The Frankfurt PX, July
1956. Photo by
A better virtual visit
requires downloading Google
to your PC. Google Maps can only parachute you
Google Earth can tilt the satellite imagery and fly you by
across the landscape. In a major city like
buildings have 3-D images inserted (obtained from low-level,
non-satellite sources). Here's a Google approximation to the
aerial recon photo above, looking NW to the Taunus Mountains.
to VIEW / SHOW NAVIGATION / ALWAYS to get the little blue and white
hubcaps turned on in the upper right corner -- otherwise you can't tilt
the map and cruise. Lots is there, but the PX is gone.
To put our high school on the map (literally), we need a good
street-level view of the building. If you've got it, or a
photo of the Idlehour Theater that we can submit to Google's Panoramio
service, then send it to Jim
azselander with the numberals"four""two" at qwest
dot net or to me, jerry-va at removethistextspeakeasy dot net.
to all my Frankfurt American Elementary School and High School
classmates. When I came over to play, your parents asked what
Dad did. As soon as I said, "I don't know" everyone laughed
me, it seemed) because now they
He was a "gum shoe" they said. As a
fourth-grader, that explained nothing to me. (Come to the
Are these shoes gummy?) The intelligence
couldn't invent even a 4th-grade cover story back
I'm sure secrecy is perfect today.
Intelligence Agency's Frankfurt Station where Dad worked was in the IG
Farben Building. He and the other guys always said the Allies
didn't bomb it so they could use it as an office building after Germany
was defeated. Completed in 1931, it was the biggest office building in all of
at the time.
The CIA in postwar Germany rebuilt German
civic society. Jews who had fled Hitler were now
with American citizenship in American intelligence. They
to prevent the rise of prominent Nazis in post-War Germany
(understandable), they ran covert projects to turn German pacifist
sentiment around in favor of German re-armament and in favor of a new
German standing army (amazing).
& ZYKLON B (HCN)
IG Farben industrial chemical cartel powered the Nazi war machine and
the people who ran it got medals for their efforts. At the
Chemical Plant attached to the Auschwitz death camp ("Buna
Werke", administered from Auschwitz III/Monowitz), the IG Farben cartel
used slave labor to produce synthetic gasoline and oil, and synthetic
rubber. Other camps made munitions, stuffing explosive powder
into artillery shell casings bare-handed. You could work
you dropped dead, or you could just weaken gradually and be culled for
the gas chambers. As it said on the main camp's entrance
gate, "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free), in the sense
death is the ultimate freedom.
At least by then there was an
effective gas for the chambers, the famous Zyklon B, a
provided by a joint IG Farben and Degussa AG venture. The
venture was the German Company for Pesticides, or Degesch for
short, specializing in insect and vermin control; e.g., chemicals for
fumigating grain storage elevators. With an ambulance that
the exhaust piped into the van, people you picked up because they were
too sick to work anymore weren't already dead when you reached the
crematorium. Better technology to the rescue.
was in the IG Farben HQ building. Dad more than
wondered out loud whether he was walking the same corridors where a
white-coated IG Farben chemist first shouted Eureka, I've found it,
Zyklon B was used to kill over a million people. Zyklon B's active ingredient is simple, it is just
HCN, hydrogen cyanide, plus packaging. Like trinitroglycerin,
is an oily liquid. If you jar a bottle of trinitroglycerin,
detonates (explodes) and kills you. Alfred Nobel discovered
trinitroglycerin could be stabilized by absorbing the oily
in diatomaceous earth or sawdust. He sold the stuff wrapped in waxed
paper rolls 8" long. He never got a Nobel
his discovery, but he made enough money selling his 8" sticks of dynamite to endow all the other prizes
was wrong about Zyklon B. True, IG Farben had the Zyklon B
patents and made money by licensing them to the
Cyanamid Company for use, for example, in de-lousing incoming
Mexican immigrants in the 1930s. Besides patents, IG Farben
arranged the manufacturing and enjoyed the profits from
but it wasn't invented in the IG Farben building where Dad worked.
