Ford and the Fuhrer (long)

Michael Hoover hoov at
Sat Jan 22 06:00:39 PST 2000

forwarded by Michael Hoover

> January 24, 2000
> Ford and the Fuhrer
> New Documents Reveal the Close Ties Between Dearborn
> and the Nazis
> (source: The Nation)
> We have sworn to you once,
> But now we make our allegiance permanent.
> Like currents in a torrent lost,
> We all flow into you.
> Even when we cannot understand you,
> We will go with you.
> One day we may comprehend,
> How you can see our future.
> Hearts like bronze shields,
> We have placed around you,
> And it seems to us, that only
> You can reveal God's world to us.
> This poem ran in an in-house magazine published by
> Ford Motor Company's German subsidiary in April of
> 1940. Titled "Fuhrer," the poem appeared at a time
> when Ford maintained complete control of the German
> company and two of its top executives sat on the
> subsidiary's board. It was also a time when the object
> of Ford's affection was in the process of overrunning
> Western Europe after already having swallowed up
> Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland in the East.
> I found "Fuhrer" among thousands of pages of documents
> compiled by the Washington law firm of Cohen,
> Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, which sought damages from
> Ford on behalf of a Russian woman who toiled as a
> slave laborer at its German plant. This past
> September, a judge in New Jersey, Joseph Greenaway
> Jr., threw the case out on the grounds that the
> statute of limitations had expired. Greenaway, who did
> not exonerate Ford, did accept the company's argument
> that "redressing the tragedies of that period has
> been--and should continue to be--a nation-to-nation,
> government-to-government concern."
> Ford argues that company headquarters in Dearborn,
> Michigan, lost control of its German plant after the
> United States entered the war in 1941. Hence, Ford is
> not responsible for any actions taken by its German
> subsidiary during World War II. "We did not do
> business in Germany during the war," says Lydia
> Cisaruk, a Ford spokeswoman. "The Nazis confiscated
> the plant there and we lost all contact." She added
> that Ford played a "pivotal role in the American war
> effort. After the United States entered the war, Ford
> threw its entire backing to the war effort."
> That Ford and a number of other American
> firms--including General Motors and Chase
> Manhattan--worked with the Nazis has been previously
> disclosed. So, too, has Henry Ford's role as a leader
> of the America First Committee, which sought to keep
> the United States out of World War II. However, the
> new materials, most of which were found at the
> National Archives, are far more damning than earlier
> revelations. They show, among other things, that up
> until Pearl Harbor, Dearborn made huge revenues by
> producing war materiel for the Reich and that the man
> it selected to run its German subsidiary was an
> enthusiastic backer of Hitler. German Ford served as
> an "arsenal of Nazism" with the consent of
> headquarters in Dearborn, says a US Army report
> prepared in 1945.
> Moreover, Ford's cooperation with the Nazis continued
> until at least August 1942--eight months after the
> United States entered the war--through its properties
> in Vichy France. Indeed, a secret wartime report
> prepared by the US Treasury Department concluded that
> the Ford family sought to further its business
> interests by encouraging Ford of France executives to
> work with German officials overseeing the occupation.
> "There would seem to be at least a tacit acceptance by
> [Henry Ford's son] Mr. Edsel Ford of the reliance...on
> the known neutrality of the Ford family as a basis of
> receipt of favors from the German Reich," it says.
> * * *
> The new information about Ford's World War II role
> comes at a time of growing attention to corporate
> collaboration with the Third Reich. In 1998 Swiss
> banks reached a settlement with Holocaust survivors
> and agreed to pay $1.25 billion. That set the stage
> for a host of new Holocaust-related revelations as
> well as legal claims stemming from such issues as
> looted art and unpaid insurance benefits. This past
> November NBC News reported that Chase Manhattan's
> French branch froze Jewish accounts at the request of
> German occupation authorities. Chase's Paris branch
> manager, Carlos Niedermann, worked closely with German
> officials and approved loans to finance war production
> for the Nazi Army. In Germany the government and about
> fifty firms that employed slave and forced labor
> during World War II--including Bayer, BMW, Volkswagen
> and Daimler-Chrysler--reached agreement in
> mid-December to establish a $5.1 billion fund to pay
> victims. Opel, General Motors' German subsidiary,
> announced it would contribute to the fund. (As
> reported last year in the Washington Post, an FBI
> report from 1941 quoted James Mooney, GM's director of
> overseas operations, as saying he would refuse to do
> anything that might "make Hitler mad.") Ford refused
> to participate in the settlement talks, though its
> collaboration with the Third Reich was egregious and
> extensive. Ford's director of global operations, Jim
> Vella, said in a statement, "Because Ford did not do
> business in Germany during the war--our Cologne plant
> was confiscated by the Nazi government--it would be
> inappropriate for Ford to participate in such a fund."
