German Car Firm 'Used Auschwitz Hair'

Nazi links may torpedo Schaeffler's hopes of a government bailout
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2009 5:43 AM CST
Mugshots show boys interned at the Auschwitz concentration camp, Auschwitz, Poland, circa 1940.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A German auto parts firm's hopes of a government bailout have been dealt a serious blow with the discovery that it used the hair of Auschwitz prisoners to make fabric, the Independent reports. The Schaeffler company denies the accusations, but an Auschwitz historian says two tons of hair, shaved from some 40,000 prisoners before they were gassed, was found in one of the firm's factories after the war.

Schaeffler—whose officials admitted that the company used slave labor under the Third Reich—is struggling under almost $30 billion of debt. The German government was believed to be willing to help until the latest news of the firm's wartime activities surfaced. "It is a difficult moral call to be seen helping a company that may have utilized the hair of tens of thousands of murdered people," one insider said.
(Read more automaker stories.)