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

For The Record  

FTR #411 The Bayer Facts: I.G. Farben and the Politics of Murder

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

Intro­duc­tion: Pre­sent­ing some of the his­to­ry and func­tion­al aspects of the I.G. Far­ben chem­i­cal car­tel, the Bay­er phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firm, in par­tic­u­lar. Grow­ing out of the merg­er of Ger­many’s top chem­i­cal and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firms at the end of World War I, the I.G. Far­ben com­pa­ny and its post World War II suc­ces­sor com­pa­nies are at the very epi­cen­ter of the his­to­ry of twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry indus­try. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, they have been respon­si­ble for a great deal of destruc­tion, both as the back­bone of Hitler’s war pro­duc­tion and as the mar­keters of drugs that have done great dam­age to human­i­ty.

Much of the first side of the pro­gram high­lights Bay­er’s frankly sus­pi­cious deci­sion to retain con­trol of its phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal divi­sion five days before the first anthrax attacks. After drop­ping 30% in val­ue, the fir­m’s stock increased 33% after the anthrax attacks—Bayer is the man­u­fac­tur­er of Cipro, the treat­ment of choice for anthrax infec­tion. An equal­ly sus­pi­cious gam­bit was Bay­er’s deci­sion to con­tin­ue to sell a drug used to treat hemo­phil­ia, even after it was evi­dent that the drug (derived from blood plas­ma) was infect­ed with HIV.

A major por­tion of the broad­cast is devot­ed to analy­sis of the I.G.‘s role in the post­war Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion. Inex­tri­ca­bly linked with both the Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal pro­gram and the post­war oper­a­tions of the Under­ground Reich, I.G. Far­ben and its Big Three suc­ces­sor com­pa­nies (Hoechst, BASF and Bay­er) wield piv­otal influ­ence in the con­tem­po­rary com­mer­cial land­scape.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The deci­sion by Bay­er to retain a com­pa­ny insid­er as head of the firm short­ly before the anthrax attacks in the US; the selec­tion of two “I.G. insid­ers” as heads of the Viven­di and Ber­tels­mann media firms (prin­ci­pal focal points of the series on Ger­man cor­po­rate con­trol of the Amer­i­can media); the con­tin­ued dom­i­nance of I.G. Far­ben in the post World War II French indus­tri­al econ­o­my; the Leu­na refin­ery in the for­mer East Ger­many and its cen­tral role in the CDU fund­ing scan­dal (see FTRs 194, 276, 278); a review of the “Bat­tle of Leu­na” (one of the deci­sive aer­i­al engage­ments of World War II).

1. Begin­ning dis­cus­sion of the I.G. Far­ben firm, the broad­cast sets forth an inter­est­ing piece of the his­to­ry of the Bay­er company—one of the most impor­tant ele­ments of the I.G. Far­ben com­bine.

“Bay­er’s phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal ven­ture was even larg­er [than that of Hoechst]. Out of its lab­o­ra­to­ries emerged aspirin, the world’s most famous home rem­e­dy for pain and fever. Bay­er was also respon­si­ble for the intro­duc­tion of hero­in, which it sold as a cure for mor­phine addic­tion and as a cough sup­pres­sant, espe­cial­ly effec­tive in chil­dren. Lat­er the Bay­er lab­o­ra­to­ries devel­oped methadone, in prepa­ra­tion for World War II, as a syn­thet­ic sub­sti­tute for mor­phine. It was orig­i­nal­ly named Dolophine, in hon­or of Adolf Hitler. Today, methadone is used prin­ci­pal­ly in the treat­ment of hero­in addic­tion.”

(The Crime and Pun­ish­ment of I.G. Far­ben; Joseph Borkin; Copy­right 1978 [HC] by The Free Press [a divi­sion of MacMil­lan]; ISBN 0–02-904630–0; pp. 6–7.)

2. An impor­tant (and large­ly over­looked) aspect of the 9/11 attacks con­cerns the curi­ous maneu­ver­ing of the Bay­er com­pa­ny. Five days before the anthrax let­ters were mailed (on Sep­tem­ber 18, 2001), Bay­er made an inter­est­ing deci­sion not to sell its embat­tled phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals divi­sion. Of great sig­nif­i­cance in that con­text was its equal­ly sur­pris­ing deci­sion to appoint a long-time com­pa­ny insid­er as the head of the divi­sion, in defi­ance of what had been fore­cast by invest­ment ana­lysts. As will be seen lat­er, the deci­sion to retain a long­time Bay­er oper­a­tive as head of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals branch is con­sis­tent with Bay­er’s sta­tus as one of the core com­pa­nies of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion.