Zyklon was developed years before (early 1920s) by chemists
working under Fritz Haber in perhaps the most prestigious research
institute in all of Germany, the
Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Elektrochemistry
(hydrogen cyanide) is a liquid which evaporates readily and
completely at room
temperature (78 deg F), turning into a colorless, almost odorless gas
that kills you. As with Alfred Nobel and trinitroglycerin, Fritz
Haber's group absorbed the oily HCN onto several carriers including the
same diatomaceous earth that Nobel had used. They invented and
added an additional stabilizer and an artificial
strong and irritating enough to alert people and drive
if the gas leaked (boiled) out. For
humans, the Nazis ordered the strong, irritating odorant to be omitted
(in violation of German law). By that time, the carrier for the oily HCN had
changed from diatomaceous earth to anhydrous calcium sulfate in a
crystalline form (e.g, heat gypsum to 650 deg C), whose many
interstices could absorb a lot of HCN. The stuff looked like
chalky white pellets, the size of beans or large peas. The
was released by heating the pellets. It is absorbed through the skin (or by
sum, IG Farben owned the property and made the money, but Fritz Haber's
group invented Zyklon A & B. Personally, I would have
an organophosphate nerve gas to paralyze the victims, since IG Farben
had the patents and production facilities for that too (Tabun
With a cellular respiratory poison like HCN, people screamed
thrashed about so terribly that the guards waiting with tractors for
the bodies had to rev their engines to drown out the unpleasantness.
STAR-CROSSED LIFE OF FRITZ HABER, THE DEVIL's CHEMIST
Haber (1868 - 1934, heart attack) received the 1918 Nobel
Chemistry for inventing a way to convert the atmosphere's inert
nitrogen gas to ammonia. His invention has driven the world
population up by billions of people, fed with fertilizer made with air
and energy. Let us praise Fritz Haber for
which is thousands of times more people than
the million or so he killed
as "The Father of Chemical Warfare" and the perfecter of Zyklon B.
Haber defended gas warfare against accusations that it
saying that death was death, by whatever means it was inflicted. His
first poison gas was chlorine. He personally supervised
its release at Ypres, in 1915.
troops hauled 5730 cylinders of chlorine gas, weighing ninety pounds
each, to the front by hand. Manually turning on the valves,
released 168 tons of chlorine gas over a 6.5 km (4 mile) front.
Approximately 6,000 French and allied troops died
minutes, and many others were blinded. Denser than
the chlorine gas sank into the trenches, forcing the troops to
climb out, whereupon they were mowed down by heavy enemy fire.
The Germans were surprised at their own success -- they did
have reserves lined up to rush into the 4 mile gap they had
erased from the front lines of World War I.
one was more surprised than Fritz Haber himself. When he got
and told his wife, she got his service revolver and committed suicide
in the garden of their home. As a Ph.D. chemist herself, she
appreciated fully what he was doing, and had long objected to his work
on poison gas, however patriotic.
Shot in the heart, she was dead by morning. Haber left for
the next gas release, on the Eastern Front against Russians.
Not only does the Haber-Bosch process make
the fertilizers that support the world's population today, it also
"fixed" (captured for further chemical reaction) the nitrogen
needed for Germany's military explosives in both World Wars I and II.
Nitrogen is important in both fertilizer and explosives. Remember all the nitrogen in trinitroglycerin, or
trinitrotoluene ("TNT") or for that matter, think of Timothy McVeigh and
his truck of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and fuel oil.
was a patriot who did anything he could for national
Haber compromised his humanity to follow his country.
could lie to himself about the moral position his wife had taken, but
there was one thing he could not lie about to anyone: his parents
were Jewish. His country now forced him to flee. He
died a year
later in 1934,
still unable to secure a position that came close to the one he had
enjoyed at the pinnacle of society in the world's most
It was a blessing for him to be dead when the Zyklon B gas developed in his own laboratory (as a
pesticide and fumigant) was used to murder his own Jewish relatives
in Nazi gas chambers.
