[ PW Home ] [ Bestsellers ] [ Subscribe ] [ Search ]

Publishers Weekly News

Bertelsmann Role During Nazi Era Challenged
-- 1/24/00

The commission of scholars appointed by Bertelsmann to investigate allegations about the company's role in the Nazi era disputed one of the media giant's principal claims in its preliminary report. It concluded tentatively, pending further study, that the company was closed down during the war not because of its political opposition, as Bertelsmann has suggested, but because its product was not considered a significant part of the war effort.

The commission, made up of German and American scholars and led by American historian Saul Friedlander, also found that a leader of the company, Heinrich Mohn, belonged to a circle of "sponsoring members of the SS" and that Bertelsmann had greatly increased its business in the years immediately before the war by providing reading matter for German troops.

Bertelsmann chief executive Thomas Middelhoff, who promoted the creation of the investigating body when questions were first raised in the press last year about Bertelsmann's role in the Nazi era, said in a statement: "This report indicates, among other findings, that the former Bertelsmann publishing house was probably not shut down for political reasons but as a result of the war economy. We regret that this fact was unknown to us before, and that our corporate history has in part been misrepresented as a result."
Back To News
Search | Bestsellers | News | Features | Children's Books | Bookselling
Interview | Industry Update | International | Classifieds | Authors On the Highway
About PW | Subscribe
Copyright 2000. Publishers Weekly. All rights reserved.