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FTR #298 Update on German Corporate Control Over American Media

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MP3 One Segment [1]
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NB: This RealAudio stream contains FTRs 297 and 298 in sequence. Each is a 30-minute broadcast.

1. Beginning with a story about an award being given to Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff, the program highlights some interesting aspects of German corporate control over the American media. “In a quiet watershed of Jewish philanthropy, the honoree at a UJA-Federation benefit dinner next month will be Thomas Middelhof, the chief executive of Bertelsmann, a German media conglomerate that published Nazi propaganda for Hitler’s army. Those who choose Mr. Middelhoff, to be honored at the Steven J. Ross dinner on May 15 stress that Mr. Middelhoff was born after the war and has investigated Bertelsmann’s past and made what reparations he could . . . . The $1,000-a-plate Ross dinner, at which Matthew Bronfman’s brother Edgar Bronfman Jr. was a previous honoree, attracts some of the most prominent corporate and media figures in New York. This year, Tom Brokaw, the NBC News anchor, will be the master of ceremonies and Stephen M. Case, the chairman of AOL Time Warner, will present the award . . . . Elie Wiesel, a writer and Holocaust survivor, will deliver the key-note speech. Last fall, random House, which is owned by Bertelsmann, pledged $1 million to the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoir Project, for which Mr. Wiesel is the honorary chairman. Mr. Wiesel is the honorary chairman. Mr. Wiesel said he agreed to speak because he trusted Mr. Middelhoff. ‘While it was in the end Random House that gave the money for the survivors’ memoirs, the agreement was with Bertelsmann, and it was Middelhoff who made the commitment,’ Mr. Wiesel said . . . . Not long after Mr. Middelhoff became chief executive in 1998, critical stories about Bertelsmann’s war history appeared in The Nation magazine and a Swiss magazine. Mr. Middelhoff then created an independent commission, headed by the historian Saul Friedlander, to look into the company’s past. In January 2000, the commission found that Bertelsmann had not opposed Hitler, as the company had previously claimed. Rather, it said, the company had ties to the Nazis, and was the largest supplier of reading material, including Nazi propaganda, to the German military. Three months later, Bertelsmann announced that it would contribute to the German fund to compensate workers used as slave labor in the Nazi era.” (“Past Collides With Closure as Jews Honor a German” by Tamar Lewin; New York Times; 4/30/2001; p. A18.)

2. The giving of this award to Middelhoff is ironic and grotesque in a number of different respects. (Much of the series on German corporate control over American media is devoted to Bertelsmann and there is an abundant amount of information on the firm in the other programs in this series.) The available evidence strongly suggests that Bertelsmann is part of the Bormann organization. (The economic and political component of a Third Reich gone underground, the Bormann organization controls corporate Germany and much of the rest of the world. It was created and run by Martin Bormann, the organizational genius who was the “the power behind the throne” in Nazi Germany. The Bormann group is a primary element of the analysis presented in the For the Record programs.)

3. Reviewing some of the salient aspects of the Bertelsmann firm, we highlight the grotesque quality to the granting of the award to Middelhoff.  (“Bertelsmann’s Nazi Past” by Hersch Fischler and John Friedman; The Nation; 12/28/98; p. 1.)

4. “Issuing more than 20 million volumes, Bertelsmann was the largest supplier to the army and supplied the SS. When Bertelsmann applied after the war for a second publishing license, it was turned down by occupation authorities. [Bertelsmann patriarch Heinrich] Mohn had ‘forgotten’ to mention that he had been a ‘passive’ member of the SS, as well as a supporter of the Hitler Youth and a member of the prestigious National Socialist Flying Corps, according to de-Nazification files in the central state archive in Dusseldorf.” (“Bertelsmann’s Nazi Past” by Hersch Fischler and John Friedman; The Nation; 12/28/98; pp. 1-2.)

5. As indicated in the New York Times article cited above, when the information about the firm’s Nazi past was printed in The Nation, Middelhoff formed an “independent” commission to investigate it. One of the appointees to that commission was Dirk Bavendamm (Bertelsmann’s official historian), whose work and views call into question the degree of separation that the company has effected from its Third Reich heritage.

