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The caustic views of Sir Henri Deterding about lawyers

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Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.34.57By John Donovan

Today came news that Shell is slashing its panel of international law firms by 97%.

It therefore seems appropriate to reflect on the views about lawyers expressed by the extraordinary Dutchman most responsible for building Royal Dutch Shell into a global business: Sir Henri Deterding.

For some reason, although he was the undisputed head of the Royal Dutch Shell Group for almost 40 years, and said to be The Most Powerful Man in the World, his name now seems verboten at Shell. 

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By John Donovan

In a matter of days, I will be publishing an e-book entitled “Sir Henri Deterding and the Nazi History of Royal Dutch Shell.”

Publication is timed to coincide with another momentous episode in the history of Royal Dutch Shell –  the vote on the Shell BG Group merger.


In the years leading up to WW2, the Dutch founder of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, Sir Henri Deterding became an ardent Nazi. He financially backed the Third Reich and met directly with Hitler on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell.

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Country home of Sir Henri Deterding in Dobbin, north of Berlin

Country home of Sir Henri Deterding in Dobbin, north of Berlin: Dobbin Estate

German map showing Dobbin, Merklenburg, north of Berlin

German map showing Dobbin, Mecklenburg, north of Berlin


German country home of Sir Henri Deterding of Royal Dutch Shell. Dobbin, Mecklenburg.

Castle Dobbin Estate: German country manor home of Sir Henri Deterding, founder and leader of Royal Dutch Shell. Dobbin, Mecklenburg.

Castle Dobbin was located in an area now known as Dobbin-Linstow, district Rostock. (Glave is a municipality of Dobbin-Linstow in the district of Rostock in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

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Shell House Berlin opened in 1932

Shell House Berlin opened in 1932

Shell House Berlin opened in 1932


Bruce Deterding article above

Royal Dutch Shell Wikipedia Article downloaded 19 JAN 2016 (NO MENTION OF SIR HENRI DETERDING)

Winterhilfswerk Wikipedia Article 19 JAN 2015 Wikipedia article on 19 Jan 2016

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Film of Royal Dutch Shell founder Sir Henri Deterding giving a Nazi salute

Video clip from a PBS TV Documentary adapted from Daniel Yergin’s book “The PRIZE: Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power. Published in 1992 by FREE PRESS ISBN 0-671-79932-0

The Prize (Part 2 of 8) – “Empires of Oil”

Covers the story of Royal Dutch Shell.

Includes, at just over 49 mins, film of Royal Dutch Shell founder Sir Henri Deterding giving a Heil Hitler salute at a major sporting event for Shell employees celebrating his birthday. 

Extract from narration by Donald Sutherland:

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Royal Dutch Shell leadership: Bring back Sir Henri Deterding

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 10.22.50If only it was possible to resurrect Sir Henri Deterding at his best, the extraordinary Dutchman who built the Royal Dutch Shell Group. In his first couple of decades at Shell he was a brilliant decisive leader brimming with ambition, ideas and incredible determination. He would have acted to exploit BP’s self-inflicted misfortunes, whereas Van der Veer and Voser let the opportunity pass and instead took Shell down a disastrous path placing all bets on so-called elephant projects that turned out to be white elephants.

By John Donovan

In my view, the last Shell executive director/Chairman who had any gumption and plain commonsense was Sir John Jennings.

Since his time, long term Shell shareholders have witnessed a parade of hopelessly incompetent Royal Dutch Shell fat cat bosses.

The roll call of failed leaders includes Sir Philip Watts, Jeroen van der Veer and Peter Voser.

All three mired by disappointment and scandal.

Jorma Ollila has been non-executive Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Plc for several years spanning the tenures of the last two failed CEO’s and has proven equally uninspiring and flawed.

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Deterding orders-Hitler acts

News reports from long ago are emerging on the Internet as newspapers create digital searchable online archives. This is a disastrous development for  companies such as Royal Dutch Shell that have been around for a long time and have a toxic history to hide.

By John Donovan

News reports from long ago are emerging on the Internet as newspapers create digital searchable online archives. This is a disastrous development for  companies such as Royal Dutch Shell that have been around for a long time and have a toxic history to hide.