To whom might Fritz Haber
have appealed for help before the pellets were heated and the gas came
out? To what court? Citing what broken law, what
Constitutional amendment? Haber watched the slow perversion
his own society -- its courts and customs, police and power.
His only choice was to choose the winning side.
they say you are on the wrong side, then do whatever is
follow any order, prove your loyalty to any cause. But
Jew, there was no choice, there was no winning side, and the die was
cast. The relatives of one of the country's greatest
patriots were murdered by the state, the state Fritz Haber had always served.
No outside enemy rode in to crush the people's freedom.
government turned on its own citizens and killed them.
I.G. FARBEN and the EMERGING CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
Farbenindustrie, AG (I.G. Farben for short) was the fourth
largest corporation in the world in the 1930s, after General
Motors, U.S. Steel, and Standard Oil
of New Jersey. Thus IG Farben was the largest chemical company in
the world. ORGANIZATION
The Interessen-Gemeinschaft was modeled after the United State's
trusts from the heyday of laissez-faire capitalism when the Bayer
company's Carl Duisberg returned (1904) from an eye-opening visit to
Standard Oil of New Jersey in 1903. Before WWI, the Sherman
Anti-Trust Act of 1890 and the Clayton Act of 1914 dampened the German
companies' enthusiasm for merging completely into a US-style trust
(complete with price-fixing), and only loose alliances were formed.
These were the Dreibund of BASF, Bayer and Agfa, and the
Dreierverband (Hoechst, Cassella, Kalle). Only later did Carl
Duisberg succeed in creating the all-embracing IG Farben of the
1930s. Interestingly, Duisberg is implicated in using slave labor
in WWI, when Belgians captured in 1914 were deported to Germany.
War I changed the minds of many German chemical company leaders when
they saw foreign countries disregard their patents and enter the market
with competing products. In 1916, the Dreibund and the
Dreierverband joined with "Chemische Fabrik vormals Weiler ter
Meer" to form the precursor to IG Farben, the Interessengemeinschaft der deutschen Teerfarbenfabriken
(Common Interest Association of the German Coal Tar Dye Factories).
Chemische Fabrik Griesheim-Elektron joined this "IG" in
1917. Carl Duisberg pressured them to give up their independence,
and after eight years he succeeded.
On 25 December 1925, all
members fully merged to become subsidiaries of a single corporate
entity, and IG Farben AG was born. The merging members were:
- BASF, The Badischen Anilin- und Sodafabrik (Ludwigshafen)
- Bayer ( Leverkusen near Cologne)
- Agfa, or Aktiengesellschaft für Anilinfabrikation (Mortsel near Antwerp and Leverkusen)
- Hoechst (including Casella and Chemische Fabrik Kalle)
- Chemische Fabrik vormals Weiler ter Meer (Uerdingen)
- Chemische Fabrik Griesheim-Elektron (Griesheim)
new company employed 80,000 workers; counting the R&D labs and
management, the total was 100,000. Before it built an industrial
park worth of new factories and contracted with the Nazi SS to buy
prisoners to work in them, the total had risen to 218,000 employees
Sitting administratively above the Board of
Directors (Vorstand; also translated as Managing Board) with Carl
Bosch as Chairman (or General Director) was the Supervisory Board
(Aufsichtsrat), which ran everything. Carl Duisberg was Chairman
of this "Council of the Gods", and Fritz Haber was a member -- a God in
The name "Farben" (colors) refers to the
colorful dyes that were among the first compounds to come out of the German
chemical revolution, to come out of the birth and explosive growth of organic
chemistry and polymer science (plastics).
Steel-making led to German prominence in organic chemistry and pharmaceuticals.
OF COAL TAR: Germany processed and burned its ample resources of
coal as it became a major steel producer. Coal processing for
steel production involves driving off the volatile compounds in coal by
heating it (without air) to make coke, which burns hotter and imparts
no further impurities to steel save carbon. Carbon ("carbon
steel") makes it possible to heat-treat (harden) and temper
(soften) the steel.
