German Big Business and the Holocaust

7/10/2023; 88 minutes

Among the most striking exhibits at the Auschwitz museum are undoubtedly the mountains of loot stolen from Jews murdered upon arrival. Shoes, suitcases, spectacles, and more fill entire rooms in the former barracks of the main camp. Surviving the Shoah when their owners did not, they constitute a potent proof of the Nazis' abiding concern with material gain. In this talk, author and historian Peter Hayes traces the ways by which the German corporate world became deeply implicated in—and in many respects indispensable to—the Nazi regime's persecution, exploitation, and murder of Europe's Jews. He argues that these developments stemmed inexorably from decisions made and actions taken by the nation's leading corporate executives in 1933, at the very outset of Nazi rule.

Hayes is author or editor of 13 books, including the best-selling "Das Amt und die Vergangenheit" and "Why? Explaining the Holocaust," which has been translated into several foreign languages including German, Slovak, Spanish, and Chinese. He is currently completing (with Stephan Lindner of Munich) "Profits and Persecution: German Big Business, the Nazi Economy, and the Holocaust." Recorded on 05/17/2023.

Links & Resources

More Programs With


Subscribe to receive email notifications about featured videos.
(c)2020 Regents of the University of California. All right reserved. Terms and Conditions of Use.