German car giant BMW admitted Monday to feeling “profound regret” for the “enormous suffering” it caused by using Nazi slave labor to fuel Adolf Hitler’s killing machine during World War II.
“Under the National Socialist regime of the 1930s and 40s, BMW AG operated exclusively as a supplier to the German arms industry,” according to the car company, which made the contrite statement during a celebration in Munich for the famed automaker’s 100th birthday.
During the WWII, BMW supplied the Nazi war effort with airplanes and motorcycle parts using Nazi slave labor.
BMW owner Günther Quandt and son Herbert were reportedly friendly with Hitler and profited from the Holocaust, being handed businesses seized from Jews sent to concentration camps.
“As demand for BMW aero engines increased, forced laborers, convicts and prisoners from concentration camps were recruited to assist with manufacturing them. To this day, the enormous suffering this caused and the fate of many forced laborers remains a matter of the most profound regret,” said the carmaker, whose company acronym stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works.