The volatile compounds resulting
from coke production were the coal tars, the soup from
which new life emerged; namely, the German chemical and
pharmaceutical industries. Many of the 10,000 different molecules
in the coal tar "soup" are cyclic carbon rings -- benzine and its
variants -- such as phenols, aniline, and heterocyclics. These
kinds of ring structures are highly reactive and easily opened the door
to organic -- carbon-based -- chemistry. The first products to
come from the rings were dyestuffs (aniline dyes), phenol soaps and
disinfectants, and later, pharmaceuticals.
carbon ring to form and modify has been the 6-carbon ring, "benzene".
It accounts today for nearly 10% of the 24 million known
(disclosed) compounds in the Chemical Abstracts Service Registry
database. German coal tar soup was so nourishing to industrial
discovery and expansion because so many benzene variants were already
in it. The job was only to separate the ingredients and see what
each could do.
POLYMERIZING FOR PLASTICS: Building blocks
of a similar size -- rings or not -- when polymerized (strung
together in repeating units), formed plastics. If the
chains zig-zagged repeatedly instead of being straight and taught, then
the polymer was potentially elastic and might be a synthetic rubber.
If the factory does the polymerization for you, it is a
plastic or synthetic rubber. If you do the polymerization, the
product is a varnish (paint) or glue. You polymerize
with oxygen and UV bombardment; i.e., putting the varnished,
painted or glued item out in the sun to "dry" (harden). For
varnish or pigmented varnish ("paint"), solvents are added to
retard polymerization, so in a sense the varnish or paint really
is "drying", but the real issue (goal) here is polymerization not
solvent loss. If the air's oxygen isn't enough, a chemical
oxidizer is used. "MEKP" is popular (methyl ethyl ketone
rings of benzene are easily added to because half the carbon-to-carbon
bonds are double and can be "opened". One of the original
chemical bonds continues to hold the ring together, while the chemist
attaches something new to the other. Plastics (whether based on
rings or not) can use opened double bonds to link the long
(polymerized) chains to one another. This hardens the plastic,
changing it from bendable to hard (wine glass, plastic knife).
Hardening synthetic rubber by cross-linking it this way is called
"vulcanization". Hardened oils are called margarine, but no one
wants to buy it if you use up all the double bonds ("saturated fats").
It's better if each building block has more than one double bond
left ("polyunsaturated") because your own body (so the thinking goes)
can more easily attach something itself (metabolize it), rather
than leaving the fat to pile up as arterial deposits.
I've always thought it pretentious to call all this industrial-style, smoke-stack carbon chemistry
FROM AMINO ACIDS: The carbon-based, organic chemistry we use to
build living things depends on proteins. Like polymers
(plastics, synthetic rubber, drying varnish, paint or glue), proteins
are long strings of building blocks. But the building blocks are
chosen, one at a time, from a list of 21 different candidates, most of
which humans can manufacture themselves, except for 9 that must come
from the foods we eat. The building blocks are "amino acids", and
we're talking polymer chains (proteins) that are typically 400 to 1200
amino acids long. These long amino acid chains (proteins) are in
turn the building block for one or another of the body's many types of tissues.
of us are born able to specify all the sequences for all the
polymers we will ever need. The sequences are inherited in our
DNA. To put a particular protein into production, the correct bit
of DNA must be selected from the entire genome, transcribed to RNA that
can be exported from the nucleus to more peripheral cellular factories,
and translated, amino acid by amino acid, into one strand of "polymer"
(actually a "heteromer").
The final difference
between even the greatest lunkhead you know and a block of plastic is
that the amino acid chain folds to make a geometrical structure of a
completely determined form and geometry, perhaps a tube for strength, a
pore for passing the dissolved ions of a particular salt, a flat
sheet, or a lock-and-key shape central to life and a target
for drug delivery. Specific amino acid sequencing (DNA, heredity)
makes specific folding
possible, but how the folding is controlled is still not understood.
