Volkswagen boss apologises for Nazi gaffe

Volkswagen board condemns CEO for evoking Nazi slogan

Enlarge Image Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess Getty Images

Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess has apologized for using a controversial slogan at a recent company event.

Ebit is a commonly used acronym for "earnings before interest and taxes".

The phrase appears to be a play on "Arbeit macht frei" - work makes you free - a notorious Nazi slogan that was inscribed over the entrance to Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

"At no time was it my intention for this statement to be placed in a false context", Diess said in the statement. In an apologetic statement, Diess said what happened was "definitely an unfortunate choice of words".

"That this possibility exists, I did not think of that at this moment".

United States Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence, right, stand with Poland's President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda, left, under the gate during their visit at the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.

Politicians in the Weimar Republic in the 1920s used the phrase to promote employment policies.

In a separate announcement prior to Mr Diess' remarks, Volkswagen said it would cut 7,000 jobs, as it shifts its focus to electric cars, which require fewer workers to build.

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