[28/09/2009] The new book Het Ware Verhaal van de Kever - hoe Hitler het ontwerp van een Joods genie confisqueerde was officially launched yesterday at the Zandvoort race track by Dutch publishing house Veen Magazines and author Paul Schilperoord. The book presentation took place during the Nationaal Oldtimer Festival - an annual event for classic car enthusiasts - and was ended with a lap around the track in the original 1931 Maikäfer prototype.

Thanks to the absolutely fantastic weather there was a huge turnout with many thousands of participants and spectators at the Nationaal Oldtimer Festival. The day was fully pact with classic races and hundreds of rare classics on display. The smallest - but by far the most exclusive - cars at the event could be found at our stand where a selection of extremely rare and unique cars designed by Josef Ganz was on display - including the original 1931 Maikäfer prototype, an unrestored chassis of the 1933 Standard Superior 'German Volkswagen' and an unrestored 'Swiss Volkswagen' built by Rapid in 1946. These early Beetle predecessors were joined by a number of classic Volkswagen Beetles, including an original 1951 split-window sedan, a 1954 oval window model and a beautiful 1960s convertible.

All Ganz-related cars on display have a fascinating history. The Maikäfer prototype, the oldest car on display, was built by Josef Ganz at Adler in Frankfurt in 1931 and was personally driven by him in Germany and Switzerland up until around 1950. Somehow it survived years of neglect and was rescued and restored by a German collector in the 1990s. The chassis of the Standard Superior, which was built in its hundreds in Ludwigsburg from 1933 until 1935, was assembled out of two incomplete chassis, one of which was dicovered neglected in a field for 20 years. The 'Swiss Volkswagen', of which a mere 36 units were built in Zürich from 1945 until 1947, was discovered under a haystack near Amsterdam in the 1950s and kept for over 50 years by the father of the current owner.

There was a great amount of interest from visitors in these unique cars and the fascinating story behind them, as described in Het ware verhaal van de Kever, which was sold by publishing house Veen Magazines from their own stand.

Het ware verhaal van de Kever: hoe Hitler het ontwerp van een joods genie confisqueerde

Paperback 17 x 21 cm
336 pages black&white
± 400 illustrations
ISBN 9789085710912
€ 24,95

1st print: Sept 2009
2nd print: Jan 2010

(order now)

Stand of publishing house Veen Magazines with promotional material for the new book Het ware verhaal van de Kever
The unrestored 'Swiss Volkswagen' with its open streamlined bodywork, with the Standard Superior chassis in front and 1954 Volkswagen Beetle in the background
The promotional team showing the new book inside the Maikäfer prototype
Front part of the Standard Superior chassis with the patented steering system and pedal arrangement by Josef Ganz Rear part of the Standard Superior chassis with the patented engine arrangement and swinging rear half-axles by Josef Ganz



In the beginning of the afternoon presenter Bavo Galama with his film crew from the Dutch television program Gek op Wielen stopped by at the stand to film an interview with author Paul Schilperoord and secure some footage of the rare cars on display. Their report on the Nationaal Oldtimer Festival and the story of Josef Ganz will be broadcast in a couple of weeks.


Interview by Bavo Galama (left) with author Paul Schilperoord (right) in between cars designed by Josef Ganz for Dutch tv program Gek op Wielen



The official book presentation of Het Ware Verhaal van de Kever: hoe Hitler het ontwerp van een Joods genie confisqueerde took place around 15:00. After a short introduction by publisher Erno Eskens, author Paul Schilperoord spoke about the background and the story behind his new book. During his talk, he interviewed Lorenz Schmid, who acted as representative of the delegation of family members of Josef Ganz who had travelled from Switzerland to Zandvoort especially to visit the book presentation. Also the owners of the Standard Superior chassis, Dino Jermies, and Martin Lof of the Swiss Volkswagen were given a couple of minutes to tell their stories of how they obtained these rare finds.

