Popular Pharmaceutical Company Bayer Bought Concentration Camp Victims in WWII


The Nuremberg War Trials

After the war was over, the Nuremberg War trials sentenced 24 IG Farben board members and executives with mass murder and slavery, among other crimes.

However, none of these people received long prison terms, and all were released to continue their work in the German pharmaceutical industry.

Judges at the Nuremberg Trials.
Judges at the Nuremberg Trials.

Modern Day

Today, IG Farben is recognized by its modern names, Bayer, BASF and Hoechst/Aventis.

One Auschwitz Survivor tried to win compensation from Bayer due to the medical experiments she underwent while there. Zoe Polanska Palmer, now in her 80s, was featured in a BBC TV documentary in the early 2000s.

Palmer was a prisoner at the camp at age 13 and would have been gassed once she was no longer useful as an experimental subject. She was given many tablets and pills which are believed to have been for birth control being tested at the time.

She was saved during the Russian liberation of the camp and then settled in Scotland. She says the person doing tests on her at the time was Dr. Victor Capesius, who worked for Bayer and assisted Josef Mengele with genetic experiments on children.

She has suffered through multiple operations to try to reverse the damage done by the testing, but she has remained infertile and now has cancer.

Josef Mengele, responsible for many of the pharmaceutic human tests conducted. Photo Source.
Josef Mengele, responsible for many of the pharmaceutic human tests conducted. Photo Source.

While the BBC was making the documentary on Palmer, they contacted Bayer for a statement. Bayer said, “Between 1925 and 1952, no company named Bayer existed, neither as a subsidiary of IG Farben nor as any other legal entity. Bayer has worked in good faith with the German government to establish a fund to help those who have suffered. The company’s contribution to this fund amounted to more than 40 million pounds.”

Although Bayer went as a different name at the time, that does not excuse them for their actions.

IG Farben, when creating Bayer, gave them property once belonging to a Jewish cemetery. The Bayer factory stands on that land. The Coalition Against Bayer-Dangers demanded the company apologize for defiling the cemetery and affix a plaque commemorating the spot.

In 1995, Bayer issued a public apology for the company’s involvement in the Holocaust.

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