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Archive for the ‘Chemie Grunenthal’ Category

History repeats itself when lessons are not learned.

“The whole propaganda weight of the Scherl newspaper and news agency combine, controlled by Ruhr industrialists, was thrown into the political scales in Hitler’s favor.”

“Of all the volumes that have been written on Nazi Germany, I know of but a very few which have properly interpreted that political phenomenon. The best, in my opinion, is Frederic L. Schumann’s The Nazi Dictatorship, published long before the present war. Most of the others have accepted the very name of the present German State, National Socialism, the most ridiculous and devoid of content of all the concepts of Nazi ideology—as a real representation of what Hitlerism is. They have accepted Nazism as a form of Socialism. They have also accepted the Nazi revolution as a bona fide Revolution. In actual fact, Nazism is the most reactionary and vicious form of capitalism that has ever existed, and Hitler has destroyed systematically every element in his state which was, in any degree, revolutionary.

A revolution, as that term has customarily been used in history, is something which, however horrible and destructive in may be in practice, is progressive in idea. Hitlerism has been retrogressive. Hitler has turned back the clock of social history backwards; his ship of state has ridden the wave, not of the future, but of the blackest past.

Revolution means nothing if it does not mean an overthrow of existing rulers of a society by the ruled-over elements of that society. The existence of those two social factors in that particular relation has characterized every revolution to which history has given the name: the French Revolution, the American, Russian, and Mexican Revolutions. Revolution also means a vast, sweeping change of a whole system of society. Nazism possesses neither of those two requisite features.

The rulers of German society not only did not struggle against the Nazi rise to power in the early 1930’s; they suborned, abetted, and aided Hitler to gain power with all their vast resources of money and influence—a strange manner of revolution, indeed! And, contrary to the views of the majority of observers, Nazism was not a vast social change. Superficially, things appeared to be altered: people were put in gay uniforms; there were new salutes and a new flag, and new, but empty ideas—empty baubles on a highly and cheaply decorated Christmas tree meant to hide, by its brightness, the basis of corrupt German society which Hitler left intact. The only actual change that occurred with the rise of Hitlerism consisted in this: the old, corrupt system of acquisition was dying, and Hitler was called upon—and he and his followers were ready to accept their historical assignment—to save that moribund society by reinforcing its most unsalutary features and crushing all opposition to unlimited militarism, by which, alone, his system could be preserved for any period of time. The only new feature the Nazis introduced was a set of measures to make permanent the existing basis of society possessed before 1933. To use a simile applied by one acute observer, Hitler locked himself and the German ruling classes in the top storey of society and threw the key out the window.

Compare the Russian with the so-called Hitler Revolution. The Bolsheviks never called on the Tsarist rulers for aid; and never got anything from them save opposition as ruthless as their own. Hitler not only called on Germany’s wealthiest families, but received generous gifts of millions of marks. The whole propaganda weight of the Scherl newspaper and news agency combine, controlled by Ruhr industrialists, was thrown into the political scales in Hitler’s favor. Dr. Dietrich in his little volume Met Hitler an die Macht, relates how the Fuehrer, addressing a luncheon meeting of Germany’s biggest capitalists in Dusseldorf before the Machtuebernahme, outlined to them the danger to their society, told them what he could do to save it and melted their solid gold hearts into a flow of funds for the Nazi party. Dr. Dietrich tells, with surprise, that these hard-fisted men whose hearts, one would have thought, were in their pocketbooks, mellowed and softened under the Leader’s words, and, at the end, applauded thunderously.

Whether one likes it or not, the Bolsheviks came to power on the shoulders of the working classes of Russia. When foreign nations intervened and occupied Vladivostock and, after arresting all active reds and banning Communists from the polls, held a “free” election to allow the people of that city to choose its own government, the results showed a Communist majority over the combined votes of all the legal parties which participated! Also, whether one likes it or not, the Nazis came to power against the will and violent opposition of the German working class which acted with singular unity at the last, late moment. Too many observers have allowed themselves to be fooled by the fact that, for reasons of expediency, Hitler chose to call his party the National Socialist German Workers Party. In the last partially free elections to the Reichstag in Germany in 1933, the two working class parties presented a solid phalanx and balloted 40 per cent of the votes, against Hitler. One of the two working class parties, the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands achieved the highest representation in the Reichstag it had ever enjoyed—one hundred deputies. And this was after the Brown Terror had begun; when a working man took his own life in his hands by voting against the new dictator! Hitler did not, and—I am convinced of it after living in Germany for two war years—has not yet won the German workers to his cause. In the year 1940, after eight years of Nazi rule, a German S.S. man I knew told me there was but one dull element in National Socialism’s bright, triumphant perspective at that moment (this was just after France had fallen and Nazism was enjoying its happiest period). That, he said, was the German workers. They were following, but reluctantly. They do not believe it can last, he said, and if we ever slip badly they’ve got “their damned red flag hanging over our heads.”

When the Bolsheviks achieved power they did so by the ruthless suppression of every agency supporting the old order. They destroyed all capitalist institutions. They placed all factories in the hands of the state and forbade the issue of dividends to private individuals. They made Trade Unions the almighty dictators over the Russian economic state. When Hitler came to power, he destroyed the Trade Unions and the workers’ political parties; confiscated their funds and shot or imprisoned their leaders. The funds he confiscated were used, indirectly, to buy armaments and to pay profits to his wealthy supporters. The economic history of Nazism ever since has been, in plain language, the systematic confiscation of workers’ incomes to pay profits to the owners of material Germany. As for the principal institutions supporting the old order, the industrialists’ associations, which were formed long ago to keep prices up, he either maintained them as they were or allowed them to reform themselves into more powerful capitalists’ combines—indeed, the most powerful capitalists’ combines that have ever existed in any nation in history. What elements of Socialism existed before Hitler assumed power, he abolished. The few shares of private industry which the former Social Democratic government’s weak attempt at socialization was a monetary gain, good business for the industrialists who had been the target of the Socialist attack.

Many people maintain Hitlerism is a form of Socialism are willing to admit that Hitler came to power with the aid of the wealthy, and favoured them at first; but, they say, digging themselves in the traditional last ditch, Hitler has, since that time duped them. He deceived his wealthy supporters, and instituted something entirely new, neither Capitalism nor Imperialism, but an oppressive form of state which is oppressive to capital and labour alike. In truth, what Hitler has instituted is just as new as the Old Army Game. Hitler’s government is shot through with the representatives of wealth. Goering dictates to the economic state, but Goering, himself, has become an economic royalist in the bountiful Nazi decade and receives his advice as to what measures must be adopted from several dozen boards, representing each big industry, and each board is made up of the men who live on profits from those industries. Walther Funk wears a brown coat and a military cap, rather than the traditional civilian array of the plutocrat, people are inclined to think of him as a party functionary rather than, what he is first and above all, a man born and bred in the atmosphere of profit making ownership.

The only basis on which to judge the relative oppression of the two social classes by National Socialism is the manner in which German national wealth has been, and is, distributed between the two said classes, one of which lives by its labour, and the other by its ownership. The individual incomes of workers have fallen each year of Hitler’s rule, and fallen severely. Nazi statistics on this matter are faked, but even on the grounds of Nazi statistics the real wages of workers have fallen. Money wages have been frozen or lowered, since 1933, and the prices of the goods workers can buy with them have risen without interruption. A better way of determining the same development is simply to ask Germans. In the course of the past two years in Germany I have, inevitably, talked to thousands of German workers in taverns, in tubes, trams, and in offices, and without a single exception, I have never heard of a case in which a worker’s real income has risen. They all agree, even a few workers who claim to be Nazis, that what they get to eat and wear with their wages is less and worse than before 1933. Even the little bureaucrats in Dr. Goebbels’ propaganda ministry testify to the same fact; they are all miserably under-paid. Dr. Froelich, who bears the high sounding title of Referant for the American Press and Radio in the Propaganda Ministry, was paid a salary lower than that of an office-boy in the editorial office of the United Press—an American concern. There cannot be the slightest doubt about it that the wages of German workers have fallen each year of Hitler’s rule, and are nor unbelievably low.

The Nazi indices for the earnings of capital, on the other hand, on the other hand, show a steady rise since 1933. Both, the figures for total net profits for major industries as published in the magazine of Reichmarshal Goering, Der Vierjahreplan, and the index for the average value of all German stocks and shares as published in the industrial periodical Der Deutsche Volkswirt show falling profits and share-values from 1929 until 1933, when Hitler came to power, and from then on an unbroken rise. If Hitler had duped his benefactors, it has been for them, indeed, a pleasant manner of deception. It is a strange form of oppressing wealth which allows the oppressed owners of mills, mines, and factories to earn more and more each year, and even, as in the case of Krupp works, to reach and break records for annual profits, while the standard of living for the other ninety-eight per cent of the population falls precipitately. Of course there is always the argument which admits that German capitalists make egregious profits, but maintains all these profits are taken away in taxes. Since the people who determine the tax scale are the representatives of the fattest, richest banks in Germany, which in turn, are owned body and soul by the arms-makers, this is obviously false on the surface. Did you ever hear of a man granted the power of making out his own tax returns gypping himself? Anyhow, the above facts are based on statistics of Reingwinn: pure profits after taxes have been extracted from profits; and nevertheless the munitions factories break records! Of course, after the pure profits are turned into dividends and made the private funds of individuals they are taxed as private incomes. But a member of the American embassy once worked out a schedule for me to show conclusively that plutocratic American capitalists pay more taxes per unit of income than German capitalists who are supposed to be fighting plutocracy. Furthermore, those funds which are taken from the German industrialists in taxes go to pay the same industrialists for more arms. Germany is good business—for millionaires.

There is no denial of the fact that Nazism was and is a retrogression, not a revolution; it is not socialism, but a form of capitalism that is virtually feudalistic in the safeguards granted to and preserved for the wealthy, as well as in the total servitude it demands of those who possess nothing but their hands and brains to work with. These great “warriors against plutocracy” have established one of the best protected plutocracies any nation or civilization has ever known. I am not, here, exploiting the theory that Hitler is a will-less puppet of the German capitalists. It is not nearly so simple as that. That is an over-simplification and it is untrue. Hitler rules, and there is no doubt about it. But no man can govern alone, for it is humanly impossible for a single man to run a whole state. He governs with the aid of governors and bureaucrats who agree heartily with him, and they are the wealthy families of Germany. Hitler is president of a board of directors which runs Germany, and each member of the board is, by birth, as Krupp and von Borsig, or by party influence, as Goering and Ley, a member of that class of German society which has a stake in the game of Profit-making, and stands to lose by higher wages and labour costs.

If the point can be considered established, then a concession can safely be made: though the net effect of Hitlerism has been retrogressive rather than revolutionary, there was indubitably one revolutionary feature in the rise of National Socialism. That feature was the rise of the German petty bourgeoisie; the irrepressible Kleinbuergertum, the middle classes of the little shopkeepers, white-collar clerks and bureaucrats and a goodly portion of the unprosperous professional classes.

Lodged uncomfortably between the upper and the nether millstones of society, the great middle-classes were being painfully ground in the depressed years from 1929 to 1933. They were crying for organized leadership; they were God’s gift to a clever, unscrupulous demagogue. They were begging for leadership, for a little colour to brighten their dull lives, and for rescue from extinction, and History gave them a Man and a Platform. Hitler promised death to the proletarian left wing with its trade unions which kept wages and labour costs above the head of the pinched independent shopkeeper, and made prices for their goods higher. He promised to bridle the wealthy right-wing privilege, to break the Zinsknecht-schaft, the slavery of interest, and make capital flow more easily to the small shops and stores. And he promised death to the Jew, who was, to the German middle-classes, the symbol of the prosperity they envied.

Nazism was Spiessbuergertum in Revolt, the Timid Soul in shining armor. There had been revolutions for Capitalists, and Revolutions of the Proletariat, but there has never been a Revolution of the middle classes, and the attraction of the idea was overwhelming to Germany’s millions of Little Men. Those were the days when Hitler was still called the Apotheosis of the Little Man. It was their Revolution, and they carried their Leader—who in his very personal appearance was another prosaic, ordinary exemplar of each of them—to power on a wave of middle-class enthusiasm.

