Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/05/11

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Subject: [Leica] Patent Thefts and Political Stereotyping
From: Marc James Small <>
Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 12:23:16 -0400

At 11:12 AM 5/11/98 -0400, BD Colen wrote:
>How about we all recognize that much that was developed by Germany during
>the years 1933-45 was developed under circumstances that should ashame any
>thinking person? That some of these patents/developments were taken after
>the War is a fact of international life - a couple of lens or shutter
>patents hardly make up for what Germany unleashed on the world during those
>12 years. Calling it "theft" raises all sorts of questions I don't think we
>want to delve into here, just as I think Tom is right that we should be a
>bit more careful in our national/racial stereotyping. 

The patents in question dated from 1931 or 1932.  A bunch of them, in fact,
were taken out by Emmanuel Goldberg when he was head of camera design at
Zeiss Ikon. 

The only "stereotyping" being done here is by Mr Colen in attempting to,
through convulted logic, link German optical firms with Nazi terrorism.
This is downright silly:  Voigtlander and Franke & Heidecke and Ihagee were
all noted, sourly, by the Nazis for their resistance to 'Party
Progressivism", while both Leitz and Zeiss were at the forefront of
disputing the excesses of the regime.  One of the Leitz family was sent to
a concentration camp for her outspoken resistance, while the head of Zeiss
(and of the entire German optical industry), Heinz Kuppenbender, was tried
by a Nazi Party court for his refusal to stop using Zeiss as a shield for
those in danger of deportation to the camps.  (Yeah, Schindler got all of
the credit, but Kuppenbender, directly, save several times as many of the
dispossessed, while Franke & Heidecke and Voigtlander were also noted
players in the same game, and deserve great respect for this.)

Marc  FAX:  +540/343-7315
Cha robh bas fir gun ghras fir!