HANOVER, Germany—Continental A.G. became "a pillar of the National Socialist armaments and war economy" and benefited from the regime's militarization policies, according to an independent academic study commissioned by the German automotive components, tire and rubber products company.
The review, "Supplier to Hitler's War. The Continental Group in the Nazi Era," was conducted by historian Paul Erker of LMU Munich, an expert on corporate history in the Nazi era.
For his analysis of Continental's history from 1933 to 1945, Erker examined the "virtual corporation," including Alfred Teves G.m.b.H., VDO, Phoenix Gummiwerke and Semperit Reifen—enterprises that were not part of Continental during the period under review but which the Hanover-based company later acquired.
"We commissioned the study in order to gain more clarity about the darkest chapter in our company's history," Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart said. The findings, he said, show that "Continental was an important part of Hitler's war machine.
"The study is a consciously chosen opportunity and a renewed motive for us to face up to our responsibility and … to understand our identity more clearly and to create a better future. This is the duty of each new generation. So today we are by no means drawing a line under this responsibility."