the Bush family made
its fortune from the Nazis
by Robert Lederman
February 9, 2002
This article's author, John Loftus, is a former U.S. Department
of Justice Nazi War Crimes prosecutor, the President of the Florida
Holocaust Museum and the highly respected author of numerous
books on the CIA-Nazi connection including The Belarus Secret
and The Secret War Against the Jews, both of which have extensive
material on the Bush-Rockefeller-Nazi connection.
September 27, 2000
by Attorney John Loftus
a famous American family
made its fortune from the Nazis
the Bush family, it is a lingering nightmare. For their Nazi
clients, the Dutch connection was the mother of all money laundering
schemes. From 1945 until 1949, one of the lengthiest and, it
now appears, most futile interrogations of a Nazi war crimes
suspect began in the American Zone of Occupied Germany. Multibillionaire
steel magnate Fritz Thyssen-the man whose steel combine was the
cold heart of the Nazi war machine-talked and talked and talked
to a joint US-UK interrogation team. For four long years, successive
teams of inquisitors tried to break Thyssen's simple claim to
possess neither foreign bank accounts nor interests in foreign
corporations, no assets that might lead to the missing billions
in assets of the Third Reich. The inquisitors failed utterly.
Because what the wily Thyssen deposed was, in a sense, true.
What the Allied investigators never understood was that they
were not asking Thyssen the right question. Thyssen did not need
any foreign bank accounts because his family secretly owned an
entire chain of banks. He did not have to transfer his Nazi assets
at the end of World War II, all he had to do was transfer the
ownership documents - stocks, bonds, deeds and trusts--from his
bank in Berlin through his bank in Holland to his American friends
in New York City: Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker. Thyssen's
partners in crime were the father and father-in-law of a future
President of the United States.
allied investigators underestimated Thyssen's reach, his connections,
his motives, and his means. The web of financial entities Thyssen
helped create in the 1920's remained a mystery for the rest of
the twentieth century, an almost perfectly hidden underground
sewer pipeline for moving dirty money, money that bankrolled
the post-war fortunes not only of the Thyssen industrial empire...but
the Bush family as well. It was a secret Fritz Thyssen would
take to his grave.
was a secret that would lead former US intelligence agent William
Gowen, now pushing 80, to the very doorstep of the Dutch royal
family. The Gowens are no strangers to controversy or nobility.
His father was one of President Roosevelt's diplomatic emissaries
to Pope Pius XII, leading a futile attempt to persuade the Vatican
to denounce Hitler's treatment of Jews. It was his son, William
Gowen, who served in Rome after World War II as a Nazi hunter
and investigator with the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps.
It was Agent Gowen who first discovered the secret Vatican Ratline
for smuggling Nazis in 1949. It was also the same William Gowen
who began to uncover the secret Dutch pipeline for smuggling
Nazi money in 1999.
half-century earlier, Fritz Thyssen was telling the allied investigators
that he had no interest in foreign companies, that Hitler had
turned on him and seized most of his property. His remaining
assets were mostly in the Russian Occupied Zone of Germany (which
he knew were a write-off anyway). His distant (and disliked)
relatives in neutral nations like Holland were the actual owners
of a substantial percentage of the remaining German industrial
base. As innocent victims of the Third Reich, they were lobbying
the allied occupation governments in Germany, demanding restitution
of the property that had been seized from them by the Nazis.
the rules of the Allied occupation of Germany, all property owned
by citizens of a neutral nation which had been seized by the
Nazis had to be returned to the neutral citizens upon proper
presentation of documents showing proof of ownership. Suddenly,
all sorts of neutral parties, particularly in Holland, were claiming
ownership of various pieces of the Thyssen empire. In his cell,
Fritz Thyssen just smiled and waited to be released from prison
while members of the Dutch royal family and the Dutch intelligence
service reassembled his pre-war holdings for him.
British and American interrogators may have gravely underestimated
Thyssen but they nonetheless knew they were being lied to. Their
suspicions focused on one Dutch Bank in particular, the Bank
voor Handel en Scheepvaart, in Rotterdam. This bank did a lot
of business with the Thyssens over the years. In 1923, as a favor
to him, the Rotterdam bank loaned the money to build the very
first Nazi party headquarters in Munich. But somehow the allied
investigations kept going nowhere, the intelligence leads all
seemed to dry up.
the investigators realized that the US intelligence chief in
postwar Germany, Allen Dulles, was also the Rotterdam bank's
lawyer, they might have asked some very interesting questions.