The financial basis of the Nazi ascension was the rich privileged class. Its main basis, and its revolutionary impetus, however, came from the middle classes. The little men also furnished it with its Army—proudest element in Hitler’s little state within a state, the colorful, exciting Storm Troops, who beat up the Jews and the Communists and “freed the streets” in Germany cities, in outright armed political warfare. The generals of the Brown Army of the shopkeepers and clerks were Hitler’s war comrades, young men who grew up in World War, whose minds were warped by war, and who were utterly worthless for anything else. They were the neurotic lost generation who suffered torture worse than death when the only element of excitement in their lives, the Army, was taken away from there by Versailles, and the trend of German opinion, after the revolution, turned against militarism. Ernst Roehm, their psychopathic, homosexual commander-in-chief was leader and prototype at once. To this uninformed body flocked the sons of the middle classes, bored, suffering from personal and national inferiority complexes, thirsty for colour and excitement, and they learned well the precepts of their warped generals and idols. It was organized Rowdyism, it was tough and ruthless, but it was truly the vanguard of the middle-class revolution, the Army of the Middle Class state.

When Hitler won, they were content with the world, and sat back to watch the realization of their hopes, the materialization of the first State founded on a Dictatorship of the “small” Buerger. Results were swift in coming, satisfactory beyond expectations. The Fuehrer eliminated the proletarian Left from politics in a series of lightening, dramatic blows, and with incredible ease: the Reichstag fire brought an end of legal Communism, the imprisonment of its leaders and the crippling of the movement for evermore. By next May Day, the Day of Labour, the Socialists too, had been eliminated, and with them their Trade Unions. Wages were henceforth at the mercy of Dr. Robert Ley, of the middle classes, and of the big industrialists, who enjoyed a community of interests with the Little Men on this particular economic question. In the National cabinet, one portfolio after another was given to brown-uniformed Party men, or their present holders were forced to don brown uniforms and administer their offices according to the interests of the Kleinbuergertum.

Now, in every society the two most important elements are Wealth and Force. Those who own much and have great resources can deal out favours and exercise most influence. It is almost proverbial that power goes with ownership, and always has in the history of Society. As for the second element, it is the ultimate authority in every State. A legislature is no good if it has no force to back up its authority. And whosoever controls the Armed Forces of a nation can also control the nation itself on assuming power. Hitler systematically shoved the representatives of the Little Men into almost every phase of government. But precisely these two he did not grant them. The middle classes did not even get a smell of real economic power. His economic state Hitler shaped in the form of twelve Wirtschaftsgruppen, each “corporation” possessing dictatorial powers of life and death over the industry concerned; the fixing of prices, the granting of raw material import licenses, and export subsidies—all decisive factors in the ultimate economic function of a state: the determination of how the nation’s wealth, and the power that goes with wealth, shall be shared. The administrators of each Gruppe were the wealthiest capitalists in the particular industry it wealth with. In short, the wealthy were made supreme judges in their own case. Such change as this signified was not revolutionary change in favour of the rising middle classes, but reactionary change in favour of those who already ruled economic Germany: the top storey and the key out the window.

Nor did the Brown Army achieve its coveted destiny of becoming and controlling the Armed Forces of the nation. The army, which Hitler set about rejuvenating and expanding, remained in the hands of the old Prussian caste, the military counterpart of the wealthy dictators of German economic life.

The Little People enjoyed the spectacle of apparent gains in certain phases of power, but the promised millennium was not immediate. In fact, events took the opposite direction from what they had hoped. The more prosperous shops were taken from Jews in stages, but only to be co-ordinated into the Wirtschaft combines. What the independent shopkeepers really disliked was not that the big stores were run by Jews, but that their competitive strength was so enormous that the little shopkeepers could not vie with them, and this feature was not changed except in so far as it was reinforced to the disadvantage of the little men. Wholesale prices, which the little men paid for the commodities they retailed, did not fall with lowered labour costs, but rose with bigger profits for the big men, and higher government taxes to build up the army. The middle classes were disappointed, and did not hide the fact.

Discontent among the masses usually first overtly expresses itself in the deflection of a section of their leaders. The first overt indication of the disappointment of the small Buerger in Germany was the deflection of Otto Strasser, one of the Nazi Party’s big numbers, and an ardent believer in middle-class socialism. Strasser broke with Hitler and fled the country. A more serious indication was the projected “revolt” of Ernst Roehm, leader of the Storm Troops, in 1934, which called forth the “blood surge” of the Brown Army. Although the “revolt” apparently did not correspond to the lurid accounts in preparation for it which the Nazis issued to the world, it is generally accepted that the elements of a revolt were there. There was certainly no plan to liquidate the beloved Fuehrer, but there is no doubt that disgruntled Storm-troop leaders hoped to eliminate many of Hitler’s direct underlings, on whom they blamed the deception from which they suffered.

The Roehm affair was more than a weather-vane of disappointment; it also marked a milestone in Nazi history. It was the first and last revolt of the middle classes. After the blood surge, which crippled the basis of what Force the Little Men had on their side, the revolutionary element of Nazism, its program for the Little Men, entered on a long decline. The existence of the Kleinbuergertum, as reasonably independent economic elements, grew more precarious each year. The chain-stores increased in power and became ubiquitous; Aryans enjoyed far more rigid monopolies in the retail trade than the hated Jews had ever exercised. Many little businesses were destroyed deliberately by economic decrees issued as part of Hitler’s vast, severe rationalization program. The planning of imports to fit the arms program, banning certain imports in order to spend more of the national income on imports of war-important raw materials, eliminated the raison d’être of many. Others died because, with their own costs rising, they could not compete with the big combines. Not only small shopkeepers, but little industries suffered. According to Nazi statistics, by 1939, just before the outbreak of war, there were only half as many joint stock companies in Germany as there had been in 1933, when many had already been weeded out by depression. In Berlin, hundreds of small retail wine and liquor shops were gobbled up by a large combine which formed by the Kaiserhof Hotel under Nazi paternity.

The war, of course, only hastened this process. While big industry, the arms and chemical industries, grew bigger, wealthier and mightier, little shops and little industries have died like flies. Where death was caused before by rationalization and inability of small concerns to compete with the new large ones, it was now caused, at a swifter rate, by the calling up into the army of their owners and their few employees. Still more powerful a casual force has been the dwindling to zero, or near it, of the imports most of them depended on. The Russian war period hastened the development even more, drawing, as it did, many more men, and older men, into the armed forces, and bringing scarcities and disappearances of all kinds of retail commodities. Coupled with this came the fall in the average production of German laborers, and the need to compensate for this by increasing the quantities of workers available for industry.

The significance of this development I have tried to indicate in another part of this book. It means that the popular basis of Nazism has suffered a diminution. During the Russian period, the development gathered such speed that it assumed the proportions of a wholesale annihilation. The economic basis of the lower middle classes has been systematically carried almost to extirpation. The social strength of the whole Nazi movement was, in the beginning of that movement, the middle strata of German society, and the people of those strata were Nazis because they had roots in a particular way of life, and saw in Nazism an opportunity to preserve that way of life and make it even better for themselves. Each little family owned a little something, and looked on itself as a shareholder in the German state. But for eight years, Nazism has had the effect of gradually uprooting them from the soil of German society, setting them adrift and removing their interest in Nasism’s permanence.

Of course, membership in the middle classes is not purely an economic matter. It is also a psychological one. A little shopkeeper can lose his little shop, but still consider himself higher in the social scale that a mere wage-worker. And though he has descended to the level of a mere wage-earner, he may still act politically and socially according to that pattern of behavior which the middle classes generally follow. In every respect except as regards his economic status, he thus remains what he was before his economic status changed. Middle-Class pride, people call that. In view of this, it is perhaps even more symptomatic of how far the social mutation inside Germany has gone, that the middle-class people are ceasing to behave according to their old standards. The matter of Middle-Class Morality, that factor glorified by Shaw’s Mr. Doolittle, is a case in point already referred to. Morality has lapsed badly in Germany. Sexual license of people once proud of their respectability has virtually run the prostitutes out of business. In the place of a couple bottles of cool wine, they are guzling—the verb is properly descriptive—everything and anything they can get. The aim is not mild titillation in either case, but intense excitement; to get rip-roaring drunk and forget about the unpleasantness of reality. The shock has come too quickly and been too great for them. That is part of what I meant when I said the pretty red apple was getting rotten-ripe.

They are the only section of the German people who can truly claim to have been duped, and sadly disappointed. The nether millstone knew what was in store for it when Hitler won; and the German workers fought tooth and nail to avoid it, but unfortunately they fought in disunity until too late. The upper millstone was not duped. The hermetically sealed top caste has every reason to be satisfied with the results of Hitlerism thus far. (Uneasiness has crept into their ranks as well now, but for different reasons; but more of that in its proper place.) But the little men have been done in, and they have only just begun realizing how completely they have been done in.

The last apparent hold they had on a lever of influence, after their shops were closed and falling salaries robbed them of any economic weight, was the once glorious Brown Army. The Storm Troops were only an apparent lever, and the polish of their glory tarnished badly. The old elements had been promoted long since into the Schutzstaffel, the S.S., the Gestapo, where they could continue being aggressive and brutal to their own people, and later to other peoples. The more clever of the old Storm Troops got in the lift of economic profits and soared to the top. And the sons of the middle classes were left to their own devices in the Brown-shirted legions. The Storm Troops expanded in size, but deflated in meaning. But the Storm Troops at least continued to exist as the last symbol and the last trace of the middle class revolution.

Then, in August, last year, the axe fell. A tipster told me. He brought to me a copy of the official newspaper of the Storm Troops—the S.A. Mann. On its mast-head was the old drawing of a firm-faced, brown capped man, frowning rays of will-power and holding in his hand the great Swastika banner which the Storm Troops had carried to Power. The newspaper was dated August 22, 1941. The tipster told me this was the most remarkable edition of that newspaper that had ever been published. I looked it over, but could find only the usual emptiness, save for loud editorial boasts and one chapter of a serial novel with the words: Fortzetzung folgt—to be continued in the next issue—at the bottom. I asked him what was so sensational about it, and he told me that the serial story was not continued; the story was left hanging in mid-air. I asked him to stop being cryptic and he said what he meant was, the S.A. Mann had been banned!…

In September, I learned the official newspaper of the Storm Troops was banned for some other reason. This, a storm-trooper, a young employee in a shipping office told me, and other Nazis confirmed later. An anonymous authority, not Hitler or Viktor Lutze, the S.A. chief of staff, by name, but just an anonymous authority issued an order labelled streng geheim, strictly secret, to each district group of the Storm Troops. The order stated that the Brown Shirts were to hold no more meetings. There was to be no more drill, no more political lectures, and no future political demonstrations of any kind. The brown uniforms were henceforth to be worn only on specific orders, not at will. The man told me this, dolefully said it amounted to dissolution of the Storm Troops…. Hitler had not just bitten the hand which once fed him; he had devoured it. The middle classes were deprived of every ounce of real influence in the Nazi state, and now they were robbed of even the raiment of power. All that was revolutionary in the Nazi revolution was over for ever….

On last May Day, when rumours of a coming conflict between Germany and Russia were rife, almost every worker in the industrial suburbs of Berlin wore some spot of red in his or her clothing, in hats, in coat-lapels, etc. On the fiftieth birthday of Ernst Thaelmann, the prison farm in Hanover where he is being held, was deluged with thousands of telegrams of congratulations which people had dropped in mailboxes with money attached to pay for transmission; and the German postal authorities transmitted them! Bouquets of red roses and carnations were sent by telegraph from foreign countries, especially from Russia, and one big bouquet bore the name Molotov. Prison authorities, however, withheld all telegrams, flowers, and presents from Thaelmann except a message from Thaelmann’s wife, who lives in Berlin…..

The Little Men who realize they have become workers and nothing better are steadily increasing in number. All over Germany last year this bitter question-answer joke was circulated: what is the difference between Germany and Russia? And the answer: in Russia the weather is colder. Germans who had been told for eight years there was no slavery greater than that of Communist Russia, were telling themselves in this bit of bitter-sweet frankness that they, too, were proletarians….

“Should anyone among us,” Hitler said, “seriously hope to disturb our front—it makes no difference where he comes from or what camp he belongs to—I will keep an eye on him for a certain period. You know my methods. That is always the period of probation. But then there comes a moment when I strike like lightening and eliminate that sort of thing.”

It was then, too, that the Fuehrer declared that the Nazi organization, by which he meant the Gestapo, watches every single house and “zealously keeps watch that there shall never be another November 1918.”
The manner in which this particular speech was handled by the Propaganda Ministry and the German press is still more significant. The Fuehrer’s speech of November 8, alone of all the Leader’s addresses, was not broadcast to the German people. About six hours after the Fuehrer had spoken, the official Nazi news agency issued an expurgated, or better, a slaughtered version of the speech. The version was empty….

