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P Manning NYT 1973: Martin Bormann and the Future of Germany

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:27 am    Post subject: P Manning NYT 1973: Martin Bormann and the Future of Germany Reply with quote

Martin Bormann and the Future of Germany
This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. Please send reports of such problems to

March 3, 1973, Page 31Buy ReprintsThe New York Times Archives

When the true story of Martin Bormann is written it will reveal him to be the man largely responsible for West Germany's postwar recovery.

The blueprint for this economic resurgence was outlined at a secret meeting of German induatrialists in Strasbourg, France, on Aug. 10, 1944. A directive addressed to the meeting from Martin Bormann­the most powerful man in Germany next to Hitler­said the war was practically lost and that a postwar commercial campaign must take its place.

The secret, verbatim minutes of this conference where a new Germany was born promised that “the Govermnent would allocate large sums to industrialists so that each could establish a secure postwar foundations in foreign countries.” The minutes also noted that “after the defeat of Germany, the Nazi party recognizes that certain of its best known leaders will be condemned as war criminals. However, in cooperation with the industrialists it is arranging to place its less conspicuous but most important members in positions with various German factories as technical experts or members of its research and designing offices.”

But the main thrust of the Strasbourg gathering was deployment of Germany's economic reserves into neutral countries where they would be beyond reach of the wartime Allies.

When Martin Bormann informed these industrialists through his personal representative at the meeting that all Government controls over the export of wealth (money, patents, scientists and administrators) were to be relaxed immediately, the transfer of these national assets became an official policy of the Nazi state.
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A report by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1946 stated that 750 companies were set up all over the world by the German industrialists following the Aug. 10, 1944 meeting in Strasbourg. Their listing noted 112 in Spain, 58 in Portugal, 35 in Turkey, 98 in Argentina, 214 in Switzerland, 233 in various other countries.

In Berlin, Adolf Hitler had advised Bormann to “Bury everything, you will need it to return to power.” Bormann, the man designated as Reichsieiter(the leader) by Hitler with authority to carry on policies of the Fuehrer, interpreted the advice in the sophisticated fashion of a man who knew finance and how to distribute it most effectively to the neutral nations. It was, in fact, the policy he had been pursuing for two years before the fall of Berlin, sensing that defeat was possible and knowing that Germany would need all the economic strength it could muster for a commercial comeback in the postwar years.

While Hitler concerned himself with the mounting problems of the battlefields, Martin. Bormann was carefully planning the economic survival and future of Germany.

During 1942 and 1943, Bormann began transferring party and S.S. funds under his control from the Third Reich to South America. The transfers included currency, gold, diamonds and share holding certificates controlling numerous blue chip German and foreign corporations.

The master plan which Bormann put into motion for German industry had two aspects: removal of funds from the Third Reich and stepping up of German investments in neutral countries.

West Germany owes a debt for its revival to the American Marshall Plan, to the Swiss bankers who were first to channel investment money back into German industry after 1945, and to the dedication and hard work of the German people.

I. G. Farbenindustrie, A. G., the largest and most powerful chemical combine in the world during the twelve years of the Third Reich, controllecl­both admitted and concealed ­over 500 firms in 92 countries. It was the largest single earner of foreign exchange for Germany, and its cartel agreements numbered over 2,000 and included such major industrial concerns as Standard Oil (New Jersey), the Aluminum Company of America, E. I. du Pont de Nemours, Ethyl Export Corporation, Imperial Chemical Industries (Great Britain), the Dow Chemical Company, Rohm & Haas, Etablissements Kuhlmann (France), and the Mitsui interests of Japan, When Martin Bormann switched on the green light for massive transfers of wealth, I. G. Farben moved into high gear.

Hermann Schmitz, I. G.'s, president of that era, reported to Martin Bormann: “Our measures of camouflage have proved to be very good during the war, and have even surpassed our expectations.” The measures he referred to was camouflage of the true ownership of Farben assets as a war and postwar device. The company cloaked its direct and indirect ownership and control of hundreds of its foreign subsidiaries by utilizing every conceivable device known to the legal mind. It was a razzle dazzle operation, with Bormann nodding approval and giving assistance every step of the way. Other major German firms pursued the same complicated and devious course.

A primary technique used generally for shifting control of Gerrnan property to avoid Allied seizure in the last year of the war was to use a cloaking device of ownership. The German owner would transfer his holdings to neutral national who acted as the nominal owner; made easy by the general European practice of using bearer shares as a token of ownership (bearer shares are negotiable by delivery, and it is exceedingly difficult to trace the chain of title of a particular share). Fees varied for this service, but the usual figure was 5 per cent of the deal.

But the man who conceived and made possible the transfer of German assets on a vast scale which made possible the establishment of bastions of economic strength outside Germany lives today in South America.

Martin Bormann, at 72, is the Reichsleiter in exile, a legally appointed head of state who does not consider himself to be a war criminal, according to spokesmen for him. Much has been written about Bormann in recent times; all of it incorrect except for the single fact he is alive and in South America.

If he is ever to come out into the open and live the life of a free man once again, he must refute the charges of. Nuremberg, where he was tried in absentia in 1945 46 and found not guilty on the charge of crimes against peace, but guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The indictment which the prosecution attorney hammered home in the emotion charged atmosphere of that period was that Bormann had been “extremely active in the persecution of the Jews not only in Germany but also in the absorbed or conquered countries.” As the crime of racial extermination was ­ realistically ­ what the first Nuremberg trial was all about, Bormann must produce incontrovertible evidence of his personal innocence on this critical point. In its decision, the International Military Tribunal left a loophole for Martin Borrnann if he ever wishes to reopen the case.

“If Bormann is not dead,” the tribunal stated, “and is later apprehended, the Control Council for Germany may, under Article 29 of the Charter, consider any facts in mitigation, and alter or reduce his sentence, if deemed proper.”

Will Martin Bormann, an unquestioned genius of finance and administration, take the gamble, or continue to be the most hunted man in history?

A version of this archives appears in print on March 3, 1973, on Page 31 of the New York edition with the headline: Martin Bormann and the Future of Germany. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe
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