Failure would lead to
tangled mats and perhaps that contributes to brain "plaques" in
A protein building block
can be used in relative isolation, or "polymerized" in turn to make
--ultimately -- a tendon or other tissue. Genetics no
longer guides that
polymerization, but, in life, building blocks tend to get
put together in orderly, dense, anisotropic ways compared to
industrial polymers. I.G. FARBEN and FORCED
LABOR for SYNTHETIC GAS/OIL & RUBBER
the eve of World War II, we were well beyond only "farben" at IG
Farben. 28 of the firm's major products were considered of
strategic importance for national security by the Hitler
regime. IG Farben supplied explosives with the (Fritz)
process. It supplied synthetic gasoline and synthetic rubber,
Perlon (a Nylon variant) for parachutes and tires, and Zyklon B
gassing enemies of the state.
CHEMISTRY IS CROSS-LICENSED:
As a global multinational corporation, IG. Farben
other global companies, and they divided up the world's
among themselves. American Cyanamid licensed Zyklon B for
America. DuPont and another IG Farben unit eventually settled
their dueling patents, and cross-licensed Nylon/Perlon. Farben
and Standard Oil
had extensive patent and marketing
arrangements to divide up the technology and the markets for synthetic
The main ingredient of Buna
is butadiene, polymerized with sodium metal, which gives the product
its name: Bu for butadiene and Na for natrium, the periodic
table/Latin name for sodium. Neoprene
starts out differently. Monovinyl acetylene, treated with
HCl, forms chloroprene, which, polymerized, is neoprene.
commercial and strategic purposes, however, the "N" version of Buna
rubber (Buna-N, the "N" for some added acrylon
itrile) and neoprene are
equivalent. Both work, both offer oil resistance, and both
licensed in the USA.
The United States government accepted
several synthetic rubbers for military use. During WWII, buna-N rubber
was known as Government Rubber "A" (GR-A for the added acrylonitrile)
and neoprene was GR-M, "M" for the monovinyl acetylene.
FACTORIES, FORCED LABOR
: In Germany, industrial production made
systematic use of forced labor. IG Farben built many
in a green-field industrial park many square kilometers in
to manufacture synthetic high-performance fuels (including aviation
gasoline and bunker oil for ships), plastics, synthetic
fibers, stabilizers, resins, methanol,
pharmaceuticals, and synthetic rubber. The industrial park
its name from the synthetic rubber, and was called the Buna Chemical
Plant, or, from its location, Buna/Monowitz. IG
cooperated with the SS to build the associated concentration camps.
The delivered prisoners were tabulated (IBM
) and paid for.
were 40 slave labor camps arrayed around Auschwitz.
ones further away (Aussenlager) were run more like factories than the
closer ones (Nebenlager, Arbeitslager), and you were more likely to
survive if you could get placed there. Two of the most famous
people who survived this way are Eli Wiesel
(1928 - ) and Primo Levi
given links to these authors' books on Amazon, but you can have some
fun without necessarily rushing out to buy them. Comments
literature by people like you or me (not world famous) are
numerous (hundreds and hundreds), and, under Amazon's rating system,
really great ones bubble to the top.
SURVIVES IG FARBEN
Levi's many books ("Survival in Auschwitz," originally entitled "If This
is a Man", often published
together with "The Truce"
, "The Periodic Table" (amazon
"If Not Now, When" (at amazon
) are colored by the sadness of a good friend's death.
Somehow Levi had to get what he needed to survive at
without either violating his own self-respect (killing for clothing) or
attracting the attention of the privileged (and often brutal)
inmates. At great personal risk, Lorenzo Perrone, a
and now forced laborer, smuggled Levi an extra soup ration every day.
Levi survived because of Lorenzo; and Lorenzo survived by his
wits and strength. Post-traumatic depression hit both men
the war, but all that he had seen and done hit Lorenzo harder and he
killed himself with neglect and alcoholism. Levi rushed more
once to the side of the most important man in his life, but -- literally -- he
could not pull him out of the gutter.