Almost every foreign correspondent in Berlin plagued the Propaganda Ministry with inquiries about the unusual handling of the address that evening. I telephoned twice, to beg for the actual text to use in a radio broadcast that night. In the past, the Propaganda Ministry had been all too happy to provide the texts of Hitler’s speeches. In the past, each speech had been broadcast by radio in Germany and all over the world. … But on this occasion, for the first time, the Ministry was reluctant; it had no interest. The occasion, it was said, was purely a party occasion, and the rest of the world could have little interest in what amounted to a routine meeting of party officials. Two hours after the first version was issued, a second, much fuller version was released, doubtless due to the embarrassing solicitation of the foreign correspondents. But it was obvious that there were gaps even in the second version…. it was obvious that the Fuehrer had said much more than the party authorities considered good for the world’s ears. The fact that he was speaking to old Storm-troop comrades, on a Storm-troop red-letter day indicated the theme of his expurgated remarks….

As the Russian war proceeded into winter and the bottom dropped out of the standard of living, the Nazis turned from explanatory propaganda and the fiasco of the Jewish campaign to the propaganda of Fear. Simultaneously, with this alteration in propaganda policy, the Gestapo began carrying out actual measures to meet revolt, to make certain as possible that “another November 1918,” would not happen: Himmler who next to Goebbels is about the only big Nazi leader who concerns himself with German internal affairs any more, began taking up positions for battle. What he did was circulated over Berlin by way of rumour, apparently by the Nazis themselves, with the object of intimidating grousers; but the content of the rumour was real. The Gestapo began confiscating buildings, and setting up headquarters in purely residential districts of Berlin. The first buildings occupied were a Catholic convent in West Berlin…. In all the confiscated properties, the S.S. not only set up information headquarters, but also arsenals, storing away machine guns, small arms and ammunition. It should be noted that the confiscated rooms and buildings were all in purely residential quarters of Berlin; districts with no military importance whatever…. But I have had reports of similar wholesale seizures by the S.S. black guards in Leipzig, Dresden, Kiel, and other towns. In Berlin, it is also worth noting that almost all the confiscations I have been able to confirm occurred in the bourgeois West End, which belongs to the Kleinbuergertum as much as Wedding belongs to the working class. That may be, however, due to the fact that as early as 1933, the Gestapo had already begun building up a network of arsenals in the latter section of Berlin…

Less than a month after Hitler’s singular threat to destroy any menace to his power, his black Army, specially formed to put down civilian revolt, had donate same thing his green coated armies do when they prepare to invade a foreign victim. The confiscations, and the arsenals meant simply the Aufmarsch, the deployment of his forces for battle. Not mainly for combat against Plutocrats, or Jews, or Communists. But for eventual battle against those who called on his to save them from destruction, and whom he destroyed.

– Excerpts from the Chapter:8 The End of The Nazi Revolution.

It’s important to understand how the Council of Gods/IG Farben Directors and the Ruling Class of Germany destroyed journalism throughout Europe. Howard K. Smith explains how they destroyed journalism.

“The rotten inside is the whole fabric of Nazi society.

This is a serious statement to make. I sincerely believe that a journalist who consciously misinforms his people and allies about the state of the enemy in time of war for the sake of sensation is the second lowest type of criminal (the lowest type being anyone who profits out of arms production). I have always sought to avoid underestimating the strength of the Nazis. I refer to the internal strength of the Nazi system, which this book concerns itself with alone, not the military strength. But, with these self-imposed restrictions in mind, I am sure of what I say: Nazi society is rotten from top to bottom and in all its issues, save the strong hermetically closed hull. The people are sick of it…

Another was a crude but clever mimeographed cartoon which was secretly circulated over Berlin, showing a German propaganda soldier standing above a trench across Russian lines and holding up a big placard to the enemy which read: “Russians! You have to cease to exist!” It was signed “Dr. Dietrich.” At the moment of drawing, however, the said propaganda soldier had become involved with a Russian shell and his various members were flying in all directions. Below him in the trench a very Prussian lieutenant, who had been looking through a periscope, had turned to a quizzical general behind him and was saying: “Stupid, these Russians; they apparently don’t understand a word of German!”

Less funny, but more incisive was the little observation which might be called the “Three Climaxes of Hitler,” which circulated at the same time. It has no particular punch-line., but belongs to the same category of expression for, like them, it was always introduced with the traditional preface: “Do you know what the people are saying?…” According to this, the first climax was the climax of Diplomacy—Munich. After that diplomacy never again played an important part in Hitler’s policies; the rest was guns. The second was the military climax: the campaign in France, the perfect application of Blitzkreig with the perfect ending: the total destruction of a great army. The third was the climax of propaganda: the Dietrich speech. After Hitler’s little press chief had raised the spirits of his people to the skies and then let them fall again down into the abyss of despair Germany propaganda could never influence to any important degree the morale of the German people. From now on a wall of distrust separated the Ministry of Dr. Goebbels from his people. The shepherd boy had hollered “Wolf!” too often.

This was more than a cogent little analysis suitable for table talk. The evidence for its truth is overwhelming. The first sign was the decline in newspaper sales. To test word-of-mouth reports that a decline had occurred, I asked my newspaper vendor in a large kiosk on Wittenberg Platz, and was told that the sales of newspapers had fallen off in all the kiosks operated by her particular concession-holder. In her kiosk the drop had been greater than forty per cent. As Berliners will, they invented a joke about the German press after that. It concerns a Berlin paper called the “B.Z.,” meaning Berliner Zeitung. You were supposed to ask, to make the joke click, why it was that the only newspaper people read any more was the “B.Z.” The answer was: because it lies only from B to Z, while all the others lie from A to Z.

More important still, because it was a positive sign people were seeking news elsewhere, rather than the negative one that they were ceasing to look for information from Nazi sources, was the rapid increase in listening to news broadcasts from foreign capitals—especially London and Moscow. An official of the Propaganda Ministry told me arrests for this “crime” in Germany triples after the Dietrich speech. In the newspapers it was announced that two individuals were punished with the extreme penalty, death, for listening to London! One October 30, Dr. Goebbels confirmed the increase by publishing in every newspaper in Germany a list of stations to which people might listen, stations in Germany and occupied countries; and he coupled with it a warning not to overstep these limits, which were clearly drawn exactly for this purpose. In November, every citizen in Germany received, with his ration-tickets for the month, a little red card with a hole punched in the middle of it so that it might be on the station-dial of a radio set, and on the card was the legend: “Racial Comrades! You are Germans! It is your duty not to listen to foreign stations. Those who do so will be mercilessly punished!” A week later in my neighborhood houses were visited by local Nazi chiefs to make sure the cards had been fastened to radios and were still there. People who had no radio sets were told to keep the cards anyhow, and to let them be a reminder not to listen to the conversation of people who did have radios and tuned in on foreign stations. The conclusion to be drawn from this is obvious: there had been a tremendous increase in listening to enemy radio stations; people distrusted their own propaganda and threats against listening was to make those who had been afraid to do so curious, and to convert them into regular listeners of enemy stations. After all, it is almost impossible to catch a person actually listening to foreign stations; it is so easy to switch back to the Deutschland Sender the moment the door-bell rings. Almost all those who have been arrested were apprehended, not while listening but while telling others, in public places, what they had heard….

But all Goebbels’ little propaganda stratagems were not so harmless. A Nazi in embarrassment is a dangerous Nazi, and he will resort to any method to rescue himself. To support his line about the bestiality of the Soviet troops, Goebbels also published in German press dozens of pictures of dead, tortured bodies of Soviet civilians, killed by the retreating Bolsheviks, the captions said. Jean Graffis, the Berlin representative of the American Acme News picture agency, picked several of these out of the files of the Nazi Hoffman picture agency and offered to buy them. But the agent, blushing at the situation he found himself in, told Graffis he was sorry but those were not for sale; they were only for internal consumption. Graffis had wanted to buy them because he read on their backs the date of 1920—they were dead bodies from the Russian Civil War! These photographs were being published in German newspapers as snapshots taken by German troops in the war of 1941! Again, a group of foreign correspondents was taken to Lemberg to see a real Soviet torture chamber, in order to reinforce the same line of propaganda in the outside world. The walls of one of the rooms, the “execution chamber,” was picked with bullet-holes from the rifles of Soviet firing squads. When the conductor of the tour left the room, one of the correspondents searched the room’s contents and found a Russian propaganda poster with Stalin’s photograph reproduced on it; it was shot through with holes. He placed it against the wall, and the punctures tallied exactly, hole for hole! Obviously the Germans themselves were responsible for their “atrocity.”

But the press stuck to its guns…

(America is also rotted from the inside out but America will never be able to see what she’s become because it’s not covered on their TVs nor in their newspapers. )

It happened long before the Russian war. The Foreign Press Association, Der Verein der auslaendischen Presse, was a unique institution inside Nazi Germany. In eight years of power, the Nazis had carried out a Gleichschaltung of all other organizations in Germany; every organization of every kind had been either placed under control of Nazis, or disbanded and then refounded as purely Nazi organization with the exception of the Foreign Press Association. Last year, after almost a dozen nations had been conquered by Germany, the German Foreign Office and the Propaganda Ministry, launched their long delayed campaign to crush the independence of the Foreign Press and bring it under control of the Nazi government to the same extent as the German press was. The method was by dilution; by flooding the ranks of the Foreign Press corps with a sort of Axis fifth column. Each conquered or quislinged nation was invited by the German government to withdraw its former correspondents (if these had not listened to Nazi reason and changed their ways) and replace them with an increased number of carefully chosen hacks who could be depended on to take orders. An amazing, motley crew of fake newspapermen began to show up in press conferences. Old friends, able friends from Holland, Norway, and Belgium disappeared and their places were filled by local Nazis, some of them barely able to write their own names! All, by virtue of being accredited journalists, were allowed to join the Foreign Press Association. It was a considerably increased burden to the expense account of the Propaganda Ministry, but Goebbels was expansive and invited especially the little Balkaneers by the dozen to the big city. They were noisy and exuded odours clearly indicative of their unaccustomedness to soap and water. At first, the Nazis gave them the free run of facilities, but eventually even the Nazi journalists began complaining about the plague, and both press clubs, Goebbels’ and Ribbentrop’s, ultimately forbade most of their invited newcomers entrance, refusing to issue them guest cards! The Propaganda Ministry used to maintain a service whereby all journalists could telephone in at a certain time of evening and be told whether or not there was a likelihood of an air-raid that night. The reason was that all the little quisling newspapermen took advantage of the service by arranging with restaurant owners to tell them when an air-raid was coming, so that the restaurant might warn its patrons; this in exchange for free meals for the informers every evening! The dignity of the new Foreign Press corps in Berlin left considerably much to be desired. The first considerable black market for Balkan currencies in Berlin was instituted by the new employees of Dr. Goebbels. But, like it or not, these individuals were poured in to the Verein, even as German “tourists” were poured into nations marked for conquest.” ……

But while the Propaganda Ministry and the Gestapo were straining their every resource to keep the new developments from ears and eyes of the outside world, unmistakable admissions of their existence were blurted out by none other than—Adolf Hitler himself! Speaking to party comrades on November 8, 1941, Hitler, for the first time mentioned the existence of opposition to him inside Germany. The Fuerhrer said: “Should anyone among us seriously hope to be able to disturb our front—it makes no difference where he comes from or to which camp he belongs—I will keep an eye on him for a certain period of probation. You know my methods. The is always the period of probation. But then there comes a moment when I strike like lightening and eliminate that kind of thing.” The Fuehrer then stated that the Nazi organization “reaches into every house and zealously keeps watch that there shall never be another November, 1918.”
Since 1933, opposition to Hitler inside Germany had been a strict “unmentionable” for party speakers and even the Fuehrer himself. The deviation, at this particular time, was significant.

(Pages – 166, 108 – 110, 100, 236 – 237, 80)

“People in the outside world who know the Nazi system only from photographs and films; from dramatic shots of its fine military machine and the steely, resolute faces of its leaders, would be amazed at what a queer, creaky makeshift it is behind its handsome, uniform exterior. It is not only that the people who support those stoney-faced leaders are timid, frightened and low-spirited. It is also, the government, the administration of those people and their affairs. In “The House that Hitler Built,” Stephen Roberts drew as nearly perfect of picture of that strange complicated mechanism as it was in peace time, as it is possible for a human to draw. But even that capable author would be buffed by a thousand queer, ill-shaped accretions that have been added illogically to it and the contraptions that have been subtracted illogically from it since the beginning of war. It looks roughly like a Rube Goldberg invention, inspired by a nightmare, but it is more complicated and less logical. And there are no A, B, C directions under it to show how it works. The men who work it have no idea how it works, themselves. The old, experienced, semi-intelligent bureaucrats who made the old contraption function wheezingly in peace, have been drained off to the war machine where their experience can be used more valuably. The new screwier contraption is operated haltingly by inexperienced little men who do not like their jobs and know nothing about them. The I.Q. of the personnel in the whole civil administration machine has dropped from an average of a fifteen-year-old to that of a ten-year-old.

