Dave Emory’s entire lifetime of work is available on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books available on this site.)
NB: This description contains information not contained in the original program.
Introduction: Continuing our analysis of the “disclosures” of Eddie the Friendly Spook [Snowden], we highlight the Palantir firm which (its official disclaimers to the contrary notwithstanding, appears to be the company that manufactures the PRISM softward at the center of Snowden’s leaking.
Ostensibly “left/progressive,” with a taste for smoking joints and J.R. Tolkien, Palantir CEO Alex Karp heads a firm that would permit one of its intelligence community and/or corporate sponsors to sit down at a keyboard and check someone for hemorrhoids. Karp also heads another firm–RobotX–that makes security robots. The largest investor in both companies is Peter Thiel, whom we examined at length and in detail in FTR #718.
Thiel was also the main financier of Ron Paul’s 2012 Super PAC (Ron Paul was Eddie Snowden’s presidential candidate of choice. Snowden contributed money to his campaign. The milieu of Ron and Rand Paul is inextricably linked with that of Snowden and Wikileaks.)
Thiel is so far to the right that he explicitly rejects democracy, in no small measure because we made what he sees as the mistake of allowing women to vote.
An examination of Karp and his intellectual mentor Juergen Habermas, suggests that both are “not as advertised.” We wonder if the entire Palantir operation might be an Underground Reich data mining entity, ensconced at the very epicenter of American intelligence and corporate existence. IF that is the case, we may be looking at the actions of a “Deep Fifth Column.”
Program Highlights Include:
- The circumstances of Alex Karp’s professional involvement with Palantir and Peter Thiel seem improbable on their surface. (See text excerpts below.)
- In this context, we note that Karp is an ostensible “neo-hippy”/lefty/progressive, or his background is so represented. The notion that he would sustain a lifelong, lucrative professional relationship with uber reactionary Peter Thiel seems highly unlikely. Thiel’s political views are so fascistic that he has explicitly denounced democracy as incompatible with freedom, in considerable measure, because we made what he sees as the mistake of allowing women to vote!
- NB: The name of the firm is derived from the Palantiri–the seeing stones of The Lord of the Rings. In keeping with the Tolkien theme, Palantir’s headquarters are nicknamed “The Shire”–the homeland of the hobbits. Hence our nickname for Karp as The Gruppenhobbit. A more appropriate nickname for Palantir’s headquarters would appear to be “Mordor,” under the circumstances.
- In addition to Palantir, which operates in conjunction with multiple intelligence services, the military and law enforcement (including the intrusive PRISM operations), Karp has teamed with Thiel in RobotX, which manufactures security robots.
- Again, we find the circumstances of Karp’s ascent to be unlikely. A lefty/hippie/freedom loving/”Tolkienesque” individual hooking up with an antediluvian reactionary like Thiel seems improbable. After studying law, Karp decamps for Germany. We wonder if Thiel’s interaction with Karp at Stanford was more than represented here? Did Thiel hook The Gruppehobbit up with the Bormann network/Underground Reich?
- In Germany, Karp spends years studying under Juergen Habermas, one of Germany’s most famous postwar intellectual figures, also an ostensible leftist. More about Habermas is to be found below. Habermas appears to be the single greatest intellectual influence on Karp. We suspect the influence may be more than intellectual. Habermas tutored Karp at the University of Frankfurt. The old headquarters of I.G. Farben, Frankfurt is where Thiel was born. His father was a chemical engineer–undoubtedly an employee of one of the postwar I.G. successor organizations.
- After getting an inheritance from his grandfather, Karp begins to dabble in investments (with no apparent background in securities analysis.) His efforts are so successful, that other investment professionals and people with significant sums to invest start flocking to this “crazy guy,” as he is termed, to invest their money. Theoretically possible, this seems unlikely, under the circumstances.
- The Gruppenhobbit’s money managing success leads to his establishment of a European-based capital management firm. We wonder if, perhaps, Karp was “hooked up” with elements of the Bormann capital network and/or corporate Germany. Is that where his Caedmon Group has its genesis?
- After returning to the U.S., the Gruppenhobbit hooks up with Thiel, whose background appears to be Underground Reich, with roots in the I.G. Farben successor organizations.
- As we have seen, Palantir is inextricably linked with the intelligence community, having its beginnings enabled by In-Q-Tel, a CIA-linked venture capital firm. As can be seen in the Forbes article–which should be read in its entirety–Palantir also works with law enforcement and the financial community. It would appear to be the ultimate data mining entity.
