Germany suffered significantly after World War II, and in rebuilding their nation its citizens have sometimes forgotten that Germany has not yet compensated the forced labor convicts of Hitler's Third Reich. Now the country's vast industry wants to show their good will in overcoming the dark side of their history.
MARX in Wackerstein, close to the industry site of Ingolstadt, has joined in the German effort to compensate Hitler's former slaves.
"Despite the fact that we started our company in 1985, and the founders were born after 1955, we would like to contribute to the other, the new image of the German entrepreneurs," Philipp Marx, CEO of MARX, points out. "During the bad years after WWII, and the following economic boom era, the German industry has forgotten about the millions of workers from the former USSR, Poland, France, Czechia, Slovakia, and other countries. After the opening of the Iron Curtain these people desperately need our help, and at least a symbol of German good will."
Between 1943 to 1945 the Nazis could sustain Word War II only by replacing the skilled German workers, who had been sent off as soldiers, by a foreign work force brought to Germany and employed in agriculture and industry by force. These people had to work as slaves under desolate conditions. After the war they could return to their home countries, but it took a very long time. The German industry started to think about work compensation and the legacy of the Third Reich.
Most major German companies, who benefited from the forced labor by foreign workers, still refuse to pay compensations, despite pretty good annual income reports after taxation.
"We do a lot of international business, and we have offices and partners in Slovakia, Ukraine, in the French speaking part of Europe, and in United States," says Romy Marx. "In the U.S. the idea of helping and contributing for a good cause is much stronger than in Europe. It looks like most Germans forgot about the Marshall plan after World War II, the CARE parcels, and the Berlin airlift. Now it is the German role to pay back. Let's do it with compensating the forced labor workers."