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Nazi billionaires : the dark history of Germany's wealthiest dynasties
2022
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Opportunism and greed served tyranny and war, according to this scathing study of Nazi Germany's leading businessmen. Bloomberg journalist de Jong investigates five plutocrats who funded Hitler's rise to power: industrialists Günther Quandt and Friedrich Flick, financier August von Finck, automaker Ferdinand Porsche, and baking-goods mogul Richard Kaselowsky. These men boosted their fortunes by "Aryanizing" Jewish-owned businesses, acquiring them through coercion at below market prices; ensured the Wehrmacht was supplied with weapons, uniforms, and pudding mix in its campaigns of conquest; and staffed their factories with forced laborers and concentration camp inmates, thousands of whom died of abuse, hunger, and outright execution. Later chapters probe the lies and bribes they deployed to escape punishment after the war, their climb back to wealth and power, and the shame-faced contrition of their billionaire heirs when their misdeeds were exposed decades later. De Jong's colorful narrative features cutthroat corporate intrigue, sordid kowtowing to Nazi potentates--at one meeting, SS chief Heinrich Himmler strong-armed Flick and Kaselowsky into funding his Aryan breeding program--and a melodramatic feud between Quandt and Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, who married Quandt's ex-wife. The result is an intimate and vivid history. Photos. Agent: Howard Yoon, Ross Yoon Agency. (Apr.)
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