Freundeskreis der Wirtschaft
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The Freundeskreis der Wirtschaft, or Circle of Friends of the Economy (which became known as "Freundeskreis Reichführer SS" or "Freundeskreis Himmler") was a group of German industrialists whose aim was to raise funds for racial research within the Third Reich. The group was formed and co-ordinated by Wilhelm Keppler, one of Adolf Hitler's close economic advisors.
The founding members of the Circle were Keppler's nephew and member of the board at Brabag Fritz Kranefuss, ITT Corporation executives Kurt Baron von Schröder and Emil Heinrich Meyer, the General Director of Wintershall August Rosterg, Otto Steinbrinck the Vice-President of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG, Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht, Emil Helffrich of the German-American Petroleum Company, chairman of the board at Commerzbank Friedrich Reinhardt, Ilseder Hütte chairman Ewald Hecker, and political figures Carl Vincent Krogmann and Gottfried Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen as well as Keppler.
The Freundeskreis Reichsführer SS was also controlled by Heinrich Himmler, a friend of Keppler, who was a member of the NSDAP since 1927. The group was formed by Keppler when in 1932 Hitler asked for a “study group on economic questions”. Also important in the group was Fritz Kranefuß (1900-1945), a former coworker of Keppler's. A similar group was known as the F-circle and implemented design initiatives. The members of the circle/group donated annually approximately 1 million Marks from 1935 to 1944 to the Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler. Kurt Baron von Schröder was manager of the financial accounts. William Keppler was cross-examined later in the Nuremberg Trials.
List according to statement by William Keppler, Nuremberg Military tribunal, volume VI, PAGE 287
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