An independent study accuses volkswagen of reprisals against opposition members in its brazilian factories during the military dictatorship that ruled from 1964 to 1985. "Plant security monitored oppositional activities of its employees and facilitated the arrest of at least seven employees through its behavior," according to a study now presented in brazil by historian christopher kopper of bielefeld university. Volkswagen had commissioned them itself, it wants to approach the victims of the time.
The presentation in sao bernardo do campo was overshadowed by a boycott by the victims of the time around the worker lucio bellentani, who nevertheless accuses the company of insufficiently addressing the victims of the dictatorship. Since they declined an invitation, hr board member karl-heinz blessing also did not travel to speak with the victims as first planned, according to a vw spokesperson.
Volkswagen do brasil has been active in the world’s fifth-largest country since 1953 and employs around 20 people there.000 people. A commemorative plaque for the victims of the regime was unveiled on the grounds of the plant in sao bernardo do campo, and human rights organizations are also to be supported to strengthen democracy.
According to the testimony of lucio bellentani, the vw factory security not only loved his arrest, but also his mistreatment by the political police on the factory premises happened. "This happened at a time when the use of torture by the political police was already well known in brazilian and german public opinion," kopper writes. He consulted corporate archives of volkswagen in wolfsburg and its subsidiary volkswagen do brasil, as well as brazilian archives and interviews with contemporary witnesses.
"Correspondence with the board in wolfsburg shows unqualified approval of the military government until 1979". In 1969, the cooperation of the plant security with the secret police had begun. Vw wanted to secure a favorable market environment through cooperation. "Government control of wage development and unions kept wages at a lower level than in a pluralistic democracy," kopper explained.
Vw do brasil management clearly viewed the 1964 military coup and the establishment of an increasingly repressive military dictatorship favorably, expecting business-friendly policies, he said. Vw also reviews victim compensation. A spokesman stressed that the company is cooperating with authorities in brazil, but so far no charges have been filed. "It remains to be seen how the prosecution will evaluate the trial," the vw spokesman said. He added that the automaker is facing up to its responsibility. Volkswagen stresses that the group is now the first automotive company to comprehensively address its history during the military regime in brazil.