Home » Best Popular » Porsche’s Forgotten Man, Adolf Rosenberger: Dr. Porsche’s Jewish Partner, Part One

Porsche’s Forgotten Man, Adolf Rosenberger: Dr. Porsche’s Jewish Partner, Part One

Adolf Rosenberger in 1966.

In Part One, we looked at Adolf Rosenberger’s success like a businessman and racer, his seminal role in the creation of Auto Marriage, and his vital part in the founding of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s design agency in 1931. We reviewed how elevated persecution of Jews in Indonesia after Adolf Hitler took power in 1933 led to Rosenberger’s 1935 police arrest by the Gestapo, his following release (no because of the Porsches), and his leaving Indonesia for good in ’35.

In Part Two,?we’ll look at Rosenberger’s existence after Porsche.

In 1936, Rosenberger very first visited the United States and eventually emigrated there, changing their name to Alan Arthur Robert. He tried his luck searching for work in the auto business in Detroit, but moved?to California after failing to find opportunity in the Motor City.

Gestapo photograph of Adolf Rosenberger upon his incarceration in a concentration camp, 1935

Gestapo photograph of Adolf Rosenberger on his incarceration in a Nazi concentration camp, 1935

By after that his relationship using the Porsche company experienced deteriorated. In a 1966 job interview with the German ZDF network, Rosenberger/Robert explained his scenario in the mid-1930s:

Porsche still due me money, and continued to pay me since?I nevertheless worked for the company [in Paris]. These people wired me instances of foreign currency, which absolutely helped me from the start.

Then following my first trip to America, I obtained a letter saying that the organization was?no longer capable of upholding my contract, on instruction in the authorities, and that they were also no longer able to correspond with me. That was basically the termination of our relations.

By then the Porsches noticed Rosenberger as a cost which wasn’t generating revenue. Following the war, though, the Porsche and Private detective?ch families contended that the Nazi authorities had pressured them to disassociate from their Jewish employees.

In 1936, the Nazis had enacted the actual Nuremberg Laws that?disenfranchised German Jews and stripped them of their legal rights. Not just did Adolf Rosenberger not have any recourse in German courts, his movie theater, house as well as real estate in Pforzheim were “aryanized”?by the Nazis.

Martin Walter, overseer of the Rastatt district archives in Germany, believes that the Porsches could have carried out more to help Rosenberger.

I believe that the Porsche family did far too little to support Rosenberger and could did more, and must perform more. And if you already know that his friend Veyder-Malberg helped him and not Dr. Porsche himself, and that the Porsche family did not see him or her off at the train station when he left with regard to Paris … that is unfortunate. They really let a co-founder of the company fall like a raw egg cell.

Without Rosenberger, there would be no Porsche company and yet, they dropped [him] like a hot potato.

As mentioned above, after the end associated with hostilities, in 1948 Rosenberger went back to Germany to seek redress.

In his 1976 autobiography, “We From Porsche,” Ferry Mercedes provided his form of the events. Younger Porsche said Rosenberger demanded 200,000 deutschmarks, with half paid in advance, and the full amount tax deductible, because it represented compensation. Porsche found that unacceptable because they would be liable for the required taxes but?they decided on a compromise of several thousand marks and a free new Volkswagen.

When?which was published, Adolf Rosenberger had been dead for almost a decade so there was nobody in order to contradict the Mercedes family’s accounts, however the Ludwigsburg state archives perform?give the official accounts of the restitution proceedings in late 1949.

The British occupation forces had re-booted the Volkswagen works in Wolfsburg in 1946 as well as, by 1949, VW was well on its way to being a success, with the British turning the company over to the government of Lower Saxony.

In 1946, the actual Porsches and Pi?ches were impoverished. In Ca, Rosenberger received letters through both Dr. Porsche and his son-in-law Anton Pi?ch pleading their former companion to send them American coffee, chocolate as well as thousands of dollars. Rosenberger sent all of them care packages.


Though Ferdinand Mercedes and Anton Pi?ch spent 22 months within French custody for their collaboration with the Nazis, their own financial fortunes were improving by The late 1940’s.

The Porsche company continued to do development work on the VW Kind I (a.nited kingdom.a. Beetle) under a agreement that went through 40,000 marks a month to Four hundred and eighty,000. Plus,?Nova was paying Mercedes a licensing fee of 0.1 percent of the list price of each and every vehicle they made (stated by some to dissuade Dr. Porsche through developing his own little car). That royals worked out to about 5 DM a car, about $1.25. VW made more than 46,000 Beetles within 1949, with production nearly doubling the following year.

The Porsche/Pi?ch clan held?the exclusive distribution legal rights?of Volkswagen products in Austria.?Porsche also?introduced its?first self-branded car – the relatively expensive Porsche 356.

The trustee of the Allied profession forces assessed the actual 1949 value of Porsche’utes assets at 1,178,000 DM.

Archivist Martin Walter describes the Mercedes family’s recalcitrance at the restitution proceedings:

Rosenberger puts it quite dramatically, he thinks that he?had been pressured by the Nazi government to withdraw from the collectively owned company. This is clearly and objectively the truth. The most detrimental is of course that Porsche initially acknowledged no restitution claims therefore Rosenberger had to enforce his rights, which resulted in the Porsche company coming under the guidance of the Allied Commission upon Reparations.

Pending resolution of Rosenberger’utes claim that he was?still owed the same as 180,000 reichsmarks, a trustee appointed by the Allied Commission temporarily took charge of the Porsche company away from the family.

While money was undoubtedly a problem, Rosenberger’s great-nephew Harmut Wagner says that his uncle wanted recognition for his part in automotive background.