“Defy­ing expec­ta­tions, Bay­er A.G. said today that it would not sell its embat­tled phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals unit after all, and it named a long­time exec­u­tive, not a fresh face from out­side the com­pa­ny, to suc­ceed its chief exec­u­tive, Man­fred Schnei­der. Though it made clear that it was not hap­py about the idea, Bay­er seemed to be heed­ing increased pres­sure to get out of the drug busi­ness. Last month, it was forced to with­draw a cho­les­terol-low­er­ing drug, Bay­col, which had been linked to 52 deaths and is the sub­ject of a class-action law­suit in the Unit­ed States. Bay­col was cru­cial to the drug unit’s rev­enue and prof­it growth, ana­lysts said, and its with­draw­al made plain that Bay­er was no longer big enough in the drug busi­ness to thrive inde­pen­dent­ly.”

(“Bay­er Won’t Sell Drug Unit and Picks Insid­er as Chief” by Suzanne Kap­n­er; The New York Times; 9/14/2001; p. C10.)

3. Bay­er’s stock had dropped almost 30 per­cent as a result of the Bay­col scan­dal.

“Ana­lysts and investors had also hoped that a fresh face in the chief exec­u­tive’s office after Mr. Schnei­der retires in April might make a break with cor­po­rate strat­e­gy. But Bay­er chose Wern­er Wen­ning, 54, a 30-year vet­er­an of the com­pa­ny who is now its chief finan­cial offi­cer. Mr. Schnei­der said today that an out­right sale of the drug unit had been ruled out. ‘Despite the major set­back,’ he said, ‘these activ­i­ties remain a core busi­ness of the Bay­er Group that can con­tribute sub­stan­tial­ly to enhanc­ing the com­pa­ny’s val­ue.’ Investors showed their dis­plea­sure at the deci­sion, made at a board meet­ing at com­pa­ny head­quar­ters in Lev­erkusen, Ger­many, by bid­ding Bay­er’s stock down about 3 per­cent in Frank­furt today. The stock has fall­en almost 30 per­cent since Bay­col was recalled on Aug. 8. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s]”


4. One should not fail to note that Bay­er’s stock appre­ci­at­ed sig­nif­i­cant­ly as a result of the [as yet unsolved] anthrax attacks. It regained all of the ground lost as a result of the Bay­col fias­co. Bay­er was the mak­er of Cipro—the pre­ferred treat­ment for anthrax. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that the anthrax attacks were per­pe­trat­ed by the Under­ground Reich is not one to be too read­i­ly dis­missed. (It is interesting—and pos­si­bly significant—that the manip­u­la­tion of equi­ties mar­kets took place with regard to both the 9/11 attacks and the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy.)

” . . . Bay­er, the Ger­man mak­er of Cipro—the antibi­ot­ic of choice for anthrax infections—is tripling its out­put of the drug. And Bay­er’s stock price has risen by more than 33% since the anthrax out­breaks began. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s]”

(“Biotech­nol­o­gy Stocks Are Gain­ing on Anthrax Scare” by Charles Piller; Los Ange­les Times; 10/18/2001; p. C1.)

5. Sup­ple­ment­ing infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed in pre­vi­ous broad­casts about AIDS as a bio­log­i­cal war­fare weapon, this pro­gram high­lights the dis­turb­ing fact that Bay­er con­tin­ued to mar­ket a ther­a­peu­tic drug for hemo­phil­i­acs to cus­tomers in Third World coun­tries even after it was appar­ent that the prod­uct was con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed with HIV.

“A divi­sion of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­ny Bay­er sold mil­lions of dol­lars of blood-clot­ting med­i­cine for hemophiliacs—medicine that car­ried a high risk of trans­mit­ting AIDS—to Asia and Latin Amer­i­ca in the mid-1980’s while sell­ing a new, safer prod­uct in the West, accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by The New York Times. The Bay­er unit, Cut­ter Bio­log­i­cal, intro­duced its safer med­i­cine in late Feb­ru­ary as evi­dence mount­ed that the ear­li­er ver­sion was infect­ing hemo­phil­i­acs with H.I.V. Yet for over a year, the com­pa­ny con­tin­ued to sell the old med­i­cine over­seas, prompt­ing a Unit­ed States reg­u­la­tor to accuse Cut­ter of break­ing its promise to stop sell­ing the prod­uct.”

