Tuesday, January 17, 2012

WSJ: 2 New Books on the VW Beetle and its Jewish Inspiration

Sounds a bit like the story of the Jeep which was created by American Bantam, but manufacturing was awarded to Willys and Ford. This story says a Jewish guy named Ganz came up with the small bug idea with the "may bug" but Hitler didn't want a jewish guy's design, and had Porsche, who wasn't crazy about the idea build one anyways.

 

What a Long Strange Trip By PATRICK COOKE

At the Berlin Auto Show in February 1939, Adolph Hitler delivered a speech decrying the increasing number of car accidents on the streets of Germany. For a man planning annihilation and world-wide domination, traffic safety would seem an odd preoccupation, but such was the F├╝hrer's enthrallment with all things automotive and his dedication to motorizing a German public poised at the starting line of the Thousand Year Reich.
That Hitler promoted or, rather, insisted on the development of a small, affordable, everyman's car—a volkswagen—is well-known. What's not clear is who exactly came up with the nuts and bolts of what would become the ingenious Volkswagen design. Two new books—"The Extraordinary Life of Josef Ganz" by Paul Schilperoord and "Thinking Small" by Andrea Hiott—are both diligently researched, but they differ in their conclusions about who deserves credit. Mr. Schilperoord's chronicle, whose subtitle is "The Jewish Engineer Behind Hitler's Volkswagen," is the more controversial and enlightening.
In 1934, Adolf Hitler drew a sketch for Ferdinand Porsche of a 'people's car,' which bore a striking resemblance to the Standard-Superior.
Josef Ganz was the kind of guy they don't seem to make much anymore. He was born in Budapest in 1898, the son of a German diplomat. When young Josef wasn't mastering the violin, he tinkered . . . and tinkered. He applied for his first patent, a streetcar safety system, at 9 years of age and invented an automatic aiming device for antiaircraft guns at age 17.
It wasn't until he was convalescing from a shrapnel wound during World War I that he truly got busy. He patented everything from board games to gearboxes and began taking particular interest in automobile design and construction. A few years and one serious motorcycle accident later, he became beguiled by designer Edmund Rumpler's Tropfenwagen, the bulbous, streamlined "car of the future" that was featured in "Metropolis" (1927), Fritz Lang's classic film.

see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204257504577150973998496702.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLESecondBucket

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