Next Time You Pull on That Hugo Boss Suit...

Website reveals some of the lesser known corporate collaborators with the Nazi regime in World War II, among them Nestlé, Coca Cola and Hugo Boss.

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A Hugo Boss ad from the Thirties.
A Hugo Boss ad from the Thirties.Credit: Screenshot

The fact that Volkswagen, Siemens and BMW cooperated with the Nazi regime before and during World War II is both well-known and unsurprising. But Hugo Boss? And Coca Cola?

They and others – Random House publishers, Nestlé and IBM, for example – all appear on the list of "12 Famous Companies Who Worked With Adolf Hitler," published by What Culture, a film and culture website.

Hugo Boss, it turns out, designed SS and Hitler Youth uniforms from 1932 onwards, a contract that propelled a small-time business into a huge international corporation during the 1930s. Much of its work force consisted of forced labor from prisoner of war and concentration camps.

Hugo Boss himself was a member of the Nazi Party. “Of course my father belonged to the Nazi Party," his son Siegfried said in 1997. "But who didn’t back then?”

In 2000, Swiss-based Nestlé paid $14.5 million into a fund offering reparations to Holocaust survivors who had been forced into slave labor during World War II. It turns out that Nestlé financed the Nazi Party in Switzerland in 1939, a kindness that later earned it a lucrative contract to provide chocolate to the Wehrmacht.

Immediately after the war, Nestlé purchased food manufacturer Maggi, a company that had profited from the use of forced laborers in Nazi Germany.

Random House, the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world, is owned by Bertelsmann A.G., which printed millions of Nazi propaganda posters and thousands of books, including “Serialization and Euthanasia: A Contribution To Applied Christian Ethics” and the works of Will Vesper, one of the most prominent officials involved in the 1933 book burning.

As for Coca Cola, according to What Culture it created its Fanta orange drink specifically for the German market during the war – with a special sugar allocation in a country in which the product was strictly rationed.

Also on the list published by What Culture are IBM, Allianz (sponsor of Bayern Munich,) Ford, General Motors and Kodak.

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