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Pharmaceutical giant Bayer and the holocaust


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#1 PzJgr

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 02:38 PM

Many people remain unaware of the key role of companies like Bayer and BASF in the holocaust. Their role was so critical that it led the Chief Prosecutor at Nuremburg to warn: "These companies, not the lunatic Nazi fanatics, are the main war criminals. If the guilt of these criminals is not brought to daylight and if they are not punished, they will pose a much greater threat to the future peace of the world than Hitler if he were still alive." But despite the enormity of their crimes, their guilt has remained largely hidden and by the early 1950s a number of those convicted of slavery, looting and mass murder were back at the helm of Bayer, Hoechst and BASF.


Bayer and the holocaust
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#2 Kai-Petri

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 03:50 PM

So many big companies and countries made money out of what Hitler et co were doing....No questions asked... :(
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#3 GrandsonofAMarine

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 04:32 PM

As despicable as their conduct was the prosecutor's statement is grossly inaccurate. It wasn't BASF or Bayer who decided that the Jews had to be exterminated or to start a world war. It has Adolf Hitler who did that. It was the government that set the policy, designed the facilities, and selected and transported the victims. BASF and Bayer were supporting members to be sure, but the onus is on Hitler and the Nazis.

The part about those groups being greater threats than Hitler is so patently absurd that I can scarcely believe that they were uttered.
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#4 DocCasualty

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:11 PM

As despicable as their conduct was the prosecutor's statement is grossly inaccurate. It wasn't BASF or Bayer who decided that the Jews had to be exterminated or to start a world war. It has Adolf Hitler who did that. It was the government that set the policy, designed the facilities, and selected and transported the victims. BASF and Bayer were supporting members to be sure, but the onus is on Hitler and the Nazis.

The part about those groups being greater threats than Hitler is so patently absurd that I can scarcely believe that they were uttered.


Hmm. . . I think it's a very complicated issue and gets back to the question at the end of the war (and to this day) of "who was guilty?" If it were as simple as "Hitler and the Nazis", the limited number who were found, tried, convicted and sentenced would have answered that question to everyone's satisfaction, but it didn't. "German Collective Guilt" was proposed and largely accepted as somewhat of an answer. Surely those who held money and corporate power within the Nazi schema hold a lion's share of that guilt, don't they? I think a compelling case can be made in that day (and the world since then) that "death merchants" who profit from their wares allow such evil government enterprises to exist, whether they are chemical/pharmaceutical companies or financial institutions, complicit in their dealings.

I think the prosecutor was quite forward in his thinking to realize the danger this presented for the future of mankind.

Edited by DocCasualty, 30 January 2012 - 05:26 PM.
typo



"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederic II of Prussia
"In 9 months and 3 days of combat on the Continent the 949th FA Bn had fired 51,000 rounds of ammunition, approximately 2,550 tons." - Unit History


#5 Clementine

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:24 PM

I had no idea. Thanks for posting this.

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#6 scipio

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:47 PM

Agreed the Prosecutor's statement was "Over the Top". IG Farben was sucked into the Nazi nightmare but once there, became super enthusiastic since the profits were fabulous and Nazi support rescued this Chemical Combine which had made a disasterous mistake in heavy investment in totally uneconomic synthetic petroleum process just as the World became awash with cheap oil from Texas.

You are quite wrong in stating that the Government designed the facitilities (or operated the facility and Concentration Camps).

IG Farben chose the site at Auchwitz, built not only the chemical facilities, Synthetic Oil, Methanol, and Buna Rubber but also (and set them apart from every other slave using German organisation) they built and ran the Concentration Camp at Monowitz.

No other organistion had its own private Concentration Camp.

This whole lot was financed by IG Farben against guaranteed long term subsidies from the 3rd Reich.

After the war they tried to pretend that the Nazi had forced them - was not so - IG Farben started the ball rolling which was enthusiastically accepted by Hitler who asked for it to be expanded. The Company duly complied.

Once the victims were worked to death (average 3 to 4 months) they were sent to Buchenwald to be exterminated by the SS.