> The generous treatment allotted Ford Motor by the Nazi
> regime is partially attributable to the violent
> anti-Semitism of the company's founder, Henry Ford.
> His pamphlet The International Jew: The World's
> Foremost Problem brought him to the attention of a
> former German Army corporal named Adolf Hitler, who in
> 1923 became chairman of the fledgling Nazi Party. When
> Ford was considering a run for the presidency that
> year, Hitler told the Chicago Tribune, "I wish that I
> could send some of my shock troops to Chicago and
> other big American cities to help." (The story comes
> from Charles Higham's Trading With the Enemy, which
> details American business collaboration with the
> Nazis.) In Mein Kampf, written two years later, Hitler
> singled Ford out for praise. "It is Jews who govern
> the stock exchange forces of the American Union," he
> wrote. "Every year makes them more and more the
> controlling masters of the producers in a nation of
> one hundred and twenty millions; only a single great
> man, Ford, to their fury, still maintains full
> independence." In 1938, long after the vicious
> character of Hitler's government had become clear,
> Ford accepted the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the
> Nazi regime's highest honor for foreigners.
> * * *
> Ford Motor set up shop in Germany in 1925, when it
> opened an office in Berlin. Six years later, it built
> a large plant in Cologne, which became its
> headquarters in the country. Ford of Germany prospered
> during the Nazi years, especially with the economic
> boom brought on by World War II. Sales increased by
> more than half between 1938 and 1943, and, according
> to a US government report found at the National
> Archives, the value of the German subsidiary more than
> doubled during the course of the war.
> Ford eagerly collaborated with the Nazis, which
> greatly enhanced its business prospects and at the
> same time helped Hitler prepare for war (and after the
> 1939 invasion of Poland, conduct it). In the
> mid-thirties, Dearborn helped boost German Ford's
> profits by placing orders with the Cologne plant for
> direct delivery to Ford plants in Latin America and
> Japan. In 1936, as a means of preserving the Reich's
> foreign reserves, the Nazi government blocked the
> German subsidiary from buying needed raw materials.
> Ford headquarters in Dearborn responded--just as the
> Nazis hoped it would--by shipping rubber and other
> materials to Cologne in exchange for German-made
> parts. The Nazi government took a 25 percent cut out
> of the imported raw materials and gave them to other
> manufacturers, an arrangement approved by Dearborn.
> According to the US Army report of 1945, prepared by
> Henry Schneider, German Ford began producing vehicles
> of a strictly military nature for the Reich even
> before the war began. The company also established a
> war plant ready for mobilization day in a "'safe'
> zone" near Berlin, a step taken, according to
> Schneider, "with the...approval of Dearborn."
> Following Hitler's 1939 invasion of Poland, which set
> off World War II, German Ford became one of the
> largest suppliers of vehicles to the Wehrmacht (the
> German Army). Papers found at the National Archives
> show that the company was selling to the SS and the
> police as well. By 1941 Ford of Germany had stopped
> manufacturing passenger vehicles and was devoting its
> entire production capacity to military trucks. That
> May the leader of the Nazi Party in Cologne sent a
> letter to the plant thanking its leaders for helping
> "assure us victory in the present [war] struggle" and
> for demonstrating the willingness to "cooperate in the
> establishment of an exemplary social state."
> Ford vehicles were crucial to the revolutionary Nazi
> military strategy of blitzkrieg. Of the 350,000 trucks
> used by the motorized German Army as of 1942, roughly
> one-third were Ford-made. The Schneider report states
> that when American troops reached the European
> theater, "Ford trucks prominently present in the
> supply lines of the Wehrmacht were understandably an
> unpleasant sight to men in our Army." Indeed, the
> Cologne plant proved to be so important to the Reich's
> war effort that the Allies bombed it on several
> occasions. A secret 1944 US Air Force "Target
> Information Sheet" on the factory said that for the
> previous five years it had been "geared for war
> production on a high level."
