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Business and the Holocaust
Articles | Excerpts | Government Resources | Historical Media Reports | Media Reports | Organizations | Restitution | War Crimes Trials
©The Hanover Historical Review 1999.   Used by permission.
Power, Ignorance, and Anti-Semitism:
Henry Ford and His War on Jews
by Jonathan R. Logsdon
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           The testimony given by Baldus von Schirach, former leader of the Hitler Youth, was no less condemning. Von Schirach testified that he had first become an anti-Semite after reading a German edition of The International Jew translated as The Eternal Jew. "You have no idea what a great influence this book had on the thinking of German youth," von Schirach stated. "The younger generation looked with envy to the symbols of success and prosperity like Henry Ford, and if he said the Jews were to blame, we naturally believed him."289

          It is interesting to note that the German Ford plants in Cologne and Berlin had both utilized slave labor during the war. "The conditions were terrible," remembered Cologne worker Elsa Iwanowa, who was taken from Russia by German troops at the age of 16. "They put us in barracks, on three tier bunks. It was very cold; they did not pay us at all and scarcely fed us. The only reason that we survived was that we were young and fit."290

          It is unclear how much contact the home office in Dearborn had with its German enterprise after December of 1941. The company later claimed that connections had been completely severed during the war years. This excuse has been disputed, with some arguing that American Ford received dividends from its German plants worth approximately $60,000 from 1940-1943.291 Nothing has been conclusively proven to date. However; according to American Intelligence reports, vehicles manufactured at German Ford and G.M. plants made up "the backbone of the German transportation system." After the war; Ford demanded reparations from the U.S. Government for wartime damages resulting from allied bombings on its German plants. It was awarded almost $1 million, mainly due to damage inflicted on the military truck complex in Cologne.292

          Shortly before his death, Henry Ford was confined to his bed in a state of depression. His physician arranged for a reporter to visit, in an effort to arouse Ford from his gloomy state. The newsman innocently asked Ford what the chances were of his company going public. This was all it took, according to witness Jack Davis, to energize the old man. "I'll take my factory down brick by brick," Ford announced, "before I'll let any of the Jew speculators get stock in the company." The shocked physician quickly removed the newsman and announced that that was enough questions for the day.293

          Henry Ford died on April 7, 1947. Edsel had died three years earlier of stomach cancer. The company now passed firmly into the hands of Edsel's equally compassionate son, Henry Ford II. The younger Ford spent the rest of his life attempting to atone for the sins of his grandfather. In 1951, Ford II received the annual Medallion of the Anti Defamation League for his work in advancing human rights. He set up company branches in Israel and made numerous contributions to Yeshiva University and various Jewish organizations. The younger Ford had a number of Jewish acquaintances and was well liked in the Jewish community. This commitment still continues at Ford. In 1997, the company sponsored the network premier of "Schindler's List." In order to air the program commercial free and uncensored, Ford underwrote the entire cost. A Jewish man said it best in 1967 when he compared the new generation to the elder Ford: "Certainly the grandsons have given every indication of being enlightened, of making every effort to atone for the sins of that contemptible old bastard ignoramus."294

          However; Ford II's warm friend in the Jewish Community, Max Fisher; commented around the same time that the past was still quite vivid: "You have no idea how this seeps through the Jewish community, even through the generations. Today, here in Detroit, people still feel it."295

         The International Jew has remained in print in various languages ever since it first emerged in the 1920's. In the 1950's, President Juan Peron defended its sale in Argentina as being a representation of the freedom of the press. In 1964, articles from it were serialized in Thunderbolt, the official magazine of The National States Rights Party. In 1972, The John Birch Society republished Dearborn Independent articles in a book entitled None Dare call it Conspiracy.296

          Currently, The International Jew is being circulated in Egypt and Russia and can be seen displayed in the windows of British Muslim bookstores, according to the 1997 Anti-Semitism World Report. In Germany, it is distributed by the growing Neo-Nazi movement. It is published in Brazil by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. In The United States, it can be obtained from the California based Noontide Press. It is promoted by America's Promise Ministries church and has been available at the rallies of Louis Farrakhan.297

          The International Jew is more readily available, however; on the Internet. A site called "Jew Watch" offers the book's complete text along with a "special" introduction by Gerald L.K. Smith. The site also includes an essay entitled "The Wisdom of Henry Ford," which characterizes The International Jew as being "a book for all Americans.... It is scrupulously fair; even handed, and factual." Transcripts of the book, always attributed to Ford, can also be found at such Internet sites as "This Time The World: The National Socialist Archive," "G.O.A.L.: God's Order Affirmed in Love," "Reconstructing a National Identity For Christian Whites," "Bible Believers," "Aryan Nations," "Alpha: Pro- Aryan," and various Islamic homepages.

          For much of this century, Henry Ford was among the most influential men in the world. He was the very embodiment of success and prosperity to countless millions. However; he left an ugly legacy of hatred and bigotry that is still felt today. Henry Ford, more than anyone, is responsible for the widespread influence of anti-Semitism in the United States. Not once did he issue a genuine retraction for his Jewish attacks. All of his excuses and disclaimers were self serving and were never actually written by him. He surrounded himself with sordid characters and ignored the pleadings of reason. He was a prime influence on the Nazis- the most notorious group of mass murderers in the history of mankind. Much of America still regards Henry Ford as a hero. However; it is doubtful that the Jewish Community will ever forgive him for the horrible wrongs that he inflicted on both the Jewish people and the truth.

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End Notes

289. Pool and Pool, 90.

290. Washington Post Weekly Edition, 7 December 1998, 7.

291. Ibid.

292. "Henry Ford was no Oskar Schlindler.", Corporate Watch

293. Lacey, 473.

294. Lewis, 159.

295. Herndon, 349.

296. Lewis, 156.

297. Anti-Defamation League. "Growing Exploitation of the Internet By Anti-Semites and Racist..." 11 November 1998.


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