(“2 Paths of Bay­er Drug in 80’s: Riski­er Type Went Over­seas” by Walt Bog­danich and Eric Koli; The New York Times; 5/22/2003; p. 1.)


“By con­tin­u­ing to sell the old ver­sion of the life-sav­ing med­i­cine, the records show, Cut­ter offi­cials were try­ing to avoid being stuck with large stores of a prod­uct that was prov­ing increas­ing­ly unmar­ketable in the Unit­ed States and Europe. Yet even after it began sell­ing the new prod­uct, the com­pa­ny kept mak­ing the old med­i­cine for sev­er­al months more. A telex from Cut­ter to a dis­trib­u­tor sug­gests one rea­son behind that deci­sion, too: the com­pa­ny had sev­er­al fixed-price con­tracts and believed that the old prod­uct would be cheap­er to pro­duce . . .”



” . . . ‘These are the most incrim­i­nat­ing inter­nal phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try doc­u­ments I have ever seen,’ said Dr. Sid­ney M. Wolfe, who as direc­tor of the Pub­lic Cit­i­zen Health Research Group has been inves­ti­gat­ing the indus­try’s prac­tices for three decades . . .”



” . . . The med­i­cine, called Fac­tor VIII Con­cen­trate, essen­tial­ly pro­vides the miss­ing ingre­di­ent with­out which hemo­phil­i­acs’ blood can­not clot. By inject­ing them­selves with it, hemo­phil­i­acs can stop bleed­ing or pre­vent bleeds from start­ing; some use it as many as three times a week. It has helped hemo­phil­i­acs lead nor­mal lives. But in the ear­ly years of the AIDS epi­dem­ic, it became a killer. The med­i­cine was made using pools of plas­ma from 10,000 or more donors, and since there was still no screen­ing test for the AIDS virus, it car­ried a high risk of pass­ing along the dis­ease; even a tiny num­ber of H.I.V.—positive donors could con­t­a­m­i­nate an entire pool.”



“In the Unit­ed States, AIDS was passed on to thou­sands of hemo­phil­i­acs, many of whom died, in one of the worst drug-relat­ed med­ical dis­as­ters in his­to­ry.”


10. The vast inter­na­tion­al infra­struc­ture of the I.G. Far­ben firm and its var­i­ous sub­sidiary oper­a­tions was a prin­ci­pal ele­ment of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion. I.G. Far­ben chief Her­mann Schmitz dis­cussed I.G.‘s involve­ment with the Bor­mann pro­gram.

“In tes­ti­mo­ny lat­er giv­en to Nurem­berg inves­ti­ga­tors, Schmitz praised Bor­mann for the way he had direct­ed the dis­tri­b­u­tion of Ger­man assets around the world. His own Far­ben orga­ni­za­tion had, of course, con­tributed to the suc­cess of the oper­a­tion. Every region­al rep­re­sen­ta­tive work­ing for Her­mann Schmitz was an excep­tion­al busi­ness­man, or he would not have been with I.G. All had con­tributed sound advice in their areas of com­pe­tence, the regions of the world where they rep­re­sent­ed Far­ben while keep­ing an eye on the sub­sidiaries of the par­ent con­cern and the 700 hid­den cor­po­ra­tions they con­trolled. They had pro­vid­ed assis­tance and con­tin­u­ing guid­ance in estab­lish­ing the 750 new com­pa­nies cre­at­ed on order of Bor­mann, who want­ed more than hid­den assets; Bor­mann want­ed the mon­ey and patents and tech­ni­cians put to work to cre­ate even greater assets that would bol­ster Ger­many in the post­war years. In their meet­ing in the chan­cellery, both men checked over the fig­ures of sums dis­bursed, and they were accu­rate to the pfen­nig.”

(Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Lyle Stu­art 1981[HC]; Copy­right 1981 by Paul Man­ning; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; pp. 157–158.)

11. Bor­mann and Schmitz then dis­cussed I.G.‘s prospects for the post­war peri­od. The fir­m’s cozy rela­tion­ship with pow­er­ful ele­ments with­in the pow­er elites of the West­ern allies was fore­seen by Schmitz as bod­ing well for the com­pa­ny’s future.

