|Nazi Ford and The Freep
AP/Special to the Free Press
A VICTIM: A 16-year-old Elsa Iwanowa was forced
from Russia in 1942, made to work 12 hours a day at a
German Ford plant. She remembers little of food and
lots of tears. Now, she wants Ford to pay.
History of Nazi labor stares Ford
Hitler reigned. Foreigners, hungry and
abused, worked in factories, including
Ford's. Now they want to be paid.
December 21, 1999
BY BILL McGRAW
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
As a girl in Russia, Elsa Iwanowa dreamed of becoming
Then German troops showed up in her town during
World War II. She was just a teenager when soldiers
stuffed her into a boxcar and hauled her to Cologne, on
the Rhine River, where she was forced to work at
gunpoint in a factory for virtually no pay. For more than
two years, she was hungry, tired and scared.
Now, at 74, Iwanowa has
another dream. She is seeking
compensation for the years of
coerced labor. Her employer
was Ford-Werke AG, Ford
Motor Co.'s German subsidiary.
"So many nerves I have spent on
this," Iwanowa said recently
through a Russian interpreter.
"What are they waiting for?"
Iwanowa is among more than a million forced laborers
who survived Hitler's factories. Their numbers are
dwindling. Many are seeking compensation.
The emotional issue of forced workers is one of the last
unresolved matters of World War II. Half a century
later, representatives of survivors such as Iwanowa
have forced global corporations such as Ford and
General Motors Corp. to confront a grim chapter from
their past that had remained dormant.
The issue is complex. It is interwoven with subjective
concepts of guilt and responsibility, obscured by the fog
of time and war, and caught up with the extraordinary
personas of Henry Ford, whom Fortune Magazine just
named the century's greatest businessman, and Adolf
Hitler, the century's ultimate war criminal.
Ford officials today deplore what happened to workers
at the Cologne plant, but maintain they bear no
responsibility. They say Dearborn executives lost
contact with the plant in 1941, and the Nazis seized it in
An examination of the evidence, though, depicts a more
ambiguous picture. In searching old files, historians and
the survivors' lawyers have uncovered documents that
raise questions about Ford's role in Nazi Germany.
THE ACCUSED: White-clad Henry Ford is honored
by German consuls Fritz Hailor, left, and Karl Kapp, in
1938. Ford's ties to Hitler haunt his company today.
Ford's relationship with the Nazi regime, in particular, is
complicated, because Henry Ford, despite his brilliance,
was a noted anti-Semite admired by Hitler.
The compensation issue took a dramatic turn last week
when German companies and government officials
agreed on a $5.2-billion fund for survivors of forced
labor. Whether Iwanowa will collect remains unclear.
Ford was not part of the agreement. The automaker has
spoken of establishing a humanitarian fund for
U.S.-based companies, but has provided no details. The
company, for now, is examining the voluminous record
of its experience with the German plant.
This, then, is the story of one company and one forced
laborer caught up in some of the century's most
A girl is forced away
Elsa Iwanowa grew up in Rostov, Russia, a scenic city
along the Don River, not far from where it enters the
Sea of Azov.
She was part of a large extended family with
aristocratic roots. Her mother was a bookkeeper, and
her father worked in the Black Sea tourism industry.
By 1942, when Elsa was 16, the Germans had visited
her town at least twice in search of workers the Reich
needed for the war, because the Nazi notion of
motherhood did not permit German women to work in
plants. That autumn, German soldiers in Rostov began
rounding up people to send to Germany. Iwanowa fled.
"I ran away to the countryside, about 50 kilometers
from my home, and worked in the fields," she recalled
recently at her apartment in Antwerp, Belgium, where
she has lived since the war.
One day, Iwanowa's mother went looking for her. The
Germans had given an ultimatum: Find your daughter or
we'll send you in her place.
Iwanowa's grandmother lived with the family and
needed her mother's care. Iwanowa's father and
brothers were fighting the war. Elsa knew she had no
The Germans allowed each person one suitcase.
Iwanowa brought underwear, dresses, photos and her
grandmother's blue coat. The soldiers crammed her and
about 100 other young people on a boxcar. It was Oct.
6, 1942. Two weeks later, the train arrived in
"They divided us there -- some go to the peasants, some
go to the city," Iwanowa recalled.
The Germans forced Iwanowa and other girls to stand
naked for a day while their clothes were disinfected.
