Origins of VW Beetle from Ganz
By Jerry Kasten
Many Jews, even today, some 74 years after the end of WWII, refuse to buy German-made goods. Who could forget the Holocaust?
The iconic German Volkswagen Beetle, which has been one of the longest running car models in automotive history is finally coming to a halt this year with its 2019 models.
It was called the “People’s Car” in its early days, because it was small, utilitarian, and relatively inexpensive compared to other available cars.
What people need to know is that the founding days of the “Bug’s” development has an “unhealthy history.”
The story circulated by the Nazi propaganda office was that Hitler approached Ferdinand Porsche in 1933 with a sketch of a small, inexpensive car which most working people could afford, a “people’s car.”
And so, the story continues, that the idea for the “Bug,” “Beetle,” the Volkswagen or “people’s car” presented by Hitler was then engineered and placed into production by Porsche. It was 10 years earlier, in 1923, that a young, Jewish, mechanical engineering student, Josef Ganz, a WWI German Army veteran, had gone to work on his favorite project: cars.
Cars were expensive, too costly for the average German household. He believed that it might be possible to build a small car for the price of a motorcycle.
Submitting articles and sketches to a popular German motor sports publication he worked for, Ganz criticized the cars being produced as too heavy, unsafe and old-fashioned.
He was verbally attacked, and sued by the auto companies whose cars he criticized, but he gained publicity for himself and the magazine.
Working with motorcycle companies, he began to build two prototypes of a small people’s car in 1930 and 1931, the second named “the May-Beetle.”
Ganz, of course, obtained patents with each new concept and device, which went into his final production automobile introduced in Berlin in February 1933, selling for 1,590 Reichmarks.
Hitler, the new chancellor, voiced interest in both the design and the low cost of Ganz’s car, but as a Jew, Ganz’s accomplishment would not be acceptable by an anti-Semitic government.
It was at this point that Hitler’s sketch, obviously “borrowed” from his observation of Ganz’s car, was presented to Ferdinand Porsche for further development.
Initially arrested by the Gestapo on false charges in 1933, Ganz fled his native Germany to Switzerland, France and eventually — in order to escape Nazi assassination attempts — to Australia, where he finally settled and lived until his death in 1967.
Sadly, there may be some uninformed people who still believe that it was Hitler’s sketch that provided the idea for the “people’s car.”
No folks. It was Josef Ganz’s car.