Opportunism combined with anti-Semitism led non-Nazi businessmen to acquire the largest German-Jewish companies in the period 1933–1935. These hostile takeovers were made possible by the Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank, which recalled loans previously extended to Jewish firms. Thereby Germany's largest banks obtained new loan fees, new supervisory board seats and became the house banks for the new Gentile-owned firms. The German judiciary did not defend Jewish property rights, because judges shared the same conservative mindset. Scholarship has previously not discovered this 1933–1935 paradigm because of a focus on Berlin government or Nazi Party actions, instead of the Jewish companies. In addition, a failure to distinguish between multi-million dollar enterprises and tiny shops caused scholars to emphasize the year 1938, when thousands of mom-and-pop shops became bankrupt.
William M. Katin, PhD, is lecturer at the California State University, San Bernardino.
Chapter One: How Cheap Purchases of German-Jewish Firms Occurred
Chapter Two: History of Research on Cheap Purchases of Jewish Firms
Chapter Three: New Approach to Comprehend Aryanizers
Chapter Four: Background to Aryanization of the Hermann Tietz Chain
Chapter Five: Aryanization of Hermann Tietz
Chapter Six: Early Aryanizations Confirming the Hermann Tietz Paradigm
Chapter Seven: Conclusion
William M. Katin’s Hostile Takeovers offers a crucial addition to our understanding of the processes by which the ‘Aryanization’ of large Jewish businesses took place during Hitler’s Third Reich. Whereas scholars have mainly focused on the 1936–1938 period as the interval during which such expropriations—directed from above by the party-state—had occurred, Katin instead locates the period during the early years of the regime, 1933–1935. He demonstrates that these were affected privately by nonpolitical actors, who covertly colluded with some of the country’s largest banks, as they exploited the rising tide of anti-Semitism for purely personal gain. This study is an important work of revisionism that seriously alters the dimensions of a considerable historiography on a compelling and fraught historical issue.