VW and the Beetle
There are some things so unique you never forget them, they stay with you for the rest of your life. That’s what happened to former VW chairman Prof. Dr. Carl Horst Hahn who, in 1946, was responsible for introducing the now cult VW – the Beetle – to England. After an inspection of the new merchandise the British experts complained that the engine was in the wrong place, that two doors were missing and that the car was too noisy.
And so, for the time being, the Beetle remained in Germany and became the cult car we know and love. And because it is so timeless, it has been relaunched as the New Beetle.
In 2003 the city of Wolfsburg became “Golfsburg” overnight! This was as a result of a brilliant PR campaign to launch the new VW Golf V and it made headlines world-wide. Mayor Rolf Schnellecke personally pasted the first “Golfsburg” poster onto the road sign at the B 188 between Vorsfelde and Nordstad. Ten television teams, including ones from Japan and Austria, filmed this historic moment. The campaign did not end with the approximately 30 “Golfsburg” signs that replaced the “Wolfsburg” signs but extended to countless Golfsburg souvenirs that went on sale including things such as cups, polo shirts and golf balls. A huge Golfsburg festival was held in front of the Südkopf-Center – on view the Golf V and previous Golf models. 5000 Wolfsburg citizens queued at the portable post office to have their letters stamped with the one-off Golfsburg postmark.
Welcome to Wolfsburg
Adopted and at home. That’s how I felt in 1955 on my first evening in Wolfsburg. I was 23 and had gone to the milk bar with the other Boy Scouts. It did no harm that the neighbouring table was full of Girl Guides.
I came here from Munich to earn some money to study. From beautiful Bavaria where, after nine years, I was still the newcomer, the outsider…..But in Wolfsburg everyone was a newcomer, an immigrant, no-one was an outsider or a refugee. I soon realized that every new arrival was warmly welcomed and invited to join the churches, clubs and gatherings and that this warmth was not only found at Boy Scouts.
And now when I ask what it’s like for people who are new to Wolfsburg they invariable tell me that yes, this town accepts you, regardless of where you come from. Everyone gets a warm welcome in Wolfsburg! By the way: one of the young women at the neighbouring table would later, but not much later, become my wife. And that’s the way it still is.
About the author:
Frank Helmut Zaddach, born in 1932. Banking specialist, studied history and German studies, high school teacher and principal, scout for many years. Social democrat and councillor, married, four children and five grandchildren.