BMW family shoots to top of German rich list

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BMW family shoots to top of German rich list
Stefan and Johanna Quandt and Susanne Klatten. Photo: DPA

The descendants of a committed Nazi, who made his fortune under the Third Reich, have shot to the top of Germany's rich list for the first time, leapfrogging the country's discount store billionaires. Who else made the top ten?


Members of BMW’s Quandt family took the title of the richest people in Germany this year away from the owners of supermarket giants Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd, the first time anyone has done so in 10 years.

According to Manager magazine’s annual list of the wealthiest Germans, mother Johanna Quandt , 88, along with children Stefan Quandt, 48, and Susanne Klatten, 52, have a combined worth of €31 billion.

Pre-tax profits at BMW in the second quarter of this year were up 31 percent on the same period last year to €2.66 billion.

Together the Quandts own 46.7 percent of the the BMW company, passed down from Johanna’s late husband Herbert Quandt, who saved the company from bankruptcy.

But Herbert Quandt's father, Günther, built his wealth under the Nazis and according to a 2011 study commissioned by the family, he was "linked inseparably with the crimes of the Nazis". 

According to the study, 50,000 slave labourers in concentration camps were used by Quandt to build weapons for the Third Reich.

Members of supermarket chain Aldi Süd’s Albrecht and Heister families came in second place with a combined worth of €18.3 billion, while the Aldi Nord Albrechts rank fourth place at €16.5 billion.

Richest get richer

In total, assets of the richest 100 Germans have grown by 18.8 percent to nearly €400 billion since last year.

Some of the biggest winners, ranked 29 on the list, were the Samwer brothers of Rocket Internet and Zalando.

Between 2013 and September 2014, Marc, Oliver and Alexander Samwer increased their assets from €850 million to €3.5 billion - a jump of 312 percent.

Both Rocket Internet and Zalando made their stock market debuts recently.

Alongside the owners of Aldi, another billionaire among the top 10 who has made his fortune off of discount food is the CEO of Lidl and Kaufland, Dieter Schwarz.

With a net worth of €14.5 billion, Schwarz holds fifth place on the list.

Planes, trains and automobiles made by the Schaeffler Group have lined the coffers of Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler and son Georg well, to the tune of €17.6 billion, sandwiching them at third place in between the two Aldi families.

Hamburg holds the greatest number of millionaires and billionaires with 44 of the top 500 richest people living there. Munich had the second highest number with 36 people.

GALLERY: Who are the ten richest Germans?


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