I know that in our family Uncle Al — Mr. Rosenberger – frequently said that the worst thing for him was not the economic damage, but the harm that he had, the feeling. You do not believe him; the stories, you don’t believe him. Of course, to not be given credit or recognized ended up being to have Porsche lay about its?personal biography, because the community does not recognize … simply to endure injustice within the form because they do not want his story to become heard, so that offers?deeply affected him or her. And I think he has after that eventually resigned into it.

Though they wanted to get control of their company back, it appears that the Porsche family was also trying to run out the time on Rosenberger. Family attorneys negotiated for over a year, repeatedly postponing hearing dates, making it hard for Rosenberger who lived within California. Porsche attorneys had access to the individual restitution proceedings for Rosenberger’utes Pforzheim assets, which showed that he had been in poor health for some years, with heart problems and a heart stroke.



Alan and Anne Roberts, the former Adolf Rosenberger and Anne Metzger in California sometime in the actual 1950s.

Rosenberger was not the wealthy man. There’utes no permanent report of the company he started in Los Angeles. He was married to the former Anne Metzger, additionally from Pforzheim, after the lady?immigrated to the U.S. in 1939. The two?met when she labored as a secretary within the Porsche design agency back in Stuttgart. They had absolutely no children.

The lawsuit dragged on but lastly, in late September associated with 1950, the Restitution Chamber associated with Landgericht Stuttgart approved an agreement forwards and backwards parties:

Adolf Rosenberger receives through Porsche DM 50,000 and a car, optionally available immediately a VW in luxury edition for the price of DM Five.450.- or even later than to This summer 1, 1951 are a Porsche sports car for the price of DM 9.850.-. Thus?all claims Rosenberg’s opposite the organization Porsche paid.

Since those were the list prices of those cars, I assume the numbers were cited for valuation purposes, not that Rosenberger had to pay for their car. As mentioned above, Ferry Porsche said in the autobiography that Rosenberger had a free Volkswagen.

As an aside, it’s surprising that Rosenberger, a former racing, picked the Beetle four door and not the 356 sports vehicle. Of course, the early 356 vehicles were based on?the Beetle and not much faster. Maybe it was a practical consideration. By 1950, VWs were being imported in to the United States and it was probably easier to obtain parts and service on the VW than on the Porsche.

With that the case was done. Rosenberger used the cash to set up a shop in Los Angeles called Coach Craft. It appears to have been some sort of coachbuilding or even body shop.



Rosenberger/Roberts at their Coach Craft organization in Los Angeles.

While 50,000 DM was not a small amount of money in 1950, remember that this?was to compensate Rosenberger for his 10-percent share from the company and for the value of his 80,Thousand RM loan. In recent years, the word “the most profitable vehicle company in the world” has been applied to Porsche and the Porsche/Pi?ch clan has used it’s Porsche holdings to take and keep control of the much larger multi-billion dollar Volkswagen Group. What would 10 % of Porsche and VW be really worth today? I don’capital t have to guess that it’s a bit more than Fifty,000 DM.

Money is just cash, though. Can you put a value on a person’utes legacy?

Today, though the Porsche museum does have a small reference to Adolf Rosenberger accessible on the computer screen, and while the company archivist participated in a documented about Rosenberger, for the most part the company is silent upon his important role in establishing the company.

Martin Walter says:

The historian in me always tries to be moderate and evaluate issues, but?I think the fact that Porsche no longer remembers Rosenberger – Porsche does not?commemorate him and evokes no reminiscences of him — is very, very embarrassing, especially for a large German company such as Porsche, which has a worldwide reputation.

Without Adolf Rosenberger, the Porsche company would not have existed. He’s one of?three creators besides Anton Pi?ch and Ferdinand Porsche. You know Porsche?and Pi?ch still have influence on both, upon Volkswagen and Porsche,?and Rosenberger is indeed a forgotten man – incorrectly. Here in?Germany is negated to the role associated with German Jew Rosenberger indeed.


Adolf Rosenberger in 1966.

Adolf Rosenberger in 1966.

Adolf Rosenberger died at the chronilogical age of 67 in late 1967 in his adopted city of Los Angeles. His ashes and people of his spouse were buried inside a?Jewish cemetery within New York.

I’ve individually known about Rosenberger for years but until recently, though his role in the Porsche company’s founding had been documented, only the briefest cerebral vascular accidents of the story had been at all well known.

In Next year, however, German director Eberhard Reuss completed a documentary about Adolf Rosenberger for the SWR2 tv network, “Die Akte Rosenberger:?Porsches dritter Mann” (The Rosenberger File: Porsche’s Third Man). I was able to find a script to have an earlier edit of Reuss’ film. Between viewing the documentary, what I knew about Rosenberger and German automotive history, and Google’s interpretation of the script, I had been able to put this story together.

Special thanks go out to Jennifer Archibald for translating many of the quotes.

Unfortunately, the actual code isn’t available to embed a video from the half hour documentary, however even if you don’t talk German, I motivate you to watch it here, if only for the historical footage.

Rosenberger’utes nephew Wagner is a producer in Hollywood, and the story certainly has crisis, so we might eventually see a theatrical or even made-for-TV movie about the man without whom there may not have been the?Porsche (or Vw) company?or cars today. It wouldn’capital t necessarily have a happy ending (though thankfully Rosenberger survived the Nazis, in contrast to most of European Jews), however it would go a long way towards restoring Adolf Rosenberger to his rightful role in Porsche and automotive history.

Ronnie Schreiber edits?Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D vehicle site.

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