For example, it is strictly against the law for any foreigner to remain in Germany more than a month without a stamp on his passport called by the formidable name of Aufenthaltserlaubnis, a residence permit. But nowadays, between the time you apply for one and the time you get it, a year generally passes; you break the law for eleven months because nobody knows what to do with your application once you’ve filled it out. Most foreigners never get one at all. But that is one of the more efficient departments. My charwoman’s sister, who worked in a hospital, disappeared once. Together my charwoman and I tried every police and Gestapo agency in town to find out about her, but nobody knew anything, or what to do to find anything out. Thirteen months later, it was discovered she was killed in a motor car accident in central Berlin, and the record of it had simply got stalled in the bureau of some little official who didn’t know which of eleven different departments he should have passed it on to. He tried three of six possible departments, but they didn’t know what to do with it.

Nobody knows who is zustaendig (responsible) for anything. When I complained to the Propaganda Ministry about being refused trips to the war-front, I was told the Ministry had nothing to do with the matter, that I should see the radio people. I went to the radio people who were not zustaendig for such matters and who sent me to the censors. The Foreign Office censor knew nothing about it and told me to see the High Command censor, who told me to go back to the Propaganda Ministry itself and complain there. Ultimately, Dr. Froelich, in the Ministry, showed an uncommon sense of the state of affairs and shrugged his shoulders and told me neither he, nor anybody else, had the least idea who the responsible official was, or which the responsible department. I was simply banned from trips to the front by nobody for no reason, but no one could do anything about it. When I was finally banned from the air, I went to the American embassy and asked the proper officer to protest to the Nazi authorities. He smiled and said: “It has become hopeless to protest to the Nazis about anything. Not only because of their ill-will towards Americans, but also because they frankly do not know which department any particular protest should be delivered to.” He told me the whole Nazi civil government is in a state of unbelievable chaos. Hitler no longer pays the slightest attention to the civil side of German life, and his underlings have followed the transition of his interests to the purely military side of things. Nobody of any consequence has any interest in the government of the German people, and it has become hopelessly confused and chaotic, and, in its innards, irremediably constipated. It is, in short, going to hell in a hurry…” – (Portions from pages 168 – 170)

Howard K. Smith made many observations.

“The attitude, frozen into the fabric of the “ruling class mind” by years of privilege was one of indifference to the people…

After that my sense sharpened and I guided them to fill out my impressions. I watched propaganda in the newspapers, placards on street-corner billboards, listened to it on the radio, I took closer note of the trends and tone of lectures in Heidelberg, listened more attentively to conversations with university professors, chosen for their ability as propagandists rather than as teachers, at Saturday night social gatherings in the Institute for Foreigners. Everything I saw and heard confirmed my new-born fear. I had now gone through all the stages save one—that is when fear has matured and been converted to political action. In its own way, that came later…. 
First: the object of any government in any state in the world is to maintain and increase the well-being of the people living in it. And on their success or failure at this, governments must be judged. 
Second: Hitler took over a nation in which the well-being of the people was prevented from being well by several serious problems. The Principle problems were:
(a) a low standard of living;
(b) millions of unemployed workers; and
(c) an economic crisis was in course, in which industry, which furnishes the people with the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter was virtually paralyzed.
Third: Hitler’s success of failure must be judged on the extent to which he has solved, or failed to solve, these problems….
Hitler’s solution to the crisis was not by making useful goods but by producing the greatest aggregation of arms, which nobody can eat, or wear, in all history…
Krupp… enjoyed record profits in 1935 and broke the record in each successive year, including 1941!) So, from the outset, Hitler had not solved the problem of economic crisis in our sense, for he has not added to, but subtracted from the quality and quantity of consumers’ goods which existed in 1933.

I asked about a Communist dock-worker I had met before and learned he had been placed in a concentration camp for trying to talk up a dockers’ strike for higher wages.

Once, however, I broke my routine and took a trip to Russia. That land impressed me disgustingly favorably for an individual who was still more Liberal than Socialist. Contrary to the development of my reactions in Germany, Russia looked better the longer I stayed and the more I saw….

You got the impression that each and every little individual was feeling pretty important doing a pretty important job of building up a State, eager and interested as a bunch of little boys turned loose in a locomotive and told to run it as they please. It showed promise like a gifted child’s first scratchings of “a house” on paper. Klein aber mein; a little but mine own, as the proverb goes. What is more the standard of living was definitely rising nor falling… I knew all along the atmosphere reminded me of a word, but I couldn’t think what it was until I got back to Germany. The word was “democracy.” That, I know, is a strange reaction to a country which is well known to be a dictatorship, but the atmosphere simply did not coincide with the newspapers’ verdict.

Schlaf schneller, Genosse had been for a year more than a book to me, it had been a close friend. It was the only Soviet Russian book which the Germans had allowed to be published in Germany after the German-Russian pact… I wrote that the Nazis permitted this book alone because it was obviously unfavorable, and according to their calculations its publication would, at once, show that Germany was not afraid of Communist literature, and it would cast a bad light on Russia. I added that the result was a little alarming to the Propaganda Ministry which an official in that institution confirmed to me, for the little book was sold out three days after the first edition had reached the bookshops, and several more editions had to be printed. Germans were delighted, and one German woman who borrowed my copy, because the edition had been exhausted when she had tried to buy a copy, told me afterwards: “It’s unbelievable. Why no German author could say things like that about Germany. He would lose his head. It raised Russia’s stock far higher than the book censors had calculated.
Well, the volume was missing from the window, for the first time in a year. I wandered on home, but the observation stuck in my mind all day and the next morning. So the following afternoon I went back to the bookshop, went inside, and, working on a hunch, told a salesgirl I wanted something on Russia and what did she have? My hunch was a square hit. She took me to a shelf filled with political books and pointed to…. the screaming titles, “The TRUTH about the Soviet Paradise,” “The Betrayal of Socialism,” “My Life in Russian Hell.” My friend, Sclaf schneller was no where to be seen. I told the salesgirl no and returned home…

Yes, he said, there were rumors: Hitler had presented a list of demands to Stalin. The most important was the lease of the Ukraine to Germany for ninety-nine years…

Being called out of bed at three in the morning, I knew from several past occasions, meant one thing: Germany was going to save the world from somebody again…”

When the war entered its third month, however, a moral depression set in which joined the economic decline. The downward movement was slow; then, from the beginning of autumn, both declines gathered speed, reacting on one another. By the end of October it became obvious that this was no mere “seasonal” drop, but a dangerous, perhaps permanent movement. People began grumbling openly, tempers were perceptibly short. This together with the decay of capital equipment caused a leveling off of war production for the first time in Nazi history, then a steep decline in production. The German propaganda machine adopted new tactics, introduced all kinds of of new “explanatory” propaganda and finally instituted a new anti-Jewish campaign to divert bitterness. The campaign failed entirely of its goal. From appeasing the people to offering them scapegoats, the Government then turned to threats and force. The Storm-troops, the “fighting vanguard of the Kleinbuergertum,” were in effect disbanded because of disaffection in their ranks. The Berlin garrison of the Gestapo was doubled in numbers and the Gestapo took up strategic positions in residential districts, set up arsenals; and the number of arrests tripled.

The Nazis took excessively great pains to keep these things quiet. Probably the most revealing measure they adopted was to muzzle the American press with an open censorship. This is the first time censorship of the foreign press has been resorted to in the nine years of Hitler’s power. For the three radio correspondents, of whom I was one, there had always been a censorship; but when the Great Depression of late 1941 set in, it was converted into a verifiable strait-jacket. I could no longer give a reasonable accurate picture of what was happening in Berlin; pressure was even applied to make me tell blunt falsehoods. I was actually ordered by the Nazis to use their propaganda material! I, of course, promptly reported these incidents to the American Embassy in Berlin. The situation was unbearable, and I sent a telegram to Paul White, director of News Programs for the Columbia Broadcasting System, in New York, telling him so. The Nazi censors informed me they would not send the telegram or any other information containing complaints against them. Then I telephoned White, and and told him the facts. Telephone conversations were still uncensored, but they were listened to by the Gestapo… The following day we were all informed that the German radio refused to allow us the use of facilities any longer, and that we might, thus, no longer work in Germany. They did not forbid our companies from operating from Berlin, and they did not throw us out. Had they done either of these things, we would be able to leave the country and to speak freely, once outside, without the fear of reprisals being taken on our companies in Berlin. But instead, they even refused to let us leave. We stayed in Berlin another month able neither to work nor to leave; until eventually our companies agreed to send substitutes for us who, in Nazi eyes, would serve as hostages against our talking. – (Page 78 – 79)

…dangerous diet of people in any totalitarian country where news is twisted or kept from them.. (Page 90)

But while the Propaganda Ministry and the Gestapo were straining their every resource to keep the new developments from ears and eyes of the outside world, unmistakable admissions of their existence were blurted out by none other than—Adolf Hitler himself! Speaking to party comrades on November 8, 1941, Hitler, for the first time mentioned the existence of opposition to him inside Germany. The Fuehrer said: “Should anyone among us seriously hope to be able to disturb our front—it makes no difference where he comes from or to which camp he belongs—I will keep an eye on him for a certain period of probation. You know my methods. The is always the period of probation. But then there comes a moment when I strike like lightening and eliminate that kind of thing.” The Fuehrer then stated that the Nazi organization “reaches into every house and zealously keeps watch that there shall never be another November, 1918.”
Since 1933, opposition to Hitler inside Germany had been a strict “unmentionable” for party speakers and even the Fuehrer himself. The deviation, at this particular time, was significant. – (Page 80)

When the telephone rang, I was lying in bed with a miserable cold an a skull-splitting headache. It was the secretary of Dr. Froelich, the Propaganda Ministry’s liaison officer for the American press and radio. She was excited, and told me I should come to an important special press conference at noon sharp; something of extremely great importance….

Cameras snapped and flashlight bulbs flashed. On the great stage behind the central figure, Dietrich, the red velvet curtains were drawn apart to reveal a monstrous map of European Russia thrice as high as the speaker. The effect was impressive… With an air of finality, Dietrich announced the very last remnants of the Red Army were locked in two steel German pockets before Moscow and were undergoing swift, merciless annihilation…..

Behind his unrecorded words there arose, in the minds of his listeners, inevitable images. Russia, with her rich resources in Hitler’s hands: an increment of almost 200,000,000 units of slave labour to make implements of war, bringing total man-power at Germany’s disposal to a figure greater than that of England, and North and South America. Hitler’s armies, ten million men, flushed with victory, eager for more of the easy, national sport, were in the main free to return west and flood England, at long last, with blood and Nazis….

The civil population were hanging wreaths of roses on German tanks in joy at being liberated. It would be announced in a special communique tonight or tomorrow. In the days that followed, bookshops got in new sets of Russian grammars and simple readers for beginners in the tongue, and displayed shop windows full of them; the eagerness to get a job in the rich, new colony was everywhere. The economics minister of the Reich, Dr. Walter Funk, at himself down and wrote a fine speech about Germany’s colonial mission in Russia, entitled “The contribution of the East to the New Europe,” and the next day the papers published it under the heading; “Europe’s Economic Future Secured.”

– (Portions from pages 18 – 21, 25, 37, 65-67, 69, 90, 80, 84, 85, 86, 90)

Howard K. Smith also wrote about the health of the working class citizens of Germany.

“The war dragged on beyond schedule and another cut became necessary. But an official reduction was never made. From a source in the Nazi food ministry, whose reliability cannot be doubted, I learned that the food ministry had determined to introduce the cut, lopping off another 50 grammes, leaving the total ration at 350 grammes a week. And, if the campaign lasted much longer, this too, was to be reduced by another 50 grammes…. the squabble that began with meat and then led into other departments of the food problem, eventually cost Walther Darre, the Nazi agricultural minister, his job. He retained the title, for purposes of front, for some time, but Hitler, in anger at the unexpectedly swift drop in all resources, took away from him the administration of one department after another, accusing him of having given false information to the party leadership concerning the abundance of supplies with which Germany began the Russian war.

The solution to the meat problem was eventually settled by compromise—and here we have another typical Nazi “solution” to a given problem. The cut would be made. But it simply would not be announced. Appearances would thus be maintained, and the two parties concerned satisfied; only the people were left out of consideration. So, while there was no official announcement, less meat was delivered to butchers’ shops and to restaurants. In restaurants, for a 100-gramme meat coupon, the chef simply dealt out an 80-gramme piece of meat.