6. “His book Roosevelt’s Way to War (Roosevelt’s Weg zum Krieg) was published in 1983. Rewriting history, he stated that Roosevelt, not Hitler had caused World War II. He also wrote that American Jews controlled most of the media,’ and he claimed they gave a false picture of Hitler. Did the book impress [Heinrich’s son Reinhard] Mohn, then the majority shareholder of Bertelsmann? The firm hired Bavendamm as its house historian, and in 1984 he completed a historical study, 150 Years of Bertelsmann: The Founders and Their Time—with a foreword by Mohn. A year later, Bavendamm edited the firm’s official history, which set forth the untrue story that the firm had resisted the Nazis and had been closed down by them. Mohn also asked Bavendamm to write the authorized history of the Mohn family, published in 1986 under the title Bertelsmann, Mohn, Scippel: Three Families—One Company. In a second book, Roosevelt’s War (published in 1993, reissued in 1998), Bavendamm accuses the U.S. President of enacting a plan to start World War II. In the same book he suggests that Hitler’s threats in early 1939 against European Jewry were a reaction to Roosevelt’s strategy against Germany. After the revelations about Bertelsmann’s Nazi past appeared, the company announced that it had asked ‘the historian and publicist Dr. Dirk Bavendamm to look at the new information and begin to reinvestigate the role the publishing house played in those days’ and defended his work.” (“Bertelsmann’s Revisionist” by Hersch Fischler and John Friedman; The Nation; 11/8/99; p. 1.)

7. In that context, it is interesting to speculate about Bertelsmann’s motives in backing the survivors’ memoir and contributing to the fund to compensate victims of the Third Reich. (Public relations considerations are probably paramount in this regard.) It is also interesting to note that the Bormann organization, to which Bertelsmann appears to belong, wields considerable in Israel and within that country’s support network abroad. “Since the founding of Israel, the Federal Republic of Germany had paid out 85.3 billion marks, by the end of 1977, to survivors of the Holocaust. East Germany ignores any such liability. From South America, where payment must be made with subtlety, the Bormann organization has made a substantial contribution. It has drawn many of the brightest Jewish businessmen into a participatory role in the development of many of its corporations, and many of these Jews share their prosperity most generously with Israel. If their proposals are sound, they are even provided with a specially dispensed venture capital fund. I spoke with one Jewish businessman in Hartford, Connecticut. He had arrived there quite unknown several years before our conversation, but with Bormann money as his leverage. Today he is more than a millionaire, a quiet leader in the community with a certain share of his profits earmarked, as always, for his venture capital benefactors. This has taken place in many other instances across America and demonstrates how Bormann’s people operate in the contemporary commercial world, in contrast to the fanciful nonsense with which Nazis are described in so much ‘literature.’ So much emphasis is placed on select Jewish participation in Bormann companies that when Adolf Eichmann was seized and taken to Tel Aviv to stand trial, it produced a shock wave in the Jewish and German communities of Buenos Aires. Jewish leaders informed the Israeli authorities in no uncertain terms that this must never happen again because a repetition would permanently rupture relations with the Germans of Latin America, as well as with the Bormann organization, and cut off the flow of Jewish money to Israel. It never happened again, and the pursuit of Bormann quieted down at the request of these Jewish leaders. He is residing in an Argentine safe haven, protected by the most efficient German infrastructure in history, as well as by all those whose prosperity depends on his well-being. Personal invitation is the only way to reach him.” (Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Manning; Copyright 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stuart Inc.; ISBN 0-8184-0309-8; pp. 226-227.)

