Blohm and Voss (Germany)
Blohm + Voss (also shown historically as Blohm & Voss and Blohm und Voss), is a German shipbuilding and engineering works. It is a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. ThyssenKrupp announced in December 2011 that it had agreed the sale of Blohm + Voss' civil shipbuilding division to British investment company STAR Capital Partners, pending regulatory approval. The company also oversees maintenance and repair of large cruise ships such as RMS Queen Mary 2 and the MS Queen Victoria.
It was founded on April 5, 1877, by Hermann Blohm and Ernst Voss as a general partnership. A shipyard was built on the island of Kuhwerder, near the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, covering 15,000 m² with 250 m of water frontage and three building berths, two suitable for ships of up to 100 metres length. The company's logo is a simple dark blue rectangle with rounded corners bearing the white letters "Blohm+Voss". Until 1955 the company name was shown with the ampersand.
The company has continued to build ships and other large machines for 125 years. Despite being almost completely demolished after the end of World War II, it now builds warships both for the German Navy and for export (see MEKO), as well as oil drilling equipment and ships for numerous commercial customers.
The company is, along with Howaldtswerke at Kiel and Nordseewerke at Emden, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
With the rise of the Nazi Party to power in 1933, Germany's rearmament in violation of the Versailles Treaty had begun. This began a sudden change in fortune for the company, run then by brothers Rudolf and Walther Blohm, which was taken out of a deep crisis. Until then specialising in shipbuilding, the company began to design and build aircraft for the German state airline, pre-war Deutsche Luft Hansa and the Luftwaffe. The aeronautical section of the company was named Hamburger Flugzeugbau, therefore the first planes it produced had the code "Ha", but in September 1937 the aviation subsidiary was renamed Abteilung Flugzeugbau der Schiffswerft Blohm & Voss, later replaced by "BV". Particularly noteworthy were the large flying boats the company produced, especially the largest aircraft designed, built and flown by any of the Axis forces, the Bv 238, and its ingenious approaches to aircraft building that even featured asymmetric designs.
From July 1944 to April 1945 the company used inmates of its own concentration subcamp at its shipyard in Hamburg-Steinwerder, a subcamp of Neuengamme concentration camp. A memorial stands on the site of the camp and the company continues to pay an undisclosed amount to the Fund for Compensation of Forced Laborers.