IG Farben also bought and expanded two coal mines on the site. Conditions is these were even more terrible than the Concentration Camp - where the SS complained that the inmates were treated too harshly.

Whilst the chemical facilities were essentially the property of BASF, Bayer financed pharmacuetical research by a certain Dr Mengele. Train loads of incriminating documents were destroyed by the Company but one survived and it showed that Bayer were trying to negotitate a lower price from Mengele for work which resulted in the sterilisation of 200 women. I beleive one lady (Jew of course) managed to get some compensation after the War (and many years later of $2000) - no IG Farben victim received more than $7000.

#7 GrandsonofAMarine

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 04:56 AM

Hmm. . . I think it's a very complicated issue and gets back to the question at the end of the war (and to this day) of "who was guilty?" If it were as simple as "Hitler and the Nazis", the limited number who were found, tried, convicted and sentenced would have answered that question to everyone's satisfaction, but it didn't. "German Collective Guilt" was proposed and largely accepted as somewhat of an answer. Surely those who held money and corporate power within the Nazi schema hold a lion's share of that guilt, don't they? I think a compelling case can be made in that day (and the world since then) that "death merchants" who profit from their wares allow such evil government enterprises to exist, whether they are chemical/pharmaceutical companies or financial institutions, complicit in their dealings.

I think the prosecutor was quite forward in his thinking to realize the danger this presented for the future of mankind.


I strongly disagree. The companies are aiders and abettors of the crimes, but they are not the ones who permit "evil enterprises to exist". The Nazis at any time could have compelled BASF and Bayer to do their bidding. It is the government, not corporations who wield the true power for they have the army and law enforcement. The only group who could have overthrown the Nazis was the military. That's it. Corporations have no power besides financial and Hitler very easily could had stripped that from them by imprisoning management. This is especially so in Nazi Germany's planned economy where industry was dictated to by Schacht and then Goering.

I do not mean to defend BASF and Bayer. What they did was morally abhorrent. But they did not conceive the Holocaust or develop Germany's foreign policy. They did not train and equip millions of German men to rampage through Europe and North Africa. BASF, Bayer, Thyssen and Krupp, Siemans, etc, existed LONG before Hitler and the Nazis. Nothing in their past would indicate that they had any idea of using insecticide to slaughter human beings or to man factories with slave labor. The horrors of the Nazi-era belong to the Nazi government. They they were the ones who conceived, developed, and put into motion the machinery of death.
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#8 GrandsonofAMarine

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:18 AM

The Nazis always intended to murder the Jews. They spent a lot of time trying to find ways to kill masses of undesirables.Shootings, gassings, explosives…the Nazi government investigated ways to exterminate the Jews and other undesirables. Do recall the Aktion T-4 program where the Nazis murdered 100,000 of the mentally ill. The Wannsee Conference in January of 42' enacted the "Final Solution". It is there where the conception of death camps came into being, though the Einsatzgruppen were already at work in Russia. These special murder squads would slaughter hundreds of thousands in the year preceding the opening of Auschwitz.

You also are focusing on one death camp. There were in actuality six altogether. All of which were located in the General Government. Along with Auschwitz, there was Majdanek, Sobibor, Treblinka, Belzec, and Chelmo. It was the Nazis who ran the camps. IG Farben have nothing to do with the selection and killing process. That was the province of the SS-Totenkopfverbände. IG Farben developed Zyklon B and designed the factories, but Auschwitz was already setup for concentration a large amount of humans as it formerly a Polish army barracks.

IG Farben was never concerned with killing people. Thry simply wanted facilities with free labor. They did not care whether people lived or died.Murder was never their goal. Mass extermination, however, was the end of the Nazis.
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#9 DocCasualty

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:26 AM

. BASF, Bayer, Thyssen and Krupp, Siemans, etc, existed LONG before Hitler and the Nazis.

And they still exist today. Perhaps this is why he said "These companies, not the lunatic Nazi fanatics, are the main war criminals. If the guilt of these criminals is not brought to daylight and if they are not punished, they will pose a much greater threat to the future peace of the world than Hitler if he were still alive." Business as usual. Hey, I'm pro-business but that doesn't make everything they did and will do okay.