8. It is ironic to note that Holocaust survivor Wiesel lauds Random House for its support for the survivors’ memoir. Random House’s behavior vis-à-vis a book authored by a key witness in Holocaust revisionist David Irving’s unsuccessful libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher suggests that Wiesel’s accolades are, at the very least, premature. “[Queens Counsel and Lipstadt attorney Anthony] Julius won because the professor of modern history at Cambridge had demolished Irving’s scholarship. Richard J. Evans went through Irving’s sources and produced an exhaustive 740-page analysis which detailed how Irving had twisted evidence in the Nazi interest. Irving had censored himself as well as the past by cutting references to death camps from his early work when it was reprinted. Evans has written a book on the affair—Lying about Hitler: History, Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial. You are free to buy it in America and read the professor’s account of the case and reflections on historical interpretation. I’ve no doubt it is a serious study. Evans is the author of In Defense of History, a patient critique of the wild subjectivity of postmodernist theory. You were meant to be free to read Lying about Hitler in Britain. But last week, Evans’ publishers, Heinemann, a branch of the Random House conglomerate, ordered that the book should be pulped. [Justice] Gray’s verdict, which came after years of collecting evidence and months of cross-examination in an enormously expensive trial, might as well never have happened. Heinemann said they did not dare publish because Irving was appealing against Gray’s ruling. In fact, Irving has been refused permission to appeal, and it is that decision he is contesting. In the very unlikely event of Irving winning and the Court of Appeal agreeing to consider Gray’s condemnation, the crushing evidence against him should deny him victory. Granta Books certainly think so and snapped up Lying about Hitler. Granta didn’t ‘see any terrible legal nightmares’ and was ‘very enthusiastic and keen to publish.’ We shall still be able to make up our own minds about Evans’ writing. If the story stopped there, the moral of the censorship of Evans would merely be that robust authors should think hard before signing a contract with Random House.” (“Without Prejudice: A Ploy Named Sue” by Nick Cohen; The Observer [London]; 3/18/2001.)

9. The views and work of Bertelsmann historian Bavendamm and the actions of Random House subsidiary Heinemann in pulping the Evans book should be compared with the Nazi tract Serpent’s Walk.

10. Mr. Emory has dealt with this book extensively. Mr. Emory believes that, like The Turner Diaries (also published by National Vanguard Books), the book is actually a blueprint for what is going to take place. It is a novel about a Nazi takeover of the United States in the middle of the 21st century. The book describes the Third Reich going underground, buying into the American media, and taking over the country. “It assumes that Hitler’s warrior elite—the SS—didn’t give up their struggle for a White world when they lost the Second World War. Instead their survivors went underground and adopted some of their tactics of their enemies: they began building their economic muscle and buying into the opinion-forming media. A century after the war they are ready to challenge the democrats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Americans, who have begun to have their fill of government-enforced multi-culturalism and ‘equality.'” (From the back cover of Serpent’s Walk by “Randolph D. Calverhall;” Copyright 1991 [SC]; National Vanguard Books; 0-937944-05-X.)

11. This process is described in more detail in a passage of text, consisting of a discussion between Wrench (a member of this Underground Reich) and a mercenary named Lessing. “The SS . . . what was left of it . . .had business objectives before and during World War II. When the war was lost they just kept on, but from other places: Bogota, Asuncion, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Colombo, Damascus, Dacca . . . you name it. They realized that the world is heading towards a ‘corporacracy;’ five or ten international super-companies that will run everything worth running by the year 2100. Those super-corporations exist now, and they’re already dividing up the production and marketing of food, transport, steel and heavy industry, oil, the media, and other commodities. They’re already dividing up the production and marketing of food, transport, steel and heavy industry, oil, the media, and other commodities. They’re mostly conglomerates, with fingers in more than one pie . . . .We, the SS, have the say in four or five. We’ve been competing for the past sixty years or so, and we’re slowly gaining . . . . About ten years ago, we swung a merge, a takeover, and got voting control of a supercorp that runs a small but significant chunk of the American media. Not openly, not with bands and trumpets or swastikas flying, but quietly: one huge corporation cuddling up to another one and gently munching it up, like a great, gubbing amoeba. Since then we’ve been replacing executives, pushing somebody out here, bringing somebody else in there. We’ve swing program content around, too. Not much, but a little, so it won’t show. We’ve cut down on ‘nasty-Nazi’ movies . . . good guys in white hats and bad guys in black SS hats . . . lovable Jews versus fiendish Germans . . . and we have media psychologists, ad agencies, and behavior modification specialists working on image changes . . . . But all we ever hear about are the poor, innocent Jews and the awful ‘Holocaust,’ when, in fact, there never was an ‘extermination policy,’ a ‘Final Solution,’ or anything like it!” (Ibid.; pp. 42-43.)

12. The vision of the future presented in this book should appear sobering under the circumstances. In light of this vision, the actions of Random House (and Bertelsmann) subsidiary Heinemann in destroying the Evans book and the views and actions of official Bertelsmann historian Dirk Bavendamm, the award given to Middelhoff would appear to be less than appropriate.