Jürgen Finger/Sven Keller/Andreas Wirsching

 

Dr. Oetker and National Socialism

History of a family business 1933-1945

 

2nd edition, hardback, 624 S.: 24 ill. and 4 tables

ISBN 978-3-406-64545-7

Munich, C.H. Beck 2013

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exemplary excerpt (publisher's homepage)

 

 Dr. Oetker was and is one of the most successful family-run businesses in Germany. Since the beginning of the 20th century it has dominated the niche market of pudding and cake mixes. In the 1920s the company began expanding both its range of products and its sales in other European countries.

 

Now for the first time it has granted a group of research scholars access to its archives in order to come to terms with its past during the Third Reich. The company had close ties to the National Socialist movement, as well as to the Wehrmacht and the SS. It became one of the first “National Socialist model companies” with Richard Kaselowsky at is head. Kaselowsky was a member of the “Circle of the Friends of Reichsführer-SS” (namely Heinrich Himmler), a group of industrialists who raised funds for racial research in the Third Reich. Rudolf-August Oetker was trained in the Waffen-SS (“Armed SS”) where he headed the administrative department before returning to take over the family business.

 

Even before the war the company profited from the militarization of Germany, as Oetker products found their way into army kitchens. During the war their mixtures were considered an important contribution to feeding the civilian population on the “home front.” Food shortages everywhere made puddings and cakes baked according to thrifty wartime recipes a welcome addition to people’s diets. As a result the company could acquire raw foodstuffs that were in short supply and was able to survive the war as a brand name. In addition Dr. Oetker profited from the “Aryanization” of Jewish property, although the business made little use of forced labour in its factories.


Media reactions and reviews

Rüdiger Jungbluth in: Die Zeit 17.10.2013; Johannes Ritter in: F.A.Z. 18.10.2013; Frankfurter Rundschau 21.10.2013; Rudolf Walther in: SZ 22.10.2013; Pieke Biermann in: Deutschlandradio Kultur; Deutsche Welle; Deutschlandfunk, u.a.m.

 

Hartmut Knittel in: ZUG 60 (2015), 1, 97-98; Gerhard Köbler in: ZS. Integrativer Europäischer Rechtsgeschichte 3 (2014); H.-Georg Lützenkirchen in: literaturkritik.de 7/2014; Rudolf Walther in: Einsicht. Bulletin des Fritz-Bauer-Instituts 11/2014, 76; Tim Schanetzky in: HistLit 2014-1-132/H-Soz-u-Kult 21.02.2014; Beate Schreiber in: Archiv und Wirtschaft 47 (2014), 3, 163-166; Werner Abelshauser in: damals 04/2014; Roman Köster in: VSWG 101 (2014), 4, 538-539; Christopher Kopper in: HZ 299 (2014), 846-848; Ralf Ahrens in: NPL 58 (2013), 3, 518-519.