By the end of 1944, researchers say, one of every five
workers in the Reich was a foreigner -- as many as 12
million in all. Many, like Iwanowa, were non-Jewish
Slavs, whom the Nazis considered inferior.
The workers eventually would get two labels.
Kidnapped foreigners would be referred to as forced
laborers; concentration-camp inmates who did outside
work became known as slave laborers.
From Wuppertal, the Germans took Iwanowa to the
Ford factory in Cologne. Iwanowa's home for the next
2 1/2 years was a wooden barracks surrounded by
barbed wire and guarded by attack dogs.
The Cologne plant
Twelve years earlier,
in 1930, Henry Ford
had laid the
cornerstone for the
Cologne plant. It
evolved into a
along the Rhine,
though Ford never
had a large share of
the German market
before the war.
owned 52 percent of
Ford-Germany by the late 1930s.
After Hitler came to power in 1933, Ford-Germany was
forced to deal with increasing government demands.
Cars had to be made of standard German-made parts.
Germans had to run the company.
Ford resisted some of the demands, and its relationship
with the government was often contentious. Seizure of
Ford property was a constant threat, but the company
received a boost at a 1936 Berlin auto show when
Hitler visited the Ford exhibit and praised Henry Ford,
and Hitler's chief aide, Hermann Goering, bought a
In 1937, with Hitler needing more industrial might as he
geared up for war, Ford-Germany earned approval to
perform government work.
Hitler invaded Austria in March 1938. By this time
Ford-Germany had decided to begin work on another
assembly plant, this one near Berlin. With Dearborn's
approval, Ford-Germany had begun to pursue
government contracts. The vehicles were intended for
military use, U.S. government records show.
"Even before the war, a portion of German Ford had
with Dearborn's consent become an arsenal of Nazism,
at least for military vehicles," concluded a post-war
report by the U.S. Army. The report said 15 percent to
20 percent of the German army's 1942 total of 650,000
vehicles were Ford-built.
"Ford trucks prominent in the supply lines of the
German army were understandably an unpleasant sight
to men in our Army," the report said, adding that the
Third Reich "used German Ford and its cooperative
parent in Dearborn as a direct means of stockpiling raw
materials needed for war."
According to historians Mira Wilkins and Frank Hill,
who in the 1960s examined the history of Ford's
overseas empire with the company's cooperation,
Ford-Dearborn Vice President Charles Sorensen
"scoffed at the danger of war and felt that orders from
the regime would simply help the company." The
authors said cooperation with Hitler's government was
the only way the company could survive in Germany.
1936 BERLIN AUTO SHOW: Adolf Hitler visits the
Ford exhibit at a 1936 Berlin auto show, a publicity boon
for the company. Hitler praised Henry Ford; his chief
aide, Hermann Goering, bought a Ford.
Sixty years later, dealing with the Germans in the late
1930s may appear unseemly, but it was not illegal. The
United States was not at war, and as Ford Motor
attorney Robert Biskup noted last week, "The U.S.
government maintained diplomatic relations with
Germany until the outbreak of war."
While his German plant was helping to prepare the
Reich for war, Henry Ford at first resisted producing
armaments for Britain.
After Pearl Harbor, though, Ford Motor in the United
States helped make Detroit the Allies' Arsenal of
Democracy by producing huge numbers of aircraft
engines, trucks, tank engines, gliders, tanks and tank
destroyers, watercraft, armored cars, universal carriers,
jet bomb engines, aircraft generators and
superchargers. Its Willow Run factory near Ypsilanti
became one of the world's famous war plants, building
8,685 B24 Liberator bombers.
In dealing with issues of the Nazis and forced laborers,
Ford Motor of today has a public relations problem --
Ford before the war was perhaps the world's most
famous businessman. He was a Bill Gates with
personality, a folk hero and great industrial innovator
known as a grandfatherly eccentric who experimented
with soybeans, loved square dancing and advocated a
return to rural values.
But Ford had a controversial side. He began denouncing
Jews in 1920. His nationally circulated paper, the
Dearborn Independent, attacked Jews in virtually every
issue from May 1920 to January 1922, and occasionally
afterward. More frequent attacks began anew in 1924.
Among the paper's numerous articles in 1920 and 1921:
"How Jews in the U.S. Conceal their Strength"; "Jewish
Degradation of American Baseball"; "How Jewish
International Finance Functions."
