The 25-year old heiress of a German biscuit empire has apologised for defending her family’s use of 200 forced Nazi labourers during the war.
Verena Bahlsen, who will inherit the Choco Leibniz biscuit business, acknowledged that her comments were “thoughtless”. She had earlier told the German newspaper Bild that the company paid the labourers good wages and “treated them well”.
One of four children, she will one day inherit the company, which employs almost 3,000 staff and has a £500 million annual turnover, but she was quick to say sorry on Wednesday, after social media users mulled a boycott of the firm’s products.
“It was a mistake to amplify this debate with thoughtless responses,” she said. “I apologise for that. Nothing could be further from my mind than to downplay national socialism or its consequences.”
She added: “As the next generation, we have responsibility for our history. I expressly apologise to all whose feelings I have hurt.”