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Shell’s Nazi Boss, feted by Hitler in return for massive financial support 

Sir Henri Deterding was Director General of the Royal Dutch Shell Group when his initial massive donation of food to Nazi Germany was announced in a Reuter’s Wireless report dated 20 December 1936

The donated food on that occasion filled 7,000 railway wagons.

Despite criticism in the news media, specifically linking the money saved on food to Nazi rearmament, Deterding continued to donate Dutch food for Nazi Germany, where he now lived after marrying his secretary, a young German woman. Like him, an ardent Nazi. 

Reuters reported a related donation of 10,000,00 Dutch florins, which a Nazi newspaper described as a “gigantic” help.

The food donations allowed the Nazis to divert funds to building up military might.

Section “A” on page 14 of a Military Tribunal document arising from the War Crimes Trials at Nuremberg (dated 6 December 1947), had the heading: Financial Support of Hitler and Nazi Party.” It mainly covered the funding given to the Nazi Party at a critical time by IG Farben. It states on page 14: “The financial support thus given by Farben along with other industrialists contributed to Hitler’s seizure and consolidation of power.” On the same page, it makes direct reference to “…contributions to the winter aid scheme (Winterhilfswerk)…” as part of the “important contributions.”

That is official recognition of the importance of food donations to the Nazi Winter Aid Fund in supporting Hitler and his evil regime.

Hitler had a close relationship with Deterding. They met a number of times, including four days Deterding spent at Berchtesgaden, as Hitlers guest, with Deterding representing Royal Dutch Shell, the Group he founded.

Sir Henri Deterding was eventually honoured with what amounted to a state funeral in Germany, near Berlin, where he was buried. There was a long funeral procession involving hundreds of mourners. Nazi salutes at the graveside, swastika banners on display, wreaths, and personal tributes from Adolf Hitler and Reichsmarschall, Hermann Göring, who sent a group of air corps officers to convey his respects.

The message accompanying a wreath from Hitler said:

“In the name and by order of the Fuehrer, I greet in you, Heinrich Deterding, a great friend of the Germans.”

The mourners included many senior Nazi military officers and officials along with a contingent of Shell Group directors and other senior Shell staff paying their respects. Mr. Frederick Godber, Mr. J.B.A. Kessler (giving the Nazi salute?), Baron Van Eck, Mr. George Legh-Jones, and Sir Andrew Agnew, all group managing directors of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, were mingling with the Nazis. A number of them continued Shell’s close relationship with the Nazis after the death of Sir Henri.

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