- Our questions about the Gruppenhobbit’s activities in Germany derive largely from analysis of the ostensible leftist Juergen Habermas’ curriculum vitae. Again, Habermas appears to be the dominant intellectual (and possibly professional) influence on Karp.
- Habermas was one of the “flakhelfer”–young Germans who served in the Hitler Youth and then served with anti-aircraft units near the end of the war. (See text excerpts below.) Joseph Ratzinger was one such flakhelfer. (See text excerpts below.) Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s circumstances argue strongly for his belonging to the Underground Reich.
- The flakhelfer yielded much of the creme de la creme of German intellectuals for the postwar period. (See text excerpts below.)
- As set forth in pages 78-79 of The Nazis Go Underground, youths such as the flakhelfer were seen as essential for forming the postwar leadership of the postwar Underground Reich. (See text excerpt below.)
- Among the most prominent of the flakhelfer is Nobel-Prize winning write Gunther Grass. He turned out to have served in the Waffen SS. Rather more than a flakhelfer, under the circumstances. (See text excepts below.)
- Another of the flakhelfer, write Hans Magnus Enzensberger has been an ardent defender of Eddie the Friendly Spook. (See text excerpts below.)
- Although the Gruppenhobbit’s intellectual mentor Habermas has written critically of the Nazi period, as well as one of his intellectual antecedents–Martin Heidegger, the primary influences on Habermas were Nazis. Heidegger was an ardent Nazi. (See text excerpts below.)
- His doctoral supervisors are cases in point. Both were in the Nazi camp. One was Oskar Becker. (See text excerpts below.)
- The other of his doctoral supervisors was Erich Rothacker, close to Third Reich luminaries Goebbels and Alfred Rosenberg. (See text excerpts below.)
- In addition to Nazi party member Martin Heidegger, another of the intellectual influences on Habermas was Gottfried Benn, another who turned to the Nazi philosophy, despite later alleged differences. (See text excerpts below.)
- Chief among the reasons we seriously doubt the integrity of Habermas’ persona as a “leftist/progressive” concerns the fact that he was appointed director of the Max Planck Institute for 12 years. (See text excerpts below.) We wonder if Palantir might be the derivative of Underground Reich/Max Planck Institute research?
- The Max Planck Institute was the name given in the postwar period to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. A primary influence on the science of the Third Reich, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute was heavily capitalized by the Rockefeller Foundation and was an epicenter of eugenics thinking and legislation prior to, and during the ascent of, the Third Reich. (Text excerpts from FTR #664 are presented below, to underscore the exact nature of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, rechristened The Max Planck Institute.)
- As we have seen, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes were the recipients of Rockefeller Foundation generosity. The Rockefeller milieu saw to it that the best scientists, including Jewish ones, were kept on staff in order to maximize the quality of the work that they were funding. (The War Against the Weak, pp. 302-303.)
- Generally viewed as an isolated event and an aberration, Josef Mengele’s Auschwitz work with twins was the direct outgrowth of mainstream eugenics research. (See text excerpts below.)
- Long preoccupied with the study of twins, eugenicists celebrated the Nazi dictatorship for its ability to use coercion to achieve their objective of detailed, intensive research of the subject. (See text excerpt from The War Against the Weak, pp. 352.)
- The Rockefeller Foundation’s funding went well into the tenure of the Third Reich. The Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes were the primary focal point of Nazi eugenics research on twins. Eugen Fischer was the director of The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Genetics and Eugenics through most of the Nazi period and was deeply involved in the development of the programs that paved the way for Mengele’s work at Auschwitz. (See text excerpt from The War Against the Weak, pp. 354-355.)
- Josef Mengele conducted his brutal, lethal research at Auschwitz in conjunction with the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and his intellectual mentor at that institution, Dr. Freiherr Otmar von Verschuer, who replaced Max Planck’s associate Eugen Fischer. (See text excerpt from The War Against the Weak, pp. 354-355.)
- Although Mengele’s ghastly work with twins at Auschwitz became fairly well-known after the war, few realize that this endeavor was a direct extension of the eugenics work at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute–again, recipients of lavish Rockefeller Foundation funding. (See text excerpt from The War Against the Weak, pp. 359-360.) It is this institution that was headed by Habermas for twelve years after the war.