I understand where you are coming from, but you might want to give further consideration to where the power comes from in any government. Whether it gets you elected, keeps you in that office or puts fuel in your machines of war, "Money makes the world go 'round, the world go 'round, the world go 'round. That clinking, clanking sound . . ."



"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederic II of Prussia
"In 9 months and 3 days of combat on the Continent the 949th FA Bn had fired 51,000 rounds of ammunition, approximately 2,550 tons." - Unit History


#10 Skipper

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:10 AM

It's the man who is the murderer not his gun. So saying a company is guilty a bit easy and a bit farfetched. They have their part of guilt, but if one starts saying companies are guiltier than the actual war criminals then why some and not others? What about the car companies , the steel industry and the clothing companies? Someone could quote bottle and canteen makers because bottles were used to quench the thirst of the SS... It would be endless.

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#11 DocCasualty

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:28 AM

It's the man who is the murderer not his gun. So saying a company is guilty a bit easy and a bit farfetched. They have their part of guilt, but if one starts saying companies are guiltier than the actual war criminals then why some and not others? What about the car companies , the steel industry and the clothing companies? Someone could quote bottle and canteen makers because bottles were used to quench the thirst of the SS... It would be endless.

So what do you think the Chief Prosecutor at Nuremberg was trying to say?



"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederic II of Prussia
"In 9 months and 3 days of combat on the Continent the 949th FA Bn had fired 51,000 rounds of ammunition, approximately 2,550 tons." - Unit History


#12 Skipper

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:48 AM

He made a valid point that's not an issue, but he took a few emblematic companies and did not mention many others. In the mean time some engineers were never bothered and were "bought" by both West and East.

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#13 Victor Gomez

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 02:12 PM

Opinionated trouble maker here.......since we have a supreme court that has decided that corporations are people.....in their determination that unlimited spending of money can be used to overwhelm us individual people with their power to buy free speech.........why can't they be fully responsible for their activities, atrocities, etc. The god our industry follows is not an evil god unless it is helped along by this kind of court ruling. The god industry follows in most cases is the quarterly return on investment or a similar guideline that compels all motivation, conscience, work goals, which can and will be abused by the leadership more often than not when one assesses the behaviors of many corporate entities. It appears that the misbehavior of Bayer and the likes did not end with Hitler and the Nazi's as was predicted in mentioning the greater threat. In fact unconscionable acts have persisted by those entities and no amount of rationalizing can excuse such things as "spreading more HIV" when you know the facts about your product. If an individual commits a crime against another person, he may go to prison and be barred forever from freedoms that enabled his action. Why can't the corporate world suffer the same? After all they have now been endowed with the "inalienable rights" of man. They need to take up the same responsibilities as a man instead of only the special privileges.

#14 Fury 1991

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 02:14 PM

Companies have always played a role in conflicts. This continues today.

#15 Skipper

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 02:54 PM

Good point Victor, Some companies had their capital confiscated , but the cold war has certainly influenced policies regarding this matter and it was apparently better for both sides of the Iron Curtain to have companies work for them after 1945 rather than dismantle them .

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#16 DocCasualty

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 03:00 PM

He made a valid point that's not an issue, but he took a few emblematic companies and did not mention many others. In the mean time some engineers were never bothered and were "bought" by both West and East.

I don't know what evidence they had accumulated on other companies or perhaps were interested in pursuing. As this article only focuses on these corporations, the following sounds compelling to me. Of course, it was a prosecutor stating his opinion, so I suppose we have to take that FWIW.

According to the Nuremberg prosecutors, "We have seen Farben integrating itself with the Nazi tyranny, turning its technical genius to the furnishing of... commodities vital to the reconstruction of the German war machine, and emerging in Hermann Goering's entourage at the highest level of economic planning and mobilization for war. We have seen Farben poised for the kill, and subsequently swollen by economic conquest in the helpless occupied countries. Faced with a shortage of workers, we have seen Farben turn to Goering and Himmler, and persuading these worthies to marshal the legions of concentration-camp inmates as tools of the Farben war machine. We have seen these wretched workers dying by the thousands, some on the Farben construction site, many more in the Auschwitz gas chambers after Farben had drained the vitality from their miserable bodies... Literally millions of people were put to death in the very backyard of one of Farben's pet projects - a project in which Farben invested 600 million reichsmarks of its own money."