But even this could not be maintained. Food supplies were not, to use a figure, walking down a staircase; they were sliding down a chute, and a very slippery one. More reductions were introduced in the same manner….
For almost two weeks there were no potatoes in Berlin…

Other vegetables came to count as luxuries. Tomatoes were rationed too for a while, then disappeared altogether to canning factories where they could be preserved and sent to the Eastern front. Two-vegetable meals became virtually extinct. Scarcities were made more severe by the prudence of the food ministry which, having its palms slapped once, began to play it safe by preparing more and more canned goods for the troops in the event that the war should last through the winter….

Ersatz foods flourished. Icing for the few remaining pastries tasted like a mixture of saccharine, sand and cheap perfume. White bread was issued after the third month of the campaign only on the ration cards formerly for pastry. A red coloured paste called Lachs Galantine, resembling salmon in color and soggy sawdust in taste, appeared in restaurants on meatless days. Several strange bottled sauces made of incredible combinations of acid-tasting chemicals made their appearance in shops to answer the public’s growing demand for something to put a taste of some kind in their unattractive and scanty meals.
Cigarettes suffered the most rapid decline in quality… My tobacconist told me “Johnnies” were made of the same dry, powdery, inferior tobacco as other cigarettes, but the leaves were sprayed with a chemical to give them a distinctive flavour and kill their original one. The chemical, he said, was severely damaging to the lungs, which I can believe…

It caused visible pain to the old bar-tender to answer an order for a cocktail saying he was dreadfully sorry but today, precisely today, he had run out of all the ingredients. But perhaps tomorrow. Actually, all he had was some raw liquor the management had been able to squeeze out of a farm-house outside Berlin, Himbeergeist, or a fake Vodka that took the roof off your mouth, or wood alcohol with perfume in it which was served under the name of Sclibovitz, two fingers to a customer and no more…

Civilian hospitals are overcrowded and doctors overworked. Environment, which has a great deal to do with mental health and well-being has grown seedy and ugly. Hours are longer and real wages immeasurably lower than they were before the Russian war. Families are losing their youngest and strongest members, or seeing them some home legless and armless. The horizon of the average German is desolate….

Today, also after two years of war, there are only two meat dishes on the menu, one of which is struck through with a pencil mark along the strategy of the Kaiserhof Hotel. The other is generally two little sausages of uncertain contents, each about the size of a cigar butt. Before the meat they give you a chalky, red, warm liquid called tomato soup, but which a good-natured waiter-friend of mine always called: Ee-gay Farben Nummer zwei nulleex! all of which means, “Dye trust formula number 20-X.” With the meat you get four or five yellow potatoes with black blotches on them… (Portions from pages 120 – 149)

Hitler’s solution to the crisis was not by making useful goods but by producing the greatest aggregation of arms, which nobody can eat, or wear, in all history…

Krupp… enjoyed record profits in 1935 and broke the record in each successive year, including 1941!” – (Page 21)

IG Farben united all the German industrialists. NATO united all Western industrialists. They continued their capitalist market expansion plans.

“And so in capitalist society we have a democracy that is curtailed, wretched, false, a democracy only for the rich, for the minority. The dictatorship of the proletariat, the period of transition to communism, will for the first time create democracy for the people, for the majority, along with the necessary suppression of the exploiters, of the minority.” – Vladimir Lenin – State and Revolution (1917)

“Should anyone among us,” Hitler said, “seriously hope to disturb our front—it makes no difference where he comes from or what camp he belongs to—I will keep an eye on him for a certain period. You know my methods. That is always the period of probation. But then there comes a moment when I strike like lightening and eliminate that sort of thing.” It was then, too, that the Fuehrer declared that the Nazi organization, by which he meant the Gestapo, watches every single house and “zealously keeps watch that there shall never be another November 1918.”

The Weird DARPA/Facebook “Coincidence” You Never Heard About by corbettreport https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1_yMGQ5Uv0I

Important history into DARPA.

“DARPA’s mandate, as was instructed to Congress when DARPA was created in 1958, was “to create vast weapon systems of the future” – that was its job.” – Annie Jacobsen

“Many scientists, from rocket pioneer Dr. Wernher von Braun to former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie, the “Butcher of Lyon,” entered the country under the aegis of Operation Paperclip.” – Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington (Fellow in ethics at Harvard)

DARPA’s origin is Operation Paperclip which imported the Nazi war machine to the US and expanded to all NATO nations.

“We stayed in Berlin another month able neither to work nor to leave; until eventually our companies agreed to send substitutes for us who, in Nazi eyes, would serve as hostages against our talking. …dangerous diet of people in any totalitarian country where news is twisted or kept from them..

But while the Propaganda Ministry and the Gestapo were straining their every resource to keep the new developments from ears and eyes of the outside world, unmistakable admissions of their existence were blurted out by none other than—Adolf Hitler himself! Speaking to party comrades on November 8, 1941, Hitler, for the first time mentioned the existence of opposition to him inside Germany. The Fuehrer said: “Should anyone among us seriously hope to be able to disturb our front—it makes no difference where he comes from or to which camp he belongs—I will keep an eye on him for a certain period of probation. You know my methods. The is always the period of probation. But then there comes a moment when I strike like lightening and eliminate that kind of thing.” The Fuehrer then stated that the Nazi organization “reaches into every house and zealously keeps watch that there shall never be another November, 1918.”

Since 1933, opposition to Hitler inside Germany had been a strict “unmentionable” for party speakers and even the Fuehrer himself. The deviation, at this particular time, was significant.” – Last Train From Berlin by Howard K. Smith, 1942.

And FB enables them to reach into every single home and zealously keep watch that there will never be another November, 1918.

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“Instead of deliberately favoring democratic industrialists, we have spent most of our billions in backing predatory institutions which, based on their history and present activities, will probably align themselves against us in the showdown between East and West—and this policy alone could easily  make the difference between defeat and victory for democracy. Would that we had such desperate faith in democratic institutions that we could afford the gamble of similar billions for their survival! For every dollar we have spent in Europe to strengthen democracy and arm it against conquest, we have thrown several dollars within reach of the enemy.

In the Far East, as well as Europe, the United States has backed other totalitarian-minded groups as a “bulwark” against communism. By the end of World War II, the peoples of China, Korea, Indo-China, and the Philippines had suffered for years under the “New Order for Asia” sponsored by the Japanese equivalent of Farben, the Zaibatsu cartels. These cartels by force of arms won a stranglehold on the economies of these countries. Instead of rebuilding the Far East generally as fast as we could, we have peddled the fear that Russia would rob and plunder the people, while at the same time we backed the very forces which had already robbed and plundered them. The Zaibatsu cartels are as strong as ever. In Indo-China, we have backed the collaborators of the “Japanese New Order.” In South Korea, faced with a variety of truly democratic choices, we backed Syngman Rhee and the few landowners and cotton millers who cast their lot with the “New Order” gang.

The Voice of America must sound weak to those forced by the United States to choose between Communism and reliving the dark era of World War II. Their will to resist Communism is weakened—to put it mildly—by our facing them with this black alternative.

Can we expect millions of former vassals in Asia to rally around their erstwhile totalitarian oppressors? Can we rally Europe solely around the fear of Soviet enslavement while we deliberately sustain the forces which twice in recent history have enslaved that continent?

On the answer to these questions depends on our survival.” – Page 363

“To the inmates of Camp I, the word “Buna” (which included “Leuna”) was more frightful than “Auschwitz” — the Farben site more terrifying than any place except a large wooded area three kilometers east of Camp I. During the first weeks of construction the workers at Camp I were routed out of bed every morning, stood roll call, ate a poor breakfast, and were marched by the SS five kilometers to the plant. Until this day of testimony, Ambros had insisted several times that disciplinary actions on the site were the responsibility of the SS. Now for some strange reason, he admitted: “I do know for sure that already in 1941 one began to fence off squares, blocks, and in these squares no SS had any further business. That was the preliminary stage for having the entire plant fenced in.” The workers had confirmed this. Once inside the plant enclosure, they found that the Farben overseers outnumbered the SS by 10 to 1…. “We struggled to carry cables, collapsing under the strain; the work was too heavy even for a nourished man.” “Once the inmates were assigned to Farben Meister, they became his slaves.” The prisoners of war, who were given easier jobs, remembered better and longer than most. “The inmates were forced to carry one-hundred C-weight bags of cement. It took four men to lift one bag and put it on the back of one man. When inmates couldn’t go along quickly enough to satisfy the Farben Meister, the Meister beat them with sticks and iron bars and punched them with his fists and kicked them. I have often seen them beaten to death with iron bars.” “When inmates first arrived at the I.G. Farben factory,” one of Ambrus’ underlings had testified, “They looked reasonably well. In two or three months, they were hardly recognizable as the same people; the worst thing was the lack of food… I am not a scientist, Mr. Counselor, I would not pose as an expert on calories or grams or liters. I can merely say what I saw…. And my Czech physician friend was an expert. The Czech physician said: “The prisoners were condemned to burn up their own body weight by working.” Before construction was finished, nine out of ten punishments were meted out by the Farben plant employees. The SS at Camp I became concerned with the depletion of the labor supply. The most ironical occurrences were the repeated complaints of an SS man to his superior that a Farben foreman was beating the prisoners too often — it happened at the plant as it happened at the mine. “I did not observe anything of that kind,” Ambros said – Portions from pages 178 – 181

The buna factory they wanted to build would have a capacity larger than any of the others. They would need a million tons of hard coal, and Oswiecem was on the southern border of the Silisian coal fields. The plant needed as much power as the city of Berlin, and here at Oswiecem three rivers united—the Sola, the Przemsze, and the Little Vistula. East of the town was another river which could furnish extra power and would take off the waste from plant.

A buna factory needed a lot of water, even in winter. They planned to cut a canal to connect the Vistula to the Oder a few miles away. Oswiecem was on a level plain, and all the waters of all the rivers around could be harnessed without flooding. Oswiecem fell on a line between Krakow and Vienna, and the old short stretches of railways could be joined to ship the buna back to the Reich. Said Ter Meer: “There were really so many of our industrial prerequisites that one has to admit that this location, Auschwitz, was ideal industrially.”

Ter Meer and Ambros looked over the people. “Nature had endowed this place, “Ambros said. “There were men and women [in the whole territory] working partly in industry and also doing part-time farming work. Sociologically, the most ideal condition is to find workers who also have a small plot of ground. This meant everything a chemist could dream of.”

The impressions gleaned by the two doctors were almost Biblical. They were rapt in contemplation of a business which would offer a pastoral craft to the rural inhabitants. Early in the morning, the farmer would get up and milk his cows, then stroll off—lunchbox in hand—to the plant. He would work there in the afternoon while his wife and daughter toiled in the vineyard. Everything about the picture was charming—except that there were not 15,000 such farmers near-by.

But Ter Meer didn’t believe that Ambros, in inviting him there, had mentioned a concentration camp. ”I do not recall that he at the time discussed that some of the labor would be drawn from the near-by concentration camp, but I will say that Ambros, who in his reports was very exact, probably mentioned it, though I am not positive.”

Ambros was very exact.  A few weeks later, he reported twice to a group of buna colleagues at Ludwigshafen that plans were being made to build a second concentration camp at Auschwitz: “The inhabitants of the town of Auschwitz itself are 2000 Germans, 4000 Jews, 7000 Poles. The availability of inmates of the camp would be advantageous.”

Three thousand people were in Camp I. Then the second camp swelled the prison population to 14,000—Dr. Ter Meer was never to share his lunch with them. During the first two years of construction, reports came to his office of daily trainloads of “workers” coming to Auschwitz. Then Camp III and Camp IV were built, both nearer the buna factory than the other two camps. Then at last, in 1943, Ter Meer made a third visit to Auschwitz. Returning to Frankfurt, he had himself transferred to Italy, where he became plenipotentiary for the Italian chemical industries. Ambros’ appeals followed him: “More workers are needed.” “Herr Doctor Ambros is asking for assistance at Auschwitz.”….

Q. We have heard from four other witnesses that there was supposed to have been a large chimney in this camp, too. Do you have any recollection of it?

