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The Extraordinary Life of Josef Ganz: The Jewish Engineer Behind Hitler's Volkswagen

Overview

The astonishing biography of Josef Ganz, a Jewish designer from Frankfurt, who in May 1931 created a revolutionary small car: the Maikäfer (German for "May bug”). Seven years later, Hitler introduced the Volkswagen. The Nazis not only "took” the concept of Ganz's family car-their production model even ended up bearing the same nickname. The Beetle incorporated many of the features of Ganz's original Maikäfer, yet until recently Ganz received no recognition for his pioneering work. The Nazis did all they could to ...
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Overview

The astonishing biography of Josef Ganz, a Jewish designer from Frankfurt, who in May 1931 created a revolutionary small car: the Maikäfer (German for "May bug”). Seven years later, Hitler introduced the Volkswagen. The Nazis not only "took” the concept of Ganz's family car-their production model even ended up bearing the same nickname. The Beetle incorporated many of the features of Ganz's original Maikäfer, yet until recently Ganz received no recognition for his pioneering work. The Nazis did all they could to keep the Jewish godfather of the German compact car out of the history books. Now Paul Schilperoord sets the record straight.

Josef Ganz was hunted by the Nazis, even beyond Germany's borders, and narrowly escaped assassination. He was imprisoned by the Gestapo until an influential friend with connections to Göring helped secure his release. Soon afterward, he was forced to flee Germany, while Porsche, using many of his groundbreaking ideas, created the Volkswagen for Hitler. After the war, Ganz moved to Australia, where he died in 1967.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...intriguing." -- The New York Times

"...controversial and enlightening...with the feel of a thriller." -- The Wall Street Journal

"...the book has created a stir in the motoring world." -- The Times (London)

The Wall Street Journal
...controversial and enlightening ... [with] the feel of a thriller
VolksWorld
...a fascinating read ... [that I] had trouble putting ... down
Daily Mail Online
sensationally
The Times
[the book] has created a stir in the motoring world
The Canadian Jewish News

interesting [story] ... that deserves to be told

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781614122036
  • Publisher: RVP Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/6/2012
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 999,504
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Schilperoord is an European journalist, science and technology writer, and car expert.
He was born in The Hague, the Netherlands, and currently lives in Florence.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Prologue 5

Chapter 1 From Tropfenwagen to Volkswagen 8

Chapter 2 A New Calling 22

Chapter 3 Motor-Kritik 37

Chapter 4 The Bug Is Born 52

Chapter 5 Sabotaged Bug 65

Chapter 6 Intrigues in Paris 74

Chapter 7 Nazi Smear Campaign 86

Chapter 8 The May Bug Becomes the Superior 98

Chapter 9 Presentation for Hitler 112

Chapter 10 Gestapo Cellar on the Alexanderplatz 125

Chapter 11 Volkswagens for the Autobahn 144

Chapter 12 Hitler Sketches the Beetle 158

Chapter 13 Kaiserhof Hotel, Berlin 173

Chapter 14 Night of the Long Knives 193

Chapter 15 Swiss Volkswagen 214

Chapter 16 Sanctuary in Australia 235

Acknowledgments 259

Credits 261

Notes 263

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