Blatant Hypocrisy

The purpose of this post is to highlight the blatant hypocrisy we see today from corporations and their owners. When the Nazi party was terrorizing foreign streets from 1933-1945 they received a ton of help/business from a long list of Americans and wealthy individuals. Today those same companies act as if they’re all for human rights. On Nov. 7, 1997, German court ruling changed the German law that previously barred forced laborers from filing claims against private corporations. This was followed by numerous lawsuits against major corporations. Check out the list below to see who contributed to the Nazi party and what their contributions were. Most of the companies listed never apologized for their actions while the Nazi party was thriving.


Adidas

Adidas founders Adi and Rudi Dassler were members of the Nazi party. The brand was launched in the 1920’s but they joined the Nazi Party during the same year as Hitler (1933).


The Associated Press

When Germany rose to power during 1933 they applied pressure to many international news organizations and in result a Nazi Government Editor’s Law was signed into effect. This law mandated that all journalists had to be Aryan descent and all Jews couldn’t work for any news organization. There were also strict rules on who could publish information. At the time most international news organizations withdrew from Germany but the Associated Press stayed. By 1935 the Associated Press office in Germany was under the control of the Nazi Party. During 2017 the Associated Press released a statement to address their cooperation with the Nazi Party. They claim their cooperation is justified because it allowed them to provide news to the rest of the world.


Audi

Audi, formerly known as Auto Union AG used slave laborers from Nazi concentration camps during WWII. Audi signed an agreement with the Soviet Union to produce vehicles with an alarming amount of slave laborers. A 500 page report from historians Martin Kukowski and Rudolf Boch revealed that around 3,700 inmates from Nazi concentration camps were ordered to work at Audi plants. A total of 7 labor camps were built and another 16,500 laborers were ordered to work in the Zwickau + Chemnitz plants. The worst plant was the Bavaria plant. This location had 18,000 laborers with more than 4,000 plant deaths on record. If you were injured at the factory or unable to work when you arrive at your assigned plant you were sent to the nearest concentration camp to be executed. In the end a total of slave laborers 38,200 slave laborers worked for Audi. The company allegedly paid millions to a fund set up by the German auto industry to compensate Nazi slave laborers and their descendants but I had an extremely hard time finding any record of this.


Bayer

Bayer started as an independent company but by the 1930’s they were under a German chemical company named IG Farben. The chemical company helped the Nazi party in a few ways ranging from creating the gas (Zyklon B) used in gas chambers and other weapons. Similar to Audi there were slave laborers assigned to Bayer plants. At the end of WWII the chemical company dissolved and all of their directors were put on trial for war crimes. Only 13 out of 24 were arraigned and all 24 directors were released early. The directors went on to serve new corporations. During 1995 Bayer apologized for their role in the Holocaust and their ties to the Nazi party.


BMW

The majority shareholders (Quandt family) were close friends with Hitler and the Nazi party. A 1,200 page report from German historian Joachim Scholtyseck revealed that during Hitler’s run the Quandt family used Nazi prisoners for slave labor. Around 50,000 Nazi prisoners worked for BMW and the Quandt family. A large amount of the prisoners died from terrible working conditions, avoidable accidents, neglect and execution. The family also profited from the Aryanization Program. The purpose of the program was to seize property from Jews. Because of the great relationship the Quandt family had with Hitler and the Nazi party they were able to acquire dozens of seized Jewish businesses.

10 Famous Companies That Collaborated With Nazi Germany
Hitler touring a BMW plant in Munich in 1935. New York Post

Chanel

Fashion icon Chanel Coco was in a long relationship with Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage (Nazi intelligence officer). Before Chanel met Baron she visited family in Günther, France during the spring of 1940 and learned that her nephew André who was a soldier in the French army at the time had been captured then sent to a camp in Germany. After finding this out she went to Paris on a mission to free her nephew. This is when Chanel conveniently entered a relationship with Baron. During her time with him she met numerous high rank Nazi’s and other political figures like the Prince of Wales Winston Churchill. By the end of 1941 Chanel was well connected and well respected. Her connections eventually turned into her becoming a spy for the Nazi’s with the registered agent number of F-7124 and code name “Westminster”. Chanel went on a trip to England with prominent Abwehr (Nazi intelligence) agent Baron Louis de Vaufreland. Aside from obtaining information from colleagues the main goal of the trip/mission was to deliver economic and political information to certain individuals. According to a book written by Hal Vaughn titled “Sleeping with the Enemy” Chanel went to dinner with British diplomat Brian Wallace on this trip. Fast forward to 1943 when enemies began closing in on the Nazi’s Chanel’s boyfriend Baron Hans Günther von Dincklage received a call from high rank Nazi’s and was told to leave Paris immediately but most importantly without Chanel. A few months later Chanel was arrested by the French government and questioned for hours about her relationship with Baron. Due to lack of evidence and her relationship with politicians she was eventually released. Still to this day there’s no public record of anyone questioning Chanel Coco about her relationship and ties to the Nazi party.


