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Index of Shell leadership financial support for the Nazis

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Index of Shell leadership financial support for the Nazis

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Dutch cartoons provide evidence of a perception in pre-WW2 years that Sir Henri Deterding was a major financier of Hitler’s Nazi regime. Identified by name in both cartoons, Deterding is depicted handing over a bag of money to the Nazis containing a large sum – 1000 000 00 – in unspecified currency: see enlargements 1 and 2. Overwhelming evidence confirms that the perception was well founded.

INDEX IN DATE ORDER

Extracts from relevant news reports and books, many authored before WW2, are listed in date order, providing compelling evidence of what transpired all those years ago.

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Shell historians attempt to distance Deterding from Hitler

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Chapter 16: Shell historians attempt to distance Deterding from Hitler

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Shell’s historians downplayed the relationship between Hitler and Deterding. As far they are concerned, the two never met. They said that a request by Sir Henri for a meeting with Hitler in March 1933 was rebuffed and disregarded Deterding’s claim that he met with Hitler in November 1933.  Not only were there meetings. Deterding “was revered and ultimately mourned by Hitler.”

Shell’s historians portrayed the relationship between Deterding and Hitler as standoffish on the part of Hitler, with all of Deterding’s attempts to meet with him being rebuffed. See pages 481 to 485 of RDSH V1.

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Control of Royal Dutch Shell companies in Nazi-occupied Europe

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Chapter 14: Control of Royal Dutch Shell companies in Nazi-occupied Europe

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Hauptmann Eckhardt von Klass

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Hauptmann Eckhardt von Klass (seated)

The Nazis presented considerable challenges to Royal Dutch Shell over control of its subsidiaries in occupied countries. The above caricature (and seated Nazi officer) is a former Shell director, Hauptmann Eckhardt von Klass, the Verwalter (administrator) appointed by the Nazis to “exercise supervision over Group companies in occupied Europe.” See pages 80 and 81 from RDSH V2.

Before, during, and after World War 2, Royal Dutch Shell was the owner of companies located in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe, including Rhenania-Ossag.

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Shell collaborated in the Nazi annexation of Austria and occupation of Czechoslovakia

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Chapter 11: Shell collaborated in the Nazi annexation of Austria and occupation of Czechoslovakia

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German forces entered Vienna on 17 March 1938 (above). The Nazis annexed Austria in what became known as the Anschluss and occupied Czechoslovakia a year later. Royal Dutch Shell authorized its German subsidiary Rhenania-Ossag, to take over Shell operating companies in both countries.

Being one of the two biggest German oil concerns and the main lube oil manufacturer, Shell subsidiary Rhenania-Ossag was an industry leader in Nazi Germany. Many of its directors and staff were Nazis.

Following Hitler’s annexation of Austria on 12 March 1938 (photo) and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Dutch directors of Royal Dutch gave approval to Rhenania-Ossag taking over the Shell operating companies in those countries.

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Royal Dutch Shell and Nazi slave labor

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Chapter 13: Royal Dutch Shell and Nazi slavelabor

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The photograph shows military uniforms worn by marching employees of the Shell German subsidiary, Rhenania-Ossag. A photograph on the next page shows swastika flags on display during a staff meeting. Rhenania-Ossag was part and parcel of the Nazi movement when the Shell Group was in undisputed full control of the company.  A senior director was involved in Nazi military planning.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-16-47-56In 1935, Rhenania-Ossag (owned by Royal Dutch Shell) was Germany’s second-largest gas station company, with 16,363 petrol pumps and several refineries. There were active Nazi members in the workforce and management. It’s DG, Dr. Erich Boeder, was involved in Nazi military planning (oil production) on behalf of the company.

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Shell support for the Nazis continued after the retirement of Sir Henri as leader

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Chapter 10: Shell support for the Nazis continued after the retirement of Sir Henri as leader

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The above photograph is of Sir Henri Deterding around the time of his retirement as absolute leader of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, standing alongside his third wife, a thirty-eight-year-old German-born ardent Nazi, Charlotte Knaack. Her admiration for the Nazis probably strengthened his views, and no doubt played a part in the decision to move their home to Germany.

In October 1936, the first news reports of the pending resignation of Sir Henri Deterding as the leader of Royal Dutch Shell Group were published.

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Great friend of the Germans

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Chapter 5: Great friend of the Germans

This chapter deals with the role of Royal Dutch Shell as a contributor to the economy of Nazi Germany and financier of the Third Reich via its long-time Director General, Sir Henri Deterding.  The funding was of a scale that led to Hitler paying homage to him as a great friend of the Germans. Sir Henri actively supported the rearmament of Nazi Germany. He was a generous friend that the Nazis tried to exploit even after his death.

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Any major company in existence for over 100 years is bound to have some skeletons in the closet. In the case of Royal Dutch Shell, it arguably includes indirect responsibility for millions of deaths.

