Jerusalem, Sep. 13 (ANI): A Dutch journalist and historian, Paul Schilperoord, has alleged in his new book Het Ware Verhaal van de Kever ("The True Story of the Beetle"), to be released later this month, that Ferdinand Porsche's iconic Beetle, officially commissioned by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, may well have been taken from a design by a Jewish engineer identified as Josef Ganz.
In 2004, Schilperoord picked up an old edition of a magazine called Automobile Quarterly. In it, he discovered an article that claimed that, contrary to popular belief, the Beetle's original designer was not Hitler but rather a Jewish man, Ganz.
Intrigued by this assertion, Schilperoord embarked on five years of extensive research which ultimately led to him publishing his forthcoming book.
Over the course of his investigations, Schilperoord unearthed the Beetle's true history - one vastly different from the one that the Nazi regime had us believe.
Whereas the Nazi version of the Beetle's origins is that Hitler came up with the idea of a "People's Car," a car that would both cost less than 1,000 Reichsmark and simultaneously carry up to five people across the country at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.
But Schilperoord's account differs sharply. He claims that Ganz had outlined the Beetle concept a decade before Hitler claimed to have conjured up the idea of the then-revolutionary automobile.
According to Schilperoord, "In 1929, Josef Ganz started contacting German motorcycle manufacturers for collaboration to build a Volkswagen prototype. This resulted in a first prototype built at Ardie in 1930 and a second one completed at Adler in May 1931, which was nicknamed the Maikäfer (May-Beetle)."
Although Porsche and Hitler made no mention of Ganz's contribution, Schilperoord claims that "Hitler's" Beetle, which came into production 10 years later, could only have derived from Ganz's work.
Lacking the financial backing to put his project into action, Ganz was appointed editor-in-chief of a car magazine, Klein-Motor-Sport, and simultaneously took up positions as a technical consultant to both Daimler-Benz and BMW, where he "developed his first cars featuring independent suspension with them," Schilperoord told The Jerusalem Post.
Schilperoord also claims that there are too many of Ganz's hallmarks to be in any doubt that the Beetle that was eventually mass-produced in the 1930s was derived from his original design. "Even the name Volkswagen was originally Ganz's," noted Schilperoord.
Ganz spent most of his life fighting to reclaim proprietary rights over the Volkswagen, but failed. He escaped two assassination attempts in the 1930s and finally opted to stay in Switzerland. He died in 1967. (ANI)