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View Full Version : German beneficiaries of human extermination and genocide want billions to be bailed out



Magda Hassan
02-05-2009, 06:43 AM
HERZOGENAURACH/KIETRZ
(Own report) - A controversy has surfaced in southern Poland over the early 1940s wartime business dealings of the German entrepreneur family Schaeffler, which is currently seeking a government bailout worth billions. Contrary to official data, the company's founders had not begun their business activities in 1946. Soon after the war started, they appropriated a Jewish factory in Kietrz, in the vicinity of the Polish-Czech border, using its know-how and machinery and quickly renamed the factory to "Schaeffler AG", producing textiles and spare parts for the Wehrmacht's tanks until 1944. In early 1945, the machines and technical staff were transferred to the west, enabling the rapid rise of the Schaeffler enterprise group. Historians point to evidence of business relations between the company's founders and the "human recycling" section of the Auschwitz death camp.

Since last summer, the story of the German Schaeffler group has been the source of controversy in southern Poland, where the family business had been located until the end of the war. In July 2008, Schaeffler made the headlines in the international press with initiatives to take over the prominent automobile subcontractor, Continental. Lacking solvency, it is currently seeking a government bailout in the billions. According to observers from the Polish-Czech border region, the rapid rise of the company in the post-war period is based on its wartime business in Kietrz, in southern Poland which, at the time was called Katscher, and was part of the German Reich's Prussian province of Upper Silesia. German-foreign-policy.com's research shows that the owners profited in the Nazi period from the criminal schemes of German expansionist and racist policies.

Aryanized
The Schaeffler Company group alleges that the history of its company began in the post-war period, in 1946, when the brothers Wilhelm and Georg Schaeffler founded the nucleus of today's family enterprise, the INA KG in the Franconian town of Herzogenaurach. But the Schaeffler brothers, in fact, had appropriated the textile company, "Davistan Krümmer-, Plüsch und Teppichfabriken Inc. in Katscher. This had once been an important Jewish owned factory, employing, in its best times, more than 1,500 people. Soon after Hitler was given power in 1933, the Jewish owner lost his property.[1] In the course of his professional activities - making "efficiency assessments" throughout the German Reich for the Dresdner Bank - Wilhelm Schaeffler spotted the textile company, which, at the time, was under the supervision of a banking consortium and initiated the take-over. Quickly renamed "Schaeffler AG" - according to reports also for the Wehrmacht - the enterprise was soon producing not only textiles but had expanded its production during the war to include that of needle roller bearings.

For Tank Tracks
Soon the Schaeffler AG had focused its production on needle roller bearings. In a text in commemoration of William Schaeffler, published by the official register of the town of Herzogenaurach, one reads that the enterprise furnished "mass-produced needle roller bearings for tank tracks". Herzogenaurach is today the seat of the family enterprise.[2] Katscher seemed well-suited for the arms industry, because the Silesian town was out of range of allied bombers. With the approach of the Red Army in early 1945, the enterprise ceased production - and transferred part of its machinery, raw materials and several hundred employees to the west.

Beginnings in Kietrz
Machines and know-how from Katscher (today's Kietrz) formed the basis for the Schaeffler's rapid post war success. With the reestablishment of the company in 1946 under the name of INA, production returned to needle roller bearings, before long, supplying, alongside the US Army, the German auto industry. Schaeffler employs approx. 66,000 (2007) in more than 180 locations around the world and enjoys a sales volume of nearly a billion Euros.[3] Basically, the Schaeffler group owes its status today to the needle and roller bearings production and its beginnings in Kietrz. This also applies to the legendary family wealth, ranking 104th among the world's wealthiest. Unlike the roller bearing production, Schaeffler's textile branch, which also had its beginnings during the war, ranking, in the 1950s, among the largest German companies in the trade, was shut down in the 1980s.

Human Hair
Polish historians, who are researching possible business relations between the Schaeffler AG and the Auschwitz death camp, are interested in the textile branch. There is evidence of German enterprises in the textile industry using human hair. As the historian Andrzei Strzelecki, who works at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum (Pa?stwowe Muzeum Auschwitz-Birkenau), writes, large amounts of human hair were found in one of the town's factories after the Germans retreated from Kietrz in 1945. According to Strzelecki, it was the "G. Schoffler AG rug factory."[4] The same information appears in a publication of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, where the "rug factory of the G. Schoeffler AG" is mentioned.[5] In the long inventory lists of displaced Germans, neither the name "Schoffler" nor "Schoeffler" appears among those having fled Katscher or having been resettled since 1945.[6] But the name "Schaeffler" appears several times.

Industrial Recycling
As stated in the publication of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, scientists found traces of hydrogen cyanide on the human hair discovered in Kietrz. Hydrogen cyanide was an element of the "Zyklon B" poisoned gas, used by the Nazis to murder their victims in the gas chambers. In Kietrz several bolts of human hair cloth was also seized,[7] as proof of industrial recycling of human hair. Based on archive material in Poland, including production for the Wehrmacht, Adrezej Strzelecki reports that similar recycling was carried out in various German enterprises in the textile industry.[8] Strzelecki reports that the human hair found in Kietrz weighed 1,950 kg. According to historians, this would correspond to the hair of about 40,000 people.

Unresolved
According to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the textile factory in which the human hair from Auschwitz was found, was nationalized after the war.[9] How the hair came to be in the factory, is unknown. Sources in the Polish state archives in Opole allege that the nationalized factory had been Schaeffler's textile factory. The question is yet to be resolved.

[1] Schaeffler, Georg; Neue deutsche Biographie Band 22, Rohmer - Schinkel, Berlin 2005
[2] Ehrenbürger Dr. Wilhelm Schaeffler (1908 bis 1981). Zum 100. Geburtstag; Amtsblatt der Stadt Herzogenaurach 13/2008
[3] Schaeffler Gruppe; www.ina.de
[4] Andrzej Strzelecki: The Plunder of Victims and Their Corpses, in: Yisrael Gutman, Michael Berenbaum (Ed.): Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Bloomington, 1994
[5] Auschwitz, 1940 - 1945 : Studien zur Geschichte des Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslagers Auschwitz; Bd. II (Die Häftlinge - Existenzbedingungen, Arbeit und Tod); Verlag des Staatlichen Museums Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oswiecim 1999
[6] Derartige Listen wurden gewöhnlich auch mit dem Gedanken erstellt, künftige Entschädigungsansprüche gegenüber den Herkunftsländern der Umgesiedelten vertreten zu können. Verzeichnet wurden deshalb alle, deren Flucht bzw. Umsiedlung in Erfahrung gebracht werden konnte. Dies galt auch für Persönlichkeiten, die aufgrund ihrer Stellung im Herkunftsort eine gewisse Prominenz besaßen.
[7] Auschwitz, 1940 - 1945 : Studien zur Geschichte des Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslagers Auschwitz; Bd. II (Die Häftlinge - Existenzbedingungen, Arbeit und Tod); Verlag des Staatlichen Museums Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oswiecim 1999
[8] Andrzej Strzelecki: The Plunder of Victims and Their Corpses, in: Yisrael Gutman, Michael Berenbaum (Ed.): Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Bloomington, 1994
[9] Auschwitz, 1940 - 1945 : Studien zur Geschichte des Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslagers Auschwitz; Bd. II (Die Häftlinge - Existenzbedingungen, Arbeit und Tod); Verlag des Staatlichen Museums Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oswiecim 1999