> While Ford Motor enthusiastically worked for the
> Reich, the company initially resisted calls from
> President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister
> Churchill to increase war production for the Allies.
> The Nazi government was grateful for that stance, as
> acknowledged in a letter from Heinrich Albert to
> Charles Sorenson, a top executive in Dearborn. Albert
> had been a lawyer for German Ford since at least 1927,
> a director since 1930 and, according to the Treasury
> report, part of a German espionage ring operating in
> the United States during World War I. "The 'Dementi'
> of Mr. Henry Ford concerning war orders for Great
> Britain has greatly helped us," Albert wrote in July
> of 1940, shortly after the fall of France, when
> England appeared to be on the verge of collapse before
> the Fuhrer's troops.
> Ford's energetic cooperation with the Third Reich did
> not prevent the company's competitors from seeking to
> tarnish it by calling attention to its non-German
> ownership. Ford responded by appointing a
> majority-German board of directors for the Cologne
> plant, upon which it bestowed the politically correct
> Aryan name of Ford Werke. In March of 1941, Ford
> issued new stock in the Cologne plant and sold it
> exclusively to Germans, thereby reducing Dearborn's
> share to 52 percent.
> At the time, the Nazi government's Ministry of Economy
> debated whether the opportunity afforded by the
> capital increase should be taken to demand a German
> majority at Ford Werke. The Ministry "gave up the
> idea"--this according to a 1942 statement prepared by
> a Ford Werke executive--in part because "there could
> be no doubt about the complete incorporation, as
> regards personnel, organization and production system,
> of Ford Werke into the German national economy, in
> particular, into the German armaments industry."
> Beyond that, Albert argued in a letter to the Reich
> Commission for Enemy Property, the abolition of the
> American majority would eliminate "the importance of
> the company for the obtaining of raw materials," as
> well as "insight into American production and sales
> methods."
> * * *
> As 1941 progressed, the board of Ford Werke fretted
> that the United States would enter the war in support
> of Britain and the government would confiscate the
> Cologne plant. To prevent such an outcome, the Cologne
> management wrote to the Reich Commission that year to
> say that it "question[ed] whether Ford must be treated
> as enemy property" even in the event of a US
> declaration of war on Germany. "Ford has become a
> purely German company and has taken over all
> obligations so successfully that the American majority
> shareholder, independent of the favorable political
> views of Henry Ford, in some periods actually
> contributed to the development of German industry,"
> Cologne argued on June 18, 1941, only six months
> before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
> In May of 1942, the Superior Court of Cologne finally
> put Ford Werke in "trusteeship," ruling that it was
> "under authoritative enemy influence." However, the
> Nazis never nationalized Ford's German property--plant
> managers feared it would be turned over to Mercedes or
> the Hermann Goering Werke, a huge industrial network
> composed of properties seized by the Reich--and
> Dearborn maintained its 52 percent share through the
> duration of the war. Ford Werke even set aside
> dividend payments due to Dearborn, which were paid
> after the war. Ford claims that it received only
> $60,000 in dividend payments. It's not possible to
> independently verify that--or anything else regarding
> Dearborn's wartime economic relationship with
> Cologne--because Ford of America was privately held
> until 1956, and the company will not make available
> its balance sheets from the period.
> Labor shortages caused by the war--millions of men
> were at the front and Nazi ideology was violently
> opposed to the idea of women working--led the Reich to
> deport millions of people from occupied lands to
> Germany to work in factories. German companies were
> encouraged to bid for forced laborers in order to meet
> production quotas and increase profits. By 1943 half
> of Ford Werke's work force comprised foreign captives,
> including French, Russians, Ukrainians and Belgians.
> In August of 1944 a squad of SS men brought fifteen
> prisoners from the Buchenwald concentration camp to
> Ford Werke. The German researcher Karola Fings,
> co-author of Working for the Enemy, a book on Nazi
> slave- and forced-labor programs, to be published this
> spring, says Ford's worker-inmates toiled for twelve
> hours a day with a fifteen-minute break. They were
> given 200 grams of bread and coffee for breakfast, no
> lunch and a dinner of spinach and three potatoes or
> soup made of turnip leaves.
