By John Donovan
On 28 April 1945, Lieutenant-Colonel Werner Baumbach (right), “General of the Bombers” – the top post in German bomber command, arrived at a country house located at Krakow, near Güstrow in Mecklenburg, for a meeting with Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS.
As overseer of the concentration camps and extermination camps, Himmler coordinated the murder of around 10 million people. (See Wikipedia).
It soon became apparent to Baumbach, after two portraits in silver frames were drawn to his attention, that the country house in which the SS was located, was formally the home of the oil baron, Sir Henri Deterding, the world renowned director of Royal Dutch Shell. Sir Henri, the man most responsible for the growth of Shell into a global oil giant, was an ardent Nazi and friend and financial supporter of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.
The first portrait, signed by Hitler, contained the following inscription:
Sir Henry Deterding – in the name of the German people, for your noble donation of a million reichs-marks.
The second photograph was of Reichsmarschall Herman Göring, Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe.
The inscription said:
To my dear Deterding, in gratitude for your noble gift of Rominten Hunting Lodge.
Your Hermann Göring
The above information comes from pages 235 and 236 of a book by Werner Baumbach entitled: “The Life and Death of the Luftwaffe“, first published in 1949 and translated into English in 1960. Although just a passing reference consisting of a few paragraphs from a book devoted to telling “the story of an officer who served his country with distinction and risked reprisals to speak his mind“, it provides historically important evidence confirming Deterding’s financial support for the Nazis.
Göring’s hunting lodge at Rominten in East Prussia was known as “The Reichsjägerhof.”
Baumbach “spent nearly six months in an English interrogation camp. He was told that he would be charged as a war criminal on the ground that he had fired on shipwrecked people. After unending cross-examination and investigation Baumbach was able to prove conclusively that throughout the war neither he nor any unit under his command had committed any violations of the Hague Convention.” (Source of this extract)
In 1939, Göring sent a wreath to the Nazi funeral of Sir Henri.
It contained the personal message:
In the name and on the instructions of the Fuhrer, I greet thee, Heinrich Deterding, the great friend of the Germans.
Royal Dutch Shell continued its financial relationship with the Nazis after the resignation of Sir Henri as Director General of the company and even after his subsequent death.