Why some survive and others perish in concentration camps drove Levi to
Drowned and the Saved
" (at amazon
again, great comments). Typically, Levi does not
judgment on the road taken or the fate met, he only asks us to look for
ourselves at the choices. Sure, we laugh at politicians who
us about what they've done, but why is it so essential that they lie
to themselves? This may be the self-help book your
favorite politician needs.
SURVIVES IG FARBEN
Wiesel's most famous book is only 109 pages long, so, in that sense, it
is easy to read. Then again, there are hundreds of comments
for this book including an ominous one:
"This is the longest
short book I've ever read." FrKurt Messick "FrKurt Messick"
(Amazon has the full review here
It's great that Oprah Winfrey selected it for her book club, but I like the old book cover better.
is devastating in its simplicity (amazon
and today ranks with Primo Levi's If This
Is a Man
and Anne Frank's The
Diary of a Young Girl
as one of the bedrocks of
The 600 amazon
from school kids assigned Anne's book are
as good as the book. Like Anne, my childhood was in Frankfurt, a
very different, post-war Frankfurt from hers. We knew the actor
Anne Frank's boyfriend Peter when, following success on Broadway,
a German adaptation of the play opened in the Fall of 1956 in Frankfurt
and other major German cities. It was only too obvious what the
final knock on the door meant. No one applauded. A sad
silence engulfed the theater. Eventually everyone stood up
and shuffled around, trying to go home.
"Dawn", and "Day" mark Wiesel's own climb out of
darkness. The cycle from darkness to light echoes
tradition of counting the beginning of a new day from sunset (Genesis
"In Night," Wiesel said, "Everything came to an end —
man, history, literature, religion, God. There was nothing
Should Wiesel let his own father die, take the warm clothes off his
dead body, eat his food? A Kapo, an experienced inmate,
him, "Everyone lives and dies for himself alone." Wiesel must
emerge from darkness with his sanity whether or not his father
survives. "There was nothing left. And yet we begin
In my humble opinion, we sent too many of
our troops into night, into acts of senselessness. Our troops
with post-traumatic stress disorder have not emerged from night.
The Marine Corps, the Army, the VA and the country will not
able to help them to Dawn and Day until we all face this nation's own
Night. Torture? Indefinite detention? For
MY NEXT DOOR
NEIGHBOR PROSECUTES IG FARBEN
next door neighbor, Judge James F. Tierney ( 1918-2009), was a
newly-minted lawyer and an Army Lieutenant in Germany when he caught the attention of superiors preparing
for the Nazi trials at Nuremberg. Jim became the
officer for the prosecution of the Farben cartel, and quickly
found out where all the corporate documents had been taken for
safekeeping against Allied bombing.
"The Germans convicted themselves," Jim told me. "They
made copies of
They saved their copies in
there and told
employees, 'Don't remove anything'.
Every document ended with 'Heil
Hitler' at the bottom."
Jim recalled there were about 30 war crimes trials not run
multinationally, as cooperation with the Russians broke down after 1946 (the actual total is 12).
first trial was run by the 4 Allied powers, the
pursued such later cases as the trial of Ilse Koch, the
"Bitch of Buchenwald," an SS officer's
wife who made lampshades out of the skins of prisoners,
3rd Reich government and
IG Farben executives came to trial in the
Nuremberg Trial of IG Farben, 27 August 1947 - 30 July 1948, 12 or 13 received
Farben executives who set up
the Auschwitz factories and prisoner camps
synthetic fuel and buna
rubber manufacturing, etc.,
where 20,000 to 25,000 IG Farben workers died at their jobs, was
ever executed. No prison sentence was more than 8 years.
The actual enslavement charges read as
War crimes and crimes
against humanity through participation in the
enslavement and deportation to slave labor on a gigantic scale of
concentration camp inmates and civilians in occupied countries, and of
prisoners of war, and the mistreatment, terrorization, torture, and
murder of enslaved persons.
Only 5 officials were found guilty of enslavement. They were:
Chairman of the Farben Supervisory Board.
Coordinated war effort through Hermann Goering's office.
