Fred Koch Sr. founded Winkler-Koch Engineering Company, a predecessor to the modern-day Koch Industries. In her book "Dark Money," Jane Mayer wrote that  Winkler-Koch went on to build refineries in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin.

Koch Industries responded to Business Insider's request for comment with a statement saying that Ed Koch agreed to work on a Hamburg refinery "six years before Germany invaded Poland" and that the businessman quit dealing with Nazi Germany "when it became clear that Hitler's government was a tyrannical regime."

Koch Industries responded to Business Insider

Edwin Black's 2001 book "IBM and the Holocaust" alleged that IBM provided extensive technological support to Nazi Germany for 12 years, based on a trove of archived documents.

Edwin Black

An IBM spokesperson said that Black's work has been "discredited by several reviewers and scholars" and told Business Insider: "We have been consistently clear: IBM and its employees around the world maintain that the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime are abhorrent and condemn any actions which aided their unspeakable acts."

An IBM spokesperson said that Black

The spokesperson also cited Kevin Maney, who wrote that Thomas Watson Sr. likely didn't know what the Nazis were using his technology for, and said that IBM's German operations "came under the control of Nazi authorities prior to and during World War II."

The spokesperson also cited Kevin Maney, who wrote that Thomas Watson Sr. likely didn

Two biographies on iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel — "Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel's Secret War" and "Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life" — allege that Chanel became a secret agent for Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage, a German intelligence officer with whom she struck up a relationship during World War II.

Two biographies on iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel — "Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel

Today, the car brands Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi are all situated under the umbrella of the the Volkswagen Group. The trio of brands also share a dark past when it comes to World War II.

Today, the car brands Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi are all situated under the umbrella of the the Volkswagen Group. The trio of brands also share a dark past when it comes to World War II.

Ferdinand Porsche was a famous German engineer and Nazi Party member known for founding his namesake car company and inventing the Volkswagen Beetle on orders from Hitler. Audi's predecessor, Auto Union, also reportedly relied on slave labor during the war.

Ferdinand Porsche was a famous German engineer and Nazi Party member known for founding his namesake car company and inventing the Volkswagen Beetle on orders from Hitler. Audi

The founders of shoe brands Adidas and Puma weren't just brothers — Adolf and Rudolf Dassler were also both members of the Nazi Party during World War II. The Dassler brothers worked together in the shoe business initially, but they ultimately broke up over some mysterious falling out.

The founders of shoe brands Adidas and Puma weren

Adolf went on to found Adidas, while Rudolf launched Puma. Vice reported that neither brother was particularly committed to Nazism, however.

Adolf went on to found Adidas, while Rudolf launched Puma. Vice reported that neither brother was particularly committed to Nazism, however.

Adidas' founder's stated political leanings also didn't stop him from quietly sponsoring African-American athlete Jesse Owens during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Owens went on to win four gold medals at the Games.

Adidas

Source: Adidas

An Adidas spokesperson told Business Insider that helping athletes "perform at their best was more important to Adi Dassler than politics," and that the company is "proud that Adi Dassler showed moral courage ... in this darkest phase of German history."

An Adidas spokesperson told Business Insider that helping athletes "perform at their best was more important to Adi Dassler than politics," and that the company is "proud that Adi Dassler showed moral courage ... in this darkest phase of German history."

Source: Adidas

Henry Ford was an innovative American businessman, but he used his status to spread anti-Semitic views in the early 20th century. PBS reported that by buying the newspaper The Dearborn Independent, Ford was able to print a 91-issue "series of articles that claimed a vast Jewish conspiracy was infecting America."

Henry Ford was an innovative American businessman, but he used his status to spread anti-Semitic views in the early 20th century. PBS reported that by buying the newspaper The Dearborn Independent, Ford was able to print a 91-issue "series of articles that claimed a vast Jewish conspiracy was infecting America."

Source: PBS

The Quandt family, longtime powerful BMW shareholders, benefitted by "taking over scores of Jewish businesses" during World War II, according to the Independent. The New York Post reported in 2016 that the car company expressed "profound regret" for using slave labor and supporting the Nazi war effort by manufacturing aircraft and motorcycles.

The Quandt family, longtime powerful BMW shareholders, benefitted by "taking over scores of Jewish businesses" during World War II, according to the Independent. The New York Post reported in 2016 that the car company expressed "profound regret" for using slave labor and supporting the Nazi war effort by manufacturing aircraft and motorcycles.

Source: New York Post, Forbes

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