An article published on 3 April 1933 by the Border Cities Star, a Canadian daily newspaper, reported allegations made in Pravda, the official political publication of the Soviet Communist Party in Russia. They accused Sir Henri Deterding, the tyrannical head of Royal Dutch Shell, of funding Hitler and described the Nazis as “obedient agents of their benefactors,” claiming: Deterding orders-Hitler acts.”

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Shell and the Dutch fascists: A study in black

We have to keep in mind that it was not only Sir Henri Deterding who was a keen supporter of the Nazi’s. In the 1930’s there were other Shell directors such as J.E.F. de Kok and *Wim Rost van Tonningen who were also keen supporters of Hitler and his henchmen.

Guest Author: Ton Biesemaat (Dutch freelance investigative journalist and writer) Article published 7 December 2012

Among individuals interested in the history of Shell, it is common knowledge that in spite of Shell sponsored academic studies, it is clear that Deterding was the man who made Royal Dutch Shell a global powerhouse in the first half of the twentieth century, but was also financially supporting the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler. This is very well illustrated by the photo of Deterdings death in 1938 on his German Mecklenburg-estate which was previously owned by the husband of Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands.

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Shell sharpens up its in-house army of 600 litigators

Lawyers are not business people, however large a lawyer’s experience may be, in the conduct of business he is absolutely useless. A lawyer placed at the head of a concern would soon bring the business to rack and ruin.

By John Donovan

The Lawyer reports today that “Royal Dutch Shell has launched a new global disputes group to handle all of its litigation and arbitration, appointing Fulbright & Jaworski partner Richard Hill as the group’s associate general counsel.”

Shell kicks off global litigation group with Fulbright hire

It says that with his appointment, Shell will have 108 lawyers worldwide as part of a 600 strong in-house legal department.

Enough to cover multiple claims for IP theft, wrongful dismissal, human rights abuse, avoidable deaths of Shell employees, pollution claims, corruption allegations, and other unsavory litigation arising from Shell’s failure to abide with its own core business principles.

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When will Royal Dutch Shell apologize to the Jews?

The Sun newspaper published an article horrifically confirming, following a DNA test, that a lampshade bought at a New Orleans car boot sale is made from human skin. A gruesome relic from Nazi crimes against humanity in the 2nd World War. As the main financier of the Nazis, does Royal Dutch Shell bear any moral (or legal) responsibility for the crimes of Hitler and his equally evil henchmen?

By John Donovan

Yesterday, after 70 years, Norway apologized for the deportation of 773 Jews from Nazi occupied Norway during World War 2.  The majority were shipped to concentration camps and only 34 survived. See news report below.

Royal Dutch Shell has much more to apologize for about its Nazi past.

Shell and its Nazi leader Sir Henri Deterding, conspired directly with Hitler, financed Nazi Germany, was anti-Semitic and sold out its own Dutch Jewish employees to the Nazis.

In March 2011, the chief corporate lawyer at Royal Dutch Shell threatened us with legal proceedings in relationship to this sensitive subject.  We are still waiting for Shell to take any action.

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Tainted history of the iconic Shell scallop logo

The iconic corporate logo used by Shell and the Nazis

By John Donovan

In 1904, the scallop shell or pecten replaced Shell Transport’s first marketing logo. In various forms it has remained in use ever since, becoming one of the best known corporate symbols in the world.

The above information is taken from the: “The beginnings“, which forms part of a online feature – “Our history” – covering Shell from its inception to the new millennium. A whole page is devoted to “The History of the Shell logo and there is more information on a downloadable document: “The History behind the Shell emblem,” in which this slogan appears:

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Sir Henri Deterding of Shell donated millions of dollars in food to Nazi Germany

Photograph shows Swastika flag flying at the head office of Royal Dutch Petroleum, 30 Carel van Bylandtlaan , The Hague, (From Image Database Hague Municipal)

By John Donovan

Printed below is a rough translation of an article in a Dutch newspaper published on 28 December 1936 reporting a donation to Germany by Sir Henri Deterding (founder of the Royal Dutch Shell Group). The donation was in the form of Dutch food products worth millions of dollars. This was in a period when the Nazis were building up their military might.