Awarded the Iron Cross by Hitler (1939) for getting Germany ready in
time to invade Poland (1939)
Awarded the Knight's Cross for German War Service (Ritterkreuz des
Kriegsverdienstkreuzes) in 1943.
Drove the production of synthetic gasoline and synthetic rubber (Buna
Chemical Plant), using slave labor.
Sentenced to 6 years, released early.
Returned to the Board of Directors of Hüls AG, split off
from Farben. Hüls AG returned to Buna rubber production.
Carl's son Carl Heinrich Krauch succeeded him at Hüls
AG, which grew into the Chemiepark
, an industrial park with 30 corporations
employing 10,000 workers.
2. Fritz ter Meer
(Friedrich "Fritz" Hermann ter Meer)
20 year member of the IG Farben Board of Directors.
Directed the production of the nerve gas Tabun using 100 prisoners of
war for slave labor.
Recipient of Kriegsverdienstkreuzes 1. and 2. Classes
Head of Dept. II, which was in charge of the Buna Chemical Plant
The Bayer division of IG Farben purchased prisoners to use as guinea
pigs for testing new drugs.
Prisoners scheduled for medical procedures were withheld from the gas
the Nuremberg trial, ter Meer was asked if he regarded the
"experiments" on concentration camp inmates as
justified (gerechtfertigt). He replied that the
of medical experiments was immaterial.
"No special suffering was dealt to the prisoners by
them, since in their absence, one would have killed them."
("Den Häftlingen ist dadurch kein besonderes Leid zugefügt worden, da
man sie ohnedies getötet hätte.“)
Sentenced to 7 years, released after 2 in 1950.
Chairman of the Board of Bayer AG (split off from IG Farben)
1956, as soon as it became legally possible for convicted war
criminals to resume such positions.
Went on to Directorships of many German firms (banks, chemical
Fritz ter Meer-Stiftung for chemistry student and science scholarships
became Bayer-Studienstiftung and other similarly-named Bayer programs.
Head of the Chemical Warfare Committee at the Federal War
Invented the nerve gas Sarin while working at Farben.
Sentenced to 8 years, released after 3.
Became an adviser to US firm W.R. Grace when they were involved in
an asbestos scandal.
Production chief at Auschwitz for synthetic gasoline.
Member of the IG Farben Board of Directors.
Accorded rank of Obersturmbannführer in the SS (the Schütz Staffel under Heinrich Himmler).
rank of Obersturmbannführer is equal to that of Rudolf
commander of the entire multi-camp Auschwitz complex.
Sentenced to 6 years, released after three.
Joined the Supervisory Boards of many prominent
1964 award of the Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz (Great Federal Service
Cross) of Germany caused such a national outcry that
forced to return it.
years later, those privileged to select recipients used the Großes
Bundesverdienstkreuz to reward society's achievements, rather than to
cover up its failures. The Cross was given to a pilot in the
Berlin Airlift (June 1948 - May 1949) who befriended kids
plane-watching at the end of the Tempelhof Airport runway, telling them
to look for his plane next time, he would drop them some candy.
And with landings every 90 seconds of 225 identical C-54s, how
were they to recognize him
No problem, I'll roll my wings up and down. Onkel
Wackelflügel's squadron buddies were soon out of handkerchiefs (tied on
as parachutes) and all their candy rations, but support grew and spread
to corporations led by the National Confectioners Association of
America, to school children in Massachusetts who tied parachutes to
candy for transshipment through Rhein-Main Air Base, to 25 other plane
crews. Everything from milk to heating oil was unloaded on the
ground, but Berlin was "Candy Bombed" from the air with 23 tons of
chocolate and confections. Gail Halvorsen
got his Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz in 1974, and we hope he keeps it.
Head of construction of the new Auschwitz plants; head of construction at
Monowitz (Auschwitz III)
Worked for Farben as an engineer and became the Chief
Operating Officer for the Buna Chemical Plant.
Accorded rank of Hauptsturmführer in the SS.
the gas chambers during the camp's operation.