- Simply put, Germany was never effectively de-Nazified. The Third Reich continued underground. The notion that an institution such as the Max Planck Institute, nee the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute would have been headed for twelve years by a leftist is not credible. An OSTENSIBLE leftist working as an Underground Reich functionary would make excellent public relations fodder, while maintaining the Reich security necessary for an institution central to German scientific research.
- Max Planck himself, although opposed to the Reich’s treatment of Jewish scientists, whom he shielded professionally, headed the Institutes for much of the early period of the Third Reich. (See text excerpts below.) It was during this time that the horrors manifested by Mengele were gathering momentum. His protests against the treatment of Jewish colleagues were consistent with the wishes of the Rockefeller Foundation funders of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes.
- Planck was re-installed as head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes just over a week after the conclusion of hostilities. Undoubtedly, Kaiser Wilhelm research and research scientists would have been part of the Project Paperclip recruitment effort, under which the Allies requisitioned much of the Nazi scientific establishment to continue their work in the West. (See text excerpts below.)
- The Madrid circular letter of 1950 discussed the Max Planck Institute as a vehicle for continuing the scientific work of the Third Reich during its underground phase. (See text excerpt from Germany Plots with the Kremlin.)
- His glowing reputation notwithstanding, Planck’s circumstances suggest he may well have been one of the individuals with an anti-Nazi reputation selected to establish continuity during the postwar period. (See The Nazis Go Underground, pp. 181-185.)
EXCERPT: I want to stress this is a reader email, not TPM reporting. But I’m sharing it because after reading it through and doing some googling of my own there’s little doubt that Palantir is doing stuff like what the government is doing with those tech companies, even if they’re not part of ‘prism’ itself. Give this a read.
From an anonymous reader …
I don’t see anyone out there with this theory, and TPM is my favorite news source, so here goes:
“PRISM” is the government’s name for a program that uses technology from Palantir. Palantir is a Silicon Valley start-up that’s now valued at well over $1B, that focuses on data analysis for the government. Here’s how Palantir describes themselves:
“We build software that allows organizations to make sense of massive amounts of disparate data. We solve the technical problems, so they can solve the human ones. Combating terrorism. Prosecuting crimes. Fighting fraud. Eliminating waste. From Silicon Valley to your doorstep, we deploy our data fusion platforms against the hardest problems we can find, wherever we are needed most.” http://www.palantir.com/what-we-do/
They’re generally not public about who their clients are, but their first client was famously the CIA, who is also an early investor.
With my theory in mind, re-read the denials from the tech companies in the WSJ (emphasis mine):
Apple: “We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers…”
Google: “… does not have a ‘back door’ for the government to access private user data…”
Facebook: “… not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers…”
Yahoo: “We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network…”
These denials could all still be technically true if the government is accessing the data through a government contractor, such as Palantir, rather than having direct access.
I just did a quick Google search of “Palantir PRISM” to see if anyone else had this theory, and the top results were these pages:
Apparently, Palantir has a software package called “Prism”: “Prism is a software component that lets you quickly integrate external databases into Palantir.” That sounds like exactly the tool you’d want if you were trying to find patterns in data from multiple companies.
So the obvious follow-up questions are of the “am I right?” variety, but if I am, here’s what I really want to know: which Palantir clients have access to this data? Just CIA & NSA? FBI? What about municipalities, such as the NYC police department? What about the governments of other countries?
What do you think?
FWIW, I know a guy who works at Palantir. I asked him what he/they did once, and he was more secretive than my friends at Apple.
PS, please don’t use my name if you decide to publish any of this — it’s a small town/industry. Let them Prism me instead.
Late Update: Another reader notes that Bridgewater Associates LLP, one of the largest hedge funds in the world, is also a major client of Palantir, which appears to be confirmed by many press reports. . .
EXCERPT: Palantir is a company founded by Peter Thiel — of Paypal and Facebook renown — that has software which absolutely changes the game with intelligence.
It’s one of the best programs at coordinating the vast databases accumulated by the U.S. intelligence apparatus. It’s already in use in federal domestic security.
But it’s also caused a massive fight inside the Army intelligence command.
Palantir is one of the first Silicon Valley companies to view the government as a customer rather than an annoyance and — after stepping into a game dominated by top contractors like Lockheed Martin, IBM, and Raytheon — it’s proven controversial in both what it does and if it should be used.
What it does is assemble comprehensive dossiers on objects of interest, collated from the sprawling databases of intelligence agencies.
