Bush Family - Nazi Dealings
- WWII to 1951
by John Buchanan and Stacey
from The New Hampshire Gazette
Vol. 248, No. 3, November 7, 2003
After the seizures in late 1942 of five
U.S. enterprises he managed on behalf of Nazi industrialist Fritz
Thyssen, Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President George W.
Bush, failed to divest himself of more than a dozen enemy national
relationships that continued until as late as 1951, newly-discovered
U.S. government documents reveal.
Furthermore, the records show that Bush
and his colleagues routinely attempted to conceal their activities
from government investigators.
Bush's partners in the secret web of Thyssen-controlled
ventures included former New York Governor W. Averell Harriman
and his younger brother, E. Roland Harriman. Their quarter-century
of Nazi financial transactions, from 1924-1951, were conducted
by the New York private banking firm, Brown Brothers Harriman.
The White House did not return phone calls
Although the additional seizures under
the Trading with the Enemy Act did not take place until after
the war, documents from The National Archives and Library of Congress
confirm that Bush and his partners continued their Nazi dealings
unabated. These activities included a financial relationship with
the German city of Hanover and several industrial concerns. They
went undetected by investigators until after World War Two.
At the same time Bush and the Harrimans
were profiting from their Nazi partnerships, W. Averell Harriman
was serving as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's personal
emissary to the United Kingdom during the toughest years of the
war. On October 28, 1942, the same day two key Bush-Harriman-run
businesses were being seized by the U.S. government, Harriman
was meeting in London with Field Marshall Smuts to discuss the
Denial and Deceit
While Harriman was concealing his Nazi
relationships from his government colleagues, Cornelius Livense,
the top executive of the interlocking German concerns held under
the corporate umbrella of Union Banking Corporation (UBC), repeatedly
tried to mislead investigators, and was sometimes supported in
his subterfuge by Brown Brothers Harriman.
All of the assets of UBC and its related
businesses belonged to Thyssen-controlled enterprises, including
his Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam, the documents
Nevertheless, Livense, president of UBC,
claimed to have no knowledge of such a relationship. Strangely
enough, (Livense) claims he does not know the actual ownership
of the company, states a government report.
H.D Pennington, manager of Brown Brothers
Harriman and a director of UBC for many years, also lied to
investigators about the secret and well-concealed relationship
with Thyssen's Dutch bank, according to the documents.
Investigators later reported that the
company was wholly owned by Thyssen's Dutch bank.
Despite such ongoing subterfuge, U.S.
investigators were able to show that a careful examination of
UBC's general ledger, cash books and journals from 1919 until
the present date clearly establish that the principal and practically
only source of funds has been Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart.
In yet another attempt to mislead investigators,
Livense said that $240,000 in banknotes in a safe deposit box
at Underwriters Trust Co. in New York had been given to him by
another UBC-Thyssen associate, H.J. Kouwenhoven, managing director
of Thyssen's Dutch bank and a director of the August Thyssen Bank
in Berlin. August Thyssen was Fritz's father.
The government report shows that Livense
first neglected to report the $240,000, then claimed that it had
been given to him as a gift by Kouwenhoven. However, by the time
Livense filed a financial disclosure with U.S. officials, he changed
his story again and reported the sum as a debt rather than a cash
In yet another attempt to deceive the
governments of both the U.S. and Canada, Livense and his partners
misreported the facts about the sale of a Canadian Nazi front
enterprise, La Cooperative Catholique des Consommateurs de Combustible,
which imported German coal into Canada via the web of Thyssen-controlled
The Canadian authorities, however, were
not taken in by this maneuver; a U.S. government report states.
The coal company was later seized by Canadian authorities.
After the war, a total of 18 additional
Brown Brothers Harriman and UBC-related client assets were seized
under The Trading with the Enemy Act, including several that showed
the continuation of a relationship with the Thyssen family after
the initial 1942 seizures.