They did not know that Thyssen was Dulles' client as well. Nor
did they ever realize that it was Allen Dulles's other client,
Baron Kurt Von Schroeder who was the Nazi trustee for the Thyssen
companies which now claimed to be owned by the Dutch. The Rotterdam
Bank was at the heart of Dulles' cloaking scheme, and he guarded
its secrets jealously.
decades after the war, investigative reporter Paul Manning, Edward
R. Murrow's colleague, stumbled across the Thyssen interrogations
in the US National Archives. Manning intended to write a book
about Nazi money laundering. Manning's manuscript was a dagger
at Allen Dulles' throat: his book specifically mentioned the
Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart by name, albeit in passing. Dulles
volunteered to help the unsuspecting Manning with his manuscript,
and sent him on a wild goose chase, searching for Martin Bormann
in South America.
knowing that he had been deliberately sidetracked, Manning wrote
a forward to his book personally thanking Allen Dulles for his "assurance
that I was "on the right track, and should keep going.'"Dulles
sent Manning and his manuscript off into the swamps of obscurity.
The same "search for Martin Bormann"scam was also used to successfully
discredit Ladislas Farago, another American journalist probing
too far into the laundering of Nazi money. American investigators
had to be sent anywhere but Holland.
so the Dutch connection remained unexplored until 1994 when I
published the book "The Secret War Against the Jews."As a matter
of historical curiosity, I mentioned that Fritz Thyssen (and
indirectly, the Nazi Party) had obtained their early financing
from Brown Brothers Harriman, and its affiliate, the Union Banking
Corporation. Union Bank, in turn, was the Bush family's holding
company for a number of other entities, including the "Holland
American Trading Company."
was a matter of public record that the Bush holdings were seized
by the US government after the Nazis overran Holland. In 1951,
the Bush's reclaimed Union Bank from the US Alien Property Custodian,
along with their "neutral" Dutch assets. I did not realize it,
but I had stumbled across a very large piece of the missing Dutch
connection. Bush's ownership of the Holland-American investment
company was the missing link to Manning's earlier research in
the Thyssen investigative files. In 1981, Manning had written:
first step in a long dance of tax and currency frauds began [in
the late 1930's] when he disposed of his shares in the Dutch
Hollandische-Amerikanische Investment Corporation to be credited
to the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, N.V., Rotterdam, the
bank founded in 1916 by August Thyssen Senior."
this one obscure paragraph, in a little known book, Manning had
unwittingly documented two intriguing points: 1) The Bush's Union
Bank had apparently bought the same corporate stock that the
Thyssens were selling as part of their Nazi money laundering,
and 2) the Rotterdam Bank, far from being a neutral Dutch institution,
was founded by Fritz Thyssen's father. In hindsight, Manning
and I had uncovered different ends of the Dutch connection.
reading the excerpt in my book about the Bush's ownership of
the Holland-American trading Company, retired US intelligence
agent William Gowen began to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Mr. Gowen knew every c orner of Europe from his days as a diplomat's
son, an American intelligence agent, and a newspaperman. William
Gowen deserves sole credit for uncovering the mystery of how
the Nazi industrialists hid their money from the Allies at the
end of World War II.
1999, Mr. Gowen traveled to Europe, at his own expense, to meet
a former member of Dutch intelligence who had detailed inside
information about the Rotterdam bank. The scrupulous Gowen took
a written statement and then had his source read and correct
it for error. Here, in summary form, is how the Nazis hid their
money in America.
World War I, August Thyssen had been badly burned by the loss
of assets under the harsh terms of the Versailles treaty. He
was determined that it would never happen again. One of his sons
would join the Nazis; the other would be neutral. No matter who
won the next war, the Thyssen family would survive with their
industrial empire intact. Fritz Thyssen joined the Nazis in 1923;
his younger brother married into Hungarian nobility and changed
his name to Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza. The Baron later claimed
Hungarian as well as Dutch citizenship. In public, he pretended
to detest his Nazi brother, but in private they met at secret
board meetings in Germany to coordinate their operations. If
one brother were threatened with loss of property, he would transfer
his holdings to the other.
aid his sons in their shell game, August Thyssen had established
three different banks during the 1920's -- The August Thyssen
Bank in Berlin, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam,
and the Union Banking Corporation in New York City. To protect
their corporate holdings, all the brothers had to do was move
the corporate paperwork from one bank to the other. This they
did with some regularity. When Fritz Thyssen "sold" the Holland-American
Trading Company for a tax loss, the Union Banking Corporation
in New York bought the stock. Similarly, the Bush family invested
the disguised Nazi profits in American steel and manufacturing
corporations that became part of the secret Thyssen empire.