Chase

Chase National Bank (formerly known as Chase Manhattan, now J.P. Morgan Chase) helped the Nazi party raise more than $20M between 1936-1941. The bank earned $1.2M in commission for their efforts. At the time all of the money paid out via commission came from Jews who had their fortune(s) stolen and the bank was well aware of this. Due to German currency being banned the Nazi party also used Chase to convert German currency to other currencies that were accepted. During 1940 the FBI found out about the German scam (selling stolen Rueckwanderer to Americans through Chase) and started an investigation. Surprisingly Chase and all of the top executives avoided federal prosecution even though they blatantly violated the Johnson Debt Act of 1939, Espionage Act of 1917 & Foreign Agents Act of 1938. The lawyer representing Chase was a former U.S. Attorney from the same FBI division that conducted the investigation. He threatened to release FBI, Army & Navy methods to the public, this is what got Chase off the hook. Fast forward to 1998, Chase ended up in more legal trouble after a lawsuit was filed against them and Citibank. The terms of this lawsuit included reparations and public apologies to the victims of Nazi slave labor + theft. When Nazi records were provided they showed a life expectancy of 9 months for slave laborers. They also revealed precise accounting for the cost of leasing, feeding & housing slave laborers. During their assignment laborers worked 12hrs/day and were beaten by guards to increase productivity despite the lack of food + clothing. There’s no public record of how much was paid to slave laborers and their descendants however the lawsuit demanded $75,000 per victim. The estimated number of victims and descendants was 2 Million at the time of the lawsuit and only cover survivors from New York, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, Canada + Israel. Payments were distributed in small increments of $200/month. As expected Chase tried to get money back from the victims with their wire transfer fees. This made the victims battle with Chase yet again and in the end the wire transfer fees were waived. Chase never mentioned how much money they converted for the Nazi’s and they refused to name the other financial institutions involved. A few quotes from Chase CEO (William Harrison Jr.) statement to address the lawsuit and any other concerns the public may have are listed below.

“We are sad to learn and deeply troubled about the involvement of one of our predecessor banks in a program that benefited Germany during that period,”

“We have a responsibility to make this information public and wish to express our sincere apologies to the Jewish community and to the American public.”

“Chase does not, however, intend to make financial reparations for the role it played in aiding Hitler and the Nazis.”


Ford

Henry Ford was friends with Hitler and fully supported the Nazi party. The feelings were mutual enough for Ford to receive Germany’s highest honor. Similar to Audi, Bayer, BMW + more there were Nazi slave laborers working at Ford factories. The estimated number of workers is 1,200. According to A U.S Army report by investigator Henry Schneider dated Sept. 5, 1945 the German branch of Ford was serving as an arsenal of Nazism with the consent of the parent company in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford was sued during 1998 for their involvement with the Nazi party and the treatment of slave laborers. The lawsuit mentioned Hitler giving Henry Ford a gift of $50,000 marks on Ford’s 75th birthday in 1938, workers making 60% of the Nazi military vehicles at a factory in Cologne, and highlighted an “anti-semitic” pamphlet titled The International Jew which was released by Henry Ford. The outcome of the lawsuit is unknown. Documents revealed in court from German + American archives showed that American managers of Ford gave consent to covert their German factories to produce military vehicles for the Nazi party while ignoring calls from the Roosevelt Administration. A few quotes from Ford representative statement to address the lawsuit and any other concerns the public may have are listed below.

“The company is taking the suit very seriously and had hired additional archivists to search company records to find answers to questions raised.”

“historians and existing records report that the plant was under Nazi control during the war and was not returned to Ford control until after the war.”