A. I have no recollection of it.

pages 155 – 156

Ambros bowed as he took oath, exhibiting his sketch in all directions. He waved his counsel aside for the moment. He explained: “This tree of many branches I choose to call the Ethylene Tree to symbolize the Good and Evil in nature.”
Ethylene oxide, he went on, was the trunk which bore many branches “green with peaceful uses” and a few that were rotten with potential destruction. He pointed to lines he had drawn to cut off the rotten branches. Green branches had been his sole interest: soap for dirty soldiers, paint and cleaning agents for vehicles. “I still do not understand why I am here. The collapse promised everything but that I would be arrested.”
At Gerdorf, after those senseless investigations, the Americans had been kind enough to lend him a jeep and driver, to take him back home. Surely, if he had deserved arrest, the French at Ludwigshafen would have picked him up. He’d lived in Ludwigshafen since the mid-1920’s; people there thought he was just born for the place. If Heidelberg was the seat of chemical knowledge, Ludwigshafen was nature’s laboratory; and Ambros was the sort of man who liked earth running through his fingers. At Ludwigshafen, more productive than any other single Farben installation, were planted the synthetic seeds of every Farben product. Ludwigshafen put out the elementary compounds that became hormones and vitamins under Hoerlein at Elberfeld. At Ludwigshafen, the organic roots under careful cultivation grew their first ersatz offshoots. His “mother” was Ludwigshafen, said Ambros; but he owed a good deal, too, to his real father, a professor of agricultural chemistry, who had taken him into the laboratory before he could toddle. It was understandable that, at first sight of Oswiecem, he noted it was “predominantly agricultural terrain.”
When Bosch and Krauch hired Ambros, they got a young man with brains as well as feet in the soil. Bosch, recognizing a young excitable genius, turned him loose to study natural dyes and rosins and yeast breeding and sugar fermentation. Soon the Ethylene Tree was bearing synthetic twigs based on his studies.  – page 170

“Sure, we must have a theory. It’s just like what the first caveman said when he caught his neighbor dragging his wife away: ‘Would you please wait a minute while I get hold of a lawyer?’ When a hungry man steals a chicken, that’s larceny if the statute says it’s larceny. But stealing whole territories is not larceny — that’s foreign policy.”

The car almost went off the road as I listened to him expound. “Murder is a crime in every country in the world, but it’s no crime in the world-at-large because the Second Circuit Court of Appeals never said so. Ask Senator Taft. He never took the trouble to call it murder before anyway, so now he says: ‘How can you call it murder after the war is over? The charges are very badly drafted, Joe. We should have charged excusable larceny and justified, premeditated killing. That’s the kind of theory they’ll be happy with.”
“That’s hardly fair,” I said. “If judges felt that way, they wouldn’t be sitting on this trial.”
If only a “theory” were as simple as he had put it! The bitter edge of his tone suggested the simple injustices that “civilized countries,” one by one, had tried to remedy, but against which the world-at-large had done almost nothing. Yes, there was a lot of truth in Minskoff that couldn’t be squeezed into a usable idea for next Monday morning — or could it?….

“A surprise is coming up,” Minskoff said. “Get ready for a sharp right.”

Around the turn, behind a high barbed-wire fence, deep-green grass leveled out for more than a mile ahead. Set back a good distance from the road was a group of buildings covering an area of about three city blocks. Midway between the road and the building was a large sign: “Prager Verein.”
“We should have stopped in Pilsen,” Minskoff said. “In Pilsen, they still call this place ‘Farben.’ When Farben took over here, they impressed about 1100 people from Pilsen. Six hundred of them ended up at Auschwitz. Of course we’re in Bohemia now, but this is the parent factory of the first two chemical outfits Farben grabbed in Sudetenland—isn’t that right?”
I agreed. This is not being a part of his job, he must have learned the fact somewhere around here.
“Farben got to Czechoslovakia before Hitler did, didn’t they?”
I nodded as the car slowed down. Stopping, we got out and went up the main gate. The guard listened to our explanation, smiled, and asked rhetorically, “Americans?” and let us through. I thought of Paul Haefliger again, and of how Farben was always months ahead of the Nazis. Somehow that should mean more than it did. The Farben doings in Czechoslovakia were linked to the Farben doings in Austria the previous year by purpose and method, but from the legal standpoint they seemed to stack up as separate ventures. According to the Munich Pact the territories of Bohemia and Moravia were supposed to remain Czech. Therefore, technically Prager Verein was still “free” when Farben took over its two subsidiaries, in the Sudetenland. Regarding the taking over of the subsidiaries, I recalled a couple of sentences from the Farben report: “One 1st October began the marching in of the German troops. On 3rd October, Falkenau factory was occupied.” But Farben had been “negotiating” in Sudetenland a long time before that….

We might have been stopping at any one of three or four factories on Route 25 between Newark and Camden, New Jersey — except for that institution of evil. Farben had been months ahead of Hitlerin organization financial power and in the conquest of productive installations. The Munich Pact had been signed in September 1938. But even before Munich — and several months before the Nazi troops had marched here in Bohemia — Farben had been negotiating to try and take over this parent company. Also before Munich, another firm had arrived in Prague to compete with Farben. Von Schnitzler had sold a piece of Prager Verein to this competitor before he even had any part of it to sell. (Farben was to get this piece back after gaining a majority control.)
In Von Schnitzler’s own words, seldom had a “great international agreement been concluded so quickly.” At a conference in November 1938, in Berlin, to which the Prager Verein managers were “invited,” Schmitz and Ilgner had come to form an impressive audience to Von Schnitzler’s demands.
The pressure had culminated in a December meeting, Von Schnitzler presiding. The occupation of Prague was still four months away. Von Schnitzler used the Sudetenland occupation as the persuader. He told Prager Verein representatives that he knew they were trying to “sabotage” the deal and that he was going to report to the German government that Prager Verein’s resistance was menacing social peace in the Sudeten area. Unrest could be expected at any moment, he said, and Prager Verein would be responsible. Actually, there were not many Jews in Prager Verein, and Hitler had no plans at all for taking it over.
Missoff chuckled over Von Schnitzler’s commercial generalship. Farben had not only swallowed the lignite mines and dyestuffs of Prager Verein, but all intermediate plants, stocks, good will, patents, and trademarks. Altogether it was no small feat to do in a couple of months the paperwork that turned the fourth largest business on the Continent into a Farben subsidiary. Minskoff was chuckling even after we hit the road again. He quoted Cardozo’s dictum: “Every man has a little larceny in his heart.”

– Portions taken from pages 104 – 106

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Operation Paperclip by Annie Jacobson. (Excerpts regarding Hitler’s Chemists – Otto Ambros)

Hitler’s Chemists

Otto Ambros

Otto Ambros was a fastidious man. His calculations were exact, his words carefully chosen, his fingernails always manicured. He wore his hair neatly oiled and parted. In addition to being Hitler’s favorite chemist, Ambros was the manager of IG Farben’s synthetic rubber and fuel factory at Aushwitz.

page 21

“The concentration camp already existing with approximately 7000 prisoners is to be expanded.” Santo noted in his official company report. For Ambros, Farben’s arrangement with the SS regarding slave laborers remained vague; Ambros sought clarity. “It is therefore necessary to open negotiations with the Reich Leader SS [Himmler] as soon as possible to discuss necessary measures with him,” Ambros wrote in his official company report. The two men had a decades-old relationship; Heinrich Himmler and Otto Ambros had known one another since grade school. Ambros could make Himmler see eye-to-eye with him on the benefits that Auschwitz offered to both Farben and the SS. – Operation Paperclip. page 153.

Otto Ambros was key to making the Buna factory a success. With his knowledge of synthetic rubber and his managerial experience–he also ran Farben’s secret nerve gas production facilities–there was no better man than Otto Ambros for the Auschwitz job….
Major Tilley waited at Dustin for the return of Tarr and Ambros. It was now clear to him that there was no single individual more important to Hitler’s chemical weapons program than Otto Ambros had been. Ambros was in charge of chemical weapons at Gendorf and Dyhernfurth, and he was the manager of the Buna factory at Auschwitz. From interviewing various Farben chemists held at Dustbin, Tilley had also learned that the gas used to murder millions of people at Auschwitz and other concentration camps, Zyklon B, and it was sold to the Reich by an IG Farben company. In one of these interviews, Tilley asked IG Farben board member Baron Georg von Schnitzler if Otto Ambros knew that Farben chemicals were being used to murder people.

“You said yesterday that a [Farben employee] ‘alluded’ to you that the poisonous gasses [sic] and the chemicals manufactured by IG Farben were being used for the murder of human beings held in concentration camps,” Major Tilley reminded von Schnitzler in their interview
“So I understood him,” von Schnitzler replied.
“Didn’t you question those employees of yours further in regard to the use of these gases?”
“They knew it was being used for this purpose,” von Schnitzler said
von Schnitzler confessed, “I asked [the Farben employee] is it known to you and Ambros and other directors in Auschwitz that the gases and chemicals are being used to murder people?”
“What did he say?” asked Major Tilley.
“Yes; it is known to all the IG directors in Auschwitz,” von Schnitzer said.

Few men were as important to IG Farben during the war than Otto Ambros had been. IG Farben began first producing synthetic rubber in 1935, naming it Buna after its primary component, butadiene…. Otto Ambros poured over maps of this region, called the Upper Silesia, in search of a Buna factory site, he found what he was looking for. The production of synthetic rubber required four things: water, flat land, good railway connections, and an abundance of laborers. Auschwitz had all four. Three rivers met in Auschwitz, the Sola, the Vistula, and the Przemsza, with a water flow of 525,000 cubic feet per hour. The land was flat and sixty-five feet above the waterline, making it safe from floodwaters. The railway connections were sound. But the most important was the labor issue. The concentration camp next door could provide an endless labor supply because the men were cheap and could be worked to death. For Farben, the use of slave labor supply could take the company to levels of economic prowess previously unexplored.

pages 151 – 155

It was only a matter of time before an American chemical company would learn of the army’s interest in a whole new field of chemical weapons. An American chemist, Dr. Wilhelm Hirschkind, was in Germany at this same time. Dr. Hirschkind was conducting a survey of the German chemical industry for the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service while on temporarily leave from Dow Chemical Company. Dr. Hirschkind had spent several months inspecting IG Farben plants in the U.S. and British zones and now he was in Heidelberg, hoping to meet Ambros. Lieutenant Colonel Tarr reached out to Colonel Weiss, the French commander in charge of IG Farben’s chemical plant in Ludwigshafen, and a meeting was arranged.

On July 28, 1945, Dr. Hirschkind met with Ambros and Lieutenant Colonel Tarr in Heidelberg. Ambros brought his wartime deputy with him to the meeting, the Farben chemist Jurgen von Klenck. It was von Klenck who, in the final months of the war, had helped Ambros destroy evidence, hide documents, and disguise the Farben factory in Gendorf so that it appeared to produce soap, not chemical weapons. Jurgen von Klenck was initially detained at Dustbin but later released. The Heidelberg meetings lasted several days. When Dr. Wilhelm Hirschkind left, he had these words for Ambros: “I would look forward after the conclusion of the peace treaty [to] continuing our relations [in my position] as a representative of Dow.”

Only later did FIAT interrogators learn about this meeting. Major Tilley’s suspicions were now confirmed. A group inside the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service, including his former partner, Lieutenant Colonel Tarr, did indeed have an ulterior motive that ran counter to the motives of CIOS, FIAT, and the United Nations War Crimes Commission. Tilley’s superior at Dustbin, Major Wilson, confirmed this dark and disturbing truth in a classified military intelligence report on the Ambros affair. “It is believed that the conflict between FIAT… and LT-Col Tarr was due to the latter’s wish to use Ambros for industrial chemical purposes” back in the United States.”

“All documents regarding the Ambros affair would remain classified for the next forty years, until August of 1985. That an officer of the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service, Lieutenant Colonel Tarr, had sheltered a wanted war criminal from capture in the aftermath of the German surrender was damning. That this officer was also participating in meetings with the fugitive and a representative from the Dow Chemical Company was scandalous.”

page 157 – 159

By 1964, Ambros had been a free man for thirteen years. He was an extremely wealthy, successful businessman. He socialized in Berlin among the captains of industry and the professional elite. When the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial started, he was a board member of numerous major corporations in Germany, including AEG (Allgemeine Elekrizitats Gesellschaft), Germany’s General Electric; Hibernia Mining Company; and SKW (Suddeutsche Kalkstickstoff-Werke AG), a chemical company.

page 415 – 416

In separate letters to Finance Minister Ludger Westrick and Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Dollinger, a new secret was revealed, though Ambros promised not to make public a piece of the information they shared. “Concerning the firms abroad where I am a permanent co-worker advisor,” Ambros wrote, “I won’t name them [publicly] because I don’t want to tip off any journalists who might cause trouble with my friends. You know about W.R. Grace in New York… and I hope I can stay with Hibernia Company. Concerning the firms in Israel,” Ambros wrote, “stating their names publicly would be very embarrassing because they are [run by] very public, well-respected persons in public positions that have actually been at my home and are aware of my position, how I behaved during the Reich, and they accept this.”

