Volkswagen CEO apologizes for evoking Auschwitz slogan at company meeting

Galtero Lara
Marcha 15, 2019

Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess has apologized for using a controversial slogan at a recent company event. In Diess' phrase, "EBIT" is an acronym used to mean "earnings before interest and taxes", and in his explanation, he said he was referring to EBIT's importance to the freedom VW brands have, France 24 reports.

"It was in no way my intention to put this statement in a false context", he said. "At the time, I simply did not think of this possibility".

Volkswagen was founded in 1937, as part of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's vision to enable German families to own their first vehicle.

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Volkswagen was founded by the German Labour Front under Nazi rule in the 1930s and eventually admitted to using 15,000 slave workers during World War II.

Politicians in the Weimar Republic in the 1920s used the phrase to promote employment policies. It is most infamous for its placement above the entrance gate to several Nazi concentration camps, however, including Auschwitz and Dachau.

Herbert Diess, CEO of German automaker Volkswagen AG, speaks at the company's annual press conference at Volkswagen headquarters on March 12, 2019 in Wolfsburg, Germany.

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