GM

Similar to Audi, Bayer, BMW + more there were Nazi slave laborers working at GM factories. According to a report from the FBI dated July 23, 1941, James Mooney (GM director) stated that he refuse to take any action that might make Hitler mad. James also had discussions with Hitler 2 weeks after Germany invaded Poland and was involved with the conversion of an existing factory in Germany. The factory was renovated to be a production site for engines and other parts needed for one of the Nazi’s key weapons (the Wunderbomber). Reports also revealed the former minister of war production in Nazi Germany claimed that the rubber provided by GM was extremely important and helped the Nazi party battle during the war. GM was sued during 1998 for their involvement with the Nazi party and the treatment of slave laborers. Documents revealed in court from German + American archives showed that American managers of GM gave consent to covert their German factories to produce military vehicles for the Nazi party while ignoring calls from the Roosevelt Administration. The outcome of the lawsuit is unknown.


Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss joined the Nazi party during 1931 and made monthly donations to the Schutzstaffel. With his status he was able to get a contract to design and produce Nazi uniforms from 1933-1946. Around 140 Nazi slave laborers were assigned to Hugo Boss factories during 1940 to fulfill large orders and meet the Nazi demand for uniforms. Former Nazi slave laborer recalls the people there being worked to death or being sent to Auschwitz and Buchenwald to be killed. In 1999 Hugo Boss contributed to a fund that compensated former Nazi slave laborers.

10 Famous Companies That Collaborated With Nazi Germany

IBM

IBM supplied the Nazi party with the technology needed to efficiently identify Jews and record the transport to and from concentration/extermination camps. Company president Thomas Watson traveled to Germany during 1933 to oversee the creation of new technology and flow of funds for their German subsidiary Dehomag. This subsidiary was awarded a contract from Germany to carry out a nationwide census. IBM was never held accountable for their cooperation with and contributions to the Nazi party. The company allegedly paid $3 Million to a fund set up by Germany to compensate Nazi slave laborers and their descendants but I had an extremely hard time finding any record of this.

Tom Watson, Sr. meets with Adolf Hitler - CHM Revolution
Thomas Watson (IBM CEO) meeting with Hitler during 1937. © The Associated Press

Kodak

Kodak conducted business with the Nazi party by selling and buying large amounts of photographic equipment. The company also had a great relationship with Wilhelm Keppler (Hitler’s financial advisor). Similar to the other companies on this list Kodak used around 250 Nazi slave laborers in their German factories. Kodak allegedly paid $500,000 to a fund set up by Germany to compensate Nazi slave laborers and their descendants but I had an extremely hard time finding any record of this.


Mercedez Benz

According to a study released in 1987 Mercedez Benz used around 46,000 Nazi slave laborers in their German factories. A large amount of the prisoners died from terrible working conditions, avoidable accidents, neglect and execution. Mercedez paid $11.4M since the 1980’s to organizations representing Holocaust victims and their descendants. The company went as far as saying they’ll pay even more restitution to Holocaust victims and their descendants if Germany joined them in a fund with BMW. Germany eventually declined due to them already paying more than $57 Billion in various forms of compensation to Holocaust victims and their descendants.


Porsche

Porsche used around 300 Nazi slave laborers in their German factories. A large amount of the prisoners died from terrible working conditions, avoidable accidents, neglect and execution. The company denied the accusations and said they only used 50 Nazi slave laborers. During 1999 Porsche paid $5,300 to 7 former Nazi slave laborers and set up a fund of $5.2 Million to compensate Holocaust victims and their descendants.

10 Famous Companies That Collaborated With Nazi Germany
Ferdinand Porsche demonstrating a Volkswagen to Hitler in 1938. Flickr

Volkswagen

When Hitler decided the Nazi party should develop a car Volkswagen was founded. Volkswagen used around 15,000 Nazi slave laborers in their German factories. To speed up production the company built the Arbeitsdorf concentration camp near one of their factories. A large amount of the prisoners died from terrible working conditions, avoidable accidents, neglect and execution. During 1998 Volkswagen set up a $12 Million to compensate Nazi slave laborers and their descendants.

10 Famous Companies That Collaborated With Nazi Germany
Evolution of the VW logo, from its initial winged swastika theme, to today. Madisyn Drum

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