Freundeskreis der Wirtschaft

The Freundeskreis der Wirtschaft, or Circle of Friends of the Economy (which became known as "Freundeskreis Reichsführer SS", "Freundeskreis Himmler" or "Keppler Circle") was a group of German industrialists whose aim was to strengthen the ties between the Nazi Party and business and industry. The group was formed and co-ordinated by Wilhelm Keppler, one of Adolf Hitler's close economic advisors.

Role and development edit

Wilhelm Keppler

Keppler, who had been a member of the NSDAP since 1927, formed the Circle after Hitler's request in 1932 for the formation of a "study group on economic questions".[1] Members were not initially expected to be party members (though many later joined the party), and portrayed the group as "palaver" and an "innocuous gentleman's club".[2] The size of the group never exceeded 40 members.[1] Groups represented included manufacturing, banking, and SS officials.[3]

The group became associated with Heinrich Himmler, a friend of Keppler, beginning in 1935.[2] From 1936 to 1944, the members of the circle donated approximately 1 million Marks a year to Himmler for uses "outside the budget".[1] One use of the money was to fund the Ahnenerbe, which conducted Aryan historical and eugenicist research.[2] It also sponsored the Jewish skull collection, when 86 victims were selected at Auschwitz , then murdered using Zyklon B gas at Natzweiler concentration camp and the corpses shipped to Reichsuniversität Straßburg for defleshing and ultimately public display by Professor August Hirt. The project stopped at this stage when Germany lost the war.

At least some members of the group, such as Friedrich Flick, later benefited from the NSDAP's policy of aryanization of Jewish-owned competitors.[2]

Post-war fate edit

Friedrich Flick during the Nuremberg Trials
Heinrich Bütefisch in charge at Monowitz works
Otto Ohlendorf testifies at the Einsatzgruppen trial, 9 October 1947.
Oswald Pohl receives his sentence of death by hanging at Nuremberg trials.

Richard Kaselowsky was killed during an American air raid in 1944.

Fritz Kranefuss, Emil Heinrich Meyer, Albert Vögler, and Fritz Kranefuss committed suicide at the end of the war.

William Keppler and Karl Rasche were sentenced to 10 years and 7 years in prison, respectively following the Ministries Trial at Nuremberg in 1949. Rasche was released from prison in 1950, while Keppler was released in February 1951.

Friederich Flick and Otto Steinbrinck were sentenced to 7 years and 5 years, respectively, at the Flick trial. Flick was released from prison in 1950, while Steinbrinck died in prison in 1949.[2] Oswald Pohl and Otto Ohlendorf were both executed in 1951, after being convicted at the Pohl trial and the Einsatzgruppen trial, respectively.

Members edit

Members of the group included:[1][4]

From manufacturing:

From banking:

From politics and the SS:

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d Sutton, Antony C. (2010-11-01). "Chapter 9: Wall Street and the Nazi Inner Circle". Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler. CLAIRVIEW BOOKS. ISBN 9781905570270.
  2. ^ a b c d e Stallbaumer, L. M. "Frederick Flick's Opportunism and Expediency". Dimensions: A Journal of Holocaust Studies. 13 (2). Anti-Defamation League. Archived from the original on 2017-02-15. Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Berghoff, Hartmut; Rauh, Cornelia (2015-05-30). The Respectable Career of Fritz K.: The Making and Remaking of a Provincial Nazi Leader. Berghahn Books. pp. 62–63. ISBN 9781782385943.
  4. ^ Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals (PDF). Vol. VI: The Flick Case. United States Government Printing Office. 1952. p. 287.
  5. ^ "The Righteous Among The Nations". Yad Vashem. Retrieved 2017-03-20.