Mon, Mar 24, 2014 - Page 7 News List

FEATURE: Ferdinand Porsche’s Nazi past damages his genius

AFP, VRATISLAVICE, Czech Republic

Back “home,” the car maker’s achievements do not always outweigh his past. Petr Jirasko is among those demanding the exhibition disclose all about Porsche’s collaboration with Hitler.

“He was a Nazi. History books don’t lie,” Jirasko said.

However, pulling a cart past the local cemetery where Porsche’s parents are buried, pensioner Miloslav Spidlen disagreed.

“Porsche was a man who achieved something that every driver can appreciate. I value such people, no matter what they’re like,” he said.

Despite the controversy, car collector Milan Bumba is setting up his own private Porsche museum at a local brewery, where he already has three Porsches, a 1956 Beetle and a Porsche tractor.

“Porsche had no choice,” the 54-year-old bus driver said.

“Hitler chose him and if Porsche had refused, he would have ended up in a concentration camp and never achieved anything,” Bumba added.

Bumba believes Porsche “was only interested in designing cars and I think he didn’t see what was happening around him.”

Using his own cash — and some of his wife’s — for his museum, Bumba has already welcomed VW and Porsche fans from Europe, the US, and as far afield as New Zealand and Australia, who came to see the engineer’s birthplace.

He is particularly fond of his old reliable 1956 Beetle, which he drove across Europe and to the Arctic Circle.

“You can fix it with a screwdriver and pliers,” he said.

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