|IG Farben Plant at Auschwtiz-Monowitz (borrowed without permission)|
I would recommend that you google Bayer and take a look at their connection to IG Farben and Auschwitz during World War II. It's horrifying to know what companies were up to in the throes of Nazism and Hitler's regime. If you don't get a chance to read about it, here's an excerpt:
During World War II, IG Farben used slave labor in factories that it built adjacent to German concentration camps, notably Auschwitz, and the sub-camps of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp. IG Farben purchased prisoners for human experimentation of a sleep-inducing drug and later reported that all test subjects died. IG Farben held a large investment in Degesch which produced Zyclon B used to gas and kill prisoners during the Holocaust.So the headline about Bayer sent me looking for information about the members of my mother's family who had perished in the Holocaust. I found myself looking at lists of names of the dead. There are so many, and I wasn't sure I had the exact spelling of the name. But it turns out I did, and I found this at the Yad Vashem website. I took a screen shot and then annotated it. My mother's mother's maiden name was Dienstfrei, three names here are her two brothers and her mother.
After World War II, the Allies broke up IG Farben and Bayer reappeared as an individual business "inheriting" many of IG Farben's assets. Fritz ter Meer, an IG Farben board member from 1926 to 1945 who directed operations at the IG Farben plant at Auschwitz, was sentenced to seven years in prison during the IG Farben Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. He was elected Bayer's supervisory board head in 1956.
In 1995, Helge Wehmeier, the head of Bayer, publicly apologized to Elie Wiesel for the company's involvement in the Holocaust at a lecture in Pittsburgh
post about that more then ten years ago. Micah had a son who was living in California, someone my parents met, went to his wedding, and kept in touch with a for a while.
Well, I thought I should check Facebook to see if I could reconnect with these long lost relatives. And, of course, I did. Turns out that not only are they still in California, but their youngest son had just started his freshman year here at the university in Arcata. They were all here in August! What a crazy surprise. I wrote to say we hope they find some comfort in knowing that there is family here on the far north coast. Yes, family. This young boy's now-deceased grandfather was my mother's first cousin. And here we are practically neighbors. The history of our connection is almost beyond what I can convey.
So, Bayer and Monsanto, as much as I truly detest your presence on earth, I am glad you sent me on this journey.