The records also show that Bush and the
Harrimans conducted business after the war with related concerns
doing business in or moving assets into Switzerland, Panama, Argentina
and Brazil - all critical outposts for the flight of Nazi capital
after Germany's surrender in 1945. Fritz Thyssen died in Argentina
One of the final seizures, in October
1950, concerned the U.S. assets of a Nazi baroness named Theresia
Maria Ida Beneditka Huberta Stanislava Martina von Schwarzenberg,
who also used two shorter aliases. Brown Brothers Harriman, where
Prescott Bush and the Harrimans were partners, attempted to convince
government investigators that the baroness had been a victim of
Nazi persecution and therefore should be allowed to maintain her
It appears, rather, that the subject
was a member of the Nazi party, government investigators concluded.
At the same time the last Brown Brothers
Harriman client assets were seized, Prescott Bush announced his
Senate campaign that led to his election in 1952.
In 1943, six months after the seizure
of UBC and its related companies, a government investigator noted
in a Treasury Department memo dated April 8, 1943 that the FBI
had inquired about the status of any investigation into Bush and
I gave 'a memorandum' which did not say
anything about the American officers of subject, the investigator
wrote. (Another investigator) wanted to know whether any specific
action had been taken by us with respect to them.
No further action beyond the initial seizures
was ever taken, and the newly-confirmed records went unseen by
the American people for six decades.
What Does It All Mean?
So why are the documents relevant today?
The story of Prescott Bush and Brown
Brothers Harriman is an introduction to the real history of our
country, says L.A. art book publisher and historian Edward Boswell.
It exposes the money-making motives behind our foreign policies,
dating back a full century. The ability of Prescott Bush and the
Harrimans to bury their checkered pasts also reveals a collusion
between Wall Street and the media that exists to this day.
Sheldon Drobny, a Chicago entrepreneur
and philanthropist who will soon launch a liberal talk radio network,
says the importance of the new documents is that they prove a
long pattern of Bush family war profiteering that continues today
via George H.W. Bush's intimate relationship with the Saudi royal
family and the bin Ladens, conducted via the super-secret Carlyle
Group, whose senior advisers include former U.S. Secretary of
State James A. Baker III.
In the post-9/11 world, Drobny finds the
Bush-Saudi connection deeply troubling. "Trading with the
enemy is trading with the enemy." he says. "That's the
relevance of the documents and what they show."
Lawrence Lader, an abortion rights activist
and the author of more than 40 books, says the relevance lies
with the fact that the sitting President of the United States
would lead the nation to war based on lies and against the wishes
of the rest of the world. Lader and others draw comparisons between
President Bush's invasion of Iraq and Hitler's occupation of Poland
in 1939 - the event that sparked World War Two.
However, others see an even larger significance.
The discovery of the Bush-Nazi documents
raises new questions about the role of Prescott Bush and his influential
business partners in the secret emigration of Nazi war criminals,
which allowed them to escape justice in Germany, says Bob Fertik,
co-founder of Democrats.com and an amateur 'Nazi hunter.' It also
raises questions about the importance of Nazi recruits to the
CIA in its early years, in what was called Operation Paperclip,
and Prescott Bush's role in that dark operation.
Fertik and others, including former Justice
Department Nazi war crimes prosecutor John Loftus, a Constitutional
attorney in Miami, and a former Veterans Administration official,
believe Prescott Bush and the Harrimans should have been tried
Now, say Fertik and Loftus, there should
be a Congressional investigation into the Bush family's Nazi past
and its concealment from the American people for 60 years.
For his part, Fertik is pessimistic that
even a Congressional investigation can thwart the war profiteering
of the present Bush White House. "It's impossible to stop
it," he says, "when the worst war profiteers are George
W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who operate in secrecy behind the vast
powers of the White House."
John Buchanan is a journalist and magazine
writer based in Miami Beach. He can be reached by e-mail at "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
Stacey Michael is a New Orleans-based
journalist and the author of Religious Conceit. His most recent
book is Weapons of Mass Dysfunction: The Art of Faith-Based
Politics, due in early 2004. He can be reached by email at "mailto:email@example.com"
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