German forces entered Vienna on 17 March 1938 (above). The Nazis annexed Austria in what became known as the Anschluss and occupied Czechoslovakia a year later. Royal Dutch Shell authorized its German subsidiary Rhenania-Ossag, to take over Shell operating companies in both countries.
Being one of the two biggest German oil concerns and the main lube oil manufacturer, Shell subsidiary Rhenania-Ossag was an industry leader in Nazi Germany. Many of its directors and staff were Nazis.
Following Hitler’s annexation of Austria on 12 March 1938 (photo) and the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Dutch directors of Royal Dutch gave approval to Rhenania-Ossag taking over the Shell operating companies in those countries.
As a result, a Shell subsidiary company dominated by the Nazis gained control over Shell subsidiaries in Austria and Czechoslovakia.
The move fitted in with Nazis plans or otherwise it would not have been allowed. These developments took place before the outbreak of WW2.
The annexation of Austria occurred while Deterding was still an active Shell supervisory director. The Nazi regime did not appoint an administrator for Rhenania-Ossag until January 1940.
Part of the information is sourced directly from page 78 of RDSH V2 (and the remainder from the Rhenania-Ossag Wikipedia article).
The following is an extract from page 78
Following Hitler’s annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia, Group managing directors sanctioned Rhenania-Ossag taking over the Shell companies in those countries.
Baron van Eck was one of the relevant Group directors. He and his colleague N. van Wijk participated in related correspondence involving Rhenania-Ossag. See item 142 on page 456 of RDSH V2 notes.
Van Wijk was company secretary of Royal Dutch. The Verwalter, Hauptmann Eichardt von Klass, later appointed him as a director of Royal Dutch.
See Page 32 RDSH V2.
It provides proof from Shell’s own archives that Royal Dutch Shell collaborated in the annexation and occupation of these sovereign countries by the Nazis.
Information on pages 1080/81 of a 1,616-page Nuremberg War Crimes court document confirms that in March 1938, Dr. Boeder of Rhenania-Ossag, and Dr. Brunck of Deutsche Gasolin were involved in Nazi military planning.
The planning was in regard to the production of petroleum.
There is evidence on page 1538 of the same document relevant to the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.
In March 1938, as part of a German army plan, Deutsche Gasolin A.G. refueled gas stations in southern Germany located on roads heading towards the Czech border.