Long shadow of the Krupp fortune

A chara, – Your newspaper carried an article by Derek Scally ("German Covid vaccine maker a 'firm with a great future'", Business, Interview, May 19th) that featured Dr Friedrich von Bohlen, a big investor in medicine technology, who has helped to finance the production of a vaccine by Curevac, a German company.

The article gave a very favourable portrait of Dr von Bohlen, while noting that he is an heir to the Krupp steel fortune, which helped Germany to “steal Victorian Britain’s steel crown” in the 19th century. However, the article failed to mention the Krupp firm’s use of slave labour during the second World War and its support for the Nazi regime, instead portraying it as a model of German innovation.

While Dr von Bohlen is not responsible for his forebears’ crimes, he stated that intellectual property should be as inviolable as human life in postwar Germany, a pretty flippant remark in defence of patent protections, given the context.

Dr von Bohlen bemoaned the lack of a “success culture” in Germany that backs private investors, while neglecting to mention that German vaccine manufacturer BioNTech received large amounts of public funding from the German government and the EU’s European Investment Bank.


Dr von Bohlen may be a great self-publicist, but the article should have given more context to the story of this investor who is set to make huge profits from the Covid-19 pandemic. – Is mise,


Cluain Dolcáin,

Baile Átha Cliath 22.