"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederic II of Prussia
"In 9 months and 3 days of combat on the Continent the 949th FA Bn had fired 51,000 rounds of ammunition, approximately 2,550 tons." - Unit History


#17 scipio

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 04:56 PM

Grandsonofamarine

I can see that you (and many others) have difificulty with the concept of Corporate Guilty as opposed to individual guilt. It is true that a hanfull of Bayer employees were brave enough to resist - and Totalitarian regimes are not stupid, you did not get he bullet in the head - your career suffered and peer pressure was enormous but it was still possible to refuse if you were sufficiently indespensable or to go slow or to deliverately screw up the scientific results. I believe that there is evidence that some of this happened.

However, let us take an individual - Ter Hell - a Director of IG Farben, Bayer and his family owned company Ter Hell, part of the IG Farben Combine.

During his trial as a war criminal, in the view of the Prosecutor, Ter Hell was the "leader" who coerced the other IG Directors into silence " we kneo nothing - didn't know what was happening at the compnay owned concentration camp at Monowitz".
During the trial Ter Hell was allowed freedom from Prison by the sympathetic American chief judge - he used his time to try to pervert justice by getting witnesses to change their evidence. In fact the Trial held in 1948 when the Red Scare was dominant was a travesty.

Ter Hell was asked about the Mengele experiments on live prisoners - his answer was "well they were going to die anyway".

He was convicted by the Court of using slave labour in the Buna Works at Monowitz and sentenced to 8 years - he was pardoned after 2 years (so were the others). His commment on the early realease "Well the Americans need us now (against the Soviets)".

Contrition for the deaths of tens of thousand worked to death at Monowitz - nothing.

In 1957 as soon as Nazi War Criminals were allowed to take up Directorships again - Ter Hell was appointed Chairman of Bayer.

So we have Hitler who genuinely thought that Jews had stabbed Germany in the back and needed to be exterminated.

Then we have Ter Hell, apparently a snob with a fine taste in wines and opera, rich, sophisticated and extremely clever, who was never a member of the Nazi Party, knew exactly what he was doing, who oversaw the extermination of thousands of prisoners for whom he never spared a thought and all the in name of profit and the wellbeing of Her Ter Hell.

In my book the more evil is Ter Hell!

And what does this say about Bayer as an organisation?

#18 freebird

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:16 PM

In my book the more evil is Ter Hell!

And what does this say about Bayer as an organisation?


In my mind the real travesty is the War Crimes Comissions that failed to see that the really guilty (like Ter Hell) faced proper punishment.
If he was pardoned after only 2 years it's not surprising that Bayer turned a blined eye and reinstated him.
He should never have walked out a free man.

#19 scipio

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 07:02 PM

I thought I would lookat Bayer's website to find out how they explained away WW2, BunaRubber production at Monowitz and Mengele's experiments. Leverkusen was and still is Bayer's headquarters and major production site, both before the IG Farben Cartel formation and after.


Breathtaking in itsomissions – the full piece can be read on the link below but I havelifted out the relevant bits


1925 - 1945 - Bayer

World War II approaches
In 1936 the National Socialist government began systematically preparing for war.
When the Second World War finally broke out in 1939, the locations of the Lower Rhine consortium were among the sites of German industry that were considered "vital to the war." Production requirements
grew steadily, yet more and more employees were drafted into military service. For this reason, foreign and forced laborers from the occupied countries of Europe were brought to work in Leverkusen, Dormagen, Elberfeld and Uerdingen - and throughout German industry as a whole - to maintain output levels. At times during the war, these laborers accounted for up to one third of the workforce.
Concentration camp prisoners were not employed in the Lower Rhine sites.