> * * *
> An account by Robert Schmidt, the man appointed to run
> Ford Werke in 1939, states that the company used
> forced laborers even before the Nazis put the plant in
> trusteeship. His statement, sent to a Ford executive
> in England immediately after Germany's surrender, says
> that as of 1940 "many of our employees were called to
> the colours and had to be replaced by whatever was
> available.... The same applies to 1941. Some 200
> French prisoners of war were employed." In a statement
> to the US Army in 1945, Schmidt said that the Gestapo
> began to play an important role at Ford Werke after
> the first foreign workers arrived. With the assistance
> of W.M. Buchwald, a Ford employee since the
> mid-thirties, the Gestapo carefully monitored plant
> activities. "Whenever there was the slightest
> indication of anti-Nazi feeling, be it amongst
> foreigners or Germans, the Gestapo tramped down as
> hard as possible," Schmidt told the Army.
> Meanwhile, Ford Werke offered enthusiastic political
> support for Hitler as well. The fraternal ties between
> Ford and the Nazis is perhaps best symbolized by the
> company's birthday gift to the Fuhrer of 35,000
> Reichsmarks in April of 1939. Ford Werke's in-house
> publication couldn't have been more fanatically
> pro-Nazi if Josef Goebbels had edited it. "Fuhrer,"
> the poem printed at the top of this story, ran in the
> April 1940 issue, which celebrated Hitler's 51st
> birthday by running his picture on the cover. The
> issue carried an excerpt of a speech by Hitler in
> which he declared that "by natural law of the earth,
> we are the supreme race and thus destined to rule." In
> another section of the speech, the Fuhrer declared
> that communism was "second in wretchedness only to
> Judaism." The issue from April of the following
> year--this at roughly the high point of the Third
> Reich's military victories--featured a photograph of a
> beaming Hitler visiting with German soldiers on the
> front lines. "The management of the Ford-Werke salutes
> our Fuhrer with grateful heart, honesty, and
> allegiance, and--as before--pledges to cooperate in
> his life's work: achieving honor, liberty and
> happiness for Greater Germany and, indeed, for all
> peoples of Europe," reads the caption.
> Robert Schmidt so successfully converted the plant to
> a war footing that the Nazi regime gave him the title
> of Wehrwirtschaftsfuhrer, or Military Economic Leader.
> The Nazis also put Schmidt in charge of overseeing
> Ford plants in occupied Belgium, Holland and Vichy
> France. At one point, he and another Cologne executive
> bitterly argued over who would run Ford of England
> when Hitler's troops conquered Britain.
> Schmidt's personal contributions to Ford Werke's
> in-house organ reflect his ardently pro-Nazi views.
> "At the beginning of this year we vowed to give our
> best and utmost for final victory, in unshakable
> faithfulness to our Fuhrer," he wrote in December of
> 1941, the same month as Pearl Harbor. "Today we say
> with pride that we succeeded if not in reaching all
> our goals, nevertheless in contributing to a
> considerable extent in providing the necessary
> transportation for our troops at the front." The
> following March, Schmidt penned an article in which he
> declared, "It depends upon our work whether the front
> can be supplied with its necessities.... therefore, we
> too are soldiers of the Fuhrer."
> * * *
> The Ford family and company executives in Dearborn
> repeatedly congratulated the management of Ford Werke
> on the fine work they were doing under the Nazis. In
> October of 1940 Edsel Ford wrote to Heinrich Albert to
> say how pleased he was that the company's plants in
> occupied lands were continuing to operate. "It is
> fortunate that Mr. Schmidt is in such authority as to
> be able to bring out these arrangements," said Edsel,
> who died of cancer during the war. The same letter
> indicates that Ford was quite prepared to do business
> with the Nazis if Hitler won the war. Though it was
> difficult to foresee what would happen after the
> fighting ended, Edsel told Albert, "a general
> rearrangement of the ownership of our continental
> businesses may be required. You will no doubt keep as
> close to this subject as possible and we will have the
> benefit of your thoughts and suggestions at the proper
> time."
> "To know that you appreciate our efforts in your and
> the company's interests is certainly a great
> encouragement," Albert replied the following month. He
> went on to praise Schmidt, who had been forced to
> shoulder immense responsibilities after war broke out.
> "In fulfilling his task his personality has grown in a
> way which is almost astonishing." Indeed, Schmidt grew
> to such a great degree that the Nazis kept him in
> charge of Ford Werke after they put the company in
> trusteeship. In February of 1942, when the question of
> who would run the Cologne plant was still up in the
> air, a local Nazi official wrote to Hitler's
> Chancellery in Berlin to put in a good word for Ford's
> man. The official said he saw "no reason to appoint a
> special custodian for the enterprise" since Schmidt
> was "a Party member [who] enjoys my confidence
> and...the confidence of the German Armed Forces."
