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

15 Mars, 2019, 16:35 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Herbert Diess the chief executive of Volkswagen

Herbert Diess apologised for the pun "Ebit macht frei" - a reference to the infamous Third Reich motto "Arbeit macht frei" or "work will set you free" - which he made during a speech to hundreds of managers.

The executive said "EBIT macht frei", using a financial acronym for earnings before interest and taxes.

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

"That this possibility exists, I did not think of that at this moment".

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Volkswagen was founded in 1937 by the German government with a mandate to mass-produce affordable vehicles.

United States Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence, right, stand with Poland's President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda, left, under the gate during their visit at the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.

Although popularised by the Nazis, "Arbeit Macht Frei" was coined by the 19th Century linguist, ethnologist and author Lorenz Diefenbach.

Earlier this week, the company announced annual profits of €12bn (£10bn), despite having to pay out large sums to compensate for the Dieselgate emissions scandal.

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