If that sounds over-broad, it’s intentional.
The databases and dossiers in question are on everything from Afghan villages to crooked bankers. The can pull crime information and collate it with recent debit card purchases.
The software was developed with the idea that had it existed in 2001, 9/11 would have been obvious. Palantir would have been able to identify the pilots as people of interest from countries that harbor terrorists, connecting that with money wired around, and connecting that with one-way airline tickets to create actionable intelligence.
One controversy comes with the civil liberties issues that come with that particular business model.
The other controversy is much less philosophical: The Army intelligence community is full of infighting over this Valley competitor to defense contractor tech.
The Army Intelligence community is split over software. The $2.3 Billion DCGS-A system, developed by the standard crowd of defense contractors, is either panned by some as complicated and slow or defensed by others as the future of military distributed intelligence.
Likewise, the culty following of Palantir’s alternative have been dismissed as on the take from the Silicon Valley firm. That tech has been deployed by data mining Wall Street banks interested in tracking down fraud, and an early investor in the company was the CIA. The Army, however, isn’t sold. . . .
EXCERPT: When American analysts hunting terrorists sought new ways to comb through the troves of phone records, e-mails and other data piling up as digital communications exploded over the past decade, they turned to Silicon Valley computer experts who had developed complex equations to thwart Russian mobsters intent on credit card fraud.
The partnership between the intelligence community and Palantir Technologies, a Palo Alto, Calif., company founded by a group of inventors from PayPal, is just one of many that the National Security Agency and other agencies have forged as they have rushed to unlock the secrets of “Big Data.” . . . .
EXCERPT: . . . “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible,” Thiel wrote in a 2009 manifesto published by the libertarian Cato Institute. “Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.” . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . This isn’t a class project or some kind of prank. It’s the work of Endorse Liberty, the biggest super PAC supporting Ron Paul. Founded in late December and headquartered in Utah, this group of political novices backed by a Silicon Valley billionaire has already spent $3.5 million pushing its online ads into early primary states where they have been viewed 12 million times.
“It is safe to say Endorse Liberty is a new force on the scene,” said Michael Beckel, who tracks super PAC spending for the Center for Public Integrity.
Super political action committees have been around for only two years, created in the aftermath of a Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations, unions and individuals to give as much money as they want to groups acting independently of the candidates. . . .
EXCERPT: Silicon Valley renaissance man Peter Thiel donated another $1.7 million in January to a super PAC that backs Ron Paul, according to disclosure documents filed Monday.
The PayPal co-founder donated $1 million on January 3, and followed that up 10 days later with an additional $700,000 gift.
. . . Thiel’s $2.6 million in total donations account for 76% of the super PAC’s fundraising since it came online late last year, underscoring the ability of deep-pocketed donors to have a major impact on campaign spending. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . Palantir lives the realities of its customers: the NSA, the FBI and the CIA–an early investor through its In-Q-Tel venture fund–along with an alphabet soup of other U.S. counterterrorism and military agencies. . . .
. . . . The answer dates back to Karp’s decades-long friendship with Peter Thiel, starting at Stanford Law School. The two both lived in the no-frills Crothers dorm and shared most of their classes during their first year, but held starkly opposite political views. Karp had grown up in Philadelphia, the son of an artist and a pediatrician who spent many of their weekends taking him to protests for labor rights and against “anything Reagan did,” he recalls. Thiel had already founded the staunchly libertarian Stanford Review during his time at the university as an undergrad.
“We would run into each other and go at it … like wild animals on the same path,” Karp says. “Basically I loved sparring with him.” . . . .
. . . .With no desire to practice law, Karp went on to study under Jurgen Habermas, one of the 20th century’s most prominent philosophers, at the University of Frankfurt. . . .
. . . . Not long after obtaining his doctorate, he received an inheritance from his grandfather, and began investing it in startups and stocks with surprising success. Some high-net-worth individuals heard that “this crazy dude was good at investing” and began to seek his services, he says.To manage their money he set up the London-based Caedmon Group, a reference to Karp’s middle name, the same as the first known English-language poet. . . .
. . . . Enter Karp, whose Krameresque brown curls, European wealth connections and Ph.D. masked his business inexperience. Despite his nonexistent tech background, the founders were struck by his ability to immediately grasp complex problems and translate them to nonengineers. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . In spite of all this training they are giving the youth for future underground purposes, the leaders do not depend primarily upon these young people in the ﬁrst place, many of them will be dead at the zero hour, because many of them will have been thrown into the ﬁnal battles of the war. But far more important than this is another very potent argument: these young men, many of them now still children, have never known the hard times of the Nazi party. They have lived the greater and the most decisive part of their lives in a period when it was very easy to be a Nazi and very dangerous not to be one.