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Introduction

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INTRODUCTION

SUMMARY OF MAIN CONTENT

  • 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. 
  • As a major financial contributor to Nazi Germany in pre-WW2 years, the Royal Dutch Shell Group, under Dutch leadership, arguably had some indirect responsibility for the death toll in the subsequent war, in which over 50 million people perished.

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  • Shell publicly boasted at the time about the importance of its financial contribution to the German economy. The claims were made by Shell in Germany while the country was under Nazi control.
  • In years leading up to WW2, Shell conspired with partners, Standard Oil, and German chemical giant I.G. Farben, to covertly import oil products, including airplane fuel, from the US into Nazi Germany. The US government was kept in the dark.
  • I.G. Farben supplied the Zyklon-B gas used in the Holocaust to kill millions of people.
  • The portrayal in 2007 by Shell’s paid historians of a distant relationship between Deterding and Hitler, in which all attempts by Deterding to meet with Hitler were rebuffed is simply untrue.
  • In fact, their meetings included a four-day one-on-one summit held at Hitler’s mountain retreat, as reported by Reuters in 1934.
  • Deterding has been described by independent authors as “a hardline Nazi revered and ultimately mourned by Hitler.” That description is confirmed by the evidence within this book and evidence accessible via links.

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  • There are credible allegations that the Royal Dutch Shell Group, under the control of Dutch directors, used forced labor at its German subsidiary, Rhenania-Ossag. Many of its directors and staff were fanatical Nazis.
  • Royal Dutch Shell collaborated in the annexation and occupation of sovereign countries by the Nazis – Austria and Czechoslovakia – before the outbreak of WW2.
  • The donations and financial contributions to the Third Reich were all carried out under the control of Dutch directors of companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group.
  • In 1936, while still a director of multiple Royal Dutch Shell group companies, Sir Henri purchased the Castle Dobbin estate North of Berlin for 1,050,000 Reich marks from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

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  • Deterding moved into Castle Dobbin with his young German wife, Charlotte-Minna Knaack, his secretary, a fanatical Nazi said by one source to be a former private secretary of Hitler’s.
  • Sir Henri’s friend Hermann Göring, the founder of the Gestapo, regularly visited Castle Dobbin to go hunting with him. Deterding generously gave Göring the Rominten Hunting Lodge in East Prussia as a spectacular gift. Kaiser Wilhelm II once owned it.
  • In 1936 and 1937, Sir Henri – while still a director of multiple companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group, in which he held a controlling interest – made huge donations of food (“millions of tonnes”) to Nazi Germany as part of the “Winter Help” scheme. A New York Times report in June 1937 (“Deterding to Distribute More Food in Germany”) specifically linked the food donations to Germany’s rearmament policy.
  • The massive donations enabled significant funds to be diverted at a time when the Nazi regime was engaged in urgent rearmament of its military might.
  • Seven thousand railway wagons were used in the first immense delivery.” 
  • Deterding died just before the outbreak of WW2. He was honored by a Nazi ceremonial funeral at Castle Dobbin in February 1939. It was attended by a full contingent of Royal Dutch Shell Group directors mingling with Nazi military officers.
  • A glowing tribute to Sir Henri on behalf of the German nation was inscribed on a wreath sent by Adolf Hitler. 
  • The Bishop who conducted the funeral service was a  supporter of Hitler and a rabid anti-Semite.
  • Film footage of the Nazi funeral spectacular exists.
  • Fears that the Nazis intended to exploit the death of Sir Henri, just before the start of WW2, to seize control of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, were well founded.  The UK National Archives has kindly given permission for related documents and correspondence to be featured within this book.
  • Dutch directors of the Royal Dutch Shell Group engaged in anti-Semitic policies against Shell employees and were also guilty of collaboration and appeasement.
  • Royal Dutch Shell employees in the Netherlands were instructed to complete a form that for some amounted to a self-declared death warrant. Many did not survive the war.
  • The Nazis did succeed in gaining control over Dobbin Castle.
  • In the latter part of WW2, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, SS leader Heinrich Himmler and General Alfred Jodl, Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command, were all stationed at Dobbin Castle.

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  • Hitler’s final despairing message from his Berlin bunker, a day before he committed suicide, was sent to Field Marshal Keitel at Dobbin Castle, whilst it was still owned by the Deterding family. Strangely, that somehow seems appropriate.
  • Evidence was on display at Castle Dobbin, signed by Hitler, confirming Deterding’s financial support for the Nazis. Also a personal testimony by Herman Göring acknowledging the generosity of his friend and benefactor, Sir Henri Deterding.

DETERDING’S PALATIAL UK RESIDENCES

Kelling Hall, in Holt, Norfolk, shown center, was one of Deterding’s palatial UK residences. It is located near the Sandringham estate of the British royal family.

