From Publishers Weekly
In a book that could be subtitled "Hitler's Willing Investment Bankers," Princeton historian James recounts the Deutsche Bank's participation in the "aryanization" of the German economy from 1932 to 1940, drawing on internal Deutsche Bank records that only recently became available as well as material seized by Soviet troops after World War II. He shows how, as the Nazis began to rise to power, the bank reluctantly purged itself of Jewish directors, followed by Jewish employees, in response to state pressure. Later, James reveals, the regime enlisted the bank employees' professional skills, domestic and foreign relationships, and financial muscle to eliminate Jewish control and ownership of German companies. The expropriation was conducted gradually, since many hastily seized companies proved worthless without the management of their Jewish former owners, and also because this method muted foreign criticism and preserved a veneer of legality. This stands in stark contrast to the brutally simple methods used by the Nazis in occupied countries and, after 1941, in Germany as well, explains James. While he finds it impossible to make an accurate estimate of the profit Deutsche Bank made from these activities and whether that profit might exceed postwar reparations, he suggests that extravagant figures cited by other researchers are baseless and implausible. His work will not carry weight with these critics, however, since it was subsidized by Deutsche Bank and is largely based on documents kept under their control for the last 50 years. (Mar. 15) Forecast: While the publisher has positioned this work as a nonfiction thriller revealing previously unimagined levels of corruption, it is actually a dry history that will primarily attract serious students of the period. James's moderate positions on the bank's profit and the guilt borne by bank managers is unlikely to win friends on either side of the controversy.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"...controversial...moving." Journal of Modern History
"James has produced an intelligent and informative work...indispensable to the study of financial institutions under the Nazi regime...Despite all the complex financial analysis, James never loses sight of the moral issues involved." Canadian Journal of History
"James weaves institutional, biographical material, and case studies together to form a multifaceted history of his subject." Enterprise and Society
"This is a thorough picture of one company's role in the economic persecution of German Jews." www.hbsworkingknowledge.hbs.edu
"...James must be commended for his careful research and his measured yet damning assessment of the Deutsche Bank's behavior during the Third Reich." German Studies Review
"This study provides solid, important research on 'Aryanization'." American Historical Review
"...this is a very well-written, scholarly narrative, largely based on unpublished primary sources skillfully questioned by a committed historian." Business History Review, Christopher Kobrak, ESCP-EAP
"Persuasive." Books and Art