10. Europe’s Biggest Industrial Giant Once Used Hundreds of Thousands of Slave Workers
Siemens AG is Europe’s biggest industrial manufacturer. It employs about 375,000 people worldwide, and in 2019, the last year before the Covid-19 pandemic threw the global economy for a loop, it generated more than USD $105 billion in revenues. Its factories churn out a wide range of products in the fields of electronics, electrical engineering, energy, medical goods, drives, fire safety, and industrial plant materials. In the Nazi era, it was Germany’s biggest industrial conglomerate, and was not above evil practices like the use of slave laborers by the hundreds of thousands.
Siemens, founded in 1847, hit a rough patch after World War I, and things did not get any better during the Great Depression that arrived a decade later. The company was saved by the Nazis. When Hitler & Co. took control of Germany in 1933, Siemens profited as the new regime began to rearm, and the company experienced massive growth from armaments contracts. As the leader of Germany’s electrical industry, Siemens’ revenue increased continuously from 1934 onwards, and reached a peak during WWII.