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Bayer predecessor financed torture in concentration camps

by Co-ordination against the Dangers of Bayer, Germany

see also "
The Death of Giovanny Vidas"

The 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Nuremberg Trial on October 27th put the Bayer company in the public spotlight. Bayer played a decisive role in human experiments with deadly outcomes during the Third Reich.

The allied powers conducted the process against the Nazi doctors who committed torture only half heartedly because they were interested in their research results. That is why so many of them came to hold high positions in the Federal Republic of Germany and in the USA after the war. The people behind unspeakable countless suffering committed in the name of science were also never brought to justice. The IG Farben and Bayer companies were never punished for financing Auschwitz's terrifying Josef Mengele or for delivering Cyclone B from Uerdingen.

The Responsibility of IG Farben

IG Farben is the union of Agfa, BASF, Bayer, Hoechst, and a few other smaller German chemical companies. At that time, they had a leading role as the world's biggest chemical company. With amounts of 81 million Reich Marks, they were the biggest single financier of the Nazi party from 1933 to 1944. They explicitly conducted their own plans for the war. They had Hitler's personal assurance guaranteeing delivery of fuel, ammunition, etc., which gave the Nazis the possibility to start the war. They in turn won 6 million Reich Marks. IG Farben with branches and connections all over the world made earnings on both sides of the front. Nazi and allied bombers were fuelled with IG Farben petrol. The cartel earned their money from deadly weapons, the industrialisation of the mass murders in concentration camps, the massive enslavement of prisoners and `enemies of the people' as well as from "the transfer of enemy assets out of conquered areas".

Picture of the Concentration Camp in AuschwitzIG Farben maintained contact with the SS through the so-called `Friendship circle for the leaders of the SS'. Approximately thirty representatives from German companies were members of this circle. IG Farben was represented by board member, Bütefisch. Prisoners were bought by the SS for the trifle amount of RM (Reich Mark) 170. They were than subjected to brutal torture sometimes while conscious and sometimes they were already dead. This was done under the pretext of "medical and scientific experiments in the service of science". The mass murders of Jewish people were "perfected" with the poisonous gas Cyclone B. IG Farben built a new factory near the Auschwitz concentration camp to take advantage of cheap labour. Two million dollars was provided for the construction of the concentration camp. At IG Farben's own Auschwitz, IG Monowitz, and the adjacent factory, approximately 370,000 prisoners died as a result of the working conditions and malnutrition. IG Farben Board Member, Schneider, displayed the following principle in 1943, "...get out as much work out of the prisoners of war as possible. All these people should be fed, housed and treated, so as to get the most work done with the least possible costs." Due to this sort of treatment, the average life expectancy at the IG Monowitz factory was only 9 months.

The BAYER control centre

The control centre for IG Farben conducted human experiments came from BAYER. The notorious scientific department was directed by Wilhelm Mann. He was also manager and a member of governing board of the Cyclone B monopoly, Degesch. He carried out the annihilation of Jews with indifference and recognised human experimentation as an example of progress. The BAYER researcher, Prof. Gerhard Domagk, conducted human experiments for germ warfare under contracts from the SS. He was later awarded the Nobel prise for medicine for his discovery of sulphonamide. Sulphonamide was first tested on humans who were infested with gangrene and finally treated with antibiotics from BAYER. Death was inclusive.

It appears that all at the IG Farben company had an interest in human experimentation. IG Farben top managers, Bütefisch, von Schnitzler, Ambros, ter Meer and Dürrfeld met with Auschwitz's factory head, Rudolf Höß and SS leader Heinrich Himmler on friendly terms at Auschwitz. The correspondence between BAYER and the Auschwitz concentration camp gruesomely documented experiments on humans. BAYER put an order for 150 women, necessary for new experiments. They were deemed as "sufficient" despite "their miserable state of health" after "delivery". There it meant, "the experiment have been carried out. All test objects are dead. We would like to inform you that we will be needing a new delivery shortly."

