· Published in Know your Billionaires!

Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt, the heirs of BMW

The Klatten and Quandt’s history of wealth began with the Draeger family’s textile factory, which later went to their great-grandfather Emil Quandt. The family reaped enormous profits from various sources: from the First World War, speculative profits from companies acquired during periods of hyperinflation. And in 1933 their grandfather, Günter Quandt, joined the NSDAP, the Nazi party, which was to further increase the family’s wealth [1]. Günter Quandt’s firm was involved in the forced labour of 50,000 workers [2], and acquired companies under the Nazi regime of “arayanisation” , i.e., the forced expulsion of Jews from business life [3].

Today, the Quandt still benefit from German inheritance law, tax optimisation and lobbying instruments initiated by politicians, such as foundations, party donations and staff exchange programs with federal authorities, all enable them to do this.

BMW Headquarters. CC Laura Hoffmann via Wikimedia Commons.

What are Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt doing with all their wealth? Susanne Klatten owns the chemical company Altana, half of the BMW group (her brother owns the other half), and other companies such as SGL Carbon SE. Since 2008, Susanne Klatten has been investing an increasing amount in green businesses such as the major wind turbine manufacturer Nordex. Although BMW may be developing a fleet of electric cars, Susanne Klatten is more representative of a climate-harming industry with BMW’s luxury sedans.

She uses her wealth to consolidate market fundamentalism in the Federal Republic. She promotes entrepreneurship among students at Munich’s Technical University through the company “Die Unternehmer TUM GmbH” whose cost-benefit dogma in the "SKala Initiative" is controversial. For several years Susanne Klatten and the Quandt family have been supporting conservative and market-radical parties as important major donors with millions in donations. Together, BMW, Stefan Quandt and Suzanne Klatten, gave in donations between 2010 and the first half of 2019 more than 3 million euros to German political parties, mainly to the conservative party CDU, the Bavarian conservative party CSU, and the liberal party FDP, and in smaller amount also to the social-democrat party SPD. The Quandts are also aligned with market-fundamentalist organisations such as the Stiftung Familienunternehmen and the Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft (New Social Market Economy Initiative), involved in lobbying activities that thwart policies designed to reign in the mega-rich and their interests.

Thomas Dürmeier (Goliatwatch)

Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt
Country : Germany
Net Worth : Stefan Quandt : 16.2 billion euros in 2019/Susanne Klatten : 18.5 billion euro in 2019 (Forbes)
= more than 360,000 and more than 411,000 years of the average salary in Germany
= more than 867,000 and more than 990,000 years of the German minimum wage.
Sectors : Automobile.
Company: BMW
By Thomas Dürmeier (Goliathwatch)

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Footnotes

[1Sources : Jungbluth, Rüdiger (2015): Die Quandts: Deutschlands erfolgreichste Unternehmerfamilie. Deutschlands erfolgreichste Unternehmerfamilie. Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag ; MAZ-Online (2015): Aufstieg der Industriellenfamilie Quandt ; Scholtyseck, Joachim & Heinemann (2011): Profiteure von „Arisierung“ und Zwangsarbeit. Bonner Historiker über den Aufstieg der Unternehmerfamilie Quandt unter der Nazi-Herrschaft ; Wagener, Otto (1978): Hitler aus nächster Nähe. Aufzeichnungen eines Vertrauten (Otto Wagener) 1929–1932 : Henry A . Turner: Frankfurt am Main.

[2The"London Debt Agreement" and later the "Stiftung Verantwortung und Zukunft" (Foundation for Responsibility and the Future) were to play a key role by facilitating lawsuits that would force 6,500 German companies and the German state, in agreement with the USA, to pay a total of just 5.2 billion euros in compensation to these forced labourers (no more than 7,670 euros per worker). This effectively meant that these workers were robbed of approximately 90 billion euros in wages.

[3Sources : Jungbluth, Rüdiger (2015): Die Quandts: Deutschlands erfolgreichste Unternehmerfamilie. Deutschlands erfolgreichste Unternehmerfamilie. Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag ; Winkler, Willi (2013): Industriellenfamilie Quandt. Vermögend im Dritten Reich ; Cicero (2011): Die Quandts - NS-Verbrechen totgeschwiegen ; Scholtyseck, Joachim & Heinemann (2011): Profiteure von „Arisierung“ und Zwangsarbeit. Bonner Historiker über den Aufstieg der Unternehmerfamilie Quandt unter der Nazi-Herrschaft ; Scholtyseck, Joachim & Heinemann (2011): Profiteure von „Arisierung“ und Zwangsarbeit. Bonner Historiker über den Aufstieg der Unternehmerfamilie Quandt unter der Nazi-Herrschaft. Joachim Scholtyseck im Gespräch mit Christoph Heinemann.

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