The “well-respected” public figures in Israel to whom Ambros referred have never been revealed. That Ambros also had worked for the American company W.R Grace would take decades to come to light. When it did, in the early 1980s, the public would also learn that Otto Ambros worked as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Energy, formerly the Atomic Energy Commission, “to develop and operate a plant for the hydrogenation of coal in a scale of 4 million tons/year at the former IG Farben industry.” That a convicted war criminal had been hired by the Department of Energy sparked indignation, and congressmen and journalists sought further details about Ambros’s U.S. government contract. In a statement to the press, the Department of Energy insisted that the paperwork had been lost…

Letters on White House stationary reveal that Deputy National Security Adviser James W. Nance briefed Reagan about how it was that the U.S. government could have hired Otto Ambros. Nance’s argument to the president was that many others hired him. “Dr. Ambros had contracts with numerous officials from Allied countries,” wrote Nance. “Dr. Ambros was a consultant to companies such as Distillers Limited of England; Pechiney, the French chemical giant; and Dow Europe of Switzerland. He was also the chairman of Knoll, a pharmaceutical subsidiary of the well known chemical corporation BASF.” President Reagan requested further information from the Department of Energy on its Ambros contract. Nance told the president, “The DOE and/or ERDA [The Energy Research and Development Administration] do not have records that would answer the questions you asked in the detail you requested. However, with Ambros’ involvement in the company shown and his special knowledge in hydrogenation of coal, we know there were productive contacts between Dr. Ambros and U.S. energy officials.” Even the president of the United States could not get complete information about an Operation Paperclip legacy.

In the midst of the scandal, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle telephoned Ambros at his home in Mannheim, Germany, and asked Ambros about his 1948 conviction at Nuremberg for mass murder and slavery.

“That happened a very long time ago,” Ambros told the reporter. “It involved Jews. We do not think about it anymore.”

Pages 418 – 419

In the decades since Operation Paperclip ended, new facts continue to come to light. In 2008, previously unreported information about Otto Ambros emerged, serving as a reminder that the story of what lies hidden behind America’s Nazi scientist program in to complete.

A group of medical doctors and researchers in England, working on behalf of an organization called the Thalidomide Trust, believe they have tied the wartime work of IG Farben and Otto Ambros to the thalidomide tragedy of the late 1950s and early 1960s. After Ambros was released from Landsberg Prison, he worked as an economic consultant to German chancellor Konrad Adenauer and to the industrial magnate Friedrich Flick, the richest person in Germany during the Cold War. Like Ambros, Flick had been tried and convicted at Nuremberg, then released early by John J. McCloy.

In the late 1950s, Ambros was also elected chairman of the advisory committee for a German company called Chemie Grunenthal. Grunenthal was about to market a new tranquilizer that promised pregnant women relief from morning sickness. The drug, called thalidomide, was going to be sold under the brand name Contergan. Otto Ambros served on the board of directors of Grunenthal. In the late 1950s, very few people knew that Grunenthal was a safe haven for many Nazis , including Dr. Ernst-Gunther Schenck, the inspector of nutrition for the SS, and Dr. HeinzBaumkotter, an SS captain (Hauptsturmfuhrer) and the chief concentration camp doctor in Mauthausen, Natweiler-Struthof, and Sachsenhausen concentration camps.

Ten months before Grunenthal’s public release of thalidomide, the wife of a Grunenthal employee, who took the drug to combat morning sickness, gave birth to a baby without ears. No one linked the birth defect to the drug, and thalidomide was released by the company. After several months on the market, 1959, Grunenthal received its first reports that thalidomide caused polyneuropathy, or nerve damage, in the hands and feet of elderly people who took the drug. The drug’s over-the-counter status was changed so that it now required a prescription. Still, thalidomide was marketed aggressively in forty-sex countries with a label that stated it could be “given with complete safety to pregnant women and nursing mothers without any adverse effect on mother and child.” Instead, the drug resulted in more than ten thousand mothers giving birth to babies with terrible deformities, creating the most horrific pharmaceutical disaster in the history of modern medicine. Many of the children were born without ears, arms, or legs and with reptilian, flipperlike appendages in place of healthy limbs.

The origins of thalidomide were never accounted for. Grunenthal had always maintained that it lost its documents that showed where and when the first human trials were conducted on the drug. Then, in 2008, the Thalidomide Trust, in England, headed by Dr. Martin Johnson, located a group of Nazi-era documents that produced a link between thalidomide and the drugs researched and developed by IG Farben chemists during the war. Dr. Johnson points out that Grunenthal’s 1954 patents for thalidomide cryptically state that human trials had already been completed, but the company says it cannot offer that data because it was lost, ostensibly during the war. “The patents suggest that thalidomide was probably one of a number of products developed at Dyhernfurth or Auschwitz-Monowitz under the leadership of Otto Ambros in the course of nerve gas research,” Dr. Johnson says.

The Thalidomide Trust also links Paperclip scientist Richard Kuhn to the medical tragedy, “Kuhn worked with a wide range of chemicals in his nerve gas research, and in his antidote research we know he used Antergan, which we are fairly sure was a ‘sister drug’ to Contergan,” the brand name for thalidomide, Dr. Johnson explains.

In 2005, Kuhn experienced a posthumous fall of grace when the society of German Chemists (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, GDCh) announced it would no longer award its once-prestigious Richard Kuhn Medal in his name. Nazi-era documents on Kuhn had been brought to the society’s attention, revealing that in “the spring of 1943 Kuhn asked the secretary-general of the KWS [Kaiser Wilhelm Society], Ernst Telschow, to support his search for the brains of ‘young and healthy men,’ presumably for nerve gas research.” The Society of German Chemists maintains that “the sources indicate that these brains were most likely taken from execution victims,” and that ‘[d]espite his scientific achievements, [Richard] Kuhn is not suitable to serve as a role model, and eponym for an important award, mainly due to his conduct towards Jewish colleagues.”

It seems that the legacy of Hitler’s chemists has yet to be fully unveiled. Because so many of these German scientists were seen as assets to the U.S. Army Chemical Corps’ nerve agent programs, and were thus wanted as participants in Operation Paperclip, secret deals were made, and the many documents pertaining to these arrangements were classified.

pages 431 – 433

Operation Paperclip

http://anniejacobsen.com/operation-paperclip/

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“The last German war secret” by Andrew Rule for Herald – June 27, 2011 12:00AM

IT caused the worst medical disaster in history. It destroyed more lives than were lost on 9/11. Its effects rival Chernobyl and Bhopal, the sinking of the Titanic or the Jonestown Kool-Aid cult poisoning.

It was a drug sold worldwide under a bewildering number of trade names to treat a bewildering number of ailments. Tragically, one of them was to treat morning sickness.

For pregnant women, it was no great remedy for nausea. For their unborn children, it was deadly.
It killed tens of thousands of babies, left thousands more horribly deformed.

Some midwives deliberately let limbless babies die. Some parents went mad or committed suicide or abandoned their infants to charities or the state. Others resigned themselves to lives of quiet desperation and anonymous heroism.

The drug was thalidomide. It is almost exactly 50 years since a brilliant (although later disgraced) Australian doctor called William McBride alerted the world to the monstrous side-effects its makers failed to uncover before pushing it on the market.

Now another Australian – Melbourne lawyer Peter Gordon – has taken up the thalidomide cause to fight for those whose injured bodies have been worn out by decades of over-use.

Gordon doesn’t dodge fights. As a young Footscray Football Club president, he saved the Bulldogs from extinction when the AFL pushed to amalgamate the club with the doomed Fitzroy.

As a gun plaintiff lawyer – representing victims of asbestos, tobacco, silicone breast implants and sexual abuse in the Catholic Church – he took on powerful opponents and mostly won.

When he retired two years ago as head of heavyweight law firm Slater and Gordon to be a consultant – and to improve his tennis game – he told himself he had quit fighting big class actions. He was wrong.

It all changed the day a thalidomide victim he had met by chance asked advice about signing a document. Through him, Gordon met Ken Youdale, an 86-year-old Sydney war hero dedicated to helping thalidomide victims in memory of his daughter Niki, who died from the drug’s effects years ago.

Gordon and Youdale struck up a friendship then struck a deal last year for the British distributor of the drug (Diageo, formerly Distillers) to pay $50million in extra compensation to 45 surviving Australian and New Zealand thalidomiders. This followed a similar deal for British victims.

For Gordon, the victory was not the end of a campaign. It was the start of a crusade.

The more he spoke to people who have gathered material about thalidomide for years, the more he found out. Details of the damage done have been hidden in yellowing archives never before translated into English, and in the memories of people who have stayed silent for half a century.

Through Ken Youdale, he met British and German activists investigating thalidomide’s murky origins in post-war Germany.

Four are thalidomiders – London jewellery dealer Nick Dobrik, Yorkshire businessman Guy Tweedy, Melbourne-born office manager Mikey Argy and German teacher Monika Eisenberg. Backing them is former Royal Air Force officer Dr Martin Johnson, who runs Britain’s Thalidomide Trust.

With the help of a history professor and a brilliant Brussels computer expert, they have traced uncomfortable truths behind the pharmaceutical industry’s darkest hour. The result is a thick dossier on the company that sold thalidomide to an unsuspecting world.

Martin Johnson is working on a book about their discoveries but the last chapter is still unwritten. It will probably figure Gordon, who made his name and his fortune attacking multi-national corporations with multi-million-dollar lawsuits, leading an international legal team against the German industrialists some call “The Boys from Brazil”. It could be his biggest battle yet.

THE worst horror stories can have the most beautiful settings. The horror story of thalidomide begins in the picture-book town of Stolberg, near Aachen, in western Germany.

This is the Rhineland, pretty country with an ugly past. Before and during World War II it was a fascist stronghold, where high-ranking Catholic Nazis cultivated a connection with Aachen Cathedral.

After the war, Aachen was an escape route for Nazis, who secretly crossed the border along what locals call “rat lines” into Belgium or Holland then bought their way to South America.

Even those who did not flee saw Aachen as a haven: from there, at the first sign of being investigated, they could flee, to be harboured by diehard fascists in Holland or Belgium. Political groups that covertly supported ex-SS members flourished in Aachen, now a bustling university city.

Stolberg is close by, surrounded by serene green fields and woods. To get there you drive past a former railway siding where wartime slave workers were unloaded. Further along is a car park, site of the camp where the slaves were locked up at night.

With its castle and old Teutonic houses and shops, Stolberg makes a fairytale backdrop, although the Brothers Grimm could hardly have imagined the grotesque story born here in the 1950s.

In the town square, children play, couples eat ice creams and old people walk fat dogs. The only jarring note is a banner above the town hall door that translates as “No place for neo-nazis”.

It’s a clue that the region attracts the young fascists that are modern Germany’s dirty little secret. A police car is always parked outside the synagogue in Aachen to stop born-again Nazis vandalising it.

Near Stolberg’s square is a handsome old building enclosing a cobbled courtyard. There is no sign of life after office hours but if anyone trying to photograph it gets too close, a security guard steps out and blocks the doorway, alerted by a closed-circuit camera trained on the street.

Locals call this the “mother building” of Chemie Grunenthal, the pharmaceutical firm named after the street flanking the tiny stream that gurgles past the building.

“Grunenthal” means “green valley”, but there is nothing green about the business that started here after the war, growing from an old factory down the road to a huge chemical plant on Aachen’s outskirts. At each Grunenthal site, guards watch for certain cars and people, especially thalidomiders, easy to spot because they mostly have shortened arms and deformed hands. Employees do not talk to thalidomiders — it is “verboten”.

“They know my car,” says Monika Eisenberg, who lives in Cologne but often visits Stolberg in her little black Opel.

Eisenberg, 49, is one of about 2700 surviving German thalidomiders, known as “Contergan kinder” (Contergan children) after a trade name used to label a common thalidomide-based drug. Her left arm is half normal length, the hand tiny and bent so that she wears her wedding ring on her right hand, which has five fingers but no thumb.

But the teacher turned counsellor has an agile mind — she played chess for money to get through university – and is part of the “posse” helping the international legal team build a case against Grunenthal from Australia to North America, New Zealand to Britain.

The company can’t be sued by victims in Germany because of a series of local laws, some specially enacted to protect it.

When Monika Eisenberg was a teenager, her father was killed in a rock-climbing accident. Around that time, her mother refused to sign an agreement to accept the tiny compensation on offer.

Two men visited, urging her mother to sign. When she refused, Monika recalls, one said to her mother: “Mrs Eisenberg, you have a nice house and nice children. Your husband just died. We hope nothing else happens in future.”

Monika never forgot that veiled threat – and the sense of being watched. Now she watches them.

The Grunenthal security guards know her because each time “one of us dies”, she says, she places flowers and lights a candle outside their buildings. Honouring the death of fellow thalidomide victims is harmless enough but it marks her as a troublemaker. And some German companies have ways of dealing with troublemakers.

