VW CEO reportedly mimicked an infamous Nazi slogan during a company event

VW CEO reportedly mimicked an infamous Nazi slogan during a company event

VW CEO reportedly mimicked an infamous Nazi slogan during a company event

The chief executive of Volkswagen has apologized after appearing to reference a notorious Nazi slogan in public comments. "In fact, it was a very unfortunate choice of words and if I had unintentionally hurt feelings with it, I am extremely sorry". "For that I would like to fully and completely apologize".

The phrase appears to be a play on "Arbeit macht frei" - work makes you free - a notorious Nazi slogan that was inscribed over the entrance to Auschwitz and other concentration camps. EBIT is a commonly used abbreviation in finance for earnings before interest and taxes.

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Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess has apologised for comments made which appeared to play on a Nazi-era slogan, capping a rough week for the automaker battling a U.S. government lawsuit.

"At no time was it my intention for this statement to be placed in a false context", he said.

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Diess told business magazine Wirtschafts Woche he had not aimed to cause offence when he said "EBIT macht frei" during a VW management gathering on Tuesday. The automaker was founded by the German government in 1937 to mass-produce a low-cost auto, and was originally operated by the German Labour Front, a Nazi organization, according to Britannica.com. During the Second World War, prisoners of war and concentration camp captives were used as slave labour at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg factory as part of Germany's military efforts. The CEO's comments were first reported by German news outlets.

The comments are all the more unfortunate considering Volkswagen's history.

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VW's powerful works council welcomed Diess's "swift clarification and unequivocal apology" for the remark, adding that remembrance and responsibility are part of the company's DNA.

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