It is still an open question how these boys will behave at a time when it will be extremely dangerous to be a Nazi. It is and always will be doubtful how they will conform to party discipline at a time when much will depend on their personal initiative, and when it will be impossible for the party to supervise the actions of each member as closely as it has done in the past. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . .He was 15 when Germany lost the war to the Allies in 1945. He had served in the Hitler Youth and had been sent to defend the western front during the final months of the war. His father was a passive sympathizer with Nazism. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . The ’58ers, have been defined by one generation of historians as the “Flakhelfer” generation, in terms of its relationship to the Nazi regime and World War II. . . . From 1944, boys as young as twelve were enlisted to help with the anti-air artillery batteries; Habermas was recruited to the Hitler Youth in 1944 and was sent with his group to man the western wall defenses in the Ruhr area. From this generation emerged some of the leading academic protagonists of the liberalization of West German political culture: Habermas, the political scientists Kurt Sontheimer (1929) and Jurgen Seifert (1929), the sociologists Ralf Dahrendorf (1929), Niklas Luhrmann (1927), Renate Mayntz (1927), M. Rainer Lepsius (1928); the writers Hans-Magnus Enzensberger and Gunther Grass (1929). . . .
EXCERPT: The 78-year-old author, who has long been seen as the moral conscience of Germany, revealed his SS service in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper published on Saturday, in advance of the release next month of his autobiography, “Peeling the Onion.”
“My silence through all these years is one of the reasons why I wrote this book,” Grass announced. “It had to come out finally.”
Grass said he volunteered at age 15 for the submarine service and was refused, only to be called up for military service two years later.
When he reported for duty in Dresden, he found it was with the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg. He said that under the sway of Nazi indoctrination he did not view the Waffen SS as something repulsive but as an elite force.
Previously Grass had claimed he was a flakhelfer, a youth conscript forced to work on anti-aircraft batteries in 1944. The word gave rise to a generation who claimed they were the unwilling participants in the Nazi war effort. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . The weekly newspaper Die Zeit noted in its latest edition that the political storm in Germany appeared to be calming down, though Mr. Snowden continued to draw praise from respected figures like the writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger, who called him a “hero of the 21st century” in a television interview last week. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . His [Habermas’] most important teachers were Eric Rothacker and Oskar Becker. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . One must appreciate the significance of this event given that not just [Martin] Heidegger, but Habermas’ dissertation directors [in German, doctor-fathers] in Bonn, Erich Rothacker and Oskar Becker, were more or less enthusiastic supporters of national socialism (see Leaman 1993). . . .
EXCERPT . . . . During the post-war years, Jewish scholars struggled for justice, but a pattern of overlooking justice had spread across Germany. Academic authorities did little to exorcise the demons of the university halls. For example, Oskar Becker had been Edmund Husserl’s assistant. After Husserl’s suspension, Becker had collaborated with the Nazis. . . .
EXCERPT: Erich Rothacker was an engaged Nazi scholar, a member of the NSDAP, with links to both [Nazi propaganda minister Josef] Goebbels and [Nazi minister Alfred] Rosenberg. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . A month later, in June of 1952, Habermas found stimulation in Gottfried Benn’s latest publication. As with Heidegger, he was still largely ignorant of Benn’s commitments in the 1930’s and 1940’s. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . Taking his inspiration from Nietszche, Goethe and Spengler, Benn rebelled passionately against the demons of a mechanized world, against the rationalism which was paralyzing modern civilization and the political doctrines which derived from it, preaching an aesthetic nihilism and the cult of primitive atavism which initially attracted him to Nazism. Benn’s irrationalism . . . . led him to see in National Socialism a genuine renaissance of the German nation, but he soon became disillusioned with the results. . . .
. . . . He took refuge in the army, ‘the aristocratic form of emigration,’ as he called it, serving as a medical officer from 1939 to 1945. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . Next month Yale University Press will issue an English-language translation of Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism Into Philosophy, by Emmanuel Faye, an associate professor at the University of Paris at Nanterre. It’s the latest, most comprehensive archival assault on the ostensibly magisterial thinker who informed Freiburg students in his infamous 1933 rectoral address of Nazism’s “inner truth and greatness,” declaring that “the Führer, and he alone, is the present and future of German reality, and its law.”