the Nazis invaded Holland in May 1940, they investigated the
Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart in Rotterdam. Fritz Thyssen was
suspected by Hitler's auditors of being a tax fraud and of illegally
transferring his wealth outside the Third Reich. The Nazi auditors
were right: Thyssen felt that Hitler's economic policies would
dilute his wealth through ruinous war inflation. He had been
smuggling his war profits out through Holland. But the Rotterdam
vaults were empty of clues to where the money had gone. The Nazis
did not know that all of the documents evidencing secret Thyssen
ownership had been quietly shipped back to the August Thyssen
Bank in Berlin, under the friendly supervision of Baron Kurt
Von Schroeder. Thyssen spent the rest of the war under VIP house
arrest. He had fooled Hitler, hidden his immense profits, and
now it was time to fool the Americans with same shell game.
soon as Berlin fell to the allies, it was time to ship the documents
back to Rotterdam so that the "neutral" bank could claim ownership
under the friendly supervision of Allen Dulles, who, as the OSS
intelligence chief in 1945 Berlin, was well placed to handle
any troublesome investigations. Unfortunately, the August Thyssen
Bank had been bombed during the war, and the documents were buried
in the underground vaults beneath the rubble. Worse, the vaults
lay in the Soviet Zone of Berlin.
to Gowen's source, Prince Bernhard commanded a unit of Dutch
intelligence, which dug up the incriminating corporate papers
in 1945 and brought them back to the "neutral" bank in Rotterdam.
The pretext was that the Nazis had stolen the crown jewels of
his wife, Princess Juliana, and the Russians gave the Dutch permission
to dig up the vault and retrieve them. Operation Juliana was
a Dutch fraud on the Allies who searched high and low for the
missing pieces of the Thyssen fortune.
1945, the former Dutch manager of the Rotterdam bank resumed
control only to discover that he was sitting on a huge pile of
hidden Nazi assets. In 1947, the manager threatened to inform
Dutch authorities, and was immediately fired by the Thyssens.
The somewhat naive bank manager then fled to New York City where
he intended to talk to Union Bank director Prescott Bush. As
Gowen's Dutch source recalled, the manager intended "to reveal
[to Prescott Bush] the truth about Baron Heinrich and the Rotterdam
Bank, [in order that] some or all of the Thyssen interests in
the Thyssen Group might be seized and confiscated as German enemy
property. "The manager's body was found in New York two weeks
in 1996 a Dutch journalist Eddy Roever went to London to interview
the Baron, who was neighbors with Margaret Thatcher. Roever's
body was discovered two days later. Perhaps, Gowen remarked dryly,
it was only a coincidence that both healthy men had died of heart
attacks immediately after trying to uncover the truth about the
Gowen nor his Dutch source knew about the corroborating evidence
in the Alien Property Custodian archives or in the OMGUS archives.
Together, the two separate sets of US files overlap each other
and directly corroborate Gowen's source. The first set of archives
confirms absolutely that the Union Banking Corporation in New
York was owned by the Rotterdam Bank. The second set (quoted
by Manning) confirms that the Rotterdam Bank in turn was owned
by the Thyssens.
is not surprising that these two American agencies never shared
their Thyssen files. As the noted historian Burton Hersh documented:
Alien Property Custodian, Leo Crowley, was on the payroll of
the New York J. Henry Schroeder Bank where Foster and Allen Dulles
both sat as board members. Foster arranged an appointment for
himself as special legal counsel for the Alien Property Custodian
while simultaneously representing [German] interests against
wonder Allen Dulles had sent Paul Manning on a wild goose chase
to South America. He was very close to uncovering the fact that
the Bush's bank in New York City was secretly owned by the Nazis,
before during and after WWII. Once Thyssen ownership of the Union
Banking Corporation is proven, it makes out a prima facie case
of treason against the Dulles and Bush families for giving aid
and comfort to the enemy in time of war.
first key fact to be proven in any criminal case is that the
Thyssen family secretly owned the Bush's Bank. Apart from Gowen's
source, and the twin American files, a third set of corroboration
comes from the Thyssen family themselves. In 1979, the present
Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza (Fritz Thyssen's nephew) prepared a
written family history to be shared with his top management.
A copy of this thirty-page tome entitled "The History of the
Thyssen Family and Their Activities"was provided by Gowen's source.