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Royal Dutch Shell founder Deterding backed Nazi Stormtroopers

EXTRACT: “Shell was in a business partnership in Germany with the Nazi run company I.G. Farben, which manufactured and supplied the Zyklon-B gas to exterminate millions of people in the Holocaust. Under the circumstances, it can fairly be said that Deterding/Royal Dutch Shell contributed towards the gas bill.”

By John Donovan

The Sturmabteilung (SA) Stormtroopers, the paramilitary wing of the German Nazi Party, played an important role in Hitlers rise to power. SA men were known as “brownshirts.”

Sir Henri Deterding, the person most responsible for founding the Royal Dutch Shell global business empire, was linked to the SA.

Sir Henri was at the helm of the oil giant for over 30 years and at the height of his powers, was able to bind the Board of Shell without their knowledge and consent. Deterding and Royal Dutch Shell were one and the same.

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‘YOU CAN BE SURE OF SHELL’: The biggest confidence trick in history

By John Donovan

Many people fondly remember the advertising slogan…

“You can be Sure of Shell”

The legendary crooner, Bing Crosby, sung the praises of Shell in the 1950’s.



Our research indicates that the slogan


was first used in Great Britain by Shell in 1937 (right) months after the forced resignation of Sir Henri Deterding, the man most responsible for the creation and global success of the Royal Dutch Shell Group.

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Sir Henri Deterding and Adolf Hitler: Flirtation with disaster


5 ways to keep your company alive

March 7, 2011

In the years before World War II, Shell was very much a one-man-band led by Sir Henri Deterding. Under Deterding’s firm control, the group prospered but also flirted with disaster as he saw Adolf Hitler as the man most likely to preserve Europe from Communism. Luckily for Shell, Deterding retired in 1936 before he could make any disastrous commitments. The company did not forget its narrow escape.

(Photo: The Shell Mex House, Shell’s former headquarters in London. Photo taken in 1955)

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Royal Dutch Shell four day meeting directly with Hitler

By John Donovan (last updated 24 Sept 2012)

This posting provides a clarification to my recent article “Will Shell block Internet publication of its Nazi past?”.

It is in relation to the following paragraph.

Information in Shell’s own authorised history of the company confirms that Shell pumped funds into the Nazi in a variety of ways, was at times anti-Semitic, sold out its own Dutch Jewish employees to the Nazis and conspired directly with Hitler.

When I said “and conspired directly with Hitler” that was partly an informed assumption on my part.

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Will Shell block Internet publication of its Nazi past?

Will Royal Dutch Shell carry out threat to block Internet publication of its connection with Hitler and the Nazis?

By John Donovan

I have printed below my recent email correspondence with Mr. Michiel Brandjes, the Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

As can be seen, it relates to Royal Dutch Shell’s support for Hitler and the Nazis.

I have already published a related article: “Royal Dutch Shell and the Nazis: Shell threatens legal proceedings

This is obviously a highly sensitive subject for Shell.

The reply to my email concerning our intention to publish related information from “A History of Royal Dutch Shell”, authored by Shell’s paid historians, is the first time we have managed to elicit any comment from Shell on the subject.

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Royal Dutch Shell and the Nazis: Shell threatens legal proceedings

By John Donovan

Royal Dutch Shell has today threatened legal proceedings in relation to revelations published on this website about the funding of Hitler and the Nazi Party by Shell and Sir Henri Deterding.

The Shell email says that Shell “reserves its legal rights, including with respect to copyright.”

This means that Shell is threatening defamation and copyright proceedings. This would be interesting litigation to say the least, likely to generate significant global publicity.

Shell has checked with its paid historians responsible for “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” and says that “they convincingly refute with evidence what you claim in contradiction with A History of Royal Dutch Shell.”

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Evidence of Shell’s Nazi past from Shell’s paid historians

Photograph shows Swastika flag flying at the head office of Royal Dutch Petroleum, 30 Carel van Bylandtlaan , The Hague, during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II (From Image Database Hague Municipal)

By John Donovan

In a matter of days we will publish on the Internet all of the pages from “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” relating to Shell’s close relationship with Hitler and the Nazi Party. This is the official account by eminent historians associated with Utrecht University who were given unrestricted access to Royal Dutch Shell archives. The project was supervised by the Research Institute for History and Culture.

