IG Farben

From Academic Kids

IG Farben (short for Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG) (and also called I.G. Farbenfabriken) was a German conglomerate of companies formed in 1925 and even earlier during World War I. Farben is German for "paints", "dyes", or "colors", and initially many of these companies produced dyes, but soon began to embrace more and more advanced chemistry. The founding of the IG Farben was a reaction to Germany's defeat in the First World War. IG Farben held a near total monopoly on the chemical production, later during the time of Nazi Germany. It is the German chemical firm that was the financial core of the Hitler regime, and was the key supplier of poison gas to the Nazi racial extermination program. Before the war the dyestuff companies had a near monopoly in the world market which they lost during the conflict. One solution for regaining this position was a large merger.

IG Farben consisted of the following major companies and several smaller ones.

During the planning of the invasion of Czechoslovakia and Poland, IG Farben cooperated closely with the Nazi officials and directed which chemical plants should be secured and delivered to IG Farben.

In 1941, investigation exposed a "marriage" between Standard Oil Co. and I.G. Farben. It also brought new evidence concerning complex price and marketing agreements between du Pont, a major investor in and producer of leaded gasoline, U.S. Industrial Alcohol Co. and their subsidiary, Cuba Distilling Co. The investigation was eventually dropped, like dozens of others in many different kinds of industries, due to the need to enlist industry support in the war effort. However, the top directors of many oil companies agreed to resign and oil industry stocks in molasses companies were sold off as part of a compromise worked out.

IG Farben built a factory for producing synthetic oil and rubber (from coal) in Auschwitz, which was the beginning of SS activity and camps in this location during the Holocaust. At its peak in 1944, this factory made use of 83,000 slave laborers. The pesticide Zyklon B, for which IG Farben held the patent and which was used in the gas chambers for mass murder, was manufactured by Degesch (Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Schdlingsbekmpfung), a company owned equal 42.2 percent in shares by IG Farben and which had IG managers in its Managing Committee.

Of the 24 directors of IG Farben indicted in the so-called IG Farben Trial (1947-1948)c before a U.S. military tribunal at the subsequent Nuremberg Trials, 13 were sentenced to prison terms between 1½ and eight years.

Due to the severity of the war crimes committed by IG Farben during World War II and the extensive involvement of the management in the Nazi atrocities, the company was considered to be too corrupt to be allowed to continue to exist, and the allies considered confiscating all of its assets and putting it out of business. Instead, in 1951, the company was split up into the original constituent companies. The four largest quickly bought the smaller ones, and today only Agfa, BASF, and Bayer remain, while Hoechst merged with the French Rhne-Poulenc Rorer to form Aventis, now based in Strasbourg, France.

After the Holocaust, I.G. Farben joined with Americans to develop chemical warfare agents. Together they founded the "Chemagrow Corporation" in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chemagrow Corporation employed German and American specialists for the U.S. Army Chemical Corps. Dr. Otto Bayer was I.G. Farben's research director. He developed and tested chemical warfare agents with Dr. Gerhard Schrader.

In 1967, Monsanto entered into a joint venture with IG Farben.

Even though the company was officially liquidated in 1952, it continued to be traded on the German stock exchange as a trust, holding a few real estate assets until it was finally declared bankrupt on November 10, 2003 by its liquidators, after contributing 500,000 Deutschmarks (160,000 British pounds or 233,000 American dollars) towards a foundation for former slave laborers under the Nazi regime and the remaining property, worth 21 million Deutschmarks (6.7 million British pounds or 10 million American dollars) going to a buyer. During this lengthy period, the holding company had been continually criticized for failing to pay any compensation to the slave laborers, which was the stated reason for its continued existence after 1952. The company, in turn, blamed the ongoing legal disputes with the former slave laborers as being the reason it could not be legally dissolved and the remaining assets distributed as reparations. Each year, the company's annual meeting in Frankfurt was the site of demonstrations by hundreds of protesters.

Mentions in Fiction

See also

Sources

fr:Interessen Gemeinshaft Farbenindustrie nl:IG Farben ja:イーゲー・ファルベン社 pt:IG Farben sv:IG Farben

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