It contains the following Thyssen admissions:
at the beginning of World War II the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart
had become the holding of my father's companies - a Dutch firm
whose only shareholder was a Hungarian citizen..Prior to 1929,
it held the shares of .the August Thyssen Bank, and also American
subsidiaries and the Union Banking Corporation, New York.The
shares of all the affiliates were [in 1945] with the August Thyssen
Bank in the East Sector of Berlin, from where I was able to have
them transferred into the West at the last moment"
the war the Dutch government ordered an investigation into the
status of the holding company and, pending the result, appointed
a Dutch former general manager of my father who turned against
our family.. In that same year, 1947, I returned to Germany for
the first time after the war, disguised as a Dutch driver in
military uniform, to establish contact with our German directors"
situation of the Group gradually began to be resolved but it
was not until 1955 that the German companies were freed from
Allied control and subsequently disentangled. Fortunately, the
companies in the group suffered little from dismantling. At last
we were in a position to concentrate on purely economic problems
-- the reconstruction and extension of the companies and the
expansion of the organization."
banking department of the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart, which
also functioned as the Group's holding company, merged in 1970
with Nederlandse Credietbank N.V. which increased its capital.
The Group received 25 percent.The Chase Manhattan Bank holds
31%. The name Thyssen-Bornemisza Group was selected for the new
the twin US Archives, Gowen's Dutch source, and the Thyssen family
history all independently confirm that President Bush's father
and grandfather served on the board of a bank that was secretly
owned by the leading Nazi industrialists. The Bush connection
to these American institutions is a matter of public record.
What no one knew, until Gowen's brilliant research opened the
door, was that the Thyssens were the secret employers of the
what did the Bush family know about their Nazi connection and
when did they know it? As senior managers of Brown Brothers Harriman,
they had to have known that their American clients, such as the
Rockefellers, were investing heavily in German corporations,
including Thyssen's giant Vereinigte Stahlwerke. As noted historian
Christopher Simpson repeatedly documents, it is a matter of public
record that Brown Brother's investments in Nazi Germany took
place under the Bush family stewardship.
war broke out was Prescott Bush stricken with a case of Waldheimers
disease, a sudden amnesia about his Nazi past? Or did he really
believe that our friendly Dutch allies owned the Union Banking
Corporation and its parent bank in Rotterdam? It should be recalled
that in January 1937, he hired Allen Dulles to "cloak" his accounts.
But cloak from whom? Did he expect that happy little Holland
was going to declare war on America? The cloaking operation only
makes sense in anticipation of a possible war with Nazi Germany.
If Union Bank was not the conduit for laundering the Rockefeller's
Nazi investments back to America, then how could the Rockefeller-controlled
Chase Manhattan Bank end up owning 31% of the Thyssen group after
should be noted that the Thyssen group (TBG) is now the largest
industrial conglomerate in Germany, and with a net worth of more
than $50 billion dollars, one of the wealthiest corporations
in the world. TBG is so rich it even bought out the Krupp family,
famous arms makers for Hitler, leaving the Thyssens as the undisputed
champion survivors of the Third Reich. Where did the Thyssens
get the start-up money to rebuild their empire with such speed
after World War II?
enormous sums of money deposited into the Union Bank prior to
1942 is the best evidence that Prescott Bush knowingly served
as a money launderer for the Nazis. Remember that Union Banks'
books and accounts were frozen by the U.S. Alien Property Custodian
in 1942 and not released back to the Bush family until 1951.
At that time, Union Bank shares representing hundreds of millions
of dollars worth of industrial stocks and bonds were unblocked
for distribution. Did the Bush family really believe that such
enormous sums came from Dutch enterprises? One could sell tulip
bulbs and wooden shoes for centuries and not achieve those sums.
A fortune this size could only have come from the Thyssen profits
made from rearming the Third Reich, and then hidden, first from
the Nazi tax auditors, and then from the Allies.
Bushes knew perfectly well that Brown Brothers was the American
money channel into Nazi Germany, and that Union Bank was the
secret pipeline to bring the Nazi money back to America from
Holland. The Bushes had to have known how the secret money circuit
worked because they were on the board of directors in both directions:
Brown Brothers out, Union Bank in.
the size of their compensation is commensurate with their risk
as Nazi money launderers. In 1951, Prescott Bush and his father
in law each received one share of Union Bank stock, worth $750,000
each. One and a half million dollars was a lot of money in 1951.
But then, from the Thyssen point of view, buying the Bushes was
the best bargain of the war.
bottom line is harsh: It is bad enough that the Bush family helped
raise the money for Thyssen to give Hitler his start in the 1920's,
but giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war is treason.
The Bush's bank helped the Thyssens make the Nazi steel that
killed allied soldiers. As bad as financing the Nazi war machine
may seem, aiding and abetting the Holocaust was worse. Thyssen's
coal mines used Jewish slaves as if they were disposable chemicals.
There are six million skeletons in the Thyssen family closet,
and a myriad of criminal and historical questions to be answered
about the Bush family's complicity.
article is provided
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