Ford later collected the anti-Jewish attacks in brochures
and a book that were translated and widely distributed
in Europe before and during Hitler's rise to power. The
book's title: "The International Jew: The World's
Ford never called for violence against Jews, and he
issued a retraction in 1927. But in 1938, during a
two-day celebration in Detroit for his 75th birthday,
Ford accepted a medal from the German consul, who
said Hitler was awarding it to Ford because he made
cars available to the masses.
David Lewis, a respected Ford biographer who is
mostly sympathetic to his subject, said recently that
anti-Semitism was one of Ford's great failings.
"If I were Jewish, I don't know that I would admire him,
and I would not forget what he did, and I'm not sure
whether I would forgive him," Lewis said. "But on
balance, I think the world is a better place because of
Henry Ford. And in terms of his anti-Semitism, he was
not an Adolf Hitler."
Ford caught Hitler's eye. Ford is the only American
mentioned in the U.S. edition of "Mein Kampf," Hitler's
autobiography. "Hitler's ravings and public speeches
against Jews frequently were based on Ford's
anti-Semitic literature," Lewis wrote. A Detroit News
reporter, asking Hitler in 1931 about the life-size
of Ford in his office, quoted the fuhrer as saying: "I
regard Henry Ford as my inspiration."
Michael Hausfeld, a Washington lawyer working for the
survivors, said he sees a direct link between Ford's
anti-Semitism and Ford-Werke's acceptance of Nazi
Elizabeth Adkins, who is heading Ford Motor's
worldwide research project, said: "There is no link
between Henry Ford and forced labor."
A forced laborer's life
The girls and women in the Ford-Werke barracks slept
on bunks stacked three high, as in the concentration
camps. Iwanowa drew the top bunk. It was so close to
the ceiling that she could not sit up. The bedding was
potato and flour sacks.
The daily routine was strict: At 6 a.m., the workers
went to the cantina for breakfast, which was three
small pieces of dark bread. "Bread like black earth, like
coal," she said.
A bit of margarine -- she twisted her thumbs and index
fingers into a coin-sized shape to illustrate --
accompanied the bread.
At 7 a.m., soldiers with guns marched them out of the
barracks and into the factory. At 7 p.m., the soldiers
marched them back.
They worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. Her job
was to place heavy metal blocks in a machine or on a
line, stamp holes in them and then stack them elsewhere
on the line. The work was too taxing for a 16-year-old
girl, and she wanted her supervisors to know. So she
and a Ukrainian friend, Galina, refused to work. Their
action earned them three days in isolation cells, with no
The supervisors were German men, mostly old,
disabled, maimed or otherwise unfit for military service,
On the job, Iwanowa stood all day. She developed leg
problems and once fell so ill that she was forced to go
to the infirmary for three weeks.
Guards beat workers in the factory, she said.
She recalled that some Germans were helpful. Some
soldiers looked the other way when workers broke
rules. An old man who sometimes sneaked sandwiches
to Elsa would glance at her, draw his finger across his
throat and whisper, "Hitler kaput."
Lunch was a bowl of soup made with cabbage bits. The
Russians called it "empty water."
The Germans gave them dinner every other night and
on Sundays: five pieces of black bread.
"I was thinking about bread all the time," Iwanowa said,
tears welling in her eyes. "I was hungry all the time. I
was crying the whole year, every day."
Sewn on their clothing, over their left breasts, was a
white-and-blue rectangular patch with the word "Ost,"
designating them as workers from the east.
On Sundays, their free day, a half dozen or so girls
sometimes would remove their "Ost" patches and leave
the barracks, walking into nearby fields to beg farmers
for food. The most they received were a few potatoes.
Often the farmers would scream: "Go back home, you
Though she longed to escape, she feared the
consequences. "There were soldiers with weapons
everywhere," she said.
During the entire 2 1/2 years, Iwanowa was allowed to
send one postcard to her mother. The Germans made
her write that everything was fine.
On weeknights, the workers were too tired to do
anything but fall asleep after their shifts.
While men and women were segregated in the
barracks, they worked together in the factory. Some
liaisons formed, and Iwanowa recalled the authorities
permitting them to continue. One Ukrainian girl in her
barracks fell in love with a male worker. The couple
married, the woman became pregnant, and they moved
into a barracks for couples. As far as Iwanowa knows,
the woman was allowed to keep her baby.
