German fashion label Hugo Boss issued a formal apology for that little blip on its resume — the one about them outfitting millions of Nazi soldiers. The acknowledgement comes on the clicked heels of a new book about the company, commissioned by Hugo Boss themselves in order to shed some light on the era.
Hugo Boss has never denied having provided Nazi soldiers with uniforms, but Hugo Ferdinand Boss, who founded the company in 1924, always maintained until his death in 1948 that he had done so to "protest his business." (It's the old, "I was only following hemming orders!" defense.) However the book, Hugo Boss, 1924-1945: The History of a Clothing Factory During the Weimar Republic and Third Reich, reveals the designer's involvement with the Nazis went much further. Not only did he outfit the SS, but he took advantage of forced labor in his factory.
[A] total of 140 Polish forced laborers, mostly women, as well as some 40 French prisoners of war, were made to work for Boss during the Holocaust. They were housed in a camp in one area of the factory, and lived in extremely poor conditions with "uncertain" food and hygiene levels.
The apology, which appeared on the Hugo Boss website on Thursday, therefore states that the company wanted to "express its profound regret to those who suffered harm or hardship at the factory run by Hugo Ferdinand Boss under National Socialist rule."
So, sorry, 180 factory workers! There. Was that so hard? Just six million more apologies to go. [Haaretz.com, photo: AP]