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Harald Quandt

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Harald Quandt
Harald Quandt from a family photo of the Goebbels family
Born(1921-11-01)1 November 1921
Died22 September 1967(1967-09-22) (aged 45)
Resting placeWaldfriedhof, Bad Homburg vor der Höhe
Inge Bandekow
(m. 1951)
Parent(s)Günther Quandt
Magda Rietschel
RelativesHerbert Quandt (half-brother)
Goebbels children (half-siblings)
Military career
Allegiance Nazi Germany (1939–1945)
Service/branchBalkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
Battles/warsWorld War II

Harald Quandt (1 November 1921 – 22 September 1967) was a German industrialist, the son of Günther Quandt and Magda Behrend Rietschel. His parents divorced and his mother was later married to Joseph Goebbels. After World War II, Quandt and his older half-brother Herbert Quandt ran the industrial empire left to them by their father owning a stake mainly in Germany's luxury car manufacturer BMW and the electric battery producer VARTA which emerged from Accumulatoren-Fabrik AFA.[1] which still belongs to the family.[2]

Early life[edit]

10-year-old Harald Quandt (right) at his mother's marriage to Goebbels in 1931 (with Hitler in the background)

Harald Quandt was born in Charlottenburg, son of industrialist Günther Quandt and Magdalena Behrend Rietschel who had married in 1921. Although the couple divorced in 1929, they remained on friendly terms. Magda later married Joseph Goebbels at a property owned by Günther Quandt. Adolf Hitler was Goebbels' best man.[3]

Following his mother's marriage, Quandt remained with his father, who became a prominent business leader in Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, he paid regular visits to his mother, who had become "the First Lady of the Third Reich", and to his stepfather, who headed the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda from 1933. Following 1934, he returned to his mother and lived with the Goebbels family until passing his school-leaving examination in 1940. Residing with his adopted family, he raised several eyebrows by supporting the sloganeering of the Indian politician Subhas Chandra Bose.[4]

Quandt served as a lieutenant in the Luftwaffe during World War II. He took part in the Battle of Crete in 1941 and later fought in Russia and Italy, where he was injured. In 1944, he was captured by Allied troops in Italy; he was released in 1947. Magda and Joseph Goebbels committed suicide after killing their six children on 1 May 1945. Harald was the only one of Magda's children to survive.[5][6]


Quandt married Inge Bandekow (1928–1978), who was the daughter of the company's lawyer and worked as a secretary with her father, at the beginning of the 1950s. In the following 17 years, the couple had five daughters: Katarina Geller (1951), Gabriele Quandt-Langenscheidt (1952), Anette May-Thies (1954), Colleen-Bettina Rosenblat-Mo (1962), and Patricia Halterman (1967–2005). Quandt had the reputation of being a “committed playboy".[7]

Business dealings[edit]

After returning to Germany, Quandt first assisted his half-brother in re-building the family firms, and then from 1949 to 1953 studied mechanical engineering in Hanover and Stuttgart, where his family owned large firms (AFA/VARTA in Hanover, a private equity firm in Stuttgart).

Quandt's father died in 1954, leaving his business empire jointly to Herbert and Harald, and making Harald one of the wealthiest men in West Germany. By then, the Quandt group consisted of more than 200 companies, ranging from the original textile businesses to pharmaceutical company Altana AG. The family holdings also included large stakes in the German auto industry with nearly 10% of Daimler-Benz and 30% of BMW. Although Herbert and Harald jointly managed the companies, Herbert focused on AFA/VARTA and the automotive investments, while Harald was in charge of IWKA and the engineering and tooling companies. Harald was an enthusiast of the amphibious vehicle known as the Amphicar that was manufactured by IWKA. His death in 1967 caused the ceasing of production of the Amphicar after the serial production had already ended in 1963 due to lack of demand.[8]


Quandt survived an aviation accident at Zurich Airport on 12 December 1965, but he was killed two years later in another air crash in Cuneo, Italy, on 22 September 1967.[9][10]

Family inheritance[edit]

In a vintage manipulated image,[11] Quandt (in Luftwaffe Fahnenjunker uniform and being elsewhere because of military duty) was added[citation needed] to a family photo showing his mother Magda Goebbels, the Goebbels children, and stepfather Joseph Goebbels.

Harald Quandt's five daughters inherited about DM1.5 billion (US$760 million, €585 million) and later increased their wealth through the Harald Quandt Holding GmbH, a German-based family investment company and trust.[12] By 2022, the family office reports they share a fortune worth at of approximately US$17 billion.[13][14][15]

In popular culture[edit]

