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Friday, 7 December, 2001, 02:04 GMT
Ford denies profiting from Nazi regime
A German soldier poses by a Ford car produced in Cologne
A German soldier poses by a Ford car
By the BBC's North America business correspondent Stephen Evans

The American car manufacturer Ford has released a study which, it says, shows it did not profit from the use of slave labour by its subsidiary in Germany during World War II.

Ford Chief of Staff John Rintamaki
Ford Chief of Staff John Rintamaki: No new information
The company commissioned a history professor to investigate whether Ford-Werke used forced labour when it was operating during the war.

The investigation involved 98,000 pages of documents and 30 different archives, and the results were published in a 144 page report.

Ford Chief of Staff John Rintamaki said: "We didn't learn any new information that changes our view of history."

The study followed allegations that Ford benefited from its subsidiary's use of forced labour to produce armoured vehicles for the Nazis.


It was alleged three years ago that Ford's German subsidiary used forced labour to produced armoured vehicles for the Nazis.

Adolf Hitler
Hitler was known to admire Henry Ford
On top of that, Adolf Hitler was an admirer of Henry Ford, the man who founded the company.

Mr Ford was given the Order of the German Eagle, the highest civilian award in Nazi Germany.

Mr Ford himself published strongly anti-Semitic views in the paper he founded in Detroit before the war.

But Professor Simon Reich of Pittsburgh University has concluded that the Ford Company in America had lost control of Ford in Germany during the war and so did not profit from its activities.

He said Hitler's admiration of Henry Ford had much to do with his company's production methods.

The Ford Motor Company had already said it would pay $13m into a fund to compensate slave labourers from the Nazi era.

It will now pay another $4m into projects to promote human rights.

It said its decision to commission independent research marked a new benchmark for companies investigating their own past.

See also:

20 Jun 01 | Europe
Nazi slave fund pays out
13 Mar 01 | Europe
Firms fulfil Nazi slave pledge
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