Friedrich Flick was another who walked out the doors of Landsberg Prison, along with Krupp. Flick was found guilty of one account of using slave labor at Nuremberg. For the most part the judges at Nuremberg were poorly qualified and hostile to the prosecution. The hostility of the judges to the prosecution was readily apparent in the trial of the industrialists. Three judges ruled that the director and owner of a corporation should not be held accountable for slavery and looting by his companies, unless the prosecution could prove he personally ordered each particular crime to be carried out. Such an erroneous ruling set up a defense of necessity, the corporate equivalent of acting under orders.
Amazingly, the legal precedent left by this ruling is that a nineteen year old soldier can be found guilty of war crimes for following orders but the head of a corporation employing thousands of slaves cannot be. There were also a couple of factors besides unqualified judges that contributed to such a bad decision.
First, the judges brought their own prejudices with them to Germany. The sad state of United States corporate law has left corporate directors and owners virtually immune from prosecution regardless of the severity of the crime. No corporate executive in the United States was ever been tried for the death of an employee or consumer of the product regardless of the severity of the crime or the complicity of the executive. The judges had obviously brought along such beliefs.
Secondly, a state of panic was already emerging over the evils of communism and the prosecution was constrained to frame their prosecution as the crimes of individuals and not an attack on capitalism in order to avoid charges of socialism and communism.
Flick like Krupp was another steel and coal baron who employed roughly 48,000 slave laborers from the concentration camps. An estimated eighty-percent of these workers died. Between 1929 and 1932 Flick donated money to several right wing parties including 50,000 Reich Marks to the Nazis. In 1935, Flick joined Himmler’s Circle and in 1937 joined the Nazi Party. Between 1936 and 1944, Flick contributed 100,000 Reich marks annually to Himmler’s Circle.
Upon his release, Flick immediately sat about rebuilding his empire. By 1955, Flick owned over 100 corporations including a forty- percent share of Daimler-Benz AG. He was reportedly the richest man in Germany and the fifth richest man in the world. Upon his death in 1972, Flick left over a billion dollars to his son. The slave laborers have yet to receive any compensation from Flick.
The story of Flick does not end with his death or his legacy of unpaid slave laborers. While rebuilding his empire, Flick cultivated and rebuilt his political connections following his release from prison. That influence extends to the present. In 1975, his son sold a 29 percent share in Daimler Benz incurring a huge capital gain taxable under German law unless the profit was reinvested in before the end of 1978 in projects judged by the government to be 'especially beneficial to the national economy.' Although the son invested over half the money in the United States acquiring a 29 percent share in Grace Chemical, he was granted tax-exempt status.
One of the beneficiaries of Flick’s was the Christian Democratic Party and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Former Nazis including Flick contributed handsomely to the Christian Democrats following the war. It is quite possible if the Allies had not relented in the 4Ds program Kohl may never have rose to power. In 1972, the old leader of the Christian Democrats, Rainer Barzel stepped down. After leaving politics Barzel accepted a lucrative post at a Frankfurt law firm. Barzel managed to earn $700,000 in legal fees from the Flick Group for what Der Spiegel depicted as phantom services. Barzel’s choice for a successor was none other than Helmut Kohl. Kohl has admitted to accepting payments totaling $53,000 from the Flick group during the years1977-79. The German press, however, reports the sums were four times larger.
In the case of Flick, there is no question he was a Nazi war criminal who exerted his power soon after leaving prison to influence the shape and policies of the post war government of Germany. There is no question of Flick’s guilt of employing slave labor. There is no question that Flick refused to pay the victims in his slave labor camps restitution. Yet, within the space of less than ten years following the war he was a force behind the scenes in Germany’s politics. One can only wonder who won the war
Flick’s connections went far beyond the new German government extending as far as the White House through the Bush family. On March 19, 1934 the New York Times reported the Polish government was fighting against American and German stockholders who controlled the Upper Silesian Coal and Steel Company. The Times reported further that the company had been accused of mismanagement, excessive borrowing, fictitious bookkeeping and gambling in securities. In December, warrants had been issued for several directors accused of tax evasion. They were German and fled to Germany for sanctuary. They had been replaced with Poles. Flick retaliated by restricting credits until the new Polish directors were unable to pay the workmen regularly. The Times noted that two-thirds of company’s stock was owned by Flick and the other third was owned by US interests.