The Hanns Joachim Friedrichs Award winning documentary film The Silence of the Quandts[16][17] by the German public broadcaster ARD described in October 2007 the role of the Quandt family businesses during the Second World War. The family's Nazi past was previously not well known, and the documentary film revealed it to a wide audience and confronted the Quandts about the use of forced labour in the family's factories during World War II. As a result, five days after the showing,[18] four family members announced, on behalf of the entire Quandt family, their intention to fund a research project in which a historian will examine the family's activities during Adolf Hitler's dictatorship.[19] The independent 1,200-page study released in 2011 concluded that, "The Quandts were linked inseparably with the crimes of the Nazis", according to Joachim Scholtyseck [de], the historian who compiled and researched the study.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rolf Diekhof (12 October 1973). seite-2 "Die Milliarden-Scheidung: Das Familien-Imperium der Quandts zerbricht". zeit.de (in German). Die Zeit no. 41/1973. p. 2. Retrieved 3 January 2024. Als Günther Quandt 1954 auf einer Ägypten-Reise starb, hinterließ er seinen beiden Söhnen aus verschiedenen Ehen, Harald und Herbert, ein ramponiertes Erbe. Sein Testament bestimmte, daß die Halbbrüder gleichberechtigt erben sollten, verpflichtete sie aber zugleich, ihre Interessen auf ewig zu poolen. Harald, der in der Öffentlichkeit als der Repräsentant des Hauses auftrat, konzentrierte sich auf Maschinenbau und Rüstungsgeschäft. Herbert, der nicht zuletzt wegen eines starken Augenleidens – er ist nahezu erblindet – schon immer Publizität mied, kümmerte sich um die Varta und später immer mehr um sein Lieblingskind BMW. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  2. ^ de/wirtschaft/der-clan-hinter-bmw-wie-die-familie-quandt-so-reich-wurde-b/ "Der Clan hinter BMW: Wie die Familie Quandt reich wurde — und wofür sie heute ihr Geld ausgibt" [The clan behind BMW: How the Quandt family became rich - and what they spend their money on today] (in German). Business Insider Deutschland. 15 November 2020. Retrieved 3 January 2024. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  3. ^ Manvell, Roger; Fraenkel, Heinrich (1960). Doctor Goebbels: His Life and Death. London: Heinemann. p. 95.
  4. ^ "Quandt, Harald". monkey republic. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  5. ^ "NS-Vergangenheit der Quandts: "Man fühlt sich grauenvoll und schämt sich": "Großmutter Magda hat im Führerbunker ihre sechs Kinder getötet"" [NS-past of the Quandts: "You feel horrable und ashamed": Grandma Magda killed her six children in the Führerbunker]. wiwo.de (in German). Wirtschaftswoche. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  6. ^ "Abschiedsbrief im Führerbunker - Die Erben der Magda Goebbels" [Farewell letter in the Führer bunker - The heirs of Magda Goebbels]. cicero.de (in German). Cicero. Retrieved 3 January 2024. Sie brachte sechs ihrer Kinder im Führerbunker um. Ihr ältester Sohn aber überlebte den Untergang des „Dritten Reiches".
  7. ^ Boyes, Roger (25 November 2008), "Susanne Klatten: the billionairess and her dangerous liaison", The Sunday Times, retrieved 22 August 2016
  8. ^ "Klassiker für Sonne und Strand: Amphicar 770: Das Boot der frühen Jahre". autobild.de (in German). Auto Bild. Die Serienfertigung mit Fördermitteln der Industriellenfamilie Quandt lief wenig später in Lübeck und Berlin an und endete mangels Nachfrage im Jahr 1963. Aus Restbeständen entstand eine unbekannte Anzahl weiterer Autos. Nach dem Tod von Geldgeber Harald Quandt im Herbst 1967 und etwa 3500 produzierten Exemplaren endete die Geschichte des Amphicar.
  9. ^ "Die stille Gruppe" (in German). Der Spiegel. 1 October 1967. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  10. ^ "Lo schianto dell'aereo di Herr Quandt, figliastro del nazista Goebbels". mole24.it (in Italian). 20 May 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  11. ^ Federal Archive of Germany, image no. 146-1978-086-03
  12. ^ de Jong, David (28 January 2013). "Nazi Goebbels' Step-Grandchildren Are Hidden Billionaires". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  13. ^ Bloomberg Billionaires Index
  14. ^ "Harald Quandt Family Office |". Harald Quandt. Archived from the original on 23 April 2021. Retrieved 3 January 2024.
  15. ^ "Harald Quandt Family Office |". haraldquandt.de (in German). In der Harald Quandt Family Office GmbH bündeln die Nachkommen des 1967 verstorbenen Harald Quandt die Verwaltung ihres Kapitalanlagevermögens. Diese Finanzdienstleister betreuen insgesamt ein Vermögen von ca. USD 17 Mrd.
  16. ^ The Silence of the Quandts (English subtitles, German narration) on YouTube
  17. ^ Emma Bode and Brigitte Fehlau (29 November 2008). "The Silence of the Quandts: The history of a wealthy German family. A documentary film by Eric Friedler and Barbara Siebert". World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  18. ^ a b Paterson, Tony (29 September 2011). "BMW dynasty breaks silence on its Nazi past". The Independent. Archived from the original on 9 May 2022. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  19. ^ Bonstein, Julia (10 December 2007), "Breaking the Silence: BMW's Quandt Family to Investigate Wealth Amassed in Third Reich", Der Spiegel

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