This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
GERMAN biscuit company Bahlsen was forced to apologise after one of its owners said the firm “did nothing wrong” in using forced labour during the nazi era.
Verena Bahlsen conceded that her remarks were inappropriate after she was accused of being “oblivious to history.”
“It was a mistake to amplify this debate with thoughtless responses,” she said in a statement.
The controversy started after Verena Bahlsen gloated at a conference last week: “I’m a capitalist. I own a quarter of Bahlsen, that’s great. I want to buy a sailing yacht and stuff like that.”
After she was criticised for insensitivity to the fact that her vast wealth was made with the use of forced labour, she said the company had nothing to feel guilty about.
“That was before my time, and we paid the forced labourers exactly as much as German workers and we treated them well,” she told German newspaper Bild.
Bahlsen used around 200 forced labourers between 1943 and 1945. Most of them were women from nazi-occupied Ukraine.
The company voluntarily paid 1.5 million deutschmarks (about €750,000) in 2000-2001 to a foundation set up by German firms to compensate 20 million forced labourers used by the nazis.
But former forced labourers have failed in a bid to receive compensation from Bahlsen with German courts citing statute of limitation laws.
Social Democratic Party general secretary Lars Klingbeil said: “Someone who inherits such great wealth also inherits responsibility and should not be so arrogant.”
The Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Centre in Berlin said: “The issue of nazi forced labour is often still a blind spot in the collective memory.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.