The owner of the US interest was none other than the Harriman Fifteen Corporation (HFC). President of this American corporation was George Walker, Prescott Bush’s father-in-law. The sole directors of Harriman Fifteen were Prescott Bush and Averell Harriman. Harriman also served as chairman of Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation. The holdings of Brown Brothers & Harriman of Consolidated Silesian were a small part of a larger partnership between Brown Brothers & Harriman and the German Steel Trust. The relationship between Brown Brothers & Harriman and the German Steel Trust was established through Thyssen in the 1920s. Flick was a major co-owner of the trust. The German Steel Trust was also one of the most generous donors to Hitler and his SS and SA before 1932. Additionally the Steel Trust figured prominently in the appointment of Hitler as chancellor. Prescott Bush and George Walker supervised the partnership between the Trust and Brown Brothers & Harrriman. This relationship extended to Union Banking, which made Prescott and Walker bankers for the Trust. Union Banking was seized from Prescott Bush during the war for trading with the Nazis.
The relationship of Brown Brothers & Harriman with the German Steel Trust extended across the sea to England. Brown Brothers was an English firm that had merged with Harriman’s firm after the stock market crash of 1929. In England, it continued to operate under its traditional name of Brown Shipley. Brown Brothers had a tradition that served it well in supporting Hitler. During the Civil War Brown Brothers were renown for their ships running the blockade and transporting cotton from the south to England.
In 1931, the Governor of the Bank of England was Montagu Collet Norman, grandson of the boss of Brown Brothers during the Civil War. Norman was known as the most avid of Hitler's supporters within British ruling circles. When the head of the Bank of England visited New York, he always stayed at the home of Prescott Bush. The Bush family dealings with the Nazis were extensive. A total of 23 corporations associated with Prescott Bush were seized from him during and after the war for trading with the enemy. Much of the Bush wealth came from the Nazis.
Thyssen was never charged at Nuremberg. However a German court later found him guilty and seized fifteen percent of his empire for reparations to the slave laborers he employed during the war. By the 1970s, Thyssen had reassembled a considerable empire spanning the globe. In the United States, Thyssen Inc was headquartered at 1114 in the W.R. Grace & Company building. Another holding of Thyssen's was Indian Head located at 1200 Avenue of the Americas, New York City. Indian Head was a wide ranging conglomerate, with 42 plants in the United States and annual sales of $604 million. One holding of Indian Head was Peerless Pumps purchased in 1970. Another was Budd Manufacturing purchased for $275 million in cash. By buying in cash there was no SEC reports to file. Indeed both Thyssen Inc and Indian Head are not required to file SEC reports because they are privately held. Indian Head has since changed its name to Thyssen-Borrnemiza.
Following the war, the government of Germany vehemently denied the guilt of the war criminals, particularly that of the industrialists. The government was not alone in its denial; German business leaders were at the forefront in proclaiming German businesses innocent of collaborating with the Nazis. During the Cold War, only a few pamphlets and publications condemned the return of the Nazi industrialists. The corporations hired journalists and historians to flood the markets worldwide with material exonerating their corporations and placing the full blame on the Nazi leadership. The bulk of the material produced was nothing short of a whitewash. This propaganda blitz fits the Nazi’s plan previously presented.
The control former Nazi businessmen exerted over the press came almost immediately after the war. In 1949, the autobiography written by Richard Willstätter, a Jewish Nobel Prize-winning chemist was published posthumously. Willstätter had fled Nazi Germany in 1939 and wrote his autobiography in exile in Switzerland. He included a short passage critical of the anti-Semitic remarks made by Carl Duisberg, the founder of I.G. Farben when Willstatter resigned from the University of Munich in 1924.
The short passage was unremarkable and would have passed through history unnoticed by all except for a few scholars if executives from Bayer had not intervened. Bayer was part of I.G. Farben. Heinrich Hörlein, a Bayer director and retired executive launched an all out attack besmirching the reputation of Willstätter and promoting the reputations of Carl Duisberg and Bayer. Horlein had found himself in the dock at Nuremberg but was acquitted. For a short term, an open debate persisted in Germany over the culpability of the German chemical industry and war crimes. Bayer and Horlein soon prevailed. The publisher under pressure agreed to delete the short passage in all future additions and the English translation.
German corporations still protect their image in the most ruthless fashion. Twenty-three years after the publishing of Willstatter’s autobiography another controversy arosed. In 1972, F. C. Delius, a German satirist published a mock history of Siemens, coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the company's founding. Delius’s book was not immediately recognized as a satire. Within a month, Siemens took action against the publisher. After three years of legal procedures a provincial appeals court in Stuttgart ruled that several of the book's claims, including the Auschwitz assertion, were false, and ruled that Delius's ideas, despite being presented as satire, were damaging to Siemens. In the settlement reached both parties agreed to have the lines in dispute blacked out in all future editions. The latest addition published in 1995 still has the lines blacked out.
While some Americans may feel smug and claim such censorship occurred in Germany, the English translation of Willstatter’s book does not contain the passage that was offensive to Bayer. The censorship effort was not just in Germany, it was global.