Faye, whose book stirred France’s red and blue Heidegger départements into direct battle a few years back, follows in the investigative footsteps of Chilean-Jewish philosopher Victor Farias (Heidegger et le Nazisme, 1987), historian Hugo Ott (Martin Heidegger: Unterwegs zu Zeiner Biographie, 1988) and others. Aim? To expose the oafish metaphysician’s vulgar, often vicious 1930s attempt to become Hitler’s chief academic tribune, and his post-World War II contortions to escape proper judgment for his sins. “We now know,” reports Faye, “that [Heidegger’s] attempt at self-justification of 1945 is nothing but a string of falsehoods.” . . . .
EXCERPT: . . In 1964, Habermas became the chair of philosophy and sociology at the University of Frankfurt am Main. He remained there until 1971 in which he accepted a directorship at the Max Planck Institute in Starnberg. In 1983, Habermas returned to the University of Frankfurt and remained there until he retired in 1994 . . .
EXCERPT . . . The Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science (German Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften) was a German scientific institution established in the German Kaiserreich in 1911. During the Third Reich it was implicated in Nazi scientific operations, and after the Second World War was wound up, its functions being taken over by the Max Planck Society. The Kaiser Wilhelm Society was an umbrella organization for many institutes, testing stations, and research units spawned under its authority. . . .
. . . . By the end of World War II, the KWG and its institutes had lost their central location in Berlin and were operating in other locations. The KWG was operating out of its Aerodynamics Testing Station in Göttingen. Albert Vögler, the president of the KWG, committed suicide on 14 April 1945. Thereupon, Ernst Telschow assumed the duties until Max Planck could be brought from Magdeburg to Göttingen, which was in the British zone of the Allied Occupation Zones in Germany. Planck assumed the duties on 16 May until a president could be elected. Otto Hahn was selected by directors to be president, but there were a number of difficulties to be overcome. Hahn, being related to nuclear research had been captured by the allied forces of Operation Alsos, and he was still interned at Farm Hall in England, under Operation Epsilon. At first, Hahn was reluctant to accept the post, but others prevailed upon him to accept it. Hahn took over the presidency three months after being released and returned to Germany. However, the Office of Military Government, United States (OMGUS) passed a resolution to dissolve the KWG on 11 July 1946. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . Rockefeller money continued to stream across the Atlantic. The 1933 financial books of the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics reflected the foundation’s continuing impact. Page four of the balance sheet: Rockefeller paid clerical costs associated with research on twins. . . . The Rockefeller Foundation’s agenda was strictly biological to the exclusion of politics. The foundation wanted to discover the carriets of defective blood–even if it meant funding Nazi-controlled institutions. Moreover, Rockefeller executives knew their money carried power, and they used it to ensure that the most talented scientists continued at the various Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes, frequently shielding them from periodic Nazi purges. . . .
. . . . With each passing day, the world was flooded with more Jewish refugees, more noisy anti-Nazi boycotts and protest marches against any scientific or commercial exchanges with Germany, more public demands to isolate the Reich, and more shocking headlines documenting Nazi atrocities and anti-Jewish legislation. Still, none of this gave pause4 to America’s eugenicists. Correspondence on joint research flowed freely across the Atlantic. American eugenicists, and their many organizations and committees, from New York to California and all points in between, maintained and multiuplied their contacts with every echelon of official and semiofficial German eugenics. As the Reich descended into greater depths of depraved mistreatment and impoverishment of Jews, as well as territorial threats against its neighbors, these contacts seemed all the more insulated from the human tragedy unfolding within Europe. Eager and cooperative letters, reports, telegrams and memoranda did not number in the nundreds, but in the thousands of pages per month.
While concentration camps, pauperization and repression flourished in Nazi Germany, and while refugees filled ships and trains telling horrifying stories of torture and inhumanity, it was business as usual for eugenics. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . Hereditarians sought twins of all ages–not just children–for proper study. The family tree of a New England family of twins, including one pair ninety-one years of age, fascinated eugenicists. Geneticists excavated old journals to discover even earlier examples, such as s seventeenth century Russian woman who gave birth twenty-seven times,m each time producing twins, triplets or quadruplets, yielding a total of sixty-nine children.
Race and twins quickly became an issue for American eugenicists. . . .
