Fashion's Hugo Boss expresses regret at Nazi past

Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:57pm EDT
 
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FRANKFURT (Reuters Life!) - German fashion house Hugo Boss has apologized to people mistreated at a factory making uniforms during World War Two after revelations in a new book financed by the company.

In the new book financed by Hugo Boss, researcher Roman Koester explains how Hugo Ferdinand Boss's clothing factory in the southern German town of Metzingen employed forced laborers during the war.

Boss joined the National Socialist Party in 1931, and orders for uniforms from the party saved his factory from bankruptcy.

As workers became scarce during the war, the factory employed 140 forced laborers, most of whom were women. A further 40 French prisoners of war worked for the company from October 1940 to April 1941.

Hugo Boss, which has in the past been referred to as "Hitler's Tailor," said it financed Koester's research in order to add "clarity and objectivity to the discussion."

"It also wishes to express its profound regret to those who suffered harm or hardship at the factory run by Hugo Ferdinand Boss under National Socialist rule," it said on its website.

The company started making the sharp suits for which it is now famous in the 1950s.

"Hugo Boss, 1924-1945. A Clothing Factory During the Weimar Republic and Third Reich" is written by Roman Koester and is available now.

A summary in English can be found at: here en_final.pdf (Reporting by Victoria Bryan, editing by Paul Casciato)

 
<p>A man looks at a shop window outside the Hugo Boss showroom inside a shopping mall in Mumbai August 23, 2011. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui</p>