Dan van der Vat | The Guardian, Wednesday 14 August 2013 12.45 EDT

As chairman of the Krupp steel company and later of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach foundation, Berthold Beitz, who has died aged 99, was a leading figure in the west German “economic miracle” of the 1950s and 60s. Having personally saved hundreds of Jews from the Nazis while working for Shell during the second world war, in the postwar years, Beitz took Krupp into industrial-scale philanthropy.

Recruited by Alfried Krupp as his representative and company chairman in 1952, Beitz had no connection with the role played by the company in arming Germany in two world wars. It made the best armour plate, ships, submarines, artillery, naval guns, tanks and other munitions. Under the Nazi regime the firm had used hundreds of thousands of slave labourers and plundered foreign factories in occupied territory. For these and other war crimes Alfried Krupp was sentenced to 12 years at Nuremberg, although he was released after less than three in 1951. The bulk of his confiscated assets was returned to him, enabling him to start rebuilding the family firm… read more