Siemens Infrastructure operates from Switzerland (e.g. “J-Stamp” land), potentially influencing its Swiss CEO, Matthias Rebellius, to allow the brand to advertise on the controversial “bambkb” account, known for promoting pro-Hitler content and Holocaust denial.
Collectively, [antisemitic] posts have received millions of views, according to the platform’s metrics. And notably, none of them have community notes currently attached to them — X’s supposed but inefficient guard against misinformation. Additionally, bambkb has pushed numerous conspiracy theories, promoting QAnon as well as content claiming that the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting was fake; the moon landing was staged; and the Earth is flat.
Interestingly, Siemens’ official statement about its historical connection with Hitler reflects a concerning enthusiasm for their collaboration in past crimes against humanity.
At the end of the 1930s, the regime’s demand for armaments began to intensify. Without the aid of foreign workers, the manufacturing sector could no longer meet this demand. After the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, this situation worsened since growing numbers of qualified employees at the company’s various plants were drafted for military service. The use of forced labor was seen as the only way to compensate for labor shortages.
Outbreak of hostilities? Does Siemens want us to forget it was an invasion? It was aggression. It was propaganda on an immense scale that manipulated misery and discontent from the depression into racist nationalist hatred. A fraud was generated for horribly racist Germans to believe that stealing territory and wealth from others (e.g. war) would generate prosperity for them at the expense of everyone else.
Right there on the top you can see a Siemens official doing their best to ignore reality. Outbreak of hostilities is like describing a bank robbery as an exchange of funds.
It’s even worse. Siemens want to claim that they found aid of foreign workers lacking? Hold on a minute there Carl Friedrich von Siemens!
On 17 March 1933 the head of Siemens complained bitterly about a “massive influx of foreign Jews” to Germany after WWI. For some reason he really, really hated the exact same foreign workers that he also allegedly believed there weren’t enough of… that’s the unmistakable classic sentiment of mass dehumanization.
And under this obviously cooked and contrived self-contradicting context somehow enslavement into forced labor was the only way to maintain production levels for what, exactly?
…from the end of 1943 on, Siemens primarily manufactured electrical equipment for the armed forces.
Got it. To be fair by the mid-1930s Siemens was one of Germany’s largest Nazi-supporting weapons manufacturers, profiting from the agitations for war. And with that horrible output in mind, again, was forced labor really ever the only way? Siemens even tried to campaign on the idea that slaves liked it because they enjoyed being robbed of all freedom, starved and beaten, before being shot in the head under banners like “Arbeit Macht Frei“.
In January 1946, Mr. von Siemens acknowledged that prisoners for the Nazi concentration camps at Oranienburg and Buchenwald were put at the company’s disposal by camp administrators and did work in its plants, but he could not recall how many prisoners were involved. Unaware of Ill-Treatment. He said the prisoners welcomed the opportunity to work, and he said he was not aware of any undernourishment or ill-treatment.
Funny how he knew exactly the number of slaves he required to meet Hitler’s demands, but then could not recall any numbers when held accountable for slavery.
Literally a case of widespread slave labor coming from violent racist and illegal incarceration, to which Siemens also says he was unaware of any ill-treatment.
Engaged in profit from precise control of slaves, yet unaware of numbers and ill-treatment. Incompatible statements.
Basically Siemens obligated itself to ensure its “success” would be defined by racist ill-treatment of workers, directly endorsing and engaging in slavery and then genocide.
Slavery is never close to being the only way to get work done, so you really have to wonder who wrote such horrible tone-deaf Holocaust-denial as official statements.
Siemens even officially complains in their statement about how difficult it was for them to help Hitler given how unpopular he was.
Being bombed after positioning themselves as Hitler’s loyal enabler was oh such a bother to poor, poor Siemens.
After the war broke out, production at Siemens’ German locations was impeded by transport problems, a scarcity of raw materials and, in particular, labor shortages. Starting in 1942, the situation was further exacerbated by the air war. A large number of the company’s factories in the Berlin area were destroyed by aerial bombardment, disrupting key manufacturing operations at the company’s Siemensstadt campus. Meanwhile, the demand for armaments continued to increase. Company management reacted by establishing additional production facilities in other parts of Germany and in the territories occupied by the German military. […] Later in the war, however, it became increasingly necessary to replace production capacity destroyed by Allied bombing. As a result, Siemens had transferred and relocated nearly 400 facilities by the time the war ended. These facilities also made use of forced labor.