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Royal Dutch Shell burying its past

Your website is a monumental ‘pain in the a..’ for RD Shell because you are always dragging the ‘dark side’ of the way Shell operates out into the light of day for all to see and examine.

Comment from a former employee of Shell Oil USA

I have comment to make about your recent revelations regarding Shell.

For decades RD Shell has managed to virtually ‘bury’ the company’s past association with Hitler and the Nazis. This is not something that adds value to the ‘corporate image’ and ‘brand value’.  Your latest expose’ has pretty much trashed those many years of effort on the part of the corporate image makers.

Shell has a very carefully crafted image that it wants to project to the world, the consuming public and policy making politicians. RD Shell would like the world to think that they are an upstanding group of folks and run an honest operation. Quality, integrity, technology, character, great value at a great price, etc. In large measure that image is a fraud.

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Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Controversy

Shown right: Pre-World War 2 staff meeting of Rhenania-Ossag (Royal Dutch Shell) employees in Hamburg Curio-Haus, Nazi Germany. Management included at least one Nazi official who remained employed by Shell after the war.

Article by a former employee of Shell Oil USA

Extract: “You folks need to wake up and critically examine how RD Shell really operates. Royal Dutch Shell management is just as capable and willing to cause great mischief for the rest of the world, if it pays do so, as they were in the days of Deterding and Hitler.”


This is for Musaint, et al. (See his posting on Shell Blog)

You boys are supposedly bright folks, otherwise Shell probably would not have hired you. However, you have seemed to have somehow missed ‘the point’ of the recent revelations regarding RD Shell’s past ‘odious and questionable associations’.

You remind me of the German’s during the 1930’s. They were and are a very bright people and yet they willingly swallowed Hitler’s line of ‘bull’, just as you seem to swallow RD Shell’s line of corporate ‘bull’. I used to work for Shell, and it is indeed ‘bull’. Of course there were penalties for speaking out in Nazi Germany, as there are today within RD Shell. Do you boys get this point?

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By Alfred Donovan and John Donovan


Displayed right is an article from the Dutch newspaper “Limburger Koerier”, headlined “SIR HENRI DETERDING”, plus a related receipt/note, both displayed on page 480 of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” Vol 1.

Related text printed on the same page.

This extract from the Limburger Koerier of  29 December 1932 was only one of the many articles in the national and international press speculating about who might be funding the Nazi party, which was deeply in debt. Deterding’s name came up more than once.

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Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets: Introduction

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets: Introduction

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets Part 8: Nazi connections

Dr. Georg Bell,(8) a German spy, was an agent of Sir Henri Deterding who acted initially as as an intermediary between Deterding and Adolf Hitler in forming an alliance between the oil titan and the Nazi leader. This was done to hide what the public might consider to be an “unsavory” relationship.(9)

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

The most important reason why it does still matter is that ordinary people, ethical investors, and relatives of victims of the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes against humanity, are entitled, on moral grounds, to be aware of this dark chapter in the history of Royal Dutch Shell, so that they can decide if they wish to hold shares in the company or purchase Shell products.

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

There are many published reports from reputable independent sources confirming the financial support Royal Dutch Shell/Deterding provided to the Nazis. The support was given in a variety of forms: money, oil on long term credit, food donations on a massive scale and revenues from Shell advertising in a Nazi newspaper.

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

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.

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

Any major company in existence for over 100 years is bound to have skeletons in the closet. In the case of Royal Dutch Shell, it is arguably over 30 million deaths(1) arising from the oil giants funding of the Nazi party prior to the advent of the 2nd World War. The horrific fatalities includes over 5.7 millions Jewish Holocaust deaths. Royal Dutch Shell Group funds injected by its Director General and founder, Sir Henri Deterding, saved the Nazi Party from collapse.

Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Secrets Part 1: The Funeral

'In the name and on the instructions of the Fuhrer, I greet thee, Heinrich Deterding, the great friend of the Germans.'

Royal Dutch Shell and the Nazi (updated with report of 4 day meeting between Deterding and Hitler)

LONDON, Oct. 25.-It is reported confidentially from Berlin that the object of Sir Henry Deterding's recent visit to Chancellor Hitler at Berchtesgaden, where he stayed for four days, was to discuss the conditions for granting a monopoly to the Royal Dutch and Shell Companies of petrol distribution in Germany for a long period of years.

