U.S. Corp. Slave Labor


Home Up IBM Reparations

U.S. Corporations and The Third Reich

Nasty Nazi Business - Corporate Deals with Nazi Germany

United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America


"A senior executive of General Motors also received a medal from Hitler, apparently for services rendered, and services to come." *



Corporate Crime Reporter
September 8, 2003


Contrary to Ford Motor Company's denials, the Detroit auto maker was complicit in the use of slave labor at Ford's German facilities during World War II and was well aware of financial ties to the Nazi military regime, according to a new book released last week.

The book, The American Axis: Henry Ford,, Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of the Third Reich, by Max Wallace (St. Martin's Press) reveals that the federal government was so concerned about Ford's trading with the enemy that it launched a criminal investigation into the company and its then President, Edsel Ford.

In a memo obtained by Wallace after the completion of the book, then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover effectively nixed the criminal charge against company by arguing that such a charge might be opposed by the War Department.

Hoover said that in a similar case, antitrust charges had been considered against Bendix Aviation Corporation, and were nixed because "the War Department requested the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice not to proceed with its civil suit against the Bendix Aviation Corporation inasmuch as it was believed such a suit would interfere with the productivity of that concern, which is vital to the national defense at the present time."

But the Treasury Department was apparently ready to recommend that a criminal charge be brought against the company's President, Edsel Ford, the only son of company founder Henry Ford.

But the day the government was set to proceed against Edsel, he died of a heart attack.

In an attempt to stem a wave of adverse publicity from a class action lawsuit brought by a former slave laborer in Ford's Cologne plant, the company held a press conference in Dearborn, Michigan in December 2001.

At that press conference, Ford chief of staff John Rintamaki released the results of a three-year study of Ford's use of forced and slave labor in Germany.

"The use of forced and slave labor in Germany, including at Ford-Werke, was wrong and cannot be justified," Rintamaki said. "In looking back, it must be remembered that all companies operating in Germany at that time had to use labor provided by the German government, and that the Nazi regime chose to provide forced and slave laborers to industry. By being open and honest about the past, even when we find the subject reprehensible, we hope to contribute toward a better understanding of this period of history."

Rintamaki said that the company's investigation "didn't find anything substantial that hasn't been known before, but we did add a great deal of detail on this subject."

But documents uncovered by Wallace show much that hadn't been known before.

"There are a number of shocking letters exchanged after Pearl Harbor between Edsel Ford, then the company's president, and the managing director of Ford's French plant, Maurice Dollfuss," Wallace told Corporate Crime Reporter. "And you can see Edsel Ford, in letter after letter, praising Dollfuss for manufacturing for the Nazi war machine, telling him to keep up the good work because profits were so high."

"So, after Pearl Harbor, after the U.S. is already in the war, Edsel is praising the Ford French executives for continuing to manufacture for the enemy, manufacturing war machines that will undoubtedly help kill American and Allied soldiers on the battlefields of Europe," Wallace said. "This is treason, of course."

In 1943, the U.S. Treasury Department conducted an investigation into Ford's complicity with the Nazi war machine.

According to Wallace, the investigators discovered documents proving that Edsel Ford was trading with the enemy.

In one memo, a Treasury Department lawyer writes: "There is a basis for a case" for indicting Edsel Ford under the Trading With the Enemy Act.

"The only thing that saved Edsel from indictment is the fact that he suddenly died on the day Treasury lawyers were set to move against him," Wallace said. (See Interview, page 9) .