Perhaps the best example of historical revisionism and whitewashing comes from the United States. In several chapters, the relationship between the pro-Nazi American First group with the American Security Council is mentioned. One member of both fascist groups was the founder of Regency Press publisher of many of the smears made against President Clinton. The first two books published by Regency are prime examples of pro-Nazi sympathizers whitewashing the Nazi crimes. One of the books was critical of the allied bombing of Germany. The other book was critical of the Nuremberg Trials, in an effort to whitewash the Nazi crimes. Both books contain numerous factual errors and present a revisionist view of history that in no way conforms to the truth. A review of the current officers of Regency reveals the organization is still slanted to the hard right. Various officers are connected with such fringe right groups as the Claremont Institute and the American Enterprise Institute as well as the Republican Party.
The censorship and whitewashing of Nazi atrocities and collusion of German business with the Nazi continues to the present day in the Untied States. One of the largest publishers in the United States is the former Nazi publisher, Bertelsmann. Bertelsmann publishing empire includes Random House and Bantam Doubleday Dell, and it is a partner with Barnes & Noble in a new Internet bookstore. Bertelsmann also retains a large share of America Online, and owns book clubs, magazines, newspapers and music labels such as RCA; co-owns CLT-UFA, Europe's biggest TV and radio company. Bertelsmann also owns Brown Printing Company, although that information is conspicuously missing from the web pages of Brown Printing. Brown Printing prints many of the popular magazines including such titles as Byte and Seventeen and a host of scientific journals such as Science and The New England Medical Journal. Bertelsmann is the world’s third largest media empire and the largest publisher of English-language trade books in the world.
Bertelsmann makes a concerted effort at hiding its Nazi past. In its official corporate history, Bertelsmann propagates the myth that the Nazis for refusing to follow the Nazi party line closed it. That simply is a myth and a lie. Bertelsmann was not closed by the Nazis, and Bertelsmann willingly cooperated with the Nazis. When investigative reporters inquired to Bertelsmann to verify their false claim of being closed by the Nazis all references to the Nazi era was removed from their web pages.
Throughout the 1930s Bertelsmann published books favored by Gobbels. Some of the titles published were People Without Space (Volk ohne Raum) and Between the Vistula and the Volga. The later title was an extremely anti-Semitic diatribe claiming the Jews massacred Ukrainian women and children.
Following the war, Bertelsmann's application for a publishing
license was turned down. Heinrich Mohn, a member of the founders,
principal owner and chief executive had conveniently omitted his
membership in SS and his support for Hitler’s Youth. In 1949, Mohn
stepped down as chief executive and was replaced by his son Reinhard.
Bertelsmann then reapplied for a publishing license. According to the
densification files Reinhard served in the Luftwaffe and in the elite
Hermann Goering Division.78 With the Cold War already
emerging and the failure of the 4Ds program evident, the license was
promptly granted. It is hardly surprising that one cannot find an
honest accounting of the Nazis and their collaborating industrialists
published by the Bertelsmann empire when the company still tries to
hide their own involvement with the Nazis.
Besides freeing the Nazi industrialists, McCloy announced a drastic reduction in the sentences of seventy-four of the remaining 104 cases, including commuting ten death sentences. Even McCloy’s whitewashing committee, the Peck Commission, had recommended all death sentences for members of the Einzatzgruppen were justified. Only four of the Einzatzgruppen prisoners and Oswald Pohl death sentences were upheld.80 The cold-blooded murderers of Malmedy would go free.
Not only did McCloy empty Landsberg of war criminals as high commissioner he also helped some of the most notorious war criminals escape from justice. One benefactor of McCloy’s generous protection was the Butcher of Lyons, Klaus Barbie. The French were aware that Barbie was in the American Zone and requested the Untied States hand him over. McCloy’s reply was brutally cold and refused the request. He turned down the French "because the allegations of the citizens of Lyons can be disregarded as being hearsay only."83 McCloy was well aware his reply was a lie, as Babrie was identified on the CROWCASS list of war criminals for immediate arrest.
Others benefiting from American protection were Eichmann and Baron Otto von Bolshwing. The later directed the murder of Jews in Bucharest. In 1954, the CIA brought Von Bolshwing to the United States. Former CIA director Richard Helms justified such action by saying: "We’re not in the Boy Scouts. If we’d wanted to be in the Boy Scouts we would have joined the Boy Scouts."84 The protection rendered to Nazi war criminals and their use in the intelligence apparatus of the United States will be taken up in a following chapter in much greater detail.
Throughout his reign in Germany McCloy was plagued with one of the same problems that the allied army faced in their march across Germany. He was bedeviled throughout his time as High Commissioner with requests from priests and pastors demanding clemency for the convicted war criminals.