Iwanowa is adamant that the Germans did not rape or
otherwise mistreat the women and girls sexually.
By February 1944, the Ford-Werke plant had 5,742
workers; more than 40 percent were foreigners,
virtually all them forced laborers.
Who controlled Cologne?
In December 1941, when the
U.S. entered the war after Pearl
Harbor, Ford-Dearborn lost
contact with Ford-Werke and
did not regain it until the war's
end in 1945, Ford officials said.
Lawyers for the survivors have
not produced hard evidence to
By the spring of 1942, the Nazi
regime seized the Cologne plant, Ford officials said. The
Nazis dismissed the board and appointed a verwalter,
or custodian, who would report to the Reich.
The custodian, Robert Hans Schmidt, was no stranger
to Ford. Leading up to the war, he was the Cologne
plant's co-chief executive, a seasoned manager well
known to Ford executives in Dearborn.
The Nazis did not impose Schmidt on Ford-Werke; his
appointment had been negotiated in advance by the
Ford-Werke board and the government, according to
Ford Motor documents.
Because the shift occurred in- house, Ford critics deride
the idea that Ford-Werke was seized.
"If you say you are taken over, there is an implication of
hostility," said Deborah Sturman, a New York lawyer
working for the forced laborers.
"He was exactly who they chose, so it was a mere
formality. They appointed him in the first place. He's
Biskup, the Ford attorney, said Ford-Dearborn had no
say in Schmidt's appointment. He also said Schmidt had
no control over the factory's product, its customers,
employees, the product price or plant profits.
"All of those key, strategic business considerations were
in the hands of the government authorities," he said.
"And the documents bear that out."
The Gestapo, Hitler's secret police, also had a Ford man
in the plant who reported to that branch of the Nazi war
machine, Ford Motor officials said.
Who gave the orders to bring in the forced laborers?
Ford officials said that remains unclear.
As custodian, Schmidt ignored officials in Dearborn,
according to University of Pittsburgh historian Simon
Reich, an expert on the German wartime economy who
is working for Ford on the laborer issue. In making
decisions for Ford-Germany, Schmidt "ruthlessly
implemented" the plans of Nazi economic czar Albert
Speer, Reich has written.
Karola Fings, a German historian, said: "Normally, a
foreign company that evidenced sufficient willingness to
cooperate with the Reich was neither confiscated or
liquidated, but placed under the trusteeship of a
custodian from the company itself."
Ford officials say while Schmidt was preferable as a
custodian to an outsider, his appointment was the
culmination of a gradual loss of autonomy to the Nazis
over several years.
Schmidt clearly supported the German war effort.
In December 1941 he wrote in the Ford-Werke
publication about the plant's "unshakable faithfulness to
our fuhrer." Ford-Dearborn officials, though, cite a 1947
U.S. military evaluation of Schmidt that said his public
statements were less vociferous than those of many
German business leaders during the war.
Ford critics say Schmidt was a Nazi Party member,
though Ford denies it. There is ample evidence that
Schmidt, without Dearborn's knowledge, ran a side
business manufacturing parts for the German war
Before Schmidt became custodian in Cologne, the Nazis
put him in charge of Ford installations in countries the
Germans had conquered as they stormed across Europe
in 1939 and 1940.
According to Wilkins and Hill, while Schmidt "was the
agent of the Reich, and bound to see that the plants
operated for the good of their new masters, he was also
a Ford employee and, along with certain arbitrary
actions ...showed such loyalty to Ford interests as his
official role permitted."
Immediately after the war, the Allies detained Schmidt,
made him go through the so-called de-Nazification
process, probably because of his private armament
business, and forbade him to work for Ford.
In 1950, after the Allies had cleared him, Schmidt was
looking for a job. Ford-Werke, under Dearborn's
control, rehired him.
Ford officials say Schmidt returned in the lesser position
of technical director, and maintain it was not unusual for
seized firms to rehire custodians.
Fings, the German historian, said Schmidt was one of
several Ford-Werke managers who continued running
the Cologne plant during peacetime.
"After the war, the Ford Motor Co. did not just
reassume control of a factory, but also took over the
factory's history," she said. "Apparently no one at Ford
Motor Co. was interested in casting light upon this part
of history, not even to explicitly proclaim a distance
from the practices of Ford-Werke AG during the Nazi
Ford officials today say wartime finances remain
confused, but acknowledge Ford-Dearborn received
$60,000 in wartime dividends from Germany.