“The Reich­sleit­er asked Schmitz his views of the future. Schmitz replied, ‘The occu­pa­tion armies will be under­stand­ing in the West, but cer­tain­ly not in the East. I have instruct­ed all Far­ben admin­is­tra­tors and tech­ni­cians to come to the West, where they can be of use in resum­ing our oper­a­tions once the dis­tur­bances of 1945 come to a halt.’ Schmitz added that, while gen­er­al bomb dam­age to the I.G. plants was about 25 per­cent of capac­i­ty, some were untouched. He men­tioned speak­ing with Field Mar­shal Mod­el, who was com­mand­ing the defens­es of the Ruhr. ‘Mod­el had planned to turn our Bay­er-Leberkusen phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal fac­to­ry into an artillery base, but he agreed to make it an open, unde­fend­ed fac­to­ry. Hope­ful­ly, we will get it back untouched.’ ‘What about your board of direc­tors and the essen­tial exec­u­tives? If they are held by the occu­pa­tion author­i­ties, can I.G. con­tin­ue?’ Bor­mann asked. ‘We can con­tin­ue. We have an oper­a­tional plan for such a con­tin­gency, which every­one under­stands. How­ev­er, I don’t believe our board mem­bers will be detained too long. Nor will I. But we must go through a pro­ce­dure of inves­ti­ga­tion before release, so I have been told by our N.W. 7 peo­ple who have excel­lent con­tacts in Wash­ing­ton.’ ”

(Ibid.; p. 158.) Schmitz’s pre­dic­tions were rel­a­tive­ly accu­rate. Nei­ther Schmitz nor any of the I.G. Far­ben exec­u­tives were severe­ly pun­ished and the fir­m’s three suc­ces­sor firms car­ried on effec­tive­ly in the post­war peri­od

12. Among the prin­ci­pal cap­i­tal ele­ments of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion was the enor­mous eco­nom­ic pow­er of the Her­mann Schm­mitz Trust.

“[Her­mann] Schmitz’s wealth—largely I.G. Far­ben bear­er bonds con­vert­ed to the Big Three suc­ces­sor firms, shares in Stan­dard Oil of New Jer­sey (equal to those held by the Rock­e­fellers), as well as shares in the 750 cor­po­ra­tions he helped Bor­mann estab­lish dur­ing the last year of World War II—has increased in all seg­ments of the mod­ern indus­tri­al world. The Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion in South Amer­i­ca uti­lizes the vot­ing pow­er of the Schmitz trust along with their own assets to guide the multi­na­tion­als they con­trol, as they keep steady the eco­nom­ic course of the Father­land.”

(Ibid.; p. 280.)

13. Next, the broad­cast sets forth the oper­a­tions of the “Big Three” suc­ces­sor firms to the I.G.—Bayer, Hoechst and BASF. It is impor­tant to note that the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion retained the deci­sive reins of pow­er in these con­sum­mate­ly impor­tant com­pa­nies.

“By 1956, the three major multi­na­tion­als (Hoechst, BASF, and Bay­er) reshaped from the 159 com­pa­nies with­in Ger­many that had com­prised I.G. Far­ben were gen­er­at­ing record prof­its for the orig­i­nal 450 major Far­ben stock­hold­ers, who had orga­nized them­selves into the I.G. Far­ben Stock­hold­ers Pro­tec­tive com­mit­tee in Bonn. The Big Three went on expand­ing, tripling cap­i­tal­iza­tion in 1956 from invest­ment funds that poured in from the inter­lock­ing com­pa­nies estab­lished in safe haven coun­tries by Mar­tin Bor­mann and Her­mann Schmitz. There was a return, more vig­or­ous than ever, of the huge, mono­lith­ic indus­tri­al multi­na­tion­als that dom­i­nat­ed the Ger­man econ­o­my before and dur­ing World War II.”

(Ibid.; p. 282.)


