Harald Quandt

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In a vintage manipulated image, Harald Quandt (in Luftwaffe Fahnenjunker uniform) was added to a family photo showing his mother Magda Goebbels, the Goebbels children, and stepfather Joseph Goebbels.

Harald Quandt (1 November 1921 – 22 September 1967) was a German industrialist, stepson of Joseph Goebbels. After World War II, Harald and his half-brother Herbert Quandt ran the industrial empire that was left to them by their father.


Early life

Harald Quandt was born in Charlottenburg, the son of industrialist Günther Quandt and Magda Behrend Rietschel who had married in 1921. Although the couple divorced in 1929, they remained on extremely friendly terms. Magda later married Goebbels at a property owned by Günther Quandt. Adolf Hitler was Goebbels' best man.

After his mother's re-marriage, Harald remained with his father who became a prominent business leader in the Third Reich. Nevertheless he paid regular visits to his mother, who had become "the First Lady of the Third Reich", and to his stepfather, who was minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda from 1933. After 1934, he returned to his mother and lived with the Goebbels family until passing his school-leaving examination in 1940.

He served as a lieutenant in the Luftwaffe during World War II. He was injured and later captured by Allied troops in Italy in 1944; he was released in 1947. Magda and Joseph Goebbels committed suicide after murdering their six children in the Führerbunker in May 1945. Harald was the only one of Magda's children to survive.

Post-war activities

After returning to Germany, he first assisted his half-brother in re-building the family firms, and then from 1949 to 1953 studied mechanical engineering in Hanover and Stuttgart, where his family owned large firms (AFA/VARTA in Hanover, a private equity firm in Stuttgart).

His father died in 1954, leaving his empire jointly to Herbert and Harald, and making Harald one of the wealthiest men in West Germany. By then, the Quandt group consisted of more than 200 companies, ranging from the original textile businesses to pharmaceutical company Altana AG. The family holdings also included large stakes in the German auto industry with nearly 10% of Daimler-Benz and 30% of BMW. Although Herbert and Harald jointly managed the companies, Herbert focused on AFA/VARTA and the automotive investments, while Harald was in charge of IWKA and the engineering and tooling companies. Harald was an enthusiast of the amphibious vehicle known as the Amphicar that was manufactured by IWKA and his death was a factor in the ceasing of production of the Amphicar.

Quandt married Inge Bandekow (1928–1978), who was the daughter of the company's lawyer and worked as a secretary with his father, at the beginning of the 1950s. In the following 17 years, the couple had five daughters: Katarina Geller (1951), Gabriele Quandt-Langenscheidt (1952), Anette May-Thies (1954), Colleen-Bettina Rosenblat-Mo (1962) and Patricia Halterman (1967–2005).

Quandt had the reputation of being a “committed playboy".[1] He survived an aviation accident at Zurich International Airport but died in 1967 when another of his aircraft crashed in Cuneo, Italy.

A documentary film The Silence of the Quandts by the German public broadcaster ARD described in October 2007 the role of the Quandt family businesses during the Second World War. The family's Nazi past was not well known, but the documentary film revealed this to a wide audience and confronted the Quandts about the use of slave labourers in the family's factories during World War II. As a result four family members announced, on behalf of the entire Quandt family, their intention to fund a research project in which a historian will examine the family's activities during Adolf Hitler's dictatorship.[2]

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