Hausfeld and Melvyn Weiss, another U.S. attorney
representing laborers, say they do not believe that
Ford-Dearborn lost control of the Cologne plant. But
even if Ford did lose control, they said, the parent
company still profited from the increase in value of the
Cologne plant while it was staffed with forced laborers.
Ford officials say the plant was virtually worthless after
Hausfeld also noted that Ford applied for $7 million in
compensation from the United States for Allied bombing
damage to the Cologne plant. In the 1960s, Ford was
granted $1.7 million -- less funds the company already
had received from Germany.
By early 1945, Germany's war effort was collapsing
and Hitler was seven weeks from killing himself in his
bunker. On March 6, U.S. troops marched into
As the Americans approached, the Germans told
workers to go to the riverbank, where a boat was to
take them to the other side. With four other Russian
female workers and some Belgian men, Iwanowa fled
to the forest. The men went out at night and foraged for
milk and food.
After several days, one man returned with a car, and
the escaped laborers drove to Belgium, where Iwanowa
A short, full woman with refined movements, Iwanowa
wept during the recent interview in her art-filled
apartment in Antwerp, especially when she discussed
her beloved Russia.
She married a Belgian man, who died of cancer in 1983,
had two children and did not return to her home of
Rostov until 1956.
Her mother, grandmother and brother had survived the
war. Her father never returned; she does not know his
Along with a number of other forced workers, Iwanowa
returned to the Cologne factory for a short visit in 1995.
The company gave them a pin decorated with the Ford
logo, a present Iwanowa called humiliating.
The war was the defining point of a life she never
"But this is our fate," she said. "We are born at a
moment in time. I wish that I had been born later, that I
was much smaller. Then I would not have been taken to
Find Holocaust-era resources at:
BILL McGRAW can be reached at 313-223-4781
or email@example.com. Colleen Fitzpatrick, a
Free Press special writer in Europe, contributed to
this report. Staff writer Sheryl James also
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GARY TRAMONTINA/Special to the Free Press
Ford is hinging its credibility on Simon Reich, an expert
in German war economy whose parents escaped the
Nazis. His only aim: truth.
Doron Levin: He seeks truth,
finds it on Ford's side
Historian faults Nazis for forced-labor
December 21, 1999
Ford Motor Co. has promised in the
next few months to publicize the results
of its extensive probe into what exactly
happened at its Cologne, Germany,
factory during World War II.
Based on examination of more than
77,000 pages of documents, Ford
predicts that the public and courts -- if it
comes to that -- will clear the company
of any complicity in the exploitation of
thousands of forced laborers after the plant was seized
by the Nazis.
A public relations victory, though, will hinge on
credibility. Did Ford look carefully at every shred of
evidence? Were Ford's archivists as tough and thorough
as they should be? To ensure that its research has
integrity and is believable, Ford took pains to find a
scholar to review the work of its archivists, someone
whose involvement could influence the public to accept
that damaging evidence wasn't thrown away,
suppressed or overlooked.
The man Ford chose, Simon Reich, possesses at least
two sterling assets for his job. The first is his academic
credentials as an expert in the German war economy,
with a specialty in the German auto industry. "Through
some freak accident, I apparently know more about the
Ford case than anyone in the world," he said.
Just as significant as his
academic knowledge, Reich
brings to the task his legacy as
the son of Holocaust survivors.
Currently a professor of public
and international affairs at the
University of Pittsburgh with a
doctorate in government from
Cornell University, Reich was
born in England and is a
naturalized U.S. citizen. His
father was Austrian and his mother was Czech. They
fled from Europe to Great Britain in 1939. His
grandfather, who also narrowly escaped the Nazis,
subsequently died in the German bombardment of
Despite his emotional perspective on the Nazi era, he
says he feels a strong commitment to arriving at
historical truth, no matter what that is. "I have no ax to
grind in this," he said.
Ford hired Reich, 40, in November 1998 to review the
activities of about 45 archivists and researchers.
As a Jew with many relatives murdered by the Nazis,
Reich understands that his scholarship on behalf of Ford
carries a special burden.
