If you haven’t seen a false claim related to billionaire philanthropist George Soros or World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab in a while (we doubt it), look no further: A recent Instagram post has both.
The Jan. 30 photo posted on the platform played into rehashed accusations: “George Soros worked for Hitler. Klaus Schwab’s father also worked for Hitler.”
Screenshot from Instagram
The post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
As fact-checkers have previously reported, neither man worked for Adolf Hitler.
Soros was too young to have worked for Hitler
Soros was a Holocaust survivor, according to a profile by The New York Times. Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1930, three years before the fascist party took control of Germany and the Holocaust started.
German forces invaded Hungary in 1944, when Soros was 13, and his father obtained false identities for him and his brother. According to Reuters, Soros would not have been old enough to become a Nazi party soldier; by the time he was 17, the Allies had defeated Nazi Germany in World War II.
Eugen Schwab’s records do not prove he worked for Hitler
As for Schwab, fact checkers previously analyzed claims about his father, and found mixed evidence about his activities during the Nazi regime.
Klaus Schwab named his parents, Eugen Wilhelm Schwab and Erika Epprecht, in his book, “Stakeholder Capitalism.”
International fact-checkers examining similar claims obtained Eugen Schwab’s denazification files, which stemmed from identifying Nazis and determining their punishment. Many people who participated in Nazi activities were not punished.
David Bete, who handles files at the Sigmaringen department of the Baden-Württemberg State Archives, told PolitiFact that Eugen Schwab’s two denazification files “do not contain any information saying that Schwab worked for Hitler.”
History experts told Agence France-Presse and Deutsche Presse-Agentur that Eugen Schwab’s denazification files do not show he was a member of the Nazi party, and the committee acquitted him.
Denazification also often relied on self-reported information from citizens, and Deutsche Presse-Agentur noted that it was “not certain whether Schwab was telling the truth.”
In the forthcoming book “The Race to Zero: How ESG Investing will Crater the Global Financial System,” New York University professor Paul H. Tice wrote that Eugen Schwab “actively supported the German war effort during World War II.” (ESG stands for environmental, social and governance.)
Eugen Schwab was the commercial manager of Escher Wyss’ Ravensburg factory, which supplied military equipment to the Wehrmacht, or the armed forces of the Third Reich. The plant employed about 200 forced laborers from nearby Nazi camps.
Bete said Schwab claimed he was “declared unreliable by state officials” after the July 1944 failed assassination attempt on Hitler and was removed from his job at Escher Wyss. But Bete noted that the records cannot prove this claim.
Tice said Hitler awarded the company’s Ravensburg branch with the title of “National Socialist Model Company.” Dr. Christian Marx, economic historian at the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that many companies received this award, and the designation “says little” of the relationship between business leaders and Nazi leadership.
Niels Weise, a researcher at the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, told Agence France-Presse that even if Escher Wyss used forced labor, it “could not be attributed to a special relationship between the commercial manager and Hitler.”
The World Economic Forum public affairs team told PolitiFact that the claim is inaccurate. The forum and Klaus Schwab have been a common target of conspiracy theories.
An Instagram post claimed that George Soros and Klaus Schwab’s father, Eugen Schwab, worked for Hitler.
Soros was born three years before the Nazi party took control of Germany, and would’ve been too young to be a Nazi soldier. His father obtained false identities for his family’s survival.
There is mixed evidence about Eugen Schwab’s activities during the Nazi regime, but there is no conclusive proof that he was a member of the Nazi party or worked for Hitler. He managed Escher Wyss’ Ravensburg factory, which supplied military equipment to the Third Reich and was awarded “National Socialist Model Company,” but an expert noted that designation “says little” of the relationship between awardees and Nazi leadership.
Ultimately, we found no proof that either George Soros or Klaus Schwab’s father worked for Hitler. We rate that claim False.