“The situation”? Nazism was a situation.
And the war broke out? Again, an odd way to describe Hitler’s instigation, aggression and invasion.
Siemens didn’t give up direct support of Nazism even when it meant being destroyed themselves. That’s very telling. I mean, square that with their claims that they had to support Hitler to save their company. Not true, obviously. When their company was being destroyed for supporting Hitler… somehow they still decided they had to support Hitler.
Get it? That’s not a business decision. That’s just greed and dehumanization, as one historian has explained.
The Topf brothers, more interested in funding their lavish lifestyle, drinking and womanizing, approved [genocide plans for profit] without comment. […] Driven by self-preservation, office rivalries and personal greed, the men of Topf and Sons had human motives for heinous behavior. It is their very ordinariness that makes them so appalling.
Bombing Siemens into smithereens meant they quickly stole more property and enslaved more people to keep a massively growing list of crimes against humanity going. Whose land? Whose labor? The Nazi “production capacity” replacement strategy for Siemens lacks all context let alone details of who they kept forcing to lose to selfishly profit from oppression and war — why they refused to quit the abusive and fraudulent Nazi doctrines of exploitation.
Imagine how much shorter the Holocaust might have been, how many millions might have been saved, if Siemens did the obvious thing and said “hey, our production was destroyed we’re done rewarding ourselves here with slave labor” instead of scheming on how to repeatedly restart and keep their drunken and lavishly genocidal lifestyle going?
Siemens really plays their “poor, poor us” fiddle the loudest after their hopes and dreams of Nazi victory were defeated.
The Allies confiscated all the company’s tangible assets worldwide. All its trademark and patent rights were rescinded. All its foreign assets were lost. Overall, Siemens forfeited 80 percent of its total worth or some 2.6 billion German marks. In November 1941, after the death of his uncle Carl Friedrich, Hermann von Siemens was appointed to head the company. He had led Siemens through the last years of the war and was now confronted with the challenge of rebuilding the company and reestablishing it on the global market.
All those “gains” from Nazism taken away? Siemens left his more direct government role when the Nazis came to power because they were so aligned it became redundant.
Again, if they had resisted or refused to serve Hitler they would have come out better on multiple levels (including the right side of history). Yet that’s an impossibility given Siemens’ long known and apparently ongoing fondness for Nazism.
The Siemens narrative suggests they unapologetically prioritized “profit” from war crimes including genocide over any ethical considerations, even when facing their own destruction as a result.
That gives proper context to the company’s current association with a pro-Hitler Holocaust-denial campaign on social media. It raises concerns about any present commitment to ethical practices as well as historical responsibility. Apparently 80% forfeiture wasn’t enough of a lesson the last time.
Let me put it plainly. When Jews had 100% of their assets stolen, families destroyed, even their lives taken for no reason other than hate/racism, Siemens says he was unaware of any ill-treatment. When Siemens engaged in facilitating and expanding hate/racism crimes against humanity, implicated in millions of deaths and forced to forfeit just 80% of ill-gotten or stolen assets, then suddenly Siemens whines like a stuck pig about the hardship of Nazi defeat and loss.
Related: in 2001 Siemens tried to trademark Zyklon (Cyclone) for their new line of gas ovens, trying to profit on the very specific name of poison gas used for Nazi genocide.
German engineering giant Siemens has hastily abandoned plans to register the trademark “Zyklon”, the same name as the Zyklon B poison gas used in Nazi extermination camps, BBC News Online has learnt. A year ago, Bosch Siemens Hausgeraete (BSH), the firm’s consumer products joint venture, filed two applications with the US Patent & Trademark Office for the Zyklon name across a range of home products, including gas ovens.
Not exactly the best marketing team at Siemens, something not quite right with their grasp of history, which is probably why they keep getting themselves into trouble with the past.
Related: Apple, Disney, IBM and many other have immediately stopped all advertising on Swastika (formerly known as Twitter) after their brand was placed next to pro-Nazi content.