> * * *
> Ford's behavior in France following the German
> occupation of June 1940 illustrates even more
> grotesquely its collaborationist posture. As soon as
> the smoke had cleared, Ford's local managers cut a
> deal with the occupation authorities that allowed the
> company to resume production swiftly--"solely for the
> benefit of Germany and the countries under its
> [rule]," according to a US Treasury Department
> document. The report, triggered by the government's
> concern that Ford was trading with the enemy, is
> sharply critical of Maurice Dollfus, a Ford director
> in France since 1929 and the company's manager during
> the Vichy period. "Mr. Dollfus was required by law to
> replace directors, and he selected the new directors
> exclusively from the ranks of prominent
> collaborationists," says the Treasury report. "Mr.
> Dollfus did this deliberately to curry favor with the
> authorities." The report refers to another Ford
> employee, a certain Amable Roger Messis, as "100%
> pro-German."
> The Treasury Department found that Ford headquarters
> in Dearborn was in regular contact with its properties
> in Vichy France. In one letter, penned shortly after
> France's surrender, Dollfus assured Dearborn that "we
> will benefit from the main fact of being a member of
> the Ford family which entitles us to better treatment
> from our German colleagues who have shown clearly
> their wish to protect the Ford interest as much as
> they can." A Ford executive in Michigan wrote back,
> "We are pleased to learn from your letter...that our
> organization is going along, and the victors are so
> tolerant in their treatment. It looks as though we
> still might have a business that we can carry on in
> spite of all the difficulties."
> The Ford family encouraged Dollfus to work closely
> with the German authorities. On this score, Dollfus
> needed little prodding. "In order to safeguard our
> interests--and I am here talking in a very broad
> way--I have been to Berlin and have seen General von
> Schell himself," he wrote in a typed note to Edsel in
> August of 1940. "My interview with him has been by all
> means satisfactory, and the attitude you have taken
> together with your father of strict neutrality has
> been an invaluable asset for the protection of your
> companies in Europe." (In a handwritten note in the
> margin, Dollfus bragged that he was "the first
> Frenchman to go to Berlin.") The following month
> Dollfus complained about a shortage of dollars in
> occupied France. This was a problem, however, that
> might be merely temporary. "As you know," he wrote
> Dearborn at the time, "our [monetary] standard has
> been replaced by another standard which--in my
> opinion--is a draft on the future, not only in France
> and Europe but, maybe, in the world." In another
> letter to Edsel, this one written in late November of
> 1940, Dollfus said he wanted to "outline the
> importance attached by high officials to respect the
> desires and maintain the good will of 'Ford'--and by
> 'Ford' I mean your father, yourself and the Ford Motor
> Company, Dearborn."
> All this was to the immense satisfaction of the Ford
> family. In October of 1940, Edsel wrote to Dollfus to
> say he was "delighted to hear you are making
> progress.... Fully realize great handicap you are
> working under." Three months later he wrote again to
> say that Ford headquarters was "very proud of the
> record that you and your associates have made in
> building the company up to its first great position
> under such circumstances."
> Dearborn maintained its communication with Ford of
> France well after the United States entered the war.
> In late January of 1942, Dollfus informed Dearborn
> that Ford's operations had the highest production
> level of all French manufacturers and, as summed up by
> the Treasury report, that he was "still relying on the
> French government to preserve the interests of
> American stockholders."
> During the following months, Dollfus wrote to Edsel
> several times to report on damages suffered by the
> French plant during bombing runs by the Royal Air
> Force. In his reply, Edsel expressed relief that
> American newspapers that ran pictures of a burning
> Ford factory did not identify it as a company
> property. On July 17, 1942, Edsel wrote again to say
> that he had shown Dollfus's most recent letter to his
> father and to Dearborn executive Sorenson. "They both
> join me in sending best wishes for you and your staff,
> and the hope that you will continue to carry on the
> good work that you are doing," he said.
> As in Germany, Ford's policy of sleeping with the
> Nazis proved to be a highly lucrative approach. Ford
> of France had never been very profitable in
> peacetime--it had paid out only one dividend in its
> history--but its service to the Third Reich soon
> pushed it comfortably into the black. Dollfus once
> wrote to Dearborn to boast about this happy turn of
> events, adding that the company's "prestige in France
> has increased considerably and is now greater than it
> was before the war."