"Given my background as a child of Jewish refugees, I
obviously couldn't participate in anything that looked like
a cover-up," he said. "I told the Ford people that the
only thing I have to sell is my reputation as a scholar."
Reich accepted Ford's offer of employment, subject to
four conditions: "I wanted access to all materials; I
wanted categorical assurance that no material was
being withheld; I wanted Ford to consider making all
materials public, and I wanted the whole project
organized professionally and exhaustively."
Ford's decision to make all its records and reports
available to the public -- on a "consumer-friendly basis,"
in Reich's words -- is extraordinary, because they also
will be available for any plaintiffs' attorneys who wish to
use them in a lawsuit.
For now, Reich says all the available evidence points --
as it has for some time -- toward Ford's loss of control
of the Cologne plant in 1940, a prelude to the plant's
official confiscation in 1942. "Ford was not in charge of
its property, for which they are now accused in a
lawsuit," Reich said, referring to a lawsuit filed against
Ford by lawyers on behalf of Elsa Iwanowa.
Reich said evidence exists that managers in Cologne
were operating Ford's plant with forced laborers as
early as 1941 and slave laborers by 1944. However, no
evidence has surfaced to show that executives in
Dearborn knew of either practice.
"Lawyers have tried to argue that there were linkages
between Ford in the U.S. and in Germany," he said.
"But I never could find evidence linking the two. After
the Ford of Germany supervisory board was dissolved
in 1940, the company was handed over to a
Nazi-appointed custodian, Robert Schmidt."
Reich's familiarity with Ford archives dates back 15
years to his days at Cornell, working on his doctoral
thesis, which examined the roots of Germany's postwar
economic success as seen through its auto industry.
"Ford had this warehouse and prefabricated hut, full of
huge neglected, uncataloged boxes, including lots of
stuff from Cologne, reports and all kinds of records," he
Nearly three years ago, the law firm of Milberg Weiss
Bershad Hynes & Lerach called him. The firm had a
client, Iwanowa, who was prepared to testify that she
was kept captive at Ford in Cologne. "They asked me
about the Ford case," brought by Iwanowa, "and about
my perspective," Reich said. "I told them the evidence
showed they had no case."
For the next two years Reich answered questions posed
to him by Milberg Weiss attorneys, free of charge. He
briefly considered an offer to become a paid expert
witness on the plaintiff's behalf; he declined. "I thought
they were reaching," he said.
Then Ford called. "I wanted to uncover the truth. I
thought the only way to do that would be from the Ford
side," Reich said.
From his office in Pittsburgh, Reich examines
documents and reports sent by Ford archivists who are
examining records in Dearborn, Cologne, London and
Washington. Periodically he travels to Detroit to
examine material and meet with Elizabeth Adkins,
Ford's chief archivist.
Reich says Iwanowa and others legitimately are
pursuing recognition for suffering they endured.
Because lawyers seek redress through huge financial
settlements, however, recognition is "only partial, at
best," Reich said. "What doesn't happen when a big
check is written, such as in the Swiss bank settlement,
is a public and sincere expression of guilt and remorse,
which is of primary importance to the victims.
Until all the research is complete, neither Ford nor
Reich is willing to exclude the possibility that
evidence could surface. Ford's nightmare is the
last-minute discovery of a smoking gun, a document or
letter that shows unequivocally that executives in
Dearborn knew that counterparts in Cologne were using
slaves or forced laborers.
A nightmare for Ford wouldn't be a nightmare for
"The research may produce a smoking gun, but I'm not
worried if it does," Reich said. "From a scholarly
viewpoint, all it does is change my perspective."
DORON LEVIN can be reached at 313-223-4355
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Special report: GM subsidiary
also entangled in war
December 21, 1999
Like Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. had a
subsidiary in Germany where laborers were forced to
work during World War II.
Also like Ford, GM denies responsibility, saying the
Nazis took its plants and kicked GM out.
GM's wholly-owned company, Adam Opel, was the
dominant automaker in Germany in the 1930s and '40s.
Adam Opel also was a major contractor for the German
military before and during the war.
GM is allowing Opel to decide the best course with
respect to reparations for forced laborers, subject to
approval from company leaders in Detroit. Opel has
said it supports the establishment of a fund for the
laborers but hasn't decided whether to participate.
GM hired Henry Ashby Turner, an eminent historian at
Yale University, to oversee its effort to discover what
happened in GM's European plants during the war.
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