In 1980 a Grunenthal technician called Christian Wagemann wore an anti-fascist badge to work. He was sacked – and effectively blacklisted in the German pharma industry. He is now a school cook.

Wagemann’s dismissal letter was signed by Otto Ambros, then chairman of the firm’s advisory board and until his death in 1990 a respected figure in the global pharmaceutical business. Ambros also happened to be Hitler’s chief chemical weapons expert and a convicted war criminal.

He helped invent the deadly Sarin nerve gas and ran a section of Auschwitz where thousands of slave workers died. He reputedly killed prisoners to demonstrate the gas and in 1941 wrote that his “dear friendship with the SS is proving very beneficial.” Sacking someone for anti-fascist views was no problem.

Ambros was too valuable a Nazi to be executed for war crimes. So valuable, he later briefed Britain and the United States on nerve gas – and was retained by the British firm Distillers, a relationship that might explain why it trusted hollow assurances the “new” drug was safe.

Some of Ambros’s wartime comrades hanged at Nuremberg but he served only eight years prison on charges of using slave labour before reputedly being employed by Grunenthal, which seemed not to hold a Nazi war record against anyone. Not surprisingly, given its origins.

Chemie Grunenthal was started in 1946 to exploit the post-war demand for antibiotics and other pharmaceutical lines. Its founder, the late Hermann Wirtz, came from a prosperous family that had run the successful Stolberg soap and perfume factory Maurer and Wirtz since 1845.

He apparently used Hitler’s “Aryanisation” program to take over two Jewish-owned firms in the 1930s. Despite Germany’s defeat he emerged with the cash and the contacts to catch a post-war chemical boom, swelling a fortune that would make his descendants rich and powerful.

Industry needed scientists and Germany – like the US, the Soviet Union and Britain – tended to ignore the likelihood that some valuable knowledge was based on experiments done on prisoners in concentration camps. Enter Dr Heinrich Muckter, a former Nazi doctor who had been caught by American soldiers fleeing with a truckload of stolen laboratory equipment from Krakow University in the war’s last days.

Muckter, with his mentor – eminent former Nazi, Professor Werner Schulemann – thrived with Grunenthal. They became part of a global pharmaceutical network, with friends in high places from London to Washington to Rome.

By the mid-1950s, pharmaceutical makers were kings in a borderless business where profit often trumped politics and morality. Within a decade of the war, Muckter and other ex-Nazi opportunists had stared down their pasts with the sort of arrogance that caused a dangerously-untested drug to be inflicted on the world.

The result was that thousands of innocent people suffered death and misery on a scale not seen since wartime.

Those responsible have got away with it. Until now.

THE first known thalidomide victim was born on Christmas Day, 1956, the daughter of a loyal Grunenthal worker given the new drug for his wife to try. His baby was born without ears.

It could have been worse. Babies would be born in the following years with terrible deformities – no anus, no vagina, no arms, no legs – and internal problems so awful it made infant death inevitable, if not desirable.

But missing ears were bad enough – and so close to home it should have rung alarm bells. Except no one wanted to hear. The new product was not about pushing the boundaries of medicine for the common good; it was about profits, and by the mid-1950s, Grunenthal needed profit.

The post-war demand for antibiotics had eased and competition was fierce. To prosper, Grunenthal had to have a best-seller – fast.

It lodged the first patents for thalidomide in 1954, brochures were printed in 1956 to launch it and it was on the market the following year – by which time its two supposed inventors had left the company, later washing their hands of the decision to market it.

To take only three years from patent to market was, by usual standards, a rushed job.

Historians now pose the question: Were the Germans recycling and branding a by-product left over from wartime research into antidotes for nerve gas, Otto Ambros’s specialty?

One thing seems certain. Bar a few half-baked experiments that showed it made mice and rats calm and sleepy with no apparent side-effects, there was no testing of the drug’s safety for pregnant women. A cynic might suspect its promoters saw no reason to “waste” time and money in the rush to get to market.

If so, it was a monstrous misjudgment says Monika Eisenberg, who was born at Cologne more than five years after that first earless baby at Stolberg.

It’s a view widely shared by thalidomiders and their lawyers – there are a dozen in the US alone to handle potential claimants there and in Canada. But even for veterans of complex court battles, unravelling the 50-year-old scandal keeps turning up surprises.

One is that Australia was one of many countries that readily accepted the drug – despite the fact the US (eventually) and East Germany (tellingly) banned it because it seemed too risky. Another surprise is that Grunenthal and its licensees flooded potential markets with sample tablets given free to doctors and hospitals. More than two million sample tablets arrived in the US alone.

So many American women took sample tablets that many more thalidomide babies were born there than the 10 survivors usually acknowledged. Gordon’s American lawyer colleagues have already found more than 100 potential claimants, many in Canada, where the drug was openly sold.

The likelihood that big, untraceable numbers of samples were distributed free to doctors worldwide before the drug went on sale raises a fresh possibility: there are people with birth defects that they don’t know were caused by thalidomide because they have been told all their lives they were random losers in a one-in-a-million genetic lottery.

No one, sometimes not even the victims’ guilt-ridden parents, had any motive to uncover the truth. Not doctors, not chemists, not distributors and especially not those with the best chance of knowing what really happened: the top brass at Grunenthal.

Half a century later, the truth is elusive. But there are clues buried in millions of words of archive material and fading memories.

It just takes someone of rare ability to find it. Three years ago, that person appeared.

TOMAS is not his real name. He looks younger than his 39 years, and lives in an austere converted loft in Belgium with two powerful laptops, tools of trade for a multi-lingual computer wizard straight from a Stieg Larsson novel, right down to his anti-fascist attitude and an eerily photographic memory. His laptops hold millions of words of archival material gleaned from around the world and he can find any of it in seconds.

Tomas was born in West Germany a decade after the thalidomide epidemic. He grew up seeing thalidomiders in the street but it was a controversial film called Eine einzige Tablette (“A single Tablet”) that moved him to act.

He contacted the Thalidomide Trust in Britain and offered to help. Now he is a secret weapon in the search for truth about the drug. One reason to stay anonymous is that he doesn’t trust those he is investigating, he says.

In between the contract consulting work he does for a living, Tomas unearths material showing the drug’s makers should have known better but went ahead with thalidomide anyway. As the Trust’s chief executive, Martin Johnson, says: “These weren’t hicks from the sticks. They knew everything in their field.”

Johnson deals daily with the human wreckage left by the drug. He is determined to right a wrong the British political and legal establishment entrenched in the 1960s and 1970s by backing the huge Distillers firm when it dodged its moral obligation to properly compensate thalidomide victims and their shattered families.

A framed poster in the Trust’s office in England depicts a bottle of Distillers-made gin below the heading “Mother’s ruin . . . Children’s curse”. It urged drinkers to boycott Distillers products in pubs until the company agreed to help thalidomiders.

The nation-wide poster campaign was an audacious tactic in 1972 to get around draconian sub judice laws stifling public criticism of Distillers for spending big on expensive lawyers rather than properly compensating victims of the drug it had blithely bought without checking on potential side effects.

The posters were technically illegal and police tore them down and hunted for people who put them up, but they hit Distillers’ hip-pocket at the same time as the dogged campaign by London’s The Sunday Times to expose how thalidomide children and their families were being bullied by a rich company that manipulated governments and the law.

It was Rupert Murdoch, who in 1972 already owned London’s cheeky tabloids The Sun and News of the World – and later The Sunday Times – who had secretly printed the thousands of anti-Distillers posters to push for justice for the crippled children.

Forty years on, Martin Johnson hopes the world’s biggest media tycoon has a long memory – and a soft spot for the new campaign to make Grunenthal pay.

Murdoch’s intervention showed the thalidomide cause attracted strange bedfellows. It still does.

Johnson is a former air force pilot and committed Christian with a PhD whose previous job was setting up a hospice for dying children.

Guy Tweedy, a blunt, self-made Tory billboard operator from Yorkshire, Mikey Argy, an eloquent Melbourne-born single mother, and Nick Dobrik, a Left-leaning Cambridge-educated antique jewellery dealer, all share a Jewish background but little else except the desire to help thalidomiders worse off than themselves. Monika and Tomas are Germans ashamed of their country’s role in the thalidomide disaster. And Peter Gordon barracks for the Bulldogs.

None of them are in it for money, although Mikey Argy says she could use some extra funds to educate her two girls and modify her house to better suit someone with half-length arms.

If there is a uniting symbol, it is the picture of an armless and legless woman with a big smile, hanging behind Martin Johnson’s desk. She was, he says, one of the most profoundly handicapped people in the world until she died four years ago. And one of the bravest.

She once told him “I’ve got a mouth and ears, haven’t I?” and insisted on working as a telephone counsellor to help others. Johnson’s voice falters as he tells her story. As if missing every limb wasn’t enough, he says, she was abused as a child. And she is not the only one.

Tweedy and Dobrik keep pictures of the same woman in their briefcases to remind them why they do what they do. They know who they are fighting for – and who the enemy is.

Dobrik’s grandfather Joseph lived in Antwerp until a collaborator betrayed him during a sweep for Jews by German soldiers in 1942. He was sent to Auschwitz and, against all odds, survived. Hardened, he joined the Russian Army after being liberated from Auschwitz and became even harder.

When the fighting stopped, he went back to Antwerp, found the Nazi collaborator and killed him.

It’s not a story that Dobrik’s family likes being told. Nick remembers his grandfather as a generous man but talking about the makers of thalidomide brings out the old man’s fierceness in him. “We just want to get the bastards,” he says.
THE house that thalidomide built belongs to the Wirtz family.

It is more than one house, really. There’s the historic company headquarters in Stolgren, the red-brick factory nearby, the massive new factory complex in Aachen, the luxury estate in the tax haven of Eupen across the Belgian border, and the chalet in a millionaire enclave in Switzerland.

The old family soap and perfume businesses are now international concerns, Maurer and Wirtz and Dalli-Werke. But it’s Grunenthal that pushed the Wirtzes up the European rich list. Martin Johnson’s research suggests that success was built on the back of the Jewish-owned businesses the late Hermann Wirtz took over before the war.

Far from making pariahs of the Wirtz family, the thalidomide “failure” made them and some of their employees wealthy.

In the five years that Grunenthal ignored warning signs their drug was dangerously flawed, it made huge profits selling thalidomide-based drugs around the world. Ex-Nazi Heinrich Muckter was paid a bonus of 22 times his annual executive salary of 14,400 marks in 1961 alone – more than 320,000 marks. It made him a millionaire in a year, by modern salary levels.

Here was an indicted criminal put in charge of marketing and promoting an untested drug – and offered massive wealth if it sold. The case of Heinrich Muckter is going to make for interesting evidence.

Whatever Muckter got, of course, his employers presumably stood to get more. Hermann Wirtz’s son, born in 1939 and company chief until 2005, has been made a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, an order revived under Hitler in the 1930s, and an honour usually reserved for those who can afford fat donations to the Catholic Church.

Martin Johnson’s research shows that the Wirtzes paid for a new roof for Aachen Cathedral. Johnson says the job included gilding the inner dome and that it would have cost a fortune.

But when the Wirtz home town, Stolberg, recently decided to acknowledge thalidomide victims, they seemed less generous. Grunenthal reportedly offered just 5000 marks – the price of a secondhand car – to erect a little statue in the town square.
Meanwhile, for the drug’s makers, the thalidomide money still rolls in.

Far from being shelved after the truth about it was finally revealed in late 1961, the notorious compound has been shrewdly tweaked to meet the market.

So far, it has been sold under dozens of trade names in dozens of countries. Its applications range from cold and flu preparations to treating leprosy in the Third World and cancer in the first, an application praised by some and questioned by others.

Thalidomide gets a better press these days. Stories regularly appear in the media marvelling that the formerly notorious drug now apparently saves lives. For those that make it, it’s a case of when you’re on a bad thing, stick to it.

After all, anyone with the recipe and the machinery can produce a cheap product sold at a huge mark-up to the dying and the desperate.

Making thalidomide is no more complicated “than making your own bread,” notes one activist. But regardless of whether it is effective against leprosy or cancer, it still deforms babies.

You might imagine the last thalidomide child was born in 1962, in the year after the alarm was raised. In fact, hundreds have been born since then.

The last was just six months ago in Brazil, where pregnant women sometimes still take the drug without realising the harm it can do. It will all be in Martin Johnson’s book. His working title is The Last Nazi War Crime.

The Herald Sun does not suggest any current owner or employee of Grunenthal has Nazi connections

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/the-last-german-war-secret/story-e6frf7jo-1226082393923

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