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Built for Sir Henri in 1913, in grounds of 1,600 acres, the property was sold in 2008 by his grandson James Deterding for £25 million (over $37 million USD).

Deterding at various times owned a Dutch estate in Wassenaar near the Hague, a grand country home in Buckhurst Park in Winkfield, near Ascot in Berkshire, a fashionable apartment in Park Lane, London, and a villa at St. Moritz in Switzerland.

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The Nazi Funeral of Royal Dutch Shell Leader Sir Henri Deterding

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Chapter 5: The Nazi Funeral of Royal Dutch Shell Leader Sir Henri Deterding

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On 10 February 1939, a burial ceremony with many of the trappings of a state funeral was held at a private estate near Berlin. The spectacle included a funeral procession led by a horse-drawn funeral hearse with senior Nazis officials and Shell directors in attendance. An indication of the high esteem in which Sir Henri Deterding was held by his Shell colleagues and by Adolf Hitler, who sent a wreath.

Sir Henri Deterding, a foreign national, was honored with what amounted to a state funeral in Germany, where he was buried.

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Media coverage of Sir Henri Deterding’s Death

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Chapter 4: Media coverage of Sir Henri Deterding’s Death

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Sir Henri Deterding died in St. Moritz, Switzerland on 4 February 1939 several months before the outbreak of the 2nd World War. As could be expected given his global fame as an oil mogul and a man of wealth, mystery and intrigue, there were numerous newspaper obituaries from around the world. Many mentioned his financial support for Hitler and the Nazi movement in Germany.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-14-55-06It might seem odd to focus at this early stage on the death of Sir Henri Deterding, but the global news coverage of his death and even more significantly, the location – Nazi Germany – of his extraordinary funeral, speak volumes.

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Royal Dutch Shell and the Nazis

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Chapter 3: Royal Dutch Shell and the Nazis

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screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-12-42-32In the years just before WW2, a number of Dutch top executives at Royal Dutch Shell let their principles be corrupted by the Third Reich.

All became Nazi appeasers while engaging in activities that financially benefitted Nazi Germany and Shell.

They included at least five Dutch Group Managing Directors of Royal Dutch Shell.

Namely, Sir Henri Deterding, J.E.F. de Kok (who became Deterding’s successor as Director General), Jean Baptiste August “Guus” Kessler Jr., (another subsequent Shell DG), James M de Booy and J.C. Baron van Eck.

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The best historians Shell could buy

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Chapter 1: The best historians Shell could buy

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Shell commissioned a group of eminent “independent” historians (above) mostly Dutch, to author a history of Royal Dutch Shell to mark the Group’s centenary in 2007.  The introduction in Volume 1 pledged independent research and “a proper and even-handed assessment of Deterding.” Something went amiss because the “history,” as published in regard to his dealings with Hitler, is simply untrue.

On 24 May 2015, a light-hearted story in the Prufrock column of The Sunday Times posed the question: “ARE corporate histories the new harbingers of doom?”  It cited the release of corporate histories of two multinational banks that proved embarrassing to the banks due to unforeseen developments.

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Henri Deterding

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-14-26-11EBOOK BY JOHN DONOVAN: SIR HENRI DETERDING AND THE NAZI HISTORY OF ROYAL DUTCH SHELL

The ebook can be purchased via Amazon websites around the world. Chapter headings are listed below. The introduction and some sample Chapters are accessible via the hyperlinks provided.

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTERS

  1. The best historians Shell could buy
  2. News story February 2015: Shell ship named after a Nazi SS Officer
  3. Royal Dutch Shell and the Nazis
  4. Media coverage of Sir Henri Deterding’s Death
  5. The Nazi Funeral of Royal Dutch Shell leader Sir Henri Deterding
  6. Great friend of the Germans
  7. You Can Be Sure of Shell
  8. Royal Dutch Shell Anti-Semitism
  9. Deterding’s support for Nazi Stormtroopers
  10. Shell support for the Nazis continued after the retirement of Sir Henri as leader
  11. Shell collaborated in the Nazi annexation of Austria and occupation of Czechoslovakia
  12. Shell’s notorious business partner: IG Farben
  13. Royal Dutch Shell and Nazi slave labor
  14. Control of Royal Dutch Shell companies in Nazi-occupied Europe
  15. Nazi connections relating to Shell
  16. Shell historians attempt to distance Deterding from Hitler
  17. Why does it still matter?
  18. Time for a rare public apology from Shell?
  19. Key Dates
  20. Shell cloak and dagger activities
  21. Wikipedia: The sanitization of Shell’s history
  22. Authors unique connection with Shell

Index of Shell leadership financial support for the Nazis

©Copyright © 2016 by John Donovan

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the Author, except for the use of brief Extracts. The Book is published for educational and research purposes.

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