Forced laborer statements: Biscuit entrepreneur Verena Bahlsen apologizes – and wants to learn


After the excitement about her comments on the role of the biscuit company Bahlsen in the Third Reich shows Verberger Bahlsen regret.

In a personal statement, the 26-year-old explains that she regrets her words: "I'm sorry, there's nothing for me to do without playing down National Socialism and its aftermath."

She recognized that as the representative of the successor generation, she had responsibility for the history of the company. "I apologize to all those whose feelings I have hurt," continued Verena Bahlsen.

Bahlsen wants to have employed 200 forced laborers

The corporate heir, who owns a quarter of the shares in Bahlsen, said in an interview with the "Bild" newspaper about forced laborers in the biscuit empire during the Nazi period: "That was before my time and we paid the forced laborers as well as the Germans and they treated them well. " The Bahlsen Group had "come to nothing wrong".

The statement had caused massive public outrage internationally and was regarded as trivializing the crimes of the Nazis. Historian Michael Wolffsohn called Bahlsen's statement in conversation with the news agency DPA "unbearable for history and business ethics" and "unworthy of a German company".

Verena Bahlsen 12:24

The corporate communications of Bahlsen responded already on Monday to the steep theses of the company inheritance. "The company is aware of the great suffering and injustice suffered by the forced laborers and many other people at that time and recognizes here its historical and moral responsibility," it said in a statement.

According to own data the enterprise employed between 1943 and 1945 about 200 forced laborers. "The same pay as German workers was self – evident and the good treatment meant that they put up with their German colleagues at the end of the war before 'their' work and prevented a looting," describes the official company chronicle in a nutshell, the use of forced laborers.

Verena Bahlsen wants to deal with history

"The heavy word is not 'work', the heavy word is 'coercion', it's a psychological humiliation – these are shackles imposed on somebody," historian Guy Stern said, explaining the injustice suffered by forced laborers.

The Bahlsen Group announced that it wanted to have the history of forced laborers "worked up and published even more comprehensively by independent historians."

Company inheritor Verena Bahlsen has also decided to revisit the history of the traditional company from Hanover: "I also realized that I have to deal more intensively with the history of the company whose name I'm wearing."

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Swell:Bahlsen press releases, Bahlsen company chronicle, "Bild", DPA news agency


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