Nazi Millionaire: The Dark History of Germany’s Wealest Dynasty David de Jong William Collins, € 20
His great film director Billy Wilder once described Germany in the 1930s as optimists arriving at gas chambers and pessimists arriving at Beverly Hills homes and pools.
Wilder made this statement in 1945, and he knew what he was talking about, fleeing Berlin in 1933, the year Adolf Hitler came to power.
Wilder’s angry, positive postscript about what was unfolded in Nazi Germany should have found room for opportunists as well. And fascist and slaughtered madness.
The opportunist story is at the heart of David de Jong’s fascinating book. Nazi Billionaire: The Dark History of Germany’s Wealest DynastyHe traces several family trees that have gained enormous economic benefits under Hitler’s rule.
Many of today’s branches remain grafted to the trunk of elite German society, thanks to their inherited wealth.
Readers may be aware of the formation of Volkswagen under the Nazi administration. Hitler laid the foundation of a factory near Wolfsburg in 1938, but what about other German business dynasties that flourished during the Third Reich and gained global wealth and influence to this day?
The gap in consciousness is filled by De John – as he points out, these histories are poorly communicated to an audience outside Germany.
Former De Jung Bloomberg News Journalists enthusiastically record the stories of many powerful families and their connections with Nazi Germany. The empire of the Quandt family, which owns BMW, and the family is a descendant of Magda Goebbels, the unofficial “first lady” of the Third Reich. Flick, former owner of Daimler-Benz. Financier von Finks, who co-founded Munich Re with Allianz. The Porsche-Piech heritage that dominates Volkswagen and Porsche. And Oetkers has a global empire of food, beer, bakery ingredients and luxury hotels.
“Some of these big names were enthusiastic Nazis,” writes De John. “But most were nazists, simply calculating, malicious opportunists trying to expand their business empire at any cost. They were all Nazis, SS, or both. I became a member. “
De Jung correctly emphasizes that in 1933, at the beginning of Nazism, most of these family heads were already in business and were independent and wealthy.
Nevertheless, they decided to work with Hitler’s administration for several years leading up to World War II. Enrich the company by making weapons, using slave labor, and seizing Jewish-owned businesses, estates, and land in the Nazi-occupied territories.
From his own research, archiving, biographies, diaries, extensive use of memoirs, and the work of historians and journalists before him, De John was contaminated by these industrial and financial giants. We have carefully edited the trail of the Tomi paper.
The book also raises questions about how the victorious Allies dealt with the sins of these fathers after the war. After wrapping the knuckle, the winner allowed most German businessmen to resume where they left off.
Here is the similarity that after the collapse of Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascists were allowed to sink into the establishment of that country by the Allied Powers.
De Jong edits compelling and enlightening readings and swiftly moves many financial tactics without losing sight of the horrific human costs of the murder regime.
His work raises important moral and ethical debates about the dark heritage hidden in the clear view – how do you explain this bloody money and provide a return?
The author approached members of the family, but they declined the interview. The family pointed out that they had already asked scholars to put together a report on the work of the patriarch during the Third Reich.
But the public will have to find them and read German. De John did the leg work for us, and his book again drags a dirty corner of German history under the spotlight.
As he says, “Many German business dynasties continue to completely ignore the dark history of their destiny, so the ghosts of the Third Reich still plague them.”