A time of inventions
Within the network ofI.G. sites, Leverkusen also developed into a key production locationfor basic chemicals and intermediates, as well as the largest dyestuffs production site.
Rubber synthesis and modern polymerchemistry were the focus of research activities at this time.
In the early 1930s, polyacrylonitrile-butadiene-rubber (Perbunan) wasdeveloped here, and Otto Bayer(1902–1982) invented polyurethanes in 1937.


The Wupperal-Elberfeldfacility continued its successful research into drugs to controlmalaria. Working together with Fritz Mietzsch (1896-1958) and JosephKlarer (1898-1953), GerhardDomagk (1895–1964) discovered the therapeutic effect of the sulfonamides - a key breakthrough in the chemotherapy of infectiousdiseases for which Domagk received the Nobel Prize in 1939.




So Bayer are rightly proud of their Buna Rubber (synthetic rubber andpolyurethane) and their pharmaceuticals – shame they can't own upto owning Monowitz Concentration Camp and financing Mengelesexperiments.

Edited by scipio, 01 February 2012 - 07:11 PM.


#20 LRusso216

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 02:42 AM

Victor is correct, at least as far as the modern US Supreme Court is concerned. The corporation is an individual, and therefore should be subject to the same strictures.

After WW2, corporations like Bayer and Krupp should have suffered the same consequences as the individuals involved. They were part and parcel of the evil perpetrated by Hitler and the Nazis. I understand the impetus of the Cold War, but the industries came out of WW2 as though they had nothing to do with the death camps. Granted, some individuals were punished, but the corporations themselves suffered no lasting damage, as is evidenced by their standing in modern society. It was always the policy of Hitler to eliminate the Jews, and these corporations aided him. While the prosecutor was over the top (remember he was speaking in 1945-46), those involved in the Holocaust should have received at least the same punishment as the others did.
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#21 sunny971

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 04:09 AM

Well my opinion is like this...anyone or any company that takes advantage of a political situation knowing crimes are being committed and people are getting killed, well in my opinion they are just as guilty. They had the oppertunity to leave nazi Germany like others did.. They chose to remain, therefore those companies were part of the problem.

it's no different than NIKE and Walt Disney using children in 3rd world countries to make their products. It's child labour and practically slavery. They are as guilty as the corrupt governments for taking advantage of the poor and using them to make their products for practacilly nothing then go selling it for big bucks.

It was a crime then.. and unfortunately it's still happens now .

You can't fully blame India for allowing child labour when your favorite designer brand T-shirt was made there.

There are no excuses for that.
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Regards, Suzie.

#22 scipio

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:34 PM

Sorry Fraudian slip - the guy's name was Ter Meer and not Ter Hell

BASF's Website shows this History against 1939-45:

"The outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 forces a change to a war economy. With its synthetic products, in particular nitrogen, rubber and gasoline, IG Farben also becomes part of this autarkic, coercive system. During the war, many male employees are called up and replaced by women conscripts, prisoners of war and forced laborers from the occupied countries of Eastern Europe. Moreover, concentration camp inmates are put to work at IG Farben’s Buna factory in Auschwitz, commissioned on the orders of the German army high command in 1940."

A bit but not a lot better than Bayer.

These IG Farben companies include, Afga, Kalle, Ruhr Chemie Cassella, Wacker etc etc as well as Degussa (50% owner of the Zylon B Plant) and Sanofi- Aventis (joint company of Hoechst and a French pharmaceutical company), Ter Meer etc in fact just about the whole of the German Chemical Industry.

Unfortunately the Allies when they spilt up IG Farben failed to make these companies liable for any IG Farben debts.

Thus the rump of IG Farben still exists with (according to Wiki) £7 million assets - it has paid out £160K in damages to its victims but not one of the extremely successful successors (eg BASF is easily the largest chemical company in the World) have ever to my knowledge paid any compensation

- the largest compensation to any Concenteration camp victim has been US $7000.

