Someone else making a joke that rebounded on him, and his company was Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess.

Diess, or his speechwriter thought it would be a hoot at a recent company meeting to slightly amend the slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (Work makes you free) found at the entrance to the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, Poland to “EBIT macht frei”, the EBIT being an accounting abbreviation for Earnings Before Interest and Taxation.

No doubt this hilariously clever play on words had Volkswagen underlings wetting themselves with glee, but it hasn’t played so well outside the firm where the links of Volkswagen to Germany’s shameful Nazi past have been recycled. Such as the fact that Adolf Hitler laid the foundation stone for their first factory in 1938, and that Volkswagen exploited concentration camp internees and prisoners of war as cheap slave labour to help build the wealth Diess and his firm enjoy today.

Time for a new speechwriter.

Leave a Reply