Publisher Erno Eskens from publishing house Veen Magazines introduces the new book Author Paul Schilperoord tells about his new book
Lorenz Schmid (left), representative of the Ganz-family, explains the little facts that were known about Josef Ganz in his family to author Paul Schilperoord (right)



After his talk, Paul Schilperoord invited actor and presenter Bavo Galama to accept the first copy of the new book Het ware verhaal van de Kever - hoe Hitler het ontwerp van een joods genie confisqueerde. Galama, the son of a historian, expressed his interest in the story of Josef Ganz. Although his father was not a car enthusiast like himself, Bavo Galama was sure that his father would have liked it as well - since this is one of those personal stories that, similar to the one from Anne Frank, tells and represents an important period in world history.



Bavo Galama (left) accepts the first copy of Het ware verhaal van de Kever from author Paul Schilperoord (right) and explains his personal fascination for the story of Josef Ganz, showing one of the sketches by Adolf Hitler which are published in the new book



After Bavo Galama had accepted the first book, Paul Schilperoord and Lorenz Schmid made their way to the Maikäfer prototype in an attempt to drive it around the race track. At first they had some trouble starting the car, as the carburettor tends to overflow very quickly with petrol. After some unsuccesful starting attempts, they were push-started on their way to the rack by a very enthusiastic Dino Jermies. The little single-cylinder engine burst into life just before reaching the entrance to the track. Schilperoord and Schmid made it onto the track and drove one lap, completing the 4300 metre course in a breath-taking 11 minutes. Many thanks to Dino for helping them on their way!


Author Paul Schilperoord (left) with Lorenz Schmid (right) driving to the race track in the original 1931 Maikäfer prototype built in 1931 by the nephew of Schmid's great-grandfather
Author Paul Schilperoord (right) with Lorenz Schmid (left) driving to the race track in the Maikäfer prototype (photo by Anita Schmid)
Paul Schilperoord and Lorenz Schmid driving the Maikäfer prototype onto the race track
Paul Schilperoord and Lorenz Schmid driving on the race track in the original 1931 Maikäfer prototype
Paul Schilperoord and Lorenz Schmid driving on the race track in the original 1931 Maikäfer prototype (photo by Anita Schmid)


At the end of the day we took advantage of a unique photo opportunity just before the very rare unrestored 1933 Adler Trumpf, which was on display at the stand of Historical Engineering Services, was loaded back onto its trailer. A little known fact is that the Maikäfer prototype was built at Adler by its technical consultant Josef Ganz in 1931. Further development of the little car with its backbone chassis and rear-mounted engine, however, was stopped by Hans Gustav Röhr when he became technical director at Adler in the spring of 1931 to pursue the development of new models with front-wheel drive. This conflict between Ganz and Röhr was now illustrated, 78 years later, by the chance meeting between the little Maikäfer and the Adler Trumpf. Note the exceptionally low sleek lines and very compact size of the Maikäfer - built two years prior to the Adler Trumpf.


The 1931 Maikäfer prototype (right) meets the 1933 Adler Trumpf with front-wheel drive (left)
The exceptionally low and sleek lines of the 1931 Maikäfer prototype (left) next to the more conventional looking 1933 Adler Trumpf (right)
The standing radiators of the 1931 Maikäfer prototype (right) and the 1933 Adler Trumpf (left) - with the exception that the Maikäfer 's radiator is a fake to please the conventional buying public 



In the end of the afternoon, after most visitors had left, we made a few more runs with the fantastic Maikäfer on the grounds of the race track. The car drives exceptionally well - especially when you consider that this very compact and lightweight car was built as a prototype in 1931! After our last drives and photo shoots we loaded up the Standard Superior chassis and the Swiss Volkswagen and had to end what had been a spectacular day.

We want to express our great thanks to the people at the Nationaal Oldtimer Festival, publishing house Veen Magazines, the people who brought their rare VW-classics to Zandvoort and all visitors for their great interest and enthusiasm! We are trying to collect as many photographs and film footage as possible of the book presentation, the stand and the drive on the race track with the Maikäfer. If you have any nice photographs or film footage that you are willing to share, please contact us.


© Paul Schilperoord, Josef Ganz Archives (