Continuity until today

IG Farben lost only 13% percent of their capacity in air strikes during the Second World War. Industrial plants were hardly bombed because the Americans knew that IG Farben delivered aeroplane fuel via the Rockefeller group. After the war who was chosen to be the judge of the lawsuit against IG Farben management during the Nuremberg trials but Howard C. Peterson. Peterson was a former partner of the New York law firm, Cravath, Gersdorff, Swain & Wood. They represented the interests of IG Farben after the war in the USA.

IG Farben board member, Fritz ter Meer became the chairman of the board for BAYER in 1956. He said during the Nuremberg trials on the topic of human experiments that "concentration camp prisoners were not subjected to exceptional suffering, because they would have been killed anyway". Eleven of the IG Farben managers were set free. Six received prison sentences from 18 months to 3 years. Ter Meer received a 7 year sentence, while Ambros and Dürrfeld received eight years. All those convicted were released from prison early. Some were included in the succeeding management team of the IG Farben Cartel.

90% of IG Farben ownership was divided up among BAYER, HOECHST, and BASF. Every one of the former of the IG Farben companies, BASF, BAYER, and Hoechst are bigger and more powerful now than ever before. Despite the formal disintegration of the IG Farben company, BASF, BAYER and Hoechst act homogeneously due to common profit interests. BASF proved their lack of a sense of guilt only in 1991 when they levelled the last remains, shacks, gas chambers and crematoriums of the former IG Farben Schwarzheide concentration camp, "by mistake". BAYER reacts to accusations in their own way. Critical stockholders from the Co-ordination against the BAYER-Gefahren (CBG) used their right to speak at a shareholders meeting in Cologne in 1995. They referred to the past of the BAYER company and called for the erection of a fund to compensate former forced labour workers at the Auschwitz Monowitz concentration camp. The plan was to put a mere DM from every stock into this fund. The microphone was turned off after many interruptions. The three CBG members were forcibly thrown out of the hall by security guards when they tried to continue speaking. This took place under the direct orders of the Chairman of the Board, Hermann-Josef Stenger. He also ordered them to stay away.

The survivors of the IG Farben factory have still not received one Pfennig in compensation. The official reason: BAYER is not the legal successor of IG Farben.

Cartoon lampooning I.G. Farben

"We're not allowed to let I.G. Farben stay out in the rain", a caricature out of the magazine of the US Society to Stop the Third World War.(1947)

BAYER is called on by the Co-ordination against BAYER-Gefahren and other organisations to:

The Co-ordination against BAYER-Gefahren also calls for the opening of all BAYER archives for interested parties, so that any involvement of the company in the crimes committed during the Nazi regime can be made completely clear.

All Information originates from:
Press Release from the 50th anniverary of the Nürnberg trials on 27 October 96
Demands on Bayer
Notes and further Information
on munltinational chemical companies issue 2/95.
published by the
Coordination gegen BAYER-GEFAHREN e.V. / CBG
Postfach 15 04 18
40081 Düsseldorf

The Death of Giovanny Vidas

by Pedro Morazan, in Ila no. 176/ June 1994

`Terbufos makes me dizzy,' said the 14 year old Giovanny Vidas over and over when the spray bottle filled with the toxic substance was forced into his hands, in order to treat the roots of banana trees against parasites. Giovanny's father and a co-worker, Ramiro Perez, were witnesses to his last complaint made on 11 November 1993 at 11 o'clock at the Desarrollo Campo Cinco Banana Plantation. Two hours later, after he had returned to his hut to soothe his headache with lemonade, the boy died. His headache and vomiting were a result of the toxic pesticide.

The death of Giovanny Vidas is not an isolated case. Costa Rica is not the only country in middle America where the cultivation of bananas takes place under such inhuman conditions.

The article was published in No 29of NEWSLETTER- The International Communication Project - Editor:Bernd Schneider, Hannover December 1996.

Date 5/27/97 by
Ingo Jäger, FIC-Webmaster