Frankfurt — Volkswagen's (VW’s) supervisory board criticised a remark made by CEO Herbert Diess that appeared to play on the slogan on the gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp, “Work sets you free”. The CEO apologised in a LinkedIn post for saying “Ebit macht frei” during an internal VW event this week, in a reference to the abbreviation for earnings before interest and tax, evoking the Nazi slogan “Arbeit macht frei”. Diess’s remark “is in this context considered inappropriate”, the supervisory board said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. The board “strongly distances itself from this, but at the same time takes note of the immediate apology from Mr Diess.” The comments are all the more unfortunate considering VW's history. The car maker was founded by the German government in 1937 to mass produce a low-priced car, and was originally operated by the German Labour Front, a Nazi organisation. VW, whose factory was repurposed during World War II to build military equipment a...

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