........................"When it comes to money, everyone is of the same Religion.....Voltaire 1
Purchasing the Third Reich
At the end of WWI, Germany was left destitute. What had once been a proud Prussian state, had decayed into a defeated nation with rocky economics and a far less sense of who they were than before the war. As the pre-Hitler Weimar Republic began to form in response to a desire for freedom and rebuilding, the economic state did not respond in kind: foreign lenders called in even short-term debts and the German government and the 'man-in-the-street' business person found it hard to stay afloat: the unstable economics causing many hardship left the foundling republic weak and fragmenting. It was into this crumbling arena that Hitler and his National Socialists walked, promising anything to anyone who would help them take control of the weak and failing German state.
We do not often like to think that the economy or financial state of a country would cause people to vote against conscience, just for a more comfortable life, but it happens often, even in western countries today.
Hitler took power, consolidated his strength in parliament, merged the offices of chancellor and president, both of which he then held, and proceeded with his plans for a Great German nation; one which would have pure Aryan bloodlines, a strong prosperous economy;German-owned and operated businesses and arts centers and strong law and order under one dictator. He had plans beyond which were only unveiled little by little on the German domestic front: a Master Race, the eradication of the Jewish people from Europe, eventual world domination and the erasure of the Christian religion. Knowing that much of this would not appeal initially to the populace, he focused on establishing his Third Reich reign, or what he hoped would be a new,1000 year reign characterized by the above. All this would require major funding. The governmental and party resources alone would not have nearly sufficed the massive plan and war effort needed to bring in the "Third Reich". Below are described the major sources of funding which enabled the National Socialists, or Nazis to gain and keep control of Germany.
Where Did the Money Come From?
Traditional Governmental resources are known to all. Property and Sales taxes, taxes on Wills, income taxes and so on provide funding to carry out local state, and federal projects. These fundsalso contributed to the rise of the Third Reich. Since Hitler believed that the Military should be 'politicized', or in other words made a part of the Nazi party and not just as an arm of Germany, military funding contributed as well.5 Hitler also ran massive campaigns on the homefront to put every available worker to work to replace jobs left vacant by those in the Wehrmacht. Germans were also encourage to help fund the war effort by restrictions on luxuries which required petroleum in production. Nylons, certain foods, expensive cars and so forth were frowned upon on the domestic front, although for a long time into the war, the ownership and purchase of these items by the well-to-do was tolerated.
II.Foreign Government Support
Germany was not alone in her war effort to dominate Europe and erase Jewish life and bloodlines. Foreign government support was traditional, especially from Italy, but also later in the war from Japan. Much of the funds that were of foreign origin were not willingly given but were confiscated: (see occupied territories). The Axis powers of Italy, Japan and a few others, formed alliances for military support, but each had different agendas. At the end of the war, more than monetary aid, the open doors of flight were more important to ranking Nazis: countries such as Argentina and others permitted clandestine emigration to fleeing officials including Eichmann, Mengele and Raeder. Much to our disgrace, factions supporting Hitler in the US supported the efforts of the Reich openly until our entry into the war following Pearl Harbor. There was strong political and financial support for Hitler in the American German community, as the 'bunds' or German community groups in this country emulated the nordic pride of similar groups in Europe. A surprising resource were many American Corporation executives. Wall Street, always interested in profit, saw opportunity in the rising Reich. The Dulles-Bush controversy (see link below on Wall Street) stems from prominent American businessmen investing at the time.
III.Vatican Funding:Unlikely Source?
It may seem that the Catholic Church based in Rome,would never fund war because of its doctrinal stances on peace. The Catholic church, though, far from being only a religious organization is a political organization dating back centuries. For a complete discussion see
While there were those among the Catholics, including local priests and Bishops who took strong stands against Hitler and the war, even to martyrdom, there were forces inside the Vatican that not only aided in funding the Third Reich, but also aided in advisory capacities.6 In a supposed neutrality, Pope Pius XI kept quiet on much that happened. Documents surfacing 50 and 60 years later show that the Vatican Bank had an active roll in laundering Nazi holdings and circumventing records on Jewish funds and gold. At the end of the war, even Vatican documents note what has become known as a 'ratline' in which the Vatican used their neutrality to help key officials in the 3rd Reich escape with confiscated wealth to open countries, usually with strong political ties to the Catholic Church, including Argentina and other South American ports. Vatican ties to the Reich came not only from political support but from opposition to intrusions of communism. The Nazis and the Catholic Church had a schizophrenic relationship: at one with each other towards the agenda of each, and opposed to each other in their ultimate goals. The blurring of lines of allegiance during the Shoah, in which everyone made a grab for as much power and wealth as possible, leads to the confusing historical picture today. Catholics opposed the evangelicals of the day, Catholics stood with the Nazis, the Nazis left the Catholic Church mostly alone except for outspoken critics, the Nazis engaged in business and coverups with the Catholics as well as planned escapes, and yet the Nazis and the Vatican both planned each other's ultimate overthrow. The Chaos of the war left everyone in utter greed and imperialism.
