Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hitler Stole Volkswagen Beetle Idea from Jewish Engineer

Ferdinand Porsche (left) and Adolf Hitler examine a prototype model that will evolve into the Volkswagen Beetle.
JOSEF GANZ (1898 - 1967) was the TRUE engineering father of the iconic and most enduring car ever built- the German Volkswagen (VW) Beetle Ironically, he was a Jewish engineer who was eventually forced to abandon Nazi Germany

Josef Ganz, 1946

Ganz had numerous drawings,letters and documentations to prove this claim. As early as 1923, he made his first sketches  of an innovative small lightweight car with a mid-mounted engine, independent wheel suspension and an aerodynamic body which is the concept of a German VW. Lacking the money to build a prototype, he started publishing articles on car designs in various magazines to earn a living. In 1927 he became  the editor-in-chief of Klein-Motor-Sport which he used  as a platform not only to promote innovative designs and his VW concept but also to criticize heavy, unsafe and old-fashioned cars. 

Front cover of Klein-Motor-Sport magazine with a design for the 'car of the future' (1928)

 The magazine gained in reputation and influence and was renamed Motor-Kritik where Ganz attacked the old and well-established auto companies who responded with law-suits and an advertising boycott. 
Josef Ganz in the Ardie-Ganz prototype, 1930
Josef Ganz in the Ardie-Ganz prototype, 1930
IN 1929, he colaborated with German motorcycle manufacturers to build a VW prototype- the first built at Ardie in 1930 and a second completed at Adler in May 1931 nicknamed the Maikäfer (May-Beetle). 
Josef Ganz in the Maikäfer prototype, 1931
Josef Ganz in the Maikäfer prototype, 1931

He was assigned as a consultant engineer at Daimler-Benz and BMW where he was involved in the development of the first models with independent wheel suspension: the highly successful Mercedes-Benz 170 and BMW AM1 (Automobilkonstruktion München 1).
Brochure for the Standard Superior, 1934
According to the many patents of Ganz the first company to build a VW was the Standard Fahrzeugfabrik, which introduced its Standard Superior model at the IAMA (Internationale Auto- und Motorradausstellung) in Berlin in February 1933. Here the new Chancellor Adolf Hitler expressed great interest in its revolutionary design and low selling price of 1,590 Reichsmark. 
Standard Superior, 1934 model
Second model of the Standard Superior, 1934
IRONICALLY, while German car manufacturers one by one took over the progressive ideas that had been published in Motor-Kritik since the 1920s, Ganz himself was arrested by the Gestapo in May 1933 based on falsified charges of blackmail of the automotive industry. He was eventually released which lead to his escape from Germany in June 1934 the very month Adolf Hitler assigned Ferdinand Porsche to realize the prophecy of Josef Ganz- designing a mass-producible Volkswagen for a consumer price of 1,000 Reichsmark.

JOSEF GANZ eventually settled in Switzerland where with government support started a Swiss Volkswagen project. The first prototypes were constructed in 1937 and 1938 and were for mass-production inside a new factory. With the start of World War Two, however, Josef Ganz was again under serious threat from the Gestapo and corrupt Swiss government officials who tried to claim the Swiss Volkswagen project as their own. After the war in a desperate attempt for justice, Ganz took his Swiss enemies to court. After five years of fruitless court battles, a dejected Ganz left Switzerland in 1949 and settled in France where he still worked on a new small car but could no longer compete with the German VW which was now conquering the world. 

In 1951 Josef Ganz emigrated to Australia..  He worked there for General Motors Holden for several years but became almost bedridden after a series of heart attacks in the early 1960s. In 1965 the Federal Republic of Germany sought Australian Government permission to bestow on Josef Ganz the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. The request was denied.[7] however due to regulations existing at that time in relation to foreign awards to Australian citizens.

Josef Ganz posing with his Holden in Australia (1960s)

Josef Ganz died in obscurity in Australia in 1967.

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  1. Really nice post about Volkswagen and very informative. In addition, the Josef Ganz is a man who engineering father of the iconic and most enduring car ever built- the German Volkswagen. There are so many cars in VW and still now they are manufacturing Latest Model Cars with high competition of other auto companies.