> * * *
> Treasury Department officials were clearly aghast at
> Ford's activities. An employee named Randolph Paul
> sent the report to Secretary Henry Morgenthau with a
> note that stated, "The increased activity of the
> French Ford subsidiaries on behalf of the Germans
> received the commendation of the Ford family in
> America." Morgenthau soon replied, "If we can legally
> and ethically do it, I would like to turn over the
> information in connection with the Ford Motor Company
> to Senator [Harry] Truman."
> Lydia Cisaruk, the Ford spokeswoman, says that Ford
> Werke's pre-Pearl Harbor support for the Third Reich
> was largely unknown to company headquarters. Neither
> of the two Dearborn executives on Ford Werke's board,
> Edsel Ford and Charles Sorenson, attended board
> meetings after 1938. "By 1940, Dearborn was becoming
> less and less involved in day-to-day operations," she
> says. "There was a gradual loss of control." Asked
> about Ford Werke's political support for the Nazis, as
> seen in its in-house newsletter, she replied: "Looking
> at the years leading up to the war, no one could
> foresee what was going to happen. A number of
> countries were negotiating with Germany and Germany
> was repeatedly saying that it was interested in
> peaceful solutions. The United States was talking to
> Germany until the two countries went to war." She
> concedes that some "foreign" labor was employed at the
> plant beginning in 1940, but says Dearborn had no
> knowledge of that at the time. Ford is currently
> conducting an exhaustive investigation into Ford
> Werke, she says. When the research is completed this
> year, the company will make available all of the
> documentary evidence it has accumulated, including
> financial records. While Ford did not take part in the
> German slave-labor talks, Cisaruk says it is in
> preliminary discussions with Deputy Treasury Secretary
> Stuart Eizenstat to establish a humanitarian US-based
> fund for Holocaust survivors. "We do want to help
> people who suffered at the hands of the Nazis," she
> says.
> * * *
> Production at Ford Werke slowed at the end of the war,
> in part because of power shortages caused by Allied
> bombing runs, but activity never came to a halt. Soon
> after Germany's capitulation, Ford representatives
> from England and the United States traveled to Cologne
> to inspect the plant and plan for the future. In 1948
> Henry Ford visited Cologne to celebrate the 10,000th
> truck to roll off the postwar assembly line there. Two
> years later, Ford of Germany rehired Schmidt--who had
> been arrested and briefly held by US troops at the
> war's end--after he wrote a letter to Dearborn in
> which he insisted that he had fervently hated the
> Nazis. He was one of six key executives from the Nazi
> era who moved back into important positions at Ford
> after 1945. "After the war, Ford did not just reassume
> control of a factory, but it also took over the
> factory's history," says historian Fings. "Apparently
> no one at Ford was interested in casting light upon
> this part of history, not even to explicitly proclaim
> a distance from the practices of Ford Werke during the
> Nazi era." Schmidt remained with Ford until his death
> in 1962.
> The high point of Ford's cynicism was yet to come.
> Before its fall, the Nazi regime had given Ford Werke
> about $104,000 in compensation for damages caused by
> Allied bombings (Ford also got money for bombing
> damages from the Vichy government). Dearborn was not
> satisfied with that amount. In 1965 Ford went before
> the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the US to
> ask for an additional $7 million. (During the
> hearings, commission attorney Zvonko Rode pointed to
> the embarrassing fact--which Ford's attorney did not
> dispute--that most of the manufactured products
> destroyed during the bombings had been intended for
> the use of the Nazi armed forces.) In the end, the
> commission awarded the company $1.1 million--but only
> after determining that Ford had used a fraudulent
> exchange rate to jack up the size of the alleged
> damages. The commission also found that Dearborn had
> sought compensation for merchandise that had been
> destroyed by flooding.
> Ford's eagerness to be compensated for damages
> incurred to Ford Werke during the Nazi era makes its
> current posture of denying any association with the
> wartime plant all the more hypocritical. These new
> revelations may force Ford to reconsider its
> responsibilities with regard to slave labor. In the
> meantime, new legal developments could also create
> problems for the company. Last year California passed
> a law that extends the statute of limitations on
> Holocaust-related claims. In November Senator Charles
> Schumer of New York introduced a bill in Congress that
> would do the same thing at the federal level.

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