“Each of these three spin­offs from I.G. Far­ben today does more busi­ness indi­vid­u­al­ly than did Far­ben at its zenith, when its cor­po­rate struc­ture cov­ered 93 coun­tries. BASF and Bay­er indi­vid­u­al­ly boast world­wide sales of near­ly $10 bil­lion annu­al­ly, while Hoechst, now the world’s largest chem­i­cal com­pa­ny, gen­er­at­ed $16.01 bil­lion in world­wide sales in 1980. Each does more busi­ness than E.I. du Pont de Nemours, with sales of $9.4 bil­lion. The Unit­ed States is, of course, the major mar­ket, one into which these Ger­man cor­po­ra­tions con­tin­ue to pour invest­ment mon­ey for both new cap­i­tal con­struc­tion and cor­po­rate takeovers. BASF and Hoechst have each invest­ed in excess of $1 bil­lion in such expan­sions, and chief Her­bert Grunewald of Bay­er A.G. has said that they plan a $1 bil­lion expan­sion in the Unit­ed States with­in five to ten years. In Europe, Bay­er A.G. is par­ent of some 380 sub­sidiary oper­a­tions. In the Unit­ed States, it con­trols Mobay Chem­i­cal whose annu­al sales in 1978 of $779.5 mil­lion make it the Bay­er group’s most for­mi­da­ble for­eign sub­sidiary. Miles lab­o­ra­to­ries (mak­er of Alka-Seltzer), Chema­gro, Rhinechem, Cut­ter Lab­o­ra­to­ries, and Har­mon Col­ors are addi­tion­al Bay­er A.G. inter­ests in this coun­try that Grunewald says he plans to dou­ble as part of his Amer­i­can expan­sion pro­gram.”

(Ibid.; pp. 282–283.)


“Togeth­er, these three multi­na­tion­als assure per­ma­nent pros­per­i­ty for the orig­i­nal 450 Far­ben stock­hold­ers, their banks, and the shad­owy share­hold­ers of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion in south Amer­i­ca who guard and vote the Her­mann Schmitz trust fund through inter­me­di­aries at the annu­al meet­ings of BASF, Bay­er and Hoechst.”

(Ibid.; p. 283.)

16. Review­ing the func­tion­ing of the suc­ces­sor firms to I.G. Far­ben in the over­all scheme of the Bor­mann out­fit, the broad­cast encap­su­lates that orga­ni­za­tion’s pow­er.

“The Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion con­tin­ues to wield enor­mous eco­nom­ic influ­ence. Wealth con­tin­ues to flow into the trea­suries of its cor­po­rate enti­ties in South Amer­i­ca, the Unit­ed States, and Europe. Vast­ly diver­si­fied, it is said to be the largest land-own­er in South Amer­i­ca and through stock­hold­ings con­trols Ger­man heavy indus­try and the trust estab­lished by the late Her­mann Schmitz, for­mer pres­i­dent of I.G. Far­ben, who held as much stock in Stan­dard Oil of New Jer­sey as did the Rock­e­fellers.”

(Ibid.; p. 292.)

17. In the con­text of the arti­cle that fol­lows, the pro­gram presents the deci­sive influ­ence of I.G. Far­ben’s con­trol of patents and engi­neer­ing skill in the indus­try to per­pet­u­ate its con­trol of the French chem­i­cal indus­try in the post­war peri­od. The effec­tive eco­nom­ic occu­pa­tion of France did not end in 1945. The post­war struc­ture of cor­po­rate Europe remained in the effec­tive con­trol of cor­po­rate Ger­many which, in turn, is in the effec­tive con­trol of the Bor­mann group.

“I.G. Far­ben was a for­mi­da­ble ally for Reich­sleit­er Bor­mann in his plans for the post­war eco­nom­ic rebirth of Ger­many. In a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with Dr. [Georg] von Schnit­zler, Bor­mann asked what would the loss of fac­to­ries in France and the oth­er occu­pied coun­tries mean to Ger­man indus­try in gen­er­al and to I.G. in par­tic­u­lar. Dr. von Schnit­zler said he believed the tech­ni­cal depen­dence of these coun­tries on I.G. would be so great that despite Ger­man defeat I.G., in one way or anoth­er, could regain its posi­tion of con­trol of the Euro­pean chem­i­cal busi­ness. ‘They will need the con­stant tech­ni­cal help of I.G.‘s sci­en­tif­ic lab­o­ra­to­ries as they do not own appro­pri­ate instal­la­tions with­in them­selves.’ ”

(Ibid.; p. 28.)