#23 DocCasualty

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:53 AM

I really don't know anything about the site the following link is posted on, nor the validity of the info contained, but at least it quotes its sources. I just thought it was kind of interesting to get a glimpse at Hitler's and the Nazi Party's early backers and how some of those some names ultimately reaped some huge profits from that association. I'll stand by my earlier statement: " Whether it gets you elected, keeps you in that office or puts fuel in your machines of war, "Money makes the world go 'round, the world go 'round, the world go 'round. That clinking, clanking sound . . ."'


Who Financed Adolf Hitler?


The funding of Hitler and the Nazi movement has yet to be explored in exhaustive depth. The only published examination of Hitler's personal finances is an article by Oron James Hale, "Adolph Hitler: Taxpayer,1 which records Adolph's brushes with the German tax authorities before he became Reichskanzler, In the 1920s Hitler presented himself to the German tax man as merely an impoverished writer living on bank loans, with an automobile .bought on credit. Unfortunately, the original records used by Hale do not yield the source of Hitler's income, loans, or credit, and German law "did not require self-employed or professional persons to disclose in detail the sources of income or the nature of services rendered."2 Obviously the funds for the automobiles, private secretary Rudolf Hess, another assistant, a chauffeur, and expenses incurred by political activity, came from somewhere. But, like Leon Trotsky's 1917 stay in New York, it is hard to reconcile Hitler's known expenditures with the precise source of his income.

CHAPTER SEVEN: Who Financed Adolf Hitler?





"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederic II of Prussia
"In 9 months and 3 days of combat on the Continent the 949th FA Bn had fired 51,000 rounds of ammunition, approximately 2,550 tons." - Unit History


#24 Ken The Kanuck

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 03:53 PM

I'm down in Arizona visiting my Uncle who flew in WWII. We had a talk about Bayer, to this day he will not buy anything associated with Bayer. When I mentioned Mitsibischi (sp) he said that Bayer was far worse. He also mentioned that our governments were equally corrupt in their race to the locations where they could collect scientists to use in their own space and rocket/jet programs. These scientist were brought back and given a good life for assisting us in the Cold War.

On a side note we did a digital recording of our family history and his life including his service in WWII. He flew 30 or 31 missions in the Lancs and was part of the Dam Busters mission dropping "windows", continuous amounts in comparison to normal "windows" drops. Anyhow he said that the greatest mission he ever flew was to drop food to the starving Dutch people. He said that the true heroes of those missions were not the Lanc crews but the German and Allied staff which set up the cease fire to allow it to happen.

KTK
All that glitters is not gold and all those who wander are not lost.

#25 Ken The Kanuck

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 04:04 PM

Well my opinion is like this...anyone or any company that takes advantage of a political situation knowing crimes are being committed and people are getting killed, well in my opinion they are just as guilty. They had the oppertunity to leave nazi Germany like others did.. They chose to remain, therefore those companies were part of the problem.

it's no different than NIKE and Walt Disney using children in 3rd world countries to make their products. It's child labour and practically slavery. They are as guilty as the corrupt governments for taking advantage of the poor and using them to make their products for practacilly nothing then go selling it for big bucks.

It was a crime then.. and unfortunately it's still happens now .

You can't fully blame India for allowing child labour when your favorite designer brand T-shirt was made there.

There are no excuses for that.


Sunny,

Things are not always as clear as they appear when you you live here. I tend to reserve judgement on some matters such as child labour. I spent a considerable amount of time in India in the 70's and I remember telling an Indian friend that I wouldn't use the human drawn rickshaws that were in use at the time as I felt it was demeaning to use another human as an animal to ferry me around. He said to me that it was much more demeaning for him and his family to starve. Apparently those who pulled the rickshaws were on the bottom of the taxi heap and that's where they started hoping one day to own a motorcycle driven rickshaw and maybe even one day to move all the way up to owning a beater taxi cab. I used the human pulled rickshaws exclusively after that and took some turns pulling them. Believe it or not they pull quite easily with those big wheels. Still a dreadfully hard life when you think that they did it all day on very little food.

Now I have to wonder if the do-gooders in this world stop all child labour will the kids and there families starve? Without knowing the entire situation it is difficult to judge by our standards what is right.

KTK
All that glitters is not gold and all those who wander are not lost.




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