The Lasting Legacy – the “KdF Wagen”
Our textbook author, Sax, states, “…..theater performances and concerts, exhibitions, films, dances….”1. and other fringe benefits like trips were the benefits from the Strength through Joy Program, “Kraft durch Freude (KdF)”. We all want to be fairly compensated for our labors, besides wages the benefit package is very integral to our compensation renumeration. The fringe benefits are not fringe. The hallmark of the KdF Programs was the promise of an automobile for every worker. Professor Ganyard stated in class this turned out to be a false promise. The war effort made the promise impossible. It is truly ironic that this Nazis promise would become a reality in the 50s and 60s. After the war the Wirtschaftwunder, the economic miracle, made this promise became a reality. A worker in West Germany could save and purchase a Volkswagen. My German Supervisor, Herr Plato, did. I fondly recall Herr Plato going out before the noon day sun got too hot and putting cardboard under the wheel wells of his VW; he was concerned about the air expanding in the tires. I could not afford a car and occasionally Herr Plato would give me a ride home; you could tell he was very pleased with his car. The downside to the Volkswagen was that it was a high maintenance vehicle, the valves had to be adjusted every 6,000 miles. If you would have this service done and regular oil changes you had no problems. My father owned two Beetles and I owned two Beetles and a Campmobile. I passed through the city of Wolfsburg on the train last Summer; the city was a beehive of activity. Wolfsburg is the home of the Volkswagen plant in Germany. One could argue that the idea of a small, cheap, reliable car was the only positive legacy of the Nazis Regime.
- Sax, Benjamin. Inside Hitler’s Germany. D.C. Heath. Lexington, Massachusetts. 255
- 800X470-s200photobucket.com (volks_kdf_wagen.jpg Photo by Jotron 64’s Bucket)