Op-Ed: American corporate complicity created undeniable Nazi nexus

NEW YORK (JTA) — Adolf Hitler was completely responsible for the Holocaust. But Hitler had help.

When zealous Nazis waged war against an imaginary generation-to-generation Jewish conspiracy; when Nazis created ghastly extermination plans to help ensure their master race would rule the world; when the German military smashed across Europe with lightning speed in heavy Blitz trucks; when Mengele undertook heinous medical experiments on twins in Auschwitz; and when the Reich identified the Jews everywhere in Europe and then systematically pauperized and destroyed them — when all these terrible things were done, the shape and scope of the horror was pivotally determined by major American industrial giants.

Now the dots can be connected. They create an undeniably Nazi nexus between iconic American corporations and the greatest crime of the 20th century: the Holocaust.

Henry Ford, acting directly through the Ford Motor Company, virtually invented political anti-Semitism when he published worldwide the fake "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Ford’s book quickly became the bible of German anti-Semites and early incarnations of the Nazi party. Nazis shipped the work throughout the country “by the carload.”

Among the many Germans massively influenced by the book was Adolf Hitler. Der Fuehrer read the work at least two years before "Mein Kampf" was written. In "Mein Kampf," Hitler wrote, “The whole existence of this people is based on a continuous lie [as] shown incomparably by the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’ ”

The Carnegie Institution, the philanthropic incarnation of America’s greatest steel fortune, propagated the deadly American race science of eugenics that idealized a blond, blue-eyed superior race. In pursuit of that dream, Carnegie scientists believed some 90 percent of humanity was to be eliminated using various methods. These methods included organized identification, seizure of assets, marriage prohibition or nullification, forced surgical sterilization, segregation into camps and publicly operated gas chambers. Carnegie spent millions to propagate American eugenic theories in post-World War I Germany, financing race science programs in universities and official institutions.

While in prison, Hitler closely studied American eugenics. He proudly told his comrades, “I have studied with great interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock.”

Hitler was so steeped in American race science that he even wrote a fan letter to American eugenic leader Madison Grant, called his writing “my bible.” Der Fuehrer merely exchanged the American term “Nordic” for the Nazi term “Aryan" and then medicalized his pre-existing virulent anti-Semitism and fascist nationalism to formulate the concept of the blond, blue-eyed Master Race he deified in "Mein Kampf." As Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess insisted, “National Socialism is nothing but applied biology.”

The Rockefeller Foundation, the philanthropic incarnation of Standard Oil, acted as a full partner with Carnegie in establishing eugenics in Germany. In the quest to perfect the master race, millions of Depression-era dollars were transmitted by Rockefeller to Hitler’s most anti-Jewish doctors. In this quest, one specimen was desired above all: twins. Rockefeller funded Hitler’s chief raceologist, Otmar Verschuer, and his insatiable twin experimentation programs. Twins, it was thought, held the secret to industrially multiplying the Aryan racial type and quickly subtracting biological undesirables.

Verschuer had an assistant, Josef Mengele. Rockefeller funding stopped during World War II, but by that time Mengele had transferred into Auschwitz to continue twin research in a monstrous fashion. Ever the eugenicist, he sent precise clinical reports weekly to Verschuer.

From the first weeks of the Third Reich, General Motors president Alfred Sloan committed the company and its German division Opel to motorizing a substantially horse-drawn Germany, preparing it for war. Prior to this, Germany had been a nation devoted to legendary automotive engineering but only one vehicle at a time, built by craftsman. GM brought mass production to the Reich, converting it from a horse-drawn threat to a motorized powerhouse.

Sloan and GM knowingly prepared the Wehrmacht to wage war in Europe. GM built the Blitz truck for the Blitzkrieg. Detroit even secretly moved massive stores of spare Blitz parts to the Polish border in the days just before the Sept. 1, 1939 invasion to facilitate the Blitzkrieg. Using a charade of interlocking boards and executive committees, Sloan kept GM’s role secret as long as possible.

Internal Business Machines, inventor of the Hollerith punch card, precursor to the modern computer, custom-designed and co-planned the Nazi solutions to Jewish existence. IBM enjoyed a monopoly on information technology. Under the micromanagement of its president, Thomas Watson, while advertising itself as “a solutions company,” IBM in 1933 reached out to the new Hitler regime. It offered to organize and systemize any solution the Reich desired, including solutions to the Jewish problem.

With IBM as a partner, the Hitler regime was able to substantially automate and accelerate all six phases of the 12-year Holocaust: identification, exclusion, confiscation, ghettoization, deportation and even extermination. As it did with any other customer, IBM simply asked the Hitler regime what result was desired. Then company engineers devised custom-tailored punch card systems to deliver those results. There was an IBM customer site in every concentration camp. Machines were serviced monthly, sometimes weekly, by IBM on site — whether that site was Auschwitz or downtown Berlin.

Had it not been for the continued conscious involvement of iconic American corporations in Hitler’s war against the Jews, the speed, shape and statistics of the Holocaust as we know it would have been dramatically different. No one knows how different, but the astronomical dimensions could have never been achieved.

For their part, American corporate collaborators have long tried to obscure or hide the details of their collusion using the well-known tools of corporate misinformation, financial contributions, and bought and paid for historian reviews. But in an era when people no longer believe big corporations, the dots can be fully connected to unveil the outlines of an indispensible Nazi nexus. The words “never again” must resound not just among the victims, but within board rooms of corporate perpetrators.

Edwin Black is The New York Times best-selling investigative author of "IBM and the Holocaust" and his just released book, "Nazi Nexus: America’s Corporate Connections to Hitler’s Holocaust" (Dialog Press). He can be reached at www.nazinexus.com.

NEXT STORY