IV.Private Sector Contributions
Persons who believe in war, help to fund wars. Many have private business interests, or would profit from a war, others may choose to fund a cause or view: this was no exception in Shoah. One of the most surprising sources of fundings came from American Wall Street Corporation interests who saw the Nazis not as the war criminals they became, but as European interests fighting communism. Their funding and business support however did facilitate the war effort of Hitler and the National Socialists. Some of the names might be surprising: George Bush's Grandfather, was a funder raising the Bush-Dulles controversy, Ford, who promoted Nazi views aided financially and other American Companies such Bayer may have funded partially the Concentration Camp medical experiments so infamous now.note2 Standard Oil held 94% of the shares in a German Company affiliated with I.G. Farben, the factory profitting most from slave labor at Auschwitz, [and makers of Zyklon-B], and companies such as Ford and Mercedes-Benz, developed not only a massive 'vehicle' industry for Germany, including everything from volkswagens to tanks, but streamlining production with auto-industry technology. The truth is, the Third Reich had not only many supporters but fund-raisers who backed Hitler, through patterns which were well-known. Meetings between Ruhr Industrialists, and American 'Capitalists' and funders are well documented10: the Ruhr Industrialists helped put Hitler in power in 1933 and were formidable in arms and weaponry manufacturing. DeHomag, the German 'affiliate' or arm of the IBM corporation continued to do business with the Reich long after the war began and even after the U.S. entered the war in violation of the Trading With The Enemy Act of 1917 and 1933. Part of the problem with TWEA, is that while it is restrictive and allows executive power to stop US Businesses from trading with those whom we are at war with, it is also somewhat discretionary, including the language 'may' instead of must. note-TWEAMany others were involved and corporations and private sector contributors must be held accountable for what they knew. Since we now know that many of the companies were not just aware of the conditions including the Killing Centers, but were in fact using slave labor, materials and even more, corporate responsiblity has become even more of an issue in today's world and the etiology of genocide, since many of the same corporations or their progeny continue to conduct business in the same way today.
V.Spoils of War: The Robbery of Occupied Territories
As mentioned in another section, Hitler saw the conquer of Europe to Germany's distinct advantage. It would not only provide "Living Space" but would also provide natural and man-made resources for the benefit of what he saw as the superior German citizen. When countries or territories were conquered or occupied, this is indeed what happened. (Lebensraum), When the Ukraine was taken ,one of the few areas of Europe with adequate food and grain supplies, the local populations in the area received less, and the caloric and nutritive food intake of the Reich went up. (See Ukraine Feeds Germany) Confiscated spoils of war went almost entirely into the betterment of the German life-style or into the war effort. Germany had a definitive parasitic relationship with its occupied territories. (According to Goebbels own reports.)
VI.Confiscation of Property/Insurance Premiums & Bank Accounts
The Germans saw one immediate use for the Jews in the Third Reich: slave labor to build the New Reich, and a draw for the resources of the Reich from the personal and business holdings of the Jews. The robbery of Jewish citizenship rights accomplished the ability to do this neatly. Early confiscations of property were more circuitous: many families were cheated out of their possessions using the courts due the new 'guest' status of the Jews-they could not exercise civil procdures to stop unfair confiscations. As the Jews were ghettoized, familes could take only a small portion of what they owned for small living quarters. Further, unless the family business was located within the limits of the ghetto, families often left business assets which quickly confiscated by the Nazis. By the time the trains began to roll in massive deportations to the Killing Centers, the Jews of the Ghettos were instructed to take only what they could carry, and limitations were put on size and weight of items and luggage. These items were immediately confiscated on deboarding and 'processed' for the war effort although the Jews were falsely promised they would get them back. (In Drancy, for example, they were given a receipt, which was meaningless.) While the Jews were in exile, bank accounts, stockholdings, and other financial investments were confiscated by the Reich as a recompense. After Krystallnacht , in 1938, the Jews were required to file for insurance claims on their damaged, looted buildings, and then the amount of restitutions had to be turned over to the State. In short, all property and financial holdings of the Jews were essentially gone by the end of the war and turned over either to German Citizens or the Reich: a few returned after the war to find others living in homes which had been in their families for years and others had taken over businesses and bank accounts. Survival did not mean freedom for the Jews, but only a different kind of captivity.
