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FTR #179 Resurgent Fascism in Switzerland and Austria

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As the 90s drew to a close, elections in two central European countries gave evidence that fascism was alive, well and gaining in the “new” Europe of the EU. In Austria, Jörg Haider’s inappropriately named Freedom Party scored significant electoral gains, placing him in a position to wield significant political influence in that country. (Haider’s Freedom Party was founded in 1949 as a vehicle for the rehabilitation of Austrian Nazis who had served under Hitler.)

Calling his political agenda “A Contract with Austria,” Haider explicitly patterned his political program after that of Newt Gingrich.

Railing against Austrian participation in the EU and the “dangers” presented by immigration from Eastern Europe, Haider has successfully played on the fears of working Austrians that they might lose their jobs. A similar xenophobia propelled Christoph Blocher to success in Swiss elections. Like Haider, Blocher has targeted Swiss participation in the EU and “immigrants”. Blocher has also railed against Swiss membership in the United Nations and successfully exploited the resentment of older Swiss citizens about recent disclosures of Swiss collaboration with Third Reich finance before, during and after World War II. It is worth noting that Blocher’s political base consists of the German segment of the Swiss population and that the recent success of his People’s Party is seen as further distancing the French-speaking minority. Blocher has endorsed a book that denied that the Holocaust took place.

Much of the program focuses on the profound role played in Swiss finance and business by the remarkable and deadly Bormann organization. The economic component of a Third Reich that literally went underground, the Bormann group was described by one banker as “the most important concentration of money power under a single control in all of world history”.

The discussion underscores the critical role that Switzerland has played in the operations of the Bormann organization. First of all, Switzerland was one of the countries in which Martin Bormann located many of the 750 corporate fronts which served as repositories for all the liquid wealth of the Third Reich at the war’s end. Switzerland was the location of numerous holding companies, which served to mask the real ownership and control of the German economy. A holding company may only hold stock in other companies. (Actual control of the German economy is maintained through bearer bonds, which grant ownership of the corporate entity in question to the bearer of those bonds.)

Of particular note is the Interhandel company, set up by I.G. Farben luminary Hermann Schmitz to mask ownership of Farben assets. (I.G. Farben was the backbone of the Third Reich’s economy and its successor companies dominate the German economy. Farben’s Schmitz was very close to Bormann and helped set up the various corporate fronts that comprised the organization.)

The discussion highlights Switzerland’s role as the vehicle for the Bormann group’s ongoing purchase of stock in U.S. blue chip corporations and concludes with a look at Martin Bormann’s demand accounts at three key American commercial banks in the post-war period!