18. Mr. Emory’s FTR series about Ger­man cor­po­rate con­trol of the Amer­i­can media dealt exten­sive­ly with the Viven­di firm of France and Ber­tels­mann A.G. of Ger­many. In mid-2002, both Viven­di and Ber­tels­mann effect­ed sig­nif­i­cant man­age­ment changes. It is alto­geth­er reveal­ing and high­ly sig­nif­i­cant that Jean-Rene Four­tou had been the head of Rhone-Poulenc, a French phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals man­u­fac­tur­er which then merged (under the direc­tion of Four­tou) with Hoechst—one of the “Big Three” suc­ces­sor firms of the I.G.

“Jean-Rene Four­tou is the man with the unen­vi­able task of res­cu­ing the world’s sec­ond largest media group from a group of angry bankers and share­hold­ers . . . Mr. Four­tou grad­u­at­ed in 1960 from the Ecole Poly­tech­nique, France’s top busi­ness school and the train­ing ground for Mr. Messier, and joined man­age­ment con­sul­tan­cy Bossard, where he was chief exec­u­tive and chair­man between 1972 and 1986. Rhone-Poulenc the [for­mer­ly state-owned] drugs man­u­fac­tur­er, recruit­ed Mr. Four­tou as chair­man and chief exec­u­tive in 1986. In 2000, the com­pa­ny merged with Hoechst of Ger­many to form Aven­tis, where he was vice-chair­man. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s.] He is firm­ly entrenched as a mem­ber of the old guard of the French busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty.”

(“Jean-Rene Four­tou”; The Guardian; 7/8/2002.)

19. Also indica­tive of the cen­tral posi­tion of the old I.G. com­plex and the Bor­mann group in cor­po­rate Ger­many was the suc­ces­sion of Gun­ther Thie­len to the head of Ber­tels­mann. Thie­len had a man­age­ment back­ground with BASF, anoth­er of the suc­ces­sor firms to I.G. Far­ben.

“1970 dif­fer­ent lead­ing posi­tions, group of BASF, Lud­wigshafen. 1976 Tech­ni­cal man­ag­er, win­ter resound­ing refin­ery, Kas­sel.”

(“Dr. Gun­ther Thie­len”; pro­fes­sion­al biog­ra­phy.)

20. The pro­gram con­cludes with review of “the Bat­tle of Leu­na”, one of the key aer­i­al engage­ments of World War II. In this bat­tle, the U.S. Eighth Air Force bombed the Ger­man syn­thet­ic fuel pro­duc­tion out of effec­tive oper­a­tion, thus starv­ing the Ger­man war machine of petro­le­um.

“May 12, 1944, was a fate­ful day for Ger­many and for I.G. On that day, the Unit­ed States Eighth Air Force sent 935 bombers over Ger­many to attack its syn­thet­ic oil indus­try: 200 bombers con­cen­trat­ed on I.G.‘s plant alone. This attack marked the begin­ning of what the U.S. strate­gic bomb­ing sur­vey called ‘the Bat­tle of Leu­na,’ clas­si­fy­ing it as ‘one of the major bat­tles of the war.’ ”

(The Crime and Pun­ish­ment of I.G. Far­ben; p. 128.)


“The next day, Albert Speer, Reich min­is­ter for arma­ments and war pro­duc­tion, toured the wreck­age of Leu­na with Buete­fisch. What he saw con­vinced him that ‘the tech­no­log­i­cal war was decid­ed. . . . It meant the end of Ger­man arma­ment pro­duc­tion.’ For Speer it was the turn­ing point in the war. He imme­di­ate­ly flew to Hitler’s head­quar­ters at Ober­salzburg to report on the extent and mean­ing of the dis­as­ter: ‘The ene­my has struck us at one of our weak­est points,’ he told the Fuehrer. ‘If they per­sist at this time, we will soon have no fuel pro­duc­tion worth men­tion­ing. Our one hope is that the oth­er side has an air force gen­er­al staff as scat­ter­brained as ours!’ ”



“Hitler then sum­moned four of the top fuel experts from I.G., includ­ing Krauch and Buete­fisch, for a dis­cus­sion about the con­se­quences of the May 12 air raid. Goer­ing and Speer accom­pa­nied them to the meet­ing. Before the group went in to see Hitler, Speer advised the four fuel experts to tell ‘the unvar­nished truth.’ How­ev­er, Goer­ing insist­ed that they not be too pes­simistic. ‘He was prob­a­bly afraid that Hitler would place the blame for the deba­cle chiefly on him,’ Speer wrote lat­er. Krauch was deter­mined to fol­low Speer’s advice. He told Hitler that Ger­many’s posi­tion was hope­less if the ene­my air raids on the syn­thet­ic oil plants con­tin­ued. To sup­port his grim fore­cast, he pre­sent­ed Hitler with an impres­sive array of facts and fig­ures. . .”

