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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 99 (June 1947)

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


Page 16


More than a third of the board
members of the Deutsche Bank held
the title "War Economic Leader"
which was bestowed on leading in-
dustrialists for special achievements
in forwarding the Nazi preparations
for war. Many of the leading figures
in the two banks were close personal
friends of outstanding political lead-
ers in the Third Reich. Hermann
Abs, who guided the foreign depart-
ment of the Deutsche Bank during
its great expansion in Europe, was
closely  identified  - with  Hjalmar
Schacht and Walter Funk. Carl Goetz,
most important personality of the
Dresdner Bank during the Nazi
regime was the intimate friend of
Fritz Sauckel, director of the Ger-
man slave labor program, who was
executed in 1946, at Nuremberg as a
war criminal.
G ERMANY'S clandestine develop-
ment of her air force, her frantic
efforts to secure oil for the war effort,
the construction of facilities to pro-
duce synthetic gasoline, were diver-
sified fields in which the Big Banks
'aided the government by financial,
technical, legal, and diplomatic as-
sistance.
The so-called "Aryanization pro-
gram" of the Nazi regime was very
profitable to the Big Banks. They
first fell in step with the policy by
purging Jews from their rolls of
employees, then reaped the harvest
by acting as purchasers, bankers,
and brokers for the "Aryanized" pro-
perties. The Dresdner and Deutsche
Banks acquired properties for their
own account in this way, financed
acquisitions of "Aryanized" property
for customers, selected and appraised
properties for future "Aryanization,"
and even searched for prospective
customers interested in this type of
transaction.
The Deutsche Bank acquired several
private banks, among other interests.
The firm of Simon Hirschland, Essen,
was "Aryanized" in 1938 and its pro-
perty transferred to a newly estab-
lished banking house called Burk-
h,ardt & Co. The new firm was
endowed with a capital of RM 6.5 mil-
lion, the Deutsche Bank participating
overtly with RM 2.5 million and
assuring ittself of full control by
financing the capital investment of
RM 500,000 for each of the two per-
sonally-liable partners, who entered
the new firm. One of these partners
was a branch manager of the Deut-
sche Bank.
In the same year "Aryanization"
was initiated in Mendelssohn & Co.,
Berlin, the leading private bank in
Germany. The Jewish partners were
forced to resign, the firm entered liqui-
dation, and the Deutsche Bank took,
over all customers' accounts. No com-
pensation was ever paid the former
partners.
MEANWHILE the Dresdner Bank
A A also took over a handful of
Jewish owned private banking houses.
As an example of the type of pressure
which was brought to bear to give
the acquisitions a pseudo-legal qua-
lity, the "Aryanization" of the bank-
ing houses Gebr. Arnhold, Berlin, and
S. Bleichroeder, Berlin, took place
in February 1938, after Dr. Kurt Arn-
hold had been arrested by the Ge-
stapo. He was only released when he
consented to sign a contract covering
the sale of the two firms to the Dresdner
Bank, and Hardy & Co., which was
owned by the Dresdner Bank. Al-
though the net assets of Gebr. Arn-
hold  and   S. Bleichroeder  were
about RM 25 million, (exclusive of
the good will which the Dresdner
Bank itself had formerly evaluated at
RM 15 million) the contract of sale
stipulated a price of RM 8 million,
which was never paid the Arnhold
brothers.
While the negotiations were gojpg
on, Hans Arnhold, who lived outside
Germany, was approached by     an
intermediary who suggested that it,
might be "appropriate" to negotiate
the sale through a lawyer, Mr. Hue-
ber, brother-in-law of Hermann Goe-
ring. Hueber asked a fee of 500,000
Swiss francs, payable in Switzerland,
for his "services."
THE Dresdner Bank was unique in
the aggressiveness of its methods
and in the exercise of duress with the
aid of the Gestapo, the SS, and other
Nazi agencies. Three of the directors
of 'the Dresdner Bank occupied the
political position of Gauwirtschafts-
berater (district economic advisor);-
one of the main functions of this
office was to encourage and supervise
the confiscation of Jewish businesses.
In collaboration with these political
associates the bank made full use of
blackmail, intimidation, and brutality
to force acquiecence to its demands.
For example,- it arranged in May,
1934, to have the Gestapo arrest the
owner of the profitable Engelhardt
Brauerei A. G. of Berlin, the second
largest brewery concern in Germany,
and subsequently obtained a majority
interest in the firm.
In the case of T. and C. A. Schnei-
der A. G., Frankfurt/Main, a very
large leather and shoe manufacturer
with annual sales exceeding RM 20
million in 1938, and with net profits
amounting to RM '2.5 million, the
Dresdner Bank conducted the trans-
action so that a contract of sale was
signed providing for, a sales price of
less than three percent of the net
value of the firm. An affidavit by
the former owner clarifies the reason
for such a low sales price:
I received official word. .. that
I could not count on ever being
released from Buchenwald unless my
brother and I accepted the proposition
embodied in the -enclosed contract.
This I accepted and after I had done
so I was released on Nov. 23, 1938,
and the contract ... was finally
executed on Dec. 17, 1938."
FHOR its services in this transaction
the Dresdner Bank received a fee
of RM 40,000.
Other cases of a similar nature
covered all sorts of transactions in
both small and large businesses. The
WEEKLY INFORMATION BULLETIN
Calls Impede Action
The Combined Travel Board has
requested that telephone calls to
the Board be restricted to those
of an official nature only. The
volume of calls from the US Zone,
especially in regard to the status
of fiancee applications, has at-
tained such proportions as to be
a serious obstruction to opera-
tions. It is pointed out that all
applications will be treated with
the greatest possible dispatch, but
that inquiries as to their status
tend to slow the process.
30 JUNE 1947
16


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