Diagnostic and physiological developments in twin studies from any sector of the medical sciences were of constant interest to eugenic readers. So Eugenical News regularly summarized articles from the general medical literature to feed eugenicists’ unending fascination with the topic. In 1922, when a state medical journal reported using stethoscopes to monitor a twin pregnancy, it was reported in Eugenical News. When a German clinical journal published a study of tumors in twins, this too was reported in Eugenical News.
With each passing issue, Eugenical News dedicated more and more space to the topic. The list of such reports became long. By the early 1920’s, articles on twins became increasingly instructive. One typical article explained how to more precisely verify the presence of identical twins using a capillary microscope. Journal of Heredity also made twins a frequent subject in its pages. . . .
. . . . Every leading eugenic textbook included a section on twins. [Paul] Popenoe’s Applied Eugenics explained that identical twins ‘start lives as halves of the same whole’ but ‘become more unlike if they were brought up apart.’ . . .
In a similar vein, most international eugenic and genetic conferences included presentations or exhibits on twins–their disparity or similarity, their susceptibility to tuberculosis, their likes and dislikes. R.A. Fisher opened one of his lectures to the Second International Congress of Eugenics with the phrase: ‘The subject of the genesis of human twins. . .has a special importance for eugenicists.’ . . .
The quest for a superior race continued to intersect with the availability of twins. In the July-August 1935 edition of Eugenical News, Dr. Alfred Gordon published a lengthy article entitled ‘The Problems of Heredity and Eugenics.’ . . .
There were so few twins to study that surgeons in the eugenics community passed along their latest discoveries, one by one, to advance the field’s common knowledge. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . All that changed when Hitler came to power in 1933. Germany surged ahead in its study of twins. . . Twins were now increasingly sought to helpo combat hereditary diseases and conditions, real and imagined. [Otmar Freiherr von] Verschuer’s book, Twins and Tuberculosis, was published in 1933 and received a favorable review in 1933 and received a favorable review in Journal of Heredity. . . .
But many more twins would be needed to accomplish the sweeping research envisioned by the architects of Hitler’s master race. In early December of 1935, Verschuer told a correspondent for the Journal of the American Medical Association that eugenics had moved into a new phase. . . . The article went on to cite Verschuer’s view that meaningful research would require entire families–from children to grandparents. In plain words this meant gathering larger numbers of twins in one place for simultaneous investigation. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . American eugenicist T.U.H. Ellinger was in Germany shortly after the decree to visit with [Eugen] Fischer at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Heredity and Eugenics. In a Journal of Heredity essay on his visit, Ellinger flippantly reported to his colleagues, ‘Twins have, of course, for a long time been a favorite material for the study of the relative importance of heredity and environment, of nature and nurture. It does, however, take a dictatorship to oblige some ten thousand pairs of twins, as well as triplets and even quadruplets, to report to a scientific institute at regular intervals for all kinds of recordings and tests.’
When twins did report to the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics, they were often placed in small, specially-constructed examination rooms, each lined with two-way mirrors and motion picture camera lenses camouflaged into the wallpaper. The staff proudly showed Ellinger all of these facilities. However, eugenicists at the institute could only go so far with mere observations.
Reich scientists needed more if they were to take the next step in creating a super race resistant to disease and capable of transmitting the best traits. Autopsies were required to discover how specific organs and bodily processes reacted to various experiments. Verschuer needed more twins and the freedom to kill them. The highest ranks of the Hitler regime agreed, including Interior Minister Frick, who ran the concentration camps, and SS Chief Heinrich Himmler. Millions of dispensable human beings from across Europe–Jews, Gypsies and other undesirables–were passing through Hitler’s camps to be efficiently murdered. Among these millions, there were bound to be thousands of twins.
Shortly after Verschuer took over for Fischer at the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics, he proposed a Zwillingslager or ‘twins camp,’ within Auschwitz. . . . The camp was approved and was bureaucratically filed under the keyword ‘Twins Camp.’
At the end of May 1943, Mengele arrived in Auschwitz, where he took control of the ramps where Jews were brought in. Verschuer notified the German Research Society, ‘My assistant, Dr. Josef Mengele (M.D., Ph.D.) joined me in this branch of research. He is presently employed as Hauptsturmfuhrer [captain] and camp physician in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Anthropological teswting of the most diverse racial groups in this concentration camp are being carried out with permission of the SS Reichsfuhrer [Himmler].’
