Collectively, the families featured in “Nazi Billionaires” own, among others, Porsche, Volkswagen, and BMW, as well as American brands ranging from Panera Bread to Krispy Kreme. Other holdings include Dr. Oetker, a consumer foods company valued at $8 billion, and luxury hotels across Europe.
“Businesses and many families in Germany were never really de-Nazified,” said the Dutch-born journalist. “The companies that are transparent are those that are no longer controlled by a family that collaborated with the Nazis.”
The corporate dynasties investigated in de Jong’s book have diverged from Germany’s robust culture of remembrance regarding World War II, he said. Instead of being “transparent” about their patriarchs’ crimes during the Third Reich, the six families — the Quandts, Flicks, von Fincks, Porsche-Piëchs, Oetkers, and the Reimanns — appear to pretend the Nazi years never took place, he said.