Royal Dutch Shell, Tom Cruise, YouTube and Hitler

What is less well known is the Royal Dutch Shell connection with Hitler and the Nazi. It is one of those episodes in Shell's history, such as the recent multibillion-dollar reserves fraud, which the oil giant would prefer to forget.

Buy our £25 million stately home and we will throw in half the village

Built by Dutch oil industrialist Sir Henri Deterding, who founded Royal Dutch Shell, the Grade II listed manor house was re-built in 1914 in the style of a grand hunting lodge featuring trophy room and banqueting hall.

Lady Lydia Deterding and Hitler

New York Daily News Thursday 29 July 1999 Gossip Column



Oil behemoth that must evolve

Extract from The Observer 20 December 1998 page 34

Article headline: Oil behemoth that must evolve

Our pdf file The Observer 20 December 1998 Page 34

Naval officer son of oil king missing

DAILY EXPRESS: Naval officer son of oil king missing: 1 October 1940 Page 3


Naval officer son of oil king missing

Lieutenant Henry Deterding, R.N.V.R. reported missing while serving with the Fleet Air Arm, yesterday, is the son of the late Sir Henri Deterding, the oil king and the man Hitler once described as “the great friend of the Germans.” Sir Henri died in Switzerland last year, and he was buried at his estate at Dobbin, Mecklenburg. A wreath was sent by Hitler.

Sir Henri Deterding described by Hitler as a ‘great friend of the germans’

The Glasgow Herald 1 October 1940 page 3

Deterding substantial cash payments to the Nazi Party

The Bee: Danville, Va., Tuesday, February 13/1940 Editorial Section Page 6



Up to the end of December -Shell made deliveries of oil products to Germany In fulfillment of its regular contracts. This operation caused no stir among insiders who know the background of the story. It all dates back to the operations of Sir Henri Deterding the born Hollander with a French first name, knighted by His Britannic Majesty and buried on his beloved estate in Northern Germany. Deterding sewed up the German market by substantial cash payments to the rising Nationalist party before and after they came to power.

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Sir Henry Deterding: £250,000 FOR A BABY

Daily Mirror: £250,000 FOR A BABY: 20 March 1939 Page 13


EIGHT weeks after the death, of her seventy-year-old millionaire husband, Lady Charlotte Deterding, aged forty, has given birth to a daughter in a Berlin nursing home. Under the terms of her oil-magnate husband’s will the child will inherit about a quarter of a million pounds. Lady Charlotte is to name the baby after her husband, Sir Henri Wilhelm August. The baby will be christened Henrietta Wilhelmina Augustine. Sir Henri left more than £2,000,000, but the exact figure is not yet known. Lady Charlotte was Sir Henri’s third wife. They were married in 1936. She was formerly Fraulein Charlotte Knaack and acted for some time as his secretary.

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Sir Henri Deterding gave 7 ½ million marks to Hitler in 1929

The Milwaukee Sentinel: 16 March 1939

Extract: The Late Sir Henri Deterding, the biggest oil man of them all, gave 7 ½ million marks to Hitler in 1929


Deterding one of the original financial backers of the Nazi movement


Extract from above newspaper article…

The last honors bestowed upon the late Sir Henri Deterding by high German officials furnish eloquent confirmation of the story that he was one of the original financial backers of the Nazi movement. A Dutchman by birth and nationality, he attained the chairmanship of the Royal Dutch (Shell) Oil Co. and was knighted by the British king.

Hitler sends wreath

Daily Express: Hitler sends wreath: Front Page: 11 February 1939

Hitler sends wreath

Daily Express Staff Reporter

BERLIN, Friday.- Hitler has sent a wreath with a red, white and black ribbon worded “Adolf Hitler,” to the funeral today of Sir Henri Deterding, multi-millionaire Dutch oil king, who died last Saturday.



Oil Operator’s Body to Be Taken to His German Estate

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland, Feb. 6 (AP).–The family of Sir Henri Deterding gathered at the Swiss villa where he died unexpectedly Saturday to take the body of the 72-year-old Netherlands-born oil operator back to his estate at Dobbin, Mecklenburg, Germany, for burial.

His two sons came from England to join Lady Deterding who, friends said, is expecting the birth of a child next month.

