Prominent German consultant whitewashed father's Nazi story
Roland Berger's father was put at the head of the largest bakery in Austria, whose Jewish founding family was forced to flee the country, and lived in a villa confiscated from a Jewish family.
By ROSSELLA TERCATIN
Roland Berger, the founder of a major consulting company that carries his own name, covered up his father’s support for the Nazi regime, the leading German daily Handelsblatt reported on Friday.For years, Berger depicted his father, George Berger, as an opponent and a victim of the regime.In 2012, he wrote that “to this day, my father is a moral role model for me,” as quoted by the weekly Der Spiegel.Last year, the 81-year-old businessman explained in an interview that his father joined the Nazi party in 1933 but left it in 1938 in protest over Kristallnacht, a major Nazi pogrom against German Jews and their property. After this move, he claimed that the Berger house was visited by the Gestapo every six to eight weeks.However, Handelsblatt uncovered a very different reality.After months of research and investigation into historical documents and records, the report indicated that not only was George Berger a staunch supporter of the Nazi rule, but he also received numerous advantages from it.Berger joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) already in 1931 and continued paying his membership fees until 1944. In 1937, he was also appointed to the high-ranking public position of Ministerialrat. Thanks to his loyalty, he was put at the head of the Aryanized Ankerbrot, the largest bakery in Austria, whose Jewish founding family was forced to flee the country.Moreover, he also lived in a villa that had been confiscated from its Jewish owners.Asked about the findings of the investigation, Berger stated that he made his previous claims based on what he was told by his family growing up, including by his father himself, by his mother and relatives.“If you like, then it was an unintentional self-deception,” he told Handelsblatt.“If it turns out I’ve said wrong things, I sincerely regret that – and I’ll make it public,” he added.However, when asked why this information did not come up in previous historical researches about his father – for example, for a book that he had commissioned a little over 10 years ago – he did not give a clear answer. However, the project of the book was later abandoned.Established in 1967 in Munich, the company Roland Berger describes itself as “the only leading global consultancy firm with non-Anglo-Saxon roots.”“We are German by origin, European by nature and global by ambition,” the website adds. The firm has over 50 offices around the world.
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