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Royal Dutch Shell and the Nazis Part 4: Royal Dutch Shell Anti-Semitism

Royal Dutch Shell and the Nazis Part 4: Royal Dutch Shell Anti-Semitism

By John Donovan

As his infatuation with the Nazis developed, Deterding begun making strong anti-Semitic remarks in his correspondence.(1)

Royal Dutch Shell adopted anti-Semitic policies in Germany and later in the Netherlands after occupation by the Nazis.

On 3 April 1933, the Nazi representatives of Rhenania-Ossag’s works council presented management with demands for the immediate dismissal of all Jewish directors. At the time, outbreaks of violence against Jews had broken out in Germany, with demands for a national boycott of Jewish businesses. These events persuaded Rhenania-Ossag managers that the company needed to be quickly aligned with the policies of the Nazi regime. Jewish directors were replaced, in one instance with a member of the Nazi party. In at least one case, a resignation of a Jewish director was not made on a voluntary basis.(2)

Extracts from page 469 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Vol 1:

In retrospect the remodelling of the senior management to suit the New Order would appear to have happened with undue haste…”

“The far-reaching changes to the Rhenania-Ossag board could not have taken place without the full consent of Central Offices”

“No questions of principle or moral judgements about the Hitler regime appear to have arisen and it bears pointing out that, whereas correspondence shows Group managers quick to identify and condemn Bolshevism, they appear not to have had the same sensitivity to Fascism or Nazism. This blind spot, quite a common affliction in the 1930s, may have impaired their vision when it came to perceiving the intentions of the unfolding Third Reich and the horrendous threat hanging over the jewish employees in the Group’s care. We do not know the Group’s treatment of the staff members concerned, nor their fates.”(3)

Following the Nazi invasion of Holland, Hauptmann Eichardt von Klass, the former research director of Rhenania-Ossag, was appointed as Verwalter to manage Royal Dutch and Bataafsche (a company within the Royal Dutch Shell Group) and had full powers to act of behalf of the concern in occupied Europe.(4)

Von Klass is said to have forced Bataafsche to comply with the Nazis’ anti-Semitic policy. There were, in any event, Nazi sympathizers within the company. After the war, Royal Dutch dismissed fifty for collaboration with the Germans.(5)

In October 1941, the German authorities in the Netherlands issued a decree for the dismissal of Jewish employees from private companies. Philips set up a special department for its Jewish employees in December, hoping to keep them out of harm’s way by offering them work under the company’s protection. Bataafsche responded rather more slowly, in February 1942 sending a circular to its Dutch offices instructing them to have the staff complete an Arierverklaring, a form giving particulars about their descent. This survey resulted in forty people being classified as Jewish under the German laws. At least twenty of them did not survive the war.(6)

For everything he did, von Klass remained heavily dependent on a handful of Bataafsche middle managers who sympathized with the Nazis….(7)

Let us emphasize the gravity of what transpired. A Royal Dutch Shell group company instructed its own employees to declare information, which for some, amounted to a death warrant. As it says, at least twenty did not survive the war.

Notes

1. From page 481 “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Vol 1: “From Challenger to Joint Industry Leader 1890 -1939” by Joost Jonker & Luiten van Zanden published in the UK in 2007 by Oxford University Press.

2. Information from page 469 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Vol 1: “From Challenger to Joint Industry Leader 1890 -1939” by Joost Jonker & Luiten van Zanden published in the UK in 2007 by Oxford University Press.

 

3. Information from page 469 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Vol 1: “From Challenger to Joint Industry Leader 1890 -1939” by Joost Jonker & Luiten van Zanden published in the UK in 2007 by Oxford University Press.

4. Information from pages 31 & 32 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Vol 2: “Powering the Hydrocarbon Revolution 1939 -1973? by Stephen Howarth and Joost Jonker published in the UK in 2007 by Oxford University Press.

5. Information from page 82 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Vol 2: “Powering the Hydrocarbon Revolution 1939 -1973? by Stephen Howarth and Joost Jonker published in the UK in 2007 by Oxford University Press.

6. Direct extracts from pages 82/84 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Vol 2: “Powering the Hydrocarbon Revolution 1939 -1973? by Stephen Howarth and Joost Jonker published in the UK in 2007 by Oxford University Press.

7. Direct extract from page 86 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Vol 2: “Powering the Hydrocarbon Revolution 1939 -1973? by Stephen Howarth and Joost Jonker published in the UK in 2007 by Oxford University Press.

LINKS TO OTHER PARTS OF ROYAL DUTCH SHELL NAZI SECRETS

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets: Introduction

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets Part 1: The Funeral

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets Part 2: Financier of the Third Reich

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets Part 3: Relationship continued after Deterding retirement

Royal Dutch Shell and the Nazis Part 5: Evidence of Shell/Deterding financial support for the Nazis

Royal Dutch Shell and the Nazi Part 6: I.G. Farben, Royal Dutch Shell and Nazi slave labor

Royal Dutch Shell Nazis Secrets Part 7: Why does it still matter?

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets Part 8: Nazi connections

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets Part 9: Further evidence

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets: Authors relationship with Shell (Alfred Donovan and John Donovan)

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