(Ibid.; pp. 128–129.)


“The course of the Bat­tle of Leu­na became the gauge for the state of Ger­man oil pro­duc­tion. By ear­ly July the resource­ful I.G. tech­ni­cians were able to restore Leu­na to sev­en­ty-five per­cent oper­at­ing capac­i­ty. How­ev­er, the Eighth Air Force returned on July 7, again bomb­ing the plant to a halt. Two days lat­er the plant start­ed oper­at­ing again and by July 19 had reached fifty-three per­cent of capac­i­ty. And so the cycle of bomb­ings and recon­struc­tion con­tin­ued. But the total effect on Ger­man fuel pro­duc­tion was noth­ing less than cat­a­stroph­ic. Krauch con­clud­ed that the only way fuel instal­la­tions could be rebuilt after each raid was to can­ni­bal­ize oth­er instal­la­tions. Under this plan to pre­vent the total ces­sa­tion of oil pro­duc­tion, Ger­many’s pro­duc­tive capac­i­ty dimin­ished with each recu­per­a­tion. By Sep­tem­ber, oil pro­duc­tion had dropped to fif­teen per­cent, a con­di­tion from which Ger­many was nev­er to recov­er.”

(Ibid.; p. 130.)

24. In the con­text of both the Standard/I.G. Agree­ment of 1929 and the oth­er busi­ness arrange­ments that I.G. had with major west­ern cor­po­ra­tions, a dis­cus­sion of a “gen­tle­man’s agree­ment” with key busi­ness­men on the “oth­er side” not to bomb I.G’s syn­thet­ic fuel plants is more than a lit­tle inter­est­ing. It is also sig­nif­i­cant to note that it is the old I.G. firm Degus­sa that was at the core of Hitler’s pro­gram to devel­op an atom­ic bomb. Degus­sa was instru­men­tal in equip­ping Sad­dam Hus­sein with his nuclear capa­bil­i­ty in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

“The inten­sive bomb­ing of Leu­na led to a curi­ous con­fronta­tion between Buete­fisch, who was in charge of Leu­na, and Paul Harteck, lead­ing nuclear sci­en­tist work­ing on Ger­many’s atom­ic bomb project. Part of Leu­na was devot­ed to the man­u­fac­ture of heavy water, a nec­es­sary com­po­nent of atom­ic ener­gy. After the first bombs fell on Leu­na, Buete­fisch informed Harteck that the heavy water instal­la­tion must be aban­doned. He claimed that the mas­sive bomb­ing could not have been aimed at fuel pro­duc­tion since there was a ‘gen­tle­men’s agree­ment’ between heavy indus­try in Ger­many and abroad that I.G.‘s syn­thet­ic gaso­line plants would not be bombed. The only expla­na­tion for the raids against Leu­na, there­fore, was the heavy water facil­i­ty.”


25. As one observes the maneu­ver­ing on the inter­na­tion­al and eco­nom­ic stages, bear in mind the com­plex CDU fund­ing scan­dal that linked the French Elf oil com­pa­ny with a com­plex series of trans­ac­tions involv­ing the Thyssen firm, Sau­di Ara­bia, the Leu­na refin­ery in East Ger­many.

Air­bus and the mys­te­ri­ous Karl-Heinz Schreiber are at the core of this scan­dal. The Ger­man dom­i­na­tion of cor­po­rate France is anoth­er fac­tor to con­sid­er in the con­text of the maneu­ver­ing around the Iraq war. Although it may appear to some that events dis­cussed above are ancient his­to­ry, they are actu­al­ly at the foun­da­tion of the under­stand­ing of the mod­ern world. Speak­ing of the CDU fund­ing scan­dal, The Finan­cial Times wrote:

“This could yet throw light on kick­backs paid by Elf over a deal between Mr. Mit­terand and Ger­man ex-chan­cel­lor Hel­mut Kohl to invest in the Leu­na refin­ery in East Germany—an affair which helped bring Mr. Kohl down.”

(“French Tri­al Paints a Pic­ture of Graft on a Grandiose Scale” by Robert Gra­ham; Finan­cial Times; 4/22/2003; p. 14.)


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