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That same year, he became a member of the National Socialist (Nazi) party and
a sponsoring member ("Förderndes Mitglied") of the Schutzstaffel (SS). With
their help, his economic situation improved. He also joined the German Labour
Front in 1936, the Reich Air Protection Association in 1939, and the National
Socialist People's Welfare in 1941. After joining these organizations, his sales
increased from 38,260 Reichsmarks (RM)-$26,993 U.S. dollars-in 1932 to over
3,300,000 RM in 1941. His profits also increased in the same time period from
5,000 RM to 241,000 RM. Though he claimed in a 1934-1935 advertisement that he
had been a "supplier for National Socialist uniforms since 1924," it is probable
that he did not begin to supply them until 1928 at the earliest. It is certain
that he supplied them no later than 1934. This is the year he became an
Reichszeugmeisterei-licensed (official) supplier of uniforms to the
Sturmabteilung, Schutzstaffel, Hitler Youth, National Socialist Motor Corps, and
other party organizations. To meet demand in later years of the war, Boss used
an estimated 30 to 40 prisoners of war and 150 forced (i.e. slave) labourers,
from the Baltic States, Belgium, France, Italy, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia,
and the Soviet Union.2 According to German historian Henning Kober, the company
managers were avowed Nazis who were all great admirers of Adolf Hitler. In 1945
Hugo Boss had a photograph in his apartment of himself with Hitler taken at
Hitler's Obersalzberg retreat.
Because of his early Nazi party membership, his financial support of the SS and the uniforms delivered to the Nazi party, Boss was considered both an "activist" and a "supporter and beneficiary of National Socialism". In a 1946 judgement he was stripped of his voting rights, his capacity to run a business, and fined "a very heavy penalty" of 100,000 Deutschmarks (DM)-$70,553 U.S. dollars-.2 He died in 1948, but his business survived.
In 1997, the company appeared in a list of Swiss dormant accounts in connection with reparations lawsuits, which stirred the publication of articles highlighting the involvement of Hugo Boss with the Nazis.456 In 1999, American lawyers filed lawsuits in New Jersey on behalf of survivors and their families for the use of forced workers during the war.78 The company did not comment on these lawsuits but reiterated an earlier statement that it would "not close its eyes to the past but rather deal with the issues in an open and forthright manner".7 In doing so it sponsored research by German historian Elisabeth Timm.2 Nevertheless, after Timm told the press of her findings, the company declined to publish them.9 In December 1999, an agreement was reached between the German government and the United States government along with a group of American class-action lawyers and Jewish groups. A fund equivalent to $5,100,000,000 U.S. dollars was to be financed equally by German industry and the German government, to compensate slave labourers used by the Germans in World War II.10 Hugo Boss agreed to participate in this fund,11 for an amount which was estimated by some sources to be $1,037,690.
As a result of the ban on Boss being in business, Boss's son-in-law Eugen Holy took over ownership and running of the company. In 1950, after a period supplying work uniforms, the company received its first order for men's suits, resulting in an expansion to 150 employees by the end of the year. By 1960 the company was producing off-the-peg suits. In 1969, Eugen retired leaving the company to his sons Jochen and Uwe, who began international development. In 1970, the first Boss branded suits were produced, with the brand becoming a registered trademark in 1977. This was followed by the start of the company's long association with motorsport, sponsoring Formula1 driver Nikki Lauda, and later the McLaren Racing team.
In 1984, the first Boss branded fragrance appeared. This helped the company gain the required growth for listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange the following year. The brand entered the world of golf by sponsoring Bernhard Langer in 1986 and entered the world of tennis by sponsoring the Davis Cup in 1987. In 1989, Boss launched its first licensed sunglasses. Later that year, the company was bought by a Japanese group.14
After the Marzotto textile group acquired a 77.5% stake for $165,000,000 in 1991,1415 the Hugo and Baldessarini brands were introduced in 1993. In 1995 the company launched its footwear range, the first in a now fully developed leather products range across all sub-brands. A partnership with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was launched in 1995, resulting in the Hugo Boss Prize, an annual $100,000 stipend in modern arts presented since 1996. Download