Corporate Looting


Whilst the Poles and the soldiers of the allied nations were fighting on various fronts of war, German, Swiss, American, British corporations and banks were supplying the war machine harvesting profits. The main suppliers and beneficiaries were: I.G. Farben, the giant chemical cartel consisting of BASF, Bayer, Hoechst, Cassella and Kalle, Agfa, Greisham, and Weiler-terMer which produced a wide range of chemical products necessary in the armaments production; Friedrich Krupp AG, the largest armaments producer delivering artillery, naval guns, armor plate, munitions and other armaments as well as U-boats; Vereinigte Stahlwerke, the large conglomerate comprising several companies including Thyssen AG, which produced steel, iron and coal products; Röchling Group which produced steel; German General Electric (AEG) which provided electricity and Siemens which produced electronics; Messerschmitt, Junkers, Focke-Wulf, Heinkel, Dornier which manufactured aircraft fighters; BMW which supplied armaments and aero engines;324 Daimler (Mercedes) which produced armaments items such as armoured vehicles, trucks, and aircraft engines;325 Auto Union (today Audi), which produced tanks and aircraft engines;326 Volkswagenwerk which produced advanced Panzer tanks; mines and an all-terrain vehicle that came to be known as the Kübelwagen ("bucket-seat car"), among many others.327 Günther Quandt (whose family now owns BMW) supplied batteries to Krupp's submarines and to long-range missiles; fashion designer Hugo Boss supplied Nazi Party and the German Army with uniforms;328 German food company Dr Oetker, provided food to the army kitchens.329 These are just examples of the companies and individuals who financed the Nazi-German war machine.

During the Second World War virtually all sectors of German economy and industry, many of which had been built with an input from the German-Jewish community, engaged in supporting Nazi-German war machine benefiting from government contracts and exploitation of slave labour. The key player was I.G. FARBEN cartel which knew in advance of every German invasion in Europe preparing their own plans of taking over enemy's chemical plants. Near the German Auschwitz camp, the biggest concentration camp set up by Nazi-Germans in German-occupied Poland, I.G. Farben built another labour camp - Auschwitz III (Monowitz) - and leased prisoners from Auschwitz to work at their new plant Buna Werke, which was used to manufacture the synthetic rubber (Buna) and synthetic oil. A total of 47 Auschwitz sub-camps and external labour details were set up between 1942 and 1944 in German occupied Poland to exploit prisoners as slave labour. Most of the sub-camps were attached to German industrial plants or farms.330 Many camp SS physicians tested new drugs on prisoners and carried out medical experiments and surgeries acting on behalf of I.G. Farben with view to advance German pharmacological, medical and chemical industry.331 The prisoners were stripped of their gold jewellery or dental implants, which were then smelted down and cast into gold bars by German firm Deutsche Gold und Silber Scheideanstalt, known in short as “Degussa” (present-day Evonik Industries), which had its own smelter at Auschwitz concentration camp.332 After Wansee Conference of January 1942, when high ranking Nazi officials decided on extermination of the entire Jewish population in Europe, Auschwitz II Birkenau served as place for extermination of the Jews, among other extermination camps that were built in German-occupied Poland. Jews and people of other nationalities including Poles, Roma or Soviet prisoners of war, were taken to gas chambers and murdered with the use of Zyklon B. A cyanide-based pesticide Zykon B, invented by the German-Jewish scientist Fritz Haber, was delivered by Degesch, in which Degussa and I.G. Farben had shares. German Insurance Company, Allianz provided life insurance for the Nazi officials and insured barracks and other properties in the concentration camps.333 It played its part in the looting by refusing to pay life insurance claims to its Jewish clients granting the proceeds to the Nazi Germans instead.334

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324 324Ray Massey, “German Car Giant BMW apologies for its wartime past, admitting its 'profound regret' for supplying Nazis with vehicles and using slave labourers”, Daily Mail, 7 March 2016 »

325 Herbert Mitgang, “Books of the Times; Daimler-Benz and its Nazi History”, The New York Times, 23 August 1990 »

326 Toi Staff, “German car maker reveals its past”, The Times of Israel, 27 May 2014 »

327 Dietmar Hawranek, “Porsche and Volkswagen's Nazi Roots”, Spiegel Online, 21 July 2009 »

328 Damien Flecher, “Nazi links of Dr Oetker revealed for first time in book by pizza firm's chairman”, Mirror, 18 October 2013; »

329 The Associated Press, “Hugo Boss Acknowledges Links to Nazi Regime”, New York Times, 15 August 1997 »

330 Further reading: Piotr Setkiewicz, The History of the IG Farben Werk Auschwitz Camps, 1941-1945 (Oświęcim: Państwowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau w Oświęcimiu, 2006) »

331 See Spitz, Vivien, Spitz, Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans (Sentient Publications, 2005) or Posner, The Pharmacist of Auschwitz: The Untold Story (Tantor Audio, 2017) »

332 Dunstan & Williams, Grey Wolf, p. 47 »

333 Greg Steinmetz, “New Information Reveals Allianz Insured Nazi Camps”, Wall Street Journal, 3 June 1997 »

334 Gerald D. Feldman, Die Allianz und die Deutsche Versicherungwirtschaft 1933-1945 (Munich: C.H. Beck, 2001), p. 92 or Gerald D. Feldman, Allianz and the German Insurance Business, 1933-1945 (Cambridge University Press; 2001) »