Nazi Germany had now carried eugenics further than any dared expect. The future of the master race that would thrive in Hitler’s Thousand-Year Reich lay in twins. For this reason, there would now be a special class of victims of Auschwitz. There would be a special camp, special medical facilities and special laboratories–all for the twins. . . .
EXCERPT: While evidence of mass murder in the trenches of Russia and the gas chambers of Poland was systematically destroyed, Mengele’s murders were enshrined in the protocols of science. Mengele’s ghastly files did not remain his private mania, confined to Auschwitz. Every case was meticulously annotated, employing the best scientific method prisoner doctors could muster. Then the files were sent to Verschuer’s offices at the [Kaiser Wilhelm] Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin-Dahlem for study.
An adult prisoner, chosen to help care for the youngest twins, recounted, ‘The moment a pair of twins arrived in the barrack, they were asked to complete a detailed questionnaire from the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute in Berlin. One of my duties as [the] ‘Twins’ Father’ was to help them fill it out, especially the little ones, who couldn’t read or write. These forms contained dozens of detailed questions related to a child’s background, health, and physical characteristics. They asked for the age, weight, and height of the children, their eye color and the color of their hair. They were promptly mailed to Berlin.’
Nyiszli, who had to fill out voluminous postmortem reports, recalled Mengele’s warning: ”I want clean copy, because these reports will be forwarded to the Institute of Biological, Racial and Evolutionary Research at Berlin-Dahlem.’ Thus I learned that the experiments performed here were checked by the highest medical authorities at one of the most famous scientific institutes in the world.” [Italics are mine–D.E.]
The reports, countersigned by Mengele and sent to Berlin were not just received and warehoused, they were carefully reviewed and discussed. A dialogue developed between Verschuer’s institute and Mengele. Another prisoner assistant of Mengele’s ‘would receive questions about the twins from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, and he would send them the answers.’ . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . When the Nazis seized power in 1933, Planck was 74. He witnessed many Jewish friends and colleagues expelled from their positions and humiliated, and hundreds of scientists emigrated from Germany. Again he tried the “persevere and continue working” slogan and asked scientists who were considering emigration to remain in Germany. He hoped the crisis would abate soon and the political situation would improve.
Otto Hahn asked Planck to gather well-known German professors in order to issue a public proclamation against the treatment of Jewish professors, but Planck replied, “If you are able to gather today 30 such gentlemen, then tomorrow 150 others will come and speak against it, because they are eager to take over the positions of the others.” . . . .
. . . Under Planck’s leadership, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG) avoided open conflict with the Nazi regime, except concerning Fritz Haber. Planck tried to discuss the issue with Adolf Hitler but was unsuccessful. In the following year, 1934, Haber died in exile.
One year later, Planck, having been the president of the KWG since 1930, organized in a somewhat provocative style an official commemorative meeting for Haber. He also succeeded in secretly enabling a number of Jewish scientists to continue working in institutes of the KWG for several years. In 1936, his term as president of the KWG ended, and the Nazi government pressured him to refrain from seeking another term. . . .
EXCERPT: A weak man, a man of compromises—that is exactly what the Nazis will want, a man who to all outward appearances will be opposed to all Nazi ideas, a reactionary, unable ever to break away from the inﬂuence of the people he has lived with all his life—the reactionaries. A man who cannot possibly have any understanding of anything new. . . .
. . . . The picture in Germany immediately after the war would be somewhat as follows: at the top a few “decent, neutral” statesmen [or scientific experts/luminaries, such as Max Planck–D.E.] who, at ﬁrst sight, seem to have no connection with the Nazis. Behind and around them a great number of men who seem willing, even eager, to collaborate with the AMG and the occupying authorities in order to retain their positions. Behind them innumerable front organizations and Nazi cells biding their time, waiting, lying low. . . .
EXCERPT: . . . . Though we are powerless at present, we have nonetheless never permitted ourselves to be disarmed spiritually and scientifically. German scholars are working unremittingly in Germany as well as abroad on great scientific plans for the future. Favorable circumstances enabled us to keep alive the great research organization of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute through a change of name. First-class scientists are working in the fields of interplanetary navigation (“Raumschiff fahrt”), chemistry and on cosmic rays. Our scientists, unhampered in their work, have sufficient time and are planning day and night for Germany’s future. It is the German spirit (“Geist”) that creates modern weapons and that will bring surprising changes in the present relationship of forces. . . .