The shame of it all…..
Bayer is the well known producer of Bayer Aspirin. Bayer’s past a dark one.
Bayer a German company. Founded in 1863. It is most well known for the discovery of aspirin.
In 1925, six German companies merged to form the German conglomerate IG Farben.
Bayer continued to operate under the Bayer name while part of the conglomerate.
Following World War II, IG Farben went through two splits. The last one resulting in 3 companies, one of which is the Bayer known today.
I have taken the time to briefly spell out mergers, etc. since most historians refer to the World War II activities, to be described herein, as having been conducted by Bayer. Bayer at the time operating as a part of IG Farben.
Note that Helge Wehmeir, Bayer CEO, offered a public apology in 1995 for Bayer’s actions during World War II (covering years before World War II also – 1935-45) and the Holocaust.
Now for that which contributed to Bayer’s dark past.
Auschwitz was more than a concentration camp. A plant was constructed on Auschwitz grounds that was owned 100 percent by IG Farben. Known as Auschwitz III. The plant was the largest in the world producing gasoline and rubber.
Prisoners considered appropriate candidates were sent to the factory. For labor and human experiments. Non concentration persons were sent to Auschwitz III to work as slave laborers. Half of the 300,00 workers were slave labor or conscripts, 30,000 Auschwitz prisoners.
Auschwitz prisoners were used for human experiments for a new vaccine being developed. All died from the testing. Those sent to the gas chambers were privy to the synthetic gas Zykion-B, invented by IG Farben.
A group of 150 ladies were sent to Auschwitz III. Bayer injected not before tested chemicals into the women while seeking a cure for tuberculosis. All 150 ladies died.
Another prisoner at age 13 was given tablets and pills as part of a birth control test. The birth control was permanent. She is still alive. She has never been able to conceive.
Dr. Victor Capesius conducted many of the tests. He worked for Bayer. He assisted Joseph Mengele, the Angel of Death, with genetic experiments on children.
Bayer purchased from the Germans certain of the victims experimented upon. They were sold and paid for like buying cattle. The number and price were negotiated and a contract signed.
Helmuth Vetter was an Auschwitz physician. He was also an SS captain. He drew 2 pay checks. One from the SS and the other Bayer.
One of Vetter’s experiments involved finding new anesthetics. He negotiated and bought 150 female inmates for which he paid RM 170. The women arrived in good condition. As a a result of the experiment, they all died.
Vetter merely requested in writing another 150 ladies at the same price.
The Auschwitz factory was not the only place human testing was done. IG Farben had its own concentration camp. Chemicals and vaccines were tested both on the sick and healthy. Injections, pills, enemas and powders were used. Many became seriously ill or died.
Fritz ter Meer was a IG Farben director and Nazi Party member. He directed Bayer operations at the Auschwitz plant. Tried at Nuremberg, he was sentenced to 7 years in prison. He was released after only serving 2 years.
Meer was elected Chair of Bayer’s Advisory Board in 1956 and so served till 1964.
An additional 23 Farben board members and executives were tried at Nuremberg. None received long jail terms. All released early. All were back to work assisting the German pharmaceutical industry soon after their release.
IG Farben was a huge donor to Hitler’s electoral campaign and a supporter of the Nazis.
IG Farben worked closely with the Nazi Party to operate many plants in European cities seized by the Germans. The conglomerate also held stock in and was represented on the Board of companies which produced the gas used in Holocaust gas chambers.
Some historians suggest that without IG Farben, Hitler could not have risen to power and there would not have been a second World War.
Enjoy your day!