9. Hugo Boss
The contemporary reputation of the German company Hugo Boss rests on the stylishly tailored men’s and women’s clothing it makes. And its luxury clothing generated worldwide revenue of nearly $3.2 billion in 2017. Hugo Boss founded the company in 1923 and as an enthusiastic Nazi, he joined the party in 1931. This membership was advantageous. He gained a license to make uniforms for the SS, Hitler Youth and other Nazi outfits.
But Hugo Boss did more than just make the smartly sinister black uniforms of the SS. He also used forced labor provided by the Nazi regime. A total of 180 workers were used as slave labor, many of them women. Furthermore, 40 French prisoners of war also briefly worked there. After the conflict, as punishment for his collaborationist activities, Boss was fined some $70,000, stripped of his right to vote in German elections, and banned from running a business. He died in 1948.
Today, we know Volkswagen as a builder of automobiles that epitomize the dependability and precision engineering that German manufacturing is a byword for. Despite the setback of the emissions scandal of 2015, in 2017 the company’s operating profit was nearly $19.7 billion. Volkswagen was founded in 1932, and within a couple of years Hitler himself became involved with the company.