Cardinal Faulhaber, the head of the Catholic Church in Bavaria was a vigorous opponent of the denazification program and would readily offer help and protection to anyone whose employment was threatened by their Nazi past. The Cardinal found a sympathetic ear in Colonel Charles Keegan. Keegan was a soldier, but not an administrator and welcomed any help and suggestions to organize a post war government. Keegan only had one political advisor, and like his commander, George Patton was indifferent to politics.
At a news conference at his headquarters in Bad Tolz, Patton made the offhand remark: " This Nazi thing is just like a Democratic and Republican election flight."85 Patton’s remark brought a stern reprimand from Eisenhower. Patton was removed three days later. Nevertheless, Patton’s remark symbolized the general apathy of the American Army about German history and Nazi policies.
Cardinal Faulhaber was not alone in his opposition to denazification. The Catholics and Protestant churches openly supported Hitler since 1933. Despite their exact knowledge of Nazi crimes they never withdrew their support. In May 1945, the German cardinals refused to accept the shared guilt of all Germans for the war and the unfolding story of the Holocaust and shamefully reaffirmed the 1934 concordat. In June 1945, in the first joint pastoral message, the bishops praised the clergy for having resisted the Nazis. Maintaining the Catholic schools was an act--- according to the bishops--- of supreme resistance and achievement and was praised by Pope Pius XII, who had extensive dealings with the Nazis and now used the church as a ratline to help Nazi war criminals to escape from Europe and justice.
Bishop von Galen told his flock: If anyone says that the entire German population and each of us is implicated in the crimes committed in foreign countries and especially in the concentration camps that is untrue and unjust accusation against many of us."86 Theological support for political survival was at hand. The Catholic Church denied the possibility of collective guilt, because guilt was an individual matter.
The Protestant Church was slower at coming to such a self-serving conclusion. Of all the Protestant leaders Pastor Niemoller was the only Protestant leader to accept the collective guilt. Bishop Wurm at first accepted the collective guilt. Wurm’s initial acceptance of the denazification program soon turned to total opposition largely due to Law No. 8. Law No. 8 originated from General Clay’s anger in hearing that a butcher in Augsburg, who was a former Nazi, still gave preferences to former party members for the supplies he had available. Clay was outraged at learning of this butcher’s practice. On September 26, 1945, Clay issued Law No 8, which required the dismissal of any party member or sympathizer from any employment other than common labor. Ironically, the butcher was self-employed.
While Law No 8 followed the guidelines for denazification, it was largely unenforceable. Once the law was issued, Bishop Wurm from Wurremberg led the campaign against the law. In the political vacuum left by Germany’s defeat the clergy held enormous power. No other body had the organization or self-confidence. As the church’s opposition to the 4Ds program intensified, their influence over the people also increased. Wurm’s initial protest against Law No 8 was what he termed the dismissal of thousands of innocent civil servants who had been members of the Nazi Party. Wurm claimed many were politically indifferent to the Nazis and had simply joined the party to retain their job. There was some truth in the bishop’s charges.
Nevertheless, Wurm had admitted to General Clay that many clergy including himself had joined the Nazi Party and supported Hitler believing it might produce a religious revival. Wurm even referred to Mein Kampf where Hitler had written that National Socialism and Christianity could work together. Wurm justified his beliefs in the signing of the concordat and the agreements between Nazi Germany and Britain before the war.
The American Religious Affairs Division listed 351 Protestant clergy as active Nazis. While the Catholic Church hid their Nazi priests in monasteries the Protestant church refused to remove its Nazi clergy from their churches. By October 1946, only three of the 351 active Nazi clergy had been removed.88
Bishop Wurm was also a principal member of A Committee for Christian Aid to War Prisoners formed illegally in 1948. The committee was formed in Munich by a group of Nazi jurists, who had served as counsel for major war criminals. Dr. Rudolf Aschenauer and Ernst Achenbach were two prominent leaders behind the group. The group’s purpose was to spread propaganda denouncing the war crime trials. The Nazis used Wurm and other leading clerics to camouflage their activities. Other prominent religious leaders within the committee were Cardinal Josef Frings, Bishop Johann Neuhaeussler from the Catholic Church and Bishop Meiser from the Protestant church. Cardnial Frings demanded a halt in the executions.
Under the sponsorship of Frings and Wurm, the group developed a wide network to save the war criminals from the hangman. They were supported by the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Evangelisches Hilfswerk. The later organization had given shelter and jobs to hundreds of ex-Nazis especially Ribbentrop’s diplomats.
Frings and Wurm also headed another group, The Committee For Justice and Trade. This group consisted of ex-officers, high government officials, jurists, educators, industrialists and church leaders. Its purpose was to raise money to assist all war criminals. The organization had a mysterious bank account (Konto Gustav) to which more than sixty industrialists deposited large sums regularly.108