Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael

Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of Germany’s Wealthiest Dynasties w/ David de Jong

July 1, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, former Bloomberg News reporter and investigative journalist David de Jong joins Parallax Views to discuss his new book The Dark History of Germany's Wealthiest Dynasties. There has been much academic research and debate over the years on the topic of big business and the rise of the Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, specifically in the form of Henry Ashby Turner's 1985 book Big Business and the Rise of Hitler. A little bit of digging will lead anyone interested in the subject to a secret meeting between Hitler and German industrialists that occurred on February 20th, 1933.

De Jong picks up the story from those early days of the Third Reich and examines the wealthy families that prospered under Hitler's reign including the Quandt Family, the Porsche–Piëch family, the Von Finck family, the Flick family, the Oetker family, and Reimann family. These families have become associated with such familiar auto companies as Porsche, BMV, and Volkswagen over the years. Additionally, some of these families even have ties to brands like Dr. Pepper, Panera Bread, and Krispy Kreme donuts.

Although Germany society has went to great length to reckon with the Holocaust over the decades since WWII, de Jong argues that these wealthy dynasties have not done the same or at least not done enough to grapple with the actions of their patriarchs and ancestors.

We discuss all of this as well as other issues such as:

- The seizure of Jewish businesses by the Third Reich and the ways in which wealthy German families benefitted from this

- The career of August von Finck, Sr., founder of the German insurance company Allianz and the private bank Merck Finck & Co., and his son August von Funck, Jr.'s alleged involvement with the German far-right political party AfD in the 21st century

- BMW heirs Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten

- The persecution of Porsche's Jewish co-founder Adolf Rosenberger

- Were these families driven by opportunism or ideology?

- The American connection to the post-WWII fates of these families; how Cold War politics played into that connection; Telford Taylor: Chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, and his attempts to make German big business reckon with Nazi collusion; the role of John J. McCloy, U.S. high commissioner for occupied Germany, in this story

- American investigator Josif Marcu and the man he called "the modern self-made German Robber Baron", Friedrich Flick; Friedrich Flick's comments about his trial

- War crimes, slave labor, and German industry

- Herbert Quandt, the AfD, and the whitewashing of history

- Aryanization, big business, and the Third Reich

- And much, much more!

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