Third Reich to Fortune 500: Five Popular Brands the Nazis Gave Us

Siemens

Siemens AG is the massive global conglomerate that makes everything from circuits to wind turbines to Maglev trains. It has almost half a million employees worldwide and is listed on every stock exchange imaginable. The company had its roots back in the 19th century when famed scientist Werner von Siemens got tired of discovering stuff and decided to make some money instead.

Of course, he was dead long before the 1940s, so Mr. Werner von Siemens is guilty of nothing more than not entering the world of porn with that gift of a name. The company he gave that name to may as well have it's corporate headquarters inside a dormant volcano, because it probably couldn't have been more evil if it were trying its hardest.

Job with Nazis:
Siemens was the major player in the Nazification of Germany. The company, run by Werner's son, Carl, and then his grandson, Hermann, struggled in the wake of World War I and the Great Depression and had to earn some dough fast. When Hitler rose to power in the 1930s, it was the signal for the Siemens executives to start building factories, and nowhere was the real estate better than near the homey neighborhoods of Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

Hundreds of thousands of slave workers were employed to build all sorts of goodies for the German military to use on both the western and the eastern fronts. Though they weren't the only company at the time supplying the German war effort, they were certainly the most prolific. Siemens was in charge of Germany's rail infrastructure, communications, power generation ... the list goes on. If the Reichstag was the brain behind the war, Siemens was definitely the right hand that stroked Hitler to ecstatic glory.

So how evil were they?
We'll let you be the judge. At the height of the Nazi terror during the 1940s, it was not atypical for a slave worker to build electrical switches for Siemens in the morning and be snuffed out in a Siemens-made gas chamber in the afternoon.


Hold on. We need a moment with the kitten.

Why else would the Allies destroy four-fifths of the company's factories during the war? Because they were bored? Fuck no. It's because they intended to blitz the marque brand of Nazi Germany back into hell where it belonged.

These days Siemens is being forced to pay due to a series of lawsuits from survivors. So, at least they own up to it, right?

Well, a few years ago, in an act of insensitive fuckery so colossal it could blot out the sun, Siemens tried to trademark the name "Zyklon" with the intent of marketing a series of products under the name. Including gas ovens.

Fuck it. If you need us, we'll be on the island.

Find out about the Nazi invention that could fire tornadoes into the freaking sky only in You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News, the New York Times Best Selling book by Cracked.com.

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