One of the reasons why the Nazi’s became so powerful as they were, was because a lot of people and companies in Germany and indeed across the world decided to look away or ignore the atrocities because it suited their own agenda and lined their own pockets.
The Associated Press
At the height of World War II, the Associated Press made secret arrangements with an SS officer to obtain pictures taken by Nazi photographers that were distributed to American newspapers — a deal authorized by senior U.S. officials.
(A photo of Hitler surveying Nazi troops, taken by AP News.)
Most international news organizations withdrew from Nazi Germany under these conditions, but the AP remained — and fired all their local Jewish staff.
While the Nazis journalism laws were limited in scope, and only really affected German citizens, the pressure on the AP had already led them to alter their news habits to placate the Nazi regime.
By late 1933, the head of the German branch of the AP was already refusing to publish images that depicted the discrimination against Jews in Germany in order to stay on the good side of the Nazis.
By 1935, the AP was already one of the few international news organizations still operating in Germany. Large British-American news agencies such as Keystone and Wide World Photos had been banned from the country by the Nazi government. However, the AP remained in the nation due to their continued efforts to appease the Nazis.
At this point, the AP office in Germany came entirely under the control of the Nazi government. They placed SS members into the newsroom and began scrupulously censoring anything that portrayed the Nazis in a negative light.
In its capacity as a photo news service, the AP knowingly sold the Nazis images of Jews from inside Germany and around the world to be used in anti-semitic propaganda. They were also the leading supplier of images for a propaganda book called The Jews in the USA, and in third place among suppliers of photos for the anti-semitic book The Subhuman.
As part of their photo service, the AP also sold images from Germany to the rest of the world. These images could only leave the country after being inspected by some of the many SS members working in their offices. As a result, the AP was publishing images that showed Nazis as heroic leaders, and Jews as subhuman cowards.
This collaboration with the Nazi government was unprecedented for a foreign news press service and contributed to Nazi propaganda both within and outside Germany.
In 2017, the AP released a statement where they claim that their cooperation was justified as it allowed them to provide reporting from within Nazi Germany to the outside world. They have not apologized for their actions.
Like most international companies of the era, Kodak had subsidiaries in Germany and across Europe. And as Germany’s international aggression increased through the 1930s, Kodak kept its subsidiaries in Germany.
Then, in 1941, the United States joined World War II and mandated that U.S. businesses could no longer import to or export from hostile nations. As was the case with many corporations, Kodak’s branch in Germany became more autonomous at this time, coming completely under Nazi control.
However, unlike many of those companies, Kodak started using their subsidiaries in neutral European nations, like Switzerland and Portugal, to continue doing business with Nazi Germany. They also continued to have control over their German branch thanks to their close relationship with Hitler’s personal economic adviser, Wilhelm Keppler.
These Kodak subsidiaries made substantial purchases of photographic equipment from Nazi Germany, providing funds to a foreign enemy of the United States. They also sold large amounts of photographic and electronic devices to the Nazis, much of which was used towards their war effort.
In internal documents, company leadership continued to justify their relationship with Nazi Germany on the basis of profit throughout the war. In addition to all of that, their German branch used more than 250 slave laborers from Nazi concentration camps.
And after the war, Kodak reabsorbed their German subsidiary and profited off of what they created.
Kodak paid $500,000 into a fund providing for families of those used as slave labor for Nazi corporations, but never apologized for their continued business dealings with Nazi Germany.
The Chase Manhattan Bank
The Chase Manhattan Bank’s form of colluding with the Reich was particularly heinous. Because Carlos Niedermann, Chase’s representative in Paris, had very good personal relations with the Nazis, he agreed to their requests that the bank seize the assets of at least one hundred Parisian Jews that were considered especially worth pursuing by the Reich. This doubtless helped the Gestapo capture those people.
Chase Manhattan was hardly alone in this, though. In 1998, the company was part of a suit demanding reparations from J. P. Morgan and Citibank for the millions of dollars stolen. In the end, the payouts were $200 a month. The survivors and descendants had to fight to not have large amounts of the payments eaten up by wire transfer fees.