Before Hugo Boss A.G. became known for classic men’s suits and flashy ties, the clothing manufacturer made uniforms for the Nazis.
The company said it had become aware of the dealings with the Nazis after the name of its founder, Hugo Boss, who died in 1948, appeared on a list of dormant accounts released by Swiss bankers.
The company had not determined what kind of account Mr. Boss might have had in Switzerland. She added that Hugo Boss was considering hiring a historian to look into its past, something that other concerns, including the Allianz insurance company and the German railroad, have done.
In the 1930’s, when the company began making Nazi uniforms, it was a family-run business that manufactured police and postal uniforms.
The Nazis awarded contracts to thousands of companies to produce the black uniforms, worn by SS units, the brown shirts worn by SA storm troopers and the black-and-brown uniforms of the Hitler Youth, according to Eckhard Trox, a military uniform expert at the museum in Ludenscheid.
”Of course my father belonged to the Nazi Party,” Siegfried Boss, 83, said in the latest issue of the Austrian news weekly Profil. ”But who didn’t belong back then? The whole industry worked for the Nazi Army.”
Hugo Boss founded the textile factory in 1923. He joined the Nazi Party in 1931, and two years later, began manufacturing Nazi uniforms. Production continued throughout the war, and the company brought forced laborers from Poland and France to its factory to increase output in the later years.
After Hugo Boss’s death, the factory returned to making uniforms for postal and police workers. It produced its first men’s suits in the 1950’s, but did not focus exclusively on men’s fashion until the early 1970’s.
A majority of the company stock was sold to the Italian group Marzotto in 1993.