VII.Excessive Emigration Taxes on Jews
Early in the war and pre-war period, in addition to losing citizenship privileges, the Jews were the subject of spurious fines , penalties and other financial 'punishments' all of which helped to fund the Reich and later the war effort. As ghettoization and deportation began to occur confiscated property became substantial: businesses, homes, lavish luxuries, antiques, art collections, private collections and so forth were added to the coffers of the Third Reich. In some cases, this property was given to private German citizens as favors for help to the Reich, in other cases it was added to the personal wealth of those in Hitler's Inner circle. Massive attributes such as historical art collections which had once belonged to the Jews were added to national archives of stored and hidden. Banking assets were used to arm German soldiers and fund the war. Even in Krystallnacht, Jews were required to repair their own damages, file for insurance claims and turn the entire amount over to the Reich as 'reparative damages'. One of the most insidious mechanisms of funding was excessive emigration taxes on the Jews wishing to leave the country. Most Jews who were able to flee Germany and occupied territories were either persons of means or persons of reknown with connections in other countries. In addition to obtaining necessary papers, Jews were required to pay excessive taxes for the reports and paperwork allowing them out of the country. As if that were not enough, they were required to exchange their monies in Germany not abroad where they could obtain market value. Because of the rate the Germans required of the Jews, the Jews retained less than 10 to 20% of the value of the assets they were allowed to take out of Germany: and that amount was only a proportion of their actual assets.*Swiss Banks, helped both the Jews and Nazis early in the war, but later, the Banks known for their neutrality may have helped the National Socialist 'adjust' funds and records. One of the men tried at Nuremberg was questioned in depth about aiding in the transition of funds, even to the point of storing gold from teeth extracted without cause from prisoners in the Killing Centers. All was for the "War Effort.
VIII.Processing of Human "Resources"
One of the first and foremost 'resources' that the Nazis harnessed was Jewish slave labor. Not unlike their distant predecessors of the Egyptians, Hitler and Speer saw the advantage of free Jewish labor to mine the quarries and build the New Germany. Jews were used in armament production (such as at Mittelbau-Dora) * or in mining and factory work such as at Auschwitz and Mauthausen.* In Austria, Jewish slave labor was often exploited and 'leased' to local businesses and factories. Prisoners of War were used to make everything from clothing and personal items to shell casings for the Nazis. Jews in Auschwitz were even used as forced labor in the I.G. Farben factory, a chemicals manufacturer which had a branch there: they manufactured pesticides including the deadly Zyklon B used in the gas chambers. Other companies such as Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen employed slave labor. Jewish labor was so exploited, that Jews were not even kept in health or alive for the arduous backbreaking work: they were merely replaced when they were no longer expedient. Some were shot as they worked for the most minor offenses, or working too slow. Speer and others masterminded efficient production lines which were accounted as having prolonged the war at the expense of crimes against humanity.
Perhaps the most devastating processing of human resources came in the camps. The Jews were used much as we use cattle: the gold in their teeth was melted and processed and shipped as bollion back to the Reich. Their hair was made into hemp/rope for army use. Their skin, even and fat of the victims was processed into leather and lard for soap. Some victims were even selected ahead of time for their shape and size for purposeful deaths so that their skeletons might be processed and used in University Anatomy labs.(They were selected at Auschwitz, processed at Nazweiler) . The merchandising of the Jews down to the most desparate loss has gone down in history as one of the greatest and cruelest crimes against humanity ever know. All assets went to the war effort.
note2Over the past sixty years, the involvement of western business interests in funding Hitler and even the Atrocities has become more and more apparent: some companies directly funded the war effort, others increased and cooperated with German business interests, some used slave labor from the camps which could be 'purchased' from the Nazis: companies such as I.G. Farben, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Bayer, and many local factories near the camps benefited greatly from the "Final Solution". Big business always has a hand in war, but the worst side of human hubris and avarice manifested itself during the Shoah. Candles Memorial Museum, a museum in Indiana founded by and for survivors of the Nazi medical experiments, has recently exposed the funding sources of American corporations for medical 'research" grants in Auschwitz and other camps which literally funded the bizarre and cruel research on prisoners.
A Modern History of Germany