The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/german/farben.ig/farben.004

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Almanac - I.G. Farben's Pact with the Devil
Summary: Children provided for 1.5 marks per day...
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Nizkor Project, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Auschwitz,Farben

Archive/File: orgs/german/farben.ig farben.004
Last-modified: 1993/05/27

   The following citation addresses the issue of the impact financial
   and economic considerations had on I.G. Farben's decision to build
   I.G. Auschwitz...

   "The Soviet Union and Asia represented a potential market to
   challenge even the commercial imagination of I.G.'s directors. For
   I.G., Hitler's 'Drive to the East' promised to open a vast new area
   for profitable exploitation. Indeed, so great did I.G. regard the
   postwar potential of the Auschwitz project that it decided to make an
   unusual gamble on its future. Rather than let the German government
   finance the building of the installations, the I.G. directors voted
   to put up the funds to make I.G. Auschwitz a privately owned I.G.
   enterprise and to assume the entire risk. With almost no opposition,
   they committed more than 900 million Reichsmarks, over $250 million,
   <11> to the building of the single largest project in the I.G.
   system. With such an enormous risk, officials of I.G. carefully
   watched over their huge investment.

   There were other factors supporting the risk and indicating the
   prudence of such an investment. The I.G. Auschwitz projects were so
   vital to Germany's military plans that I.G. was able to marshal the
   aid of the most powerful figures in the Nazi government. Krauch*, in a
   top secret letter to Ambros**, wrote:

      In the new arrangement of priority stages ordered by Field Marshal
      Keitel, your building project has first priority.... At my
      request, [Goering] issued special decrees a few days ago to the
      supreme Reich authorities concerned... In these decrees, the Reich
      Marshal obligated the offices concerned to meet your requirements
      in skilled workers and larborers at once, even at the expense of
      other important building projects or plans which are essential to
      the war economy.<12>

   Krauch was already taking steps to insure an adequate labor supply
   for the construction of the I.G. Auschwitz plants. He had arranged
   for Goering to write Himmler on February 18, 1941, asking that 'the
   largest possible number of skilled and unskilled construction made available from the adjoining concentration camp for
   the construction of the Buna plant.'<13> Between 8000 and 12,000
   construction and assembly workers were needed. Goering requested
   Himmler to inform him and Krauch 'as soon as possible about the
   orders which you will issue in this matter.'<14> Acting on this
   request, Himmler ordered the S.S. inspector of concentration camps
   and the S.S. economic and administrative main office 'to get in touch
   immediately with the construction manager of the Buna works and to
   aid the ...project by means of the concentration camp prisoners in
   every possible way.'<15> After Himmler issued this decree, Krauch
   wrote to Ambros, 'These orders are so far-reaching that I request you
   to apply them to the widest extent as soon as possible.'<16>

   So that there would be no misunderstanding of the urgent priority of
   the I.G. Auschwitz project, Himmler delegated S.S. Major General Karl
   Wolff, chief of his personal staff, to be liaison officer between the
   S.S. and I.G. <17> On March 20, General Wolff met with Buetefisch*** to
   discuss 'the details of the ways and means in which the concentration
   camp could assist in the construction of the plant.'<18> Buetefisch
   was chosen to deal with General Wolff not only because of his
   eminence as a synthetic fuel authority but also because of his rank
   as a lieutenant colonel in the S.S. At the meeting it was agreed that
   I.G. would pay the S.S. three Reichsmarks a day for each unskilled
   concentration camp inmate and four Reichsmarks for skilled inmates.
   <19> Later, the S.S. agreed to furnish children at one and a half
   Reichsmarks.<20> These payments were for the S.S.; the inmates, of
   course, received nothing. Wolff guaranteed that the payment would
   include 'everything such as transportation, food, et cetera and
   [I.G.] will have no other expenses for the inmates, except if a small
   bonus (cigarettes, etc.) is given as an incentive.<21> Both parties
   realized, in calculating the rate of payment, that a concentration
   camp inmate could not be as productive as a free, normal, well-fed
   German worker; thus, it was estimated at the meeting that a
   seventy-five percent efficiency was all that could be expected.<22>"
   (Borkin, 116-117)

Borkin's end notes:

<11> TWC, Prosecution's Final Brief, part IV, p. 54
<12> TWC, VIII, pp.358-360, NI-11938, letter from Krauch to Ambros,
     dated February 25, 1941
<13> TWC, VIII, pp. 354-355, NI-1240, letter from Goering to Himmler,
     dated February 18, 1941
<14> Ibid., p.355, letter from Goering to Himmler, dated
     February 18, 1941
<15> TWC, VIII, pp. 356-357, NI-11086, letter from Krauch, signed by
     Wirth, to Ambros, dated March 4, 1941.
<16> Ibid., p.357, letter from Krauch, signed by Wirth, to Ambros, dated
     March 4, 1941.
<17> Ibid.
<18> TWC, VIII, pp. 373-376, NI-15148, report on conference of Farben
     representatives with Auschwitz concentration camp officials, held
     March 27, 1941, p.374.
<19> Ibid., p.375
<20> Ibid.
<21> Ibid.
<22> Ibid., pp. 374-375

*   Krauch - German Plenipotentiary General for "special questions of
    chemical production"
**  Ambrose - I.G.'s resident expert on both Buna and poison gas, placed
    in charge of the I.G. Auschwitz rubber production project. Ambros had
    obtained his PhD under a Jewish scholar, with whom he continued to
    correspond after the man had fled Germany, and was not considered to
    be an anti-Semite. (I.G., in fact, was once scorned by Nazi officials
    as a "hotbed of Jewish interests.")
*** Buetefisch, Heinrich - in charge of the I.G. Auschwitz gasoline

                            Work Cited

   Borkin, Joseph. The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben. New York: 
   The Free Press, 1978, and London: Macmillan Publishing Company. 

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