University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 99 (June 1947)

Press and radio comments,   pp. 13-18 PDF (3.9 MB)

Page 15

(Continued from page 4)
Deutsche - Dresdner Banks
boards of directors. The companies
concerned included such leaders in
heavy industry as IG Farben, Mannes-
mann, Rheinislch-Westfaelisches Elek-
trizitaetswerk, Hoechst, and Rheini-
sche Braunkohle. The directors of
the bank had to give their unanimous
consent before one of their men could
accept a position in another corpo-
ration, and once appointed the direc-
tor was held personally responsible
for influencing the company's policies
in the direction desired by the bank.
In addition to these invaluable per-
sonal contacts the Deutsche and
Dresdner Banks exercised a dominant
voting control in many industrial
companies.With the larger companies7
such control was usually secured by
proxy voting; ownership of majority
stock was practiced among medium-
sized and smaller corporations.
T HROUGH their role as investment
bankers the Big Banks also con-
trolled to a considerable extent the
intercorporate ties among their in-
dustrial clients. Securities originated
or sold for one client were often
placed with other selected concerns
rather than offered to the; general
public. These practices enabled the
Big Banks to influence the policies of
almost every, important industrial
concern in Germany to an extent far
beyond  the limits of their legal
As an example of the intertwined
relationship of one of the Big Banks
and a large industrial affiliate it is
interesting to trace the; history of
'Mannesmann, the big steel tube and
sheet metal corporation.
Mannesmann started as a small
company established by two brothers,
Max and Reinhard Mannesmann, to
exploit and develop a seamless tube
process which they had perfected.
The influence of the bank over this
company goes back to 1890 when re-
presentatives of the bank reorganized
the enterprise. A banking syndicate,
headed by the Deutsche Bank fur-
nished  RM    12  million  of  the
RM 35 million initial capital of the
reorganized business. Max Steinthal,
officer of the Deutsche Bank, became
a director of the company, and in
1896 was made chairman 'of the board.
-In a few years the Mannesmann
brothers were forced out of the busi-
ness. Steinthal remained- at the helm
of the company until 1936 when he
gave up the chairmanship as a result
of political conditions. He was replac-
ed by Otto Schlitter, then chairman
of the board, and a former officer of
the Deutsche Bank. Upon Schlitter's
death, Oswald Roesler, "speaker" of
the Deutsche Bank officers, succeeded
to the Mannesmann chairmanship.
W v~ITHOUT interruption, from 1896
until the present, the chairman-
ship of the Mannesmann board of
directors 'has been in the hands of
top executives of the Deutsche Bank.
The Bank officials not only dominate
ed the board; officials of the bank
held key positions in Manresmann
companies in Germany and abroad.
An incomplete list furnished by the
company shows 30 of these Deut-
sche Bank officials who filled such
jobs over a period of years.
Personal control was supplemented
by financial control. From 50 to
80 percent of the capital stock re-
presented at various annual meetings,
was voted by the Deutsche. Bank, and
the bank headed all syndicates for
new stock issues, bond issues, and
loans. The close tie between the bank
and the company was reflected in a
statement in the German banking
periodical "Die Bank" for 3 May 1940:
"Whoever knows even     a little
history of Mannesmann knows it
is a child of the Deutsche Bank."
Because of this intimate connec-
tion, competent authorities on inter-
national 'finance believe that the
Deutsche Bank should be held co-
responsible for Mannesmann activi-
ties-which include large- war produc-
tion, extensive and inhuman use of
slave. labor, and aryanization of
Jewish property.
The commanding position of the
Deutsche and Dresdner Banks in the
Third Reich- was mainly due to the
fact that officials of the banks played
politics very shrewdly. They appoint-
ed prominent Nazis to leading posi-
tions in the banks, to keep their
fences mended, and they contributed
lavishly to party funds.
T HE cleverness with which the
German banking and political lead-
ers worked to exploit every possible
weakness of vanity or snobbishness
on the part of influentially placed
foreigners is illustrated by the way
in which they subsidized Duke Adolf
Friederich of Mecklenburg. In 1933
the Duke "placed himself at the dis-
posal of the Third Reich," and Her-
man Abs, Max Jigner of IG Farben,.
and Hermann Goering secured funds
from the Deutsche and Dresdner
Banks to see that he was financially
maintained in a style .which would
have snob-appeal, the better to spy
in influential circles. South America
was his particular hunting ground.
The Dresdner Bank becamre known
as the "SS Bank" largely as a result
of the appointment of two political
figures as officers of the bank. They
were Karl Rasche and Emil Meyer,
who had been virtually unknown in
banking circles up to that time. At
the Deutsche Bank the most pro-
minent officer in 1933 was Emil von
Stauss, a staunch and prominent ex-
ponent of National Socialism and
Vice-President of the Nazi-Reichstag.
Tracing Service
The US Consulate General in
Berlin advised all Germans seek-
ing the addresses of relatives and
friends in the United States to
make their requests directly to
"Suchstelle"  (Search  Bureau),
Staats-Herold-Corporation,  P.O.
Box 1207, Church Street Annex,
New York 7, N.Y., U.S.A.
Existing overseas postal serv--
ice should be used for the trans-
mission of such mail. Persons
applying to the Search Bureau in
the United States should give the
full name and the last kfown
address, or last known place of
residence of the person or per-
sons to be traced, together with
other information to help identify
the person or persons concerned.
No requests should be sent to
the  Search Bureau   for food
packages or addresses of com-
mercial firms, since the -bureau
is entirely occupied with the pro-
curement of addresses. Personal
communications to persons to be
traced will not be forwarded by
the bureau.
30 JUNE 1947
. 15

Go up to Top of Page