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German industrialist Wolfgang Grupp. Photo supplied
Burladingen

Industrialist: ‘The Americans control everything in the background’

German industrialist Wolfgang Grupp, the CEO of textile giant Trigema, does not understand why Germans suddenly see Vladimir Putin as a mortal enemy. He believes that the US is controlling everything in the background and are the only winners of this war.

Published: September 26, 2022, 10:21 am

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    The head of the textile manufacturer has taken a stand on the Ukraine war in an interview with BW24.de. Grupp told the portal, “I don’t understand how you can be best friends with Mr Putin for 20 years, be 100 percent dependent on him and within two months you are mortal enemies! That doesn’t make sense.”

    Something must have been going on for some time, Grupp suggested. The company patriarch believes that “the Americans are controlling everything in the background so that it remains a world power.” The US, he said, was the only winner in this war.

    Grupp: ‘Supplying weapons to Ukraine with great fanfare’

    Grupp goes on to say in the interview: “If we deliver weapons to Ukraine with great fanfare for billions and at the same time say: No problem, the citizens and the economy have to pay for it. These are statements that I cannot understand.” He said he had never experienced “ending a dispute by giving one a bigger knife and the other a bigger axe.”

    Grupp instead insists on negotiations with Putin. Otherwise, he said, the war could not be ended. His company, said the entrepreneur, has a high financial burden due to the war. Recently he said in an interview with FOCUS online that his costs for gas had increased tenfold in the past two years. He told BW24.de that he was being “punished” for switching to gas.

    No slave labour

    The textile industry has been mired in controversy because it uses slave labour, overseas sweatshops and a “fast fashion” business model that encourages huge waste and unsustainable consumption. Grupp has avoided these issues through a long-term commitment to manufacturing textiles entirely in Germany – and more specifically, in Burladingen, Schwabia, where its factory is based.

    Unlike the vast majority of other textile firms and international clothing brands, Trigema does not outsource any of its production overseas and only imports responsibly sourced cotton. Trigema has been wholly owned by Grupp for more than 50 years.

    Grupp is free to voice such an opinion because being the sole owner using 100 percent of his own capital means Grupp is not beholden to any influence from banks or shareholders. It is Germany’s largest manufacturer of t-shirts, sweatshirts and tennis clothing.

    ‘Old values’

    Grupp is considered a man of conservative values ​​such as responsibility, respect and decency. He is personally liable for Trigema – which is somewhat of a rarity these days.

    With reference to current corporatist notions, the company patriarch, who turned 80 this year, explained: “Cash in when things are going well and leave losses to the taxpayer in difficult times, that certainly shouldn’t be done!

    “Our world is so crazy. I appreciate the old values, I’m traditional. I am responsible for everything, I guarantee jobs.”

    Greens bring ‘war and poverty’

    The Scholz administration is clinging to its ideological aberrations. In a bill intended to implement an EU directive, the Treasury Department earlier underwrote a 66 billion loan authorization for KfW to provide support to energy companies.

    The KfW is a German state-owned investment and development bank, based in Frankfurt. As of 2014, it is the world’s largest national development bank and Germany’s third largest bank in terms of its balance sheet.

    Martin Reichardt, AfD state chairman of Saxony-Anhalt and member of the federal executive board, exposed the government’s justification for the additional credit authorization as scandalous: “The credit authorization is necessary so that the confidence of business and the public in the federal government’s packages of measures is not damaged.” The damage to citizens however is huge.

    “Those who vote for the Greens choose war and poverty,” according to Reichardt.

    The crisis is picking up speed

    Fifty  percent of trading companies are threatened by the government’s policies. Every second company in Germany is now facing existential hardships. This was the result of a recent survey by the German Retail Association (HDE) among 900 companies in the retail sector.

    The main reason for the development is energy costs, which have risen by an average of 150 percent since the beginning of the year. Stefan Genth, General Manager of the HDE, explains: “On the one hand, energy prices are rising enormously, on the other hand, most of them cannot simply pass the costs on to customers due to the tough competition.”

    In addition, there are the additional cost increases due to the Russia sanctions – they too are a direct consequence of the policy of the federal government.

    Only 14 percent of those surveyed can add some or all of the rising energy costs to consumer prices. Almost a quarter of the survey participants expect to have to close their own business within the next twelve months. The situation is particularly tense among bicycle dealers, dealers in household appliances and consumer electronics.

    Meanwhile, the food industry is already warning of the acute danger of food shortages. “There are significant supply gaps in the daily food supply for people in Germany. The situation is more than serious,” an open letter from the industry warned, which was initiated by the German Frozen Food Institute (DTI) and the Association of German Cold Stores and Cold Logistics Companies (VDKL). Five other industry associations signed the letter, which was addressed to Chancellor Scholz, Federal Minister of Economics Habeck and Minister of Agriculture Özdemir.

    The companies now fear that production lines will soon come to a standstill and that refrigerated logistics centers for food distribution will be closed. “The food industry is currently experiencing the worst crisis since the end of the Second World War,” it continued. “The situation is tense and the load limit has been reached, so the companies have to reduce their ranges in an emergency.”

    Here, too, the dramatic rise in prices for electricity and gas supply due to sanctions is cited as the reason for the catastrophic situation.

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