The Deutsche Bank and the Nazi Economic War against the Jews: The Expropriation of Jewish-Owned Property

The Deutsche Bank and the Nazi Economic War against the Jews: The Expropriation of Jewish-Owned Property

The Deutsche Bank and the Nazi Economic War against the Jews: The Expropriation of Jewish-Owned Property

The Deutsche Bank and the Nazi Economic War against the Jews: The Expropriation of Jewish-Owned Property

Synopsis

Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest financial institution, played an important role in the expropriation of Jewish-owned enterprises during the Nazi dictatorship, both in the existing territories of Germany, and in the areas seized by the German army during World War II, particularly Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Drawing on new and previously unavailable materials, including branch records, and many from the Bank's own archives, Harold James examines policies that led to the eventual Genocide of European Jews. How much did the realization of the Nazi ideology depend on the acquiescence, the complicity, and the cupidity of individuals and economic institutions? Contradicting the traditional view that businesses were motivated by profit to cooperate with the Nazi regime, James closely examines the behavior of the bank and its individuals to suggest other motivations. James' unparalleled access and unusual perspective distinguishes this work as the only book to examine one company's involvement in the economic persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany. Harold James is Professor of History at Princeton University. He is a member of the Independent Commission of Experts investigating the political and economic links of Switzerland with Nazi Germany, and of commissions to examine the roles of Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank. He is the author of several books on Germany economy and society, including Germany: The German Slump (Oxford University Press, 1986), A Germany Identity 1770-1990 (Routledge, 1993), and International Monetary Cooperation Since 1945 (Oxford University Press, 1996). He co-edited several books, including The Role of Banks in the Interwar Economy (Cambridge, 1991). James was also co-author of an earlier history of the commercial bank Deutsche Bank (Deutsche Bank 1870-1995, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1995) which won the Financial Times Global Business Book Award in 1996. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Excerpt

The studies of the Historical Commission of the Deutsche Bank, in contrast to the studies of various governmental and some other commissions assigned the task of dealing with the role of business in the National Socialist period and Holocaust assets, are to be viewed as the products of the individual scholarship of its members. the ultimate responsibility for what is said in our studies rests with the author of each work produced under the auspices of the commission. Although it certainly is to be expected that historians sharing the same basic moral and political values and confronted with a certain basic set of facts can and should reach a reasonable level of agreement or consensus about their basic significance and interpretation, it would be unnatural and unreasonable to expect that each of us would tell the same story in exactly the same way and that there would not be differences of nuance and of emphasis in the way we would present our material and findings. the commission has and continues to see as its task the careful reading and detailed discussion of the studies completed by its members to ensure that the works in question meet the highest standards of scholarship and that they reflect a defensible and responsible presentation of evidence and conclusions. in discussing the Gold report and this study, we have vigorously debated the person and role of Hermann Josef Abs, and each of us has and will interpret that complex and important individual in a slightly different way. Similarly, in the case of this study, we have all thought long and hard and have discussed at considerable length what might and might not be said about the level of profits made by the bank from “aryanization”

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