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German History in Documents and Images
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Leading Industrialist Carl Friedrich von Siemens and Banker Franz von Mendelssohn (November 7, 1933)
Carl Friedrich von Siemens (1872-1941) was the youngest son of inventor and businessman Werner von Siemens. He headed the family firm, Siemens & Halske AG, from 1919 until his death in 1941. The Siemens corporation became the Third Reich's most important producer of electrotechnical weapons components. From 1940 on, the corporation used foreign forced laborers and prisoners of war in industrial production; and from 1942 on, it used Jewish forced laborers and concentration camp inmates as well. (A separate "Siemens camp" was set up in the Ravensbrück concentration camp.) Below, we see Siemens (at left) talking with the respected Jewish jurist and banker Franz von Mendelssohn (1865-1935) (middle). Mendelssohn came from a well-known Berlin family of intellectuals, businessmen, and artists, and was co-owner of the Mendelssohn private banking firm. He was also president of the Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce as well as the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce [Deutscher Industrie- und Handelstag]. In 1939, six years after this photograph was taken, the Mendelssohn banking firm was taken over by Deutsche Bank as part of the "Aryanization" process.