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 strengthen the ties between the Nazi Party and business and industry. The group was formed and co-ordinated by Wilhelm Keppler, one of Adolf Hitler's close economic advisors.


Keppler, who had been a member of the NSDAP since 1927, formed the Circle after Hitler's request in 1932 for the formation of a "study group on economic questions". Other founding members were Fritz Kranefuss, Keppler's nephew and member of the board at Brabag, ITT Corporation executives Kurt Baron von Schröder and Emil Heinrich Meyer, August Rosterg, the General Director of Wintershall, Otto Steinbrinck, the vice-president of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG, Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht, Emil Helffrich of the German-American Petroleum Company, Friedrich Reinhardt, chairman of the board at Commerzbank, Ilseder Hütte chairman Ewald Hecker, and political figures Carl Vincent Krogmann and Gottfried Graf von Bismarck-Schönhausen. Fritz Kranefuß, a former employee of Keppler's, was secretary of the group, and Kurt Baron von Schröder was manager of the financial accounts.[1]

The Freundeskreis Reichsführer SS was controlled by Heinrich Himmler, a friend of Keppler. From 1935 to 1944, the members of the circle annually donated approximately 1 million Marks to Himmler. A similar group was known as the "F-circle" and implemented design initiatives.

William Keppler was sentenced to ten years in prison following the Ministries Trial at Nuremberg in 1949, but was released in February 1951.


In Jonathan Littell's 2006 novel Les Bienveillantes, the mysterious industrialist, Dr. Mandelbrod, is a member of the Freundeskreis Himmler.



List according to statement by William Keppler, Nuremberg Military tribunal, volume VI, PAGE 287