Sir Henri, .who bad a personal fortune estimated at $150,000,000 or more and who retired in 1937 from the director generalship of the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, also is survived by a daughter by his first marriage and two daughters by his second. His first wife died, the second marriage ended in a divorce and in 1936 he married a 38-year-old secretary.

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Oil king will be buried in Germany

Daily Express: Oil King will be buried in Germany: 7 February 1939 Page 11

Oil king will be buried in Germany

Daily Express Correspondent

GENEVA. Monday.- The two sons of Sit Henri Deterding, the oil magnate, who died on Saturday, were expected to fly to St. Moritz yesterday, but arrived tonight by train with other relatives.

After meeting Lady Deterding, they decided that their father should be buried on his estate at Dobbin, Mecklenburg, North Germany. The family will leave tomorrow morning.

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Daily Express 7 February 1939 page 11

Divorced, went to live in Germany

Daily Express Staff Reporter

SIR HENRI DETERDING, the oil king, once estimated to have a personal fortune of £25,000,000, has left practically nothing in England.

FULL ARTICLE: Daily Express 6 Feb 1939 Page11

Rockefeller of Europe, Sir Henry Deterding, Dies



Son of Sea Captain Rises in Meteoric Career in Fashion Comparable to Horatio Alger Tales – Strong Pro-Nazi and Bitter Russia Opponent Carves Way to Success.

He became an ardent nazi after Adolf Hitler attained power in Germany.

Deterding immediately saw the possibilities and set out to tie Royal Dutch and Shell together, the better to compete with Standard Oil.

A practical token of his admiration for the anticommunist regime of Hitler was given in 1937. He gave $5,000,000 with which to purchase Holland’s surplus food products. He stipulated that the proceeds should go to Germany’s “Winter Help Fund.”

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The Montreal Gazette Monday 6 February 1939 Page 14



Netherlands – born Magnate Built Up Royal Dutch Petroleum Company

Was Ardent Hitler Supporter and Foe of Soviet

Sir Henri, who possesses a personal fortune estimated at between $150,000,000 and $200,000,000, retired from the direction of the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company.

He became an ardent Nazi after Adolf Hitler attained power in Germany.

A practical token of his admiration for the anti-Communist regime of Hitler was given in 1937. He gave $5,000,000 with which to purchase Holland’s surplus food products. He stipulated that the proceeds should go to Germany’s “Winter Help Fund.”

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Sir Henri Deterding: 9s.-a-Week to Millions

Daily Mirror: 9s.-a-Week to Millions: 6 February 1939 Page 7

Oil King Sir Henri Deterding, seventy two, who died at St. Moritz, Switzerland, began as a nine-shillings-a-week bank clerk and rose to riches so great that eventually he matched dollar for dollar with Rockefeller.

Sir Henri was a Dutchman. He was knighted by the British Government “for services rendered.”

Hitler is said to have received his financial support. He hated the Soviet Government, admired Mussolini and aided France.

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Deterding millions in Germany

Daily Express Front Page article 6 February 1939

Deterding millions in Germany

THE personal fortune of Sir Henri Deterding, multi-millionaire oil king, who died after a heart attack on Saturday, is believed to be in Germany, where he went to live after his divorce in 1936.


Dutch Shell Head Dies In Holland

SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS Dutch Shell Head Dies In Holland: Sunday 5 February 1939


Sir Henri Wilhelm August Deterding was an outstanding figure in world financial affairs because of his role as guiding genius of the great Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, of which he remained a director after retiring from the post of director-general.

He was known as a bitter foe of Soviet Russia and was named at a Moscow trial as having aided in a plot against the Soviet government.


We are also told that he finances Hitler, backs Franco, and admires Mussolini.

Evening Post (New Zealand): 3 September 1938, page 26

A life of Sir Henri Deterding has been written by Glyn Roberts, and to this biography, which is published by Convici Frieda, of New York, he has given the title of “The Most Powerful Man in the World.”

This “amazing story of the dictator, nobody knows” – to use the author’s own – phrase – breathes sensationalism from the title to the last page. Sir Henri is “the sole surviving specimen ·of the one-man trust… whose personal whims and prejudices have had a great deal to do with the fate of Governments, of huge commercial enterprises, and of millions of dollars of investments.”

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