Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
The William R. Rhodes Center

David de Jong — Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of Germany's Wealthiest Dynasties

Nazi Billionaires

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

4:00pm – 5:00pm

True North Classroom, Stephen Robert '62 Hall, 280 Brook Street

Tickets available via Eventbrite.

Journalist David de Jong will join the Rhodes Center to discuss his new book Nazi Billionaires: The Dark History of Germany's Wealthiest Dynasties.

A groundbreaking investigation of how the Nazis helped German tycoons make billions off the horrors of the Third Reich and World War II—and how America allowed them to get away with it.In 1946, Günther Quandt—patriarch of Germany’s most iconic industrial empire, a dynasty that today controls BMW—was arrested for suspected Nazi collaboration. Quandt claimed that he had been forced to join the party by his archrival, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, and the courts acquitted him. But Quandt lied. And his heirs, and those of other Nazi billionaires, have only grown wealthier in the generations since, while their reckoning with this dark past remains incomplete at best. Many of them continue to control swaths of the world economy, owning iconic brands whose products blanket the globe. The brutal legacy of the dynasties that dominated Daimler-Benz, cofounded Allianz, and still control Porsche, Volkswagen, and BMW has remained hidden in plain sight—until now.In this landmark work of investigative journalism, David de Jong reveals the true story of how Germany’s wealthiest business dynasties amassed untold money and power by abetting the atrocities of the Third Reich. Using a wealth of previously untapped sources, de Jong shows how these tycoons seized Jewish businesses, procured slave laborers, and ramped up weapons production to equip Hitler’s army as Europe burned around them. Most shocking of all, de Jong exposes how America’s political expediency enabled these billionaires to get away with their crimes, covering up a bloodstain that defiles the German and global economy to this day.

Q & A will be moderated by Mark Blyth, Director of the Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance.

Reception and book signing to follow.

David de Jong is a journalist and author. His first book, Nazi Billionaires, was published by HarperCollins in April 2022 and is being translated in more than twenty languages from English. He spent four years reporting from Berlin while researching and writing this book. David previously covered European banking and finance from Amsterdam and hidden wealth from New York for Bloomberg News. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg Businessweek. A native of the Netherlands, he currently lives in Tel Aviv and works as a Middle East correspondent for the Dutch Financial Daily.