Selected inmates for the
death march/evacuation when the Red Army closed in at war's
Sentenced to 8 years, released early.
Resumed his career, accepting many invitations to Board positions in
The Farben company contributed DM
500,000 to foundations for reparations to slave laborers by the time it
was completely liquidated in November 2003. At
Farben fetched DM 21 million, mostly for its remaining real estate
holdings -- money which the company had successfully kept out
hands of its forced laborers and their estates forever.
you appreciate the absurdity of corporate executives taking a break to
murder a few thousand people, if it amuses you to think of trying to
choose which corporate Directorship invitations you should accept after turning
in your resumé of "Convicted War Criminal", then
Grass's Tin Drum (amazon
) is probably your next reading
what would you do? Run a few "medical experiments"
so they would understand? Is that your role as the harbinger
what would you tell us? To impeach Bush for
prosecute Nancy Pelosi for taking impeachment "off the table"?
Should we have impeached Bush for
country's laws on surveillance? Or Congress for granting
criminals retroactive immunity after the law was broken?
did Germans do when their entire country was complicit in its
flight from the rule of law?
I say Obama's call to look to the future without
past is a call to join him on the slippery slope to Hell. I
cannot bring anyone to justice in a world where no one is
accountable. A colleague disagreed, declaring "I don't care if they tap
my phone, I have nothing to hide." She was safe -- forever, she
thought. She had chosen the winning side.
IG FARBEN and
the "MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX"
Farben multi-national corporation was intertwined with all layers of
society. The Nuremberg trial's outcome pleased no one. The
complexities revealed by the trial of IG Farben at Nuremberg
-- the impossibility for any resolution to be both
simple and just -- all this is thought by many to have been
Eisenhower's inspiration for his famous pronouncement upon
presidency in 1961:
councils of Government, we must
guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought
unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the
rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the
of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
The IG Farben Building now houses the humanities and cultural
studies departments of the Goethe-Universität of Frankfurt, but it is not called the IG Farben Building.
cannot find the pride to call the IG Farben building "The IG Farben
Building". IG Farben is significant for chemistry, for
literature, and for Judaism. The individual whose name was chosen
promised a thousand-year empire for a superior people who deserved it.
My religion, Judaism, is over 3,500 years old, older than
Christianity, older than the Roman Catholic Church. Our survival
of the Holocaust will become a part of this religion,
celebrated perhaps at Passover, and Hitler will have his Thousand Year
Reich, but not the one he envisioned.
Our legacy as
the Jews who made it through the 20th century gives us a special
responsibility to uphold the humanity of light, not darkness, for
ourselves as citizens, for our state of Israel, and for the
cleanly designed pages, peaceful photography, informative &
text. These pages give you the chance to be an armchair
to many historically important (or just beautiful) sights across
Europe. The emphasis is on destinations important to people
lived through WWII or its aftermath. http://www.wollheim-memorial.de/en/home
has well-researched, well-structured information.
have two axes to grind: first, they are advocates for slave laborer
compensation, and second, they wish to maintain a museum on or near the
old IG Farben building's grounds as a symbolic thorn in the
of the former company. The Foundation is named for Norbert Wollheim,
the first former slave laborer to sue a company in Germany for wages
(I.G. Farben, 1950).
J. I. Nelson, Ph.D.
Frankfurt American Elementary School No. 1, 1956
Frankfurt Army High School Freshman in the class of 1960
Philipps University Germany 1985-90
top of this paper, "The Significance of IG Farben for Chemistry, Literature & Jews"
Other childhood-in-Frankfurt stuff -- 8th grade photo 9th grade
Resources for Ffm High alumni of the 50s
my home page (such
as it is)
jerry-va at removethistext speakeasy dot net
Rev 29May09 8Jun09 20Jun09 29Jun-typos,CandyBomber,AlumResources 30Jun09BldgName
1Jul09 GooglePanoramio link. 12Aug minor layout, broken Nobel prize text, Panoramio address 4me, link/credit to AMZN review author.