Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben

by Joseph Borkin
1978, The Free Press
ISBN 0–02-904630–0
Illus­trat­ed, 250 pages.
Avail­able for down­load from scribd.com

Required read­ing for “For The Record” lis­ten­ers, sec­ond only to Man­ning, The Crime and Pun­ish­ment of I.G. Far­ben charts the stel­lar rise of Ger­many’s chem­i­cal and dyestuff indus­tries, as well as those of the Ruhr and Rhineland’s min­ing and steel, both spawned as glob­al eco­nom­ic pow­er­hous­es by pre­ex­ist­ing inter­na­tion­al trade restric­tions and the Ger­man hord­ing of patent rights. Cov­ers also the Reich’s 1918 mil­i­tary defeat; the High Com­mand’s long-term vision; the flow­er­ing and with­er­ing of Carl Bosch’s sci­en­tif­ic and man­u­fac­tur­ing genius; the con­sol­i­da­tion of the bank­ing, heavy and chem­i­cal indus­tries (not to men­tion Ger­man soci­ety) com­ing to fruition under Hitler and Nazi pol­i­cy.

Also includ­ed are astound­ing descrip­tions of the slave labor and mass mur­der in Auschwitz and else­where, the admin­is­tra­tion of which was shared by I.G. Far­ben’s top man­age­ment and Himm­ler’s S.S.

Hav­ing become famil­iar with the spe­cial rela­tion­ship between I.G. Far­ben and Stan­dard Oil of Jer­sey as inves­ti­ga­tor for a Sen­ate Spe­cial Com­mit­tee, author Joseph Borkin lat­er head­ed the Patent and Car­tel Sec­tion of the Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s Antitrust Divi­sion, co-author­ing Ger­many’s Mas­ter Plan in 1943. “After the war, when I read the tran­script of the tri­al of the I.G. war crim­i­nals at Nurem­berg, I knew that some­day I would write the present book.”


2 comments for “The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben

  1. I first heard about this on the BBC’s radio broad­cast, where Bay­er was specif­i­cal­ly men­tioned.


    14 May 2013 Last updat­ed at 07:18 ET

    Hos­pi­tal probes E Ger­man ‘human guinea pig’ drug tests

    A top Berlin hos­pi­tal plans to inves­ti­gate the con­duct of drug tri­als in the for­mer East Ger­many amid alle­ga­tions that some patients were used as human guinea pigs.

    Com­mu­nist offi­cials allowed West­ern firms to test new drugs on about 50,000 peo­ple, often with­out their knowl­edge, the news mag­a­zine Der Spiegel says.

    Now the Charite hos­pi­tal says it will stop shred­ding old patient records and inves­ti­gate what hap­pened.

    The tests took place in the 1980s.

    Der Spiegel says it got the infor­ma­tion from for­mer East Ger­man health min­istry records, the old Stasi secret police files, the for­mer state’s phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal author­i­ty and pri­vate col­lec­tions.

    Drug com­pa­nies from West Ger­many, Switzer­land and the US alleged­ly offered up to 800,000 Deutschmarks (about 400,000 euros; $520,000) per clin­i­cal study — for­eign exchange that was much need­ed in the under­fund­ed East Ger­man health ser­vice.
    Eth­i­cal ques­tions

    In a state­ment, the Charite hos­pi­tal said that “as a first step, Charite has stopped the usu­al shred­ding of decades-old files after expiry of the stor­age peri­od. This is in order to recon­struct the course of action in par­tic­u­lar cas­es as ful­ly as pos­si­ble.”

    Prof Volk­er Hess of Charite’s med­ical his­to­ry insti­tute said the con­duct of the East Ger­man clin­i­cal tri­als should be re-exam­ined, to find out the degree of patient con­sent and how unde­sir­able side-effects were han­dled. The study should also com­pare East Ger­many’s med­ical pro­ce­dures with those that were stan­dard in the West at the time, he said.

    Ger­many’s Union of Research-based Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Com­pa­nies (VFA) wel­comed the idea of research­ing the old East Ger­man clin­i­cal tri­als. The VFA’s mem­bers account for about two-thirds of the Ger­man phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal mar­ket.

    “Accord­ing to our knowl­edge, the stan­dards for clin­i­cal tri­als in the GDR cor­re­spond­ed to the pre­vail­ing stan­dards at the time,” said the VFA’s chief exec­u­tive Bir­git Fis­ch­er. “GDR law pro­vid­ed guide­lines for clin­i­cal tests which were com­pa­ra­ble with those of West­ern states and the US.”

    More than 50 East Ger­man hos­pi­tals were involved in the clin­i­cal tri­als, Der Spiegel reports. It says the West­ern drug com­pa­nies that took part includ­ed Bay­er, Scher­ing, Hoechst and San­doz, which is now part of Novar­tis.

    In state­ments to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press news agency, spokes­men for Novar­tis and Bay­er said their clin­i­cal tri­als, to their knowl­edge, con­formed with eth­i­cal and legal stan­dards.

    Posted by Vanfield | May 14, 2013, 3:08 pm
  2. @Vanfield–

    Note that, in addi­tion to Bay­er, Hoechst and San­doz were involved–also part of the old I.G. com­plex.

    I.G. Far­ben uber alles.

    The spin on this is also inter­est­ing. Most sto­ries on this have empha­sized the cul­pa­bil­i­ty of the for­mer East Ger­man author­i­ties.

    The IG suc­ces­sor com­pa­nies cer­tain­ly did­n’t shrink from the oppor­tu­ni­ty of using human guinea pigs.


    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | May 15, 2013, 6:12 pm

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