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Then and Now

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Quandt Family Values: BMW heir Harald Quandt (in uniform) with his in-laws

COMMENT: A major element of discussion on this blog has been the spawning of the Bormann capital network from the political and economic forces underpinning Nazi Germany. Controlling the German core corporations as well as powerful interests around the world, the Bormann group is preeminent on the world economic landscape.

Noting that BMW and Audi are controlled by the heirs of Joseph Goebbels (whose stepchild inherited the Quandt industrial empire), A Bloomberg story notes that Mercedes-Benz also has significant capital participation by the Quandts.

In a series of comments on a blog, there was an exchange about BMW withholding ads when The Atlantic reviewed a book about the Holocaust or WWII. BMW is owned by the Quandt firm, headed for years by Joseph Goebbels’ son-in-law.

To gain perspective on the brilliant, far-sighted, thorough and altogether cynical policy realized by corporate Germany and the remarkable, deadly Bormann capital network that controls it, we recap Dorothy Thompson’s analysis of Germany’s plans for world dominance by a centralized European economic union. (In this, we can see the plans of pan-German theoretician Friedrich List, as realized by the European Monetary Union.) Ms. Thompson was writing in The New York Herald Tribune on May 31, 1940! Her comments are reproduced by Tetens on pages 92-93 .

Germany Plots with the Kremlin by T.H. Tetens; Henry Schuman [HC]; 1953; pp. 92-93 [Supplemented by excerpts from the original New York Herald Tribune article, obtained from the library].

“The Germans have a clear plan of what they intend to do in case of victory. I believe that I know the essential details of that plan. I have heard it from a sufficient number of important Germans to credit its authenticity . . . Germany’s plan is to make a customs union of Europe, with complete financial and economic control centered in Berlin. This will create at once the largest free trade area and the largest planned economy in the world. In Western Europe alone . . . there will be an economic unity of 400 million persons . . . To these will be added the resources of the British, French, Dutch and Belgian empires. These will be pooled in the name of Europa Germanica . . .”

“The Germans count upon political power following economic power, and not vice versa. Territorial changes do not concern them, because there will be no ‘France’ or ‘England,’ except as language groups. Little immediate concern is felt regarding political organizations . . . . No nation will have the control of its own financial or economic system or of its customs. The Nazification of all countries will be accomplished by economic pressure. In all countries, contacts have been established long ago with sympathetic businessmen and industrialists . . . . As far as the United States is concerned, the planners of the World Germanica laugh off the idea of any armed invasion. They say that it will be completely unnecessary to take military action against the United States to force it to play ball with this system. . . . Here, as in every other country, they have established relations with numerous industries and commercial organizations, to whom they will offer advantages in co-operation with Germany.

Cer­tain con­di­tions will have to be met. No orders will be taken from or given by per­son­al­i­ties unfa­vor­ably regarded by the Nazis. No adver­tis­ing con­tracts will be placed with news­pa­pers directed by or pub­lish­ing the work of pro-Ally or anti-Nazi edi­tors or writers.…

The Ger­man plan­ners pre­dict a stam­pede of the South to col­lab­o­rate with this sys­tem. This stam­pede will be fos­tered and directed by their agents.”…

. . .”

LondonLee (922)
I worked at The Atlantic when Wallace wrote a (terrific) feature for them about talk radio. According to our managing editor he was a sweetheart to deal with.

True: Whenever the books section reviewed something about WWII or The Holocaust (which was often), BMW pulled their ads for that issue. . . .

. . . They were just very sensitive about it given their history. I was in the art dept so couldn’t tell you any details, it just became a running joke: “Oh, Ben has reviewed another WWII book! Ad sales will be pissed!”

“Nazi Goebbels’ Step-Grandchildren Are Hidden Billionaires” by David de Jong; Bloomberg News; 1/28/2013.

In the spring of 1945, Harald Quandt, a 23-year-old officer in the German Luftwaffe, was being held as a prisoner of war by Allied forces in the Libyan port city of Benghazi when he received a farewell letter from his mother, Magda Goebbels — the wife of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

The hand-written note confirmed the devastating news he had heard weeks earlier: His mother had committed suicide with her husband on May 1, after slipping their six children cyanide capsules in Adolf Hitler’s underground bunker in Berlin. . . .

. . . Quandt was released from captivity in 1947. Seven years later, he and his half-brother Herbert — Harald was the only remaining child from Magda Goebbels’ first marriage — would inherit the industrial empire built by their father, Guenther Quandt, which had produced Mauser firearms and anti-aircraft missiles for the Third Reich’s war machine. Among their most valuable assets at the time was a stake in car manufacturer Daimler AG. (DAI) They bought a part of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) a few years later.

While the half-brothers passed away decades ago, their legacy has endured. Herbert’s widow, Johanna Quandt, 86, and their children Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt, have remained in the public eye as BMW’s dominant shareholders. The billionaire daughters of Harald Quandt — Katarina Geller-Herr, 61, Gabriele Quandt, 60, Anette-Angelika May-Thies, 58, and 50-year-old Colleen-Bettina Rosenblat-Mo — have kept a lower profile.

The four sisters inherited about 1.5 billion deutsche marks ($760 million) after the death of their mother, Inge, in 1978, according to the family’s sanctioned biography, “Die Quandts.” They manage their wealth through the Harald Quandt Holding GmbH, a Bad Homburg, Germany-based family investment company and trust named after their father. Fritz Becker, the chief executive officer of the family entities, said the siblings realized average annual returns above 7 percent from its founding in 1981 through 1996. Since then, the returns have averaged 7.6 percent.

“The family wants to stay private and that is an acceptable situation for me,” said Becker in an interview at his Bad Homburg office. “We invest our money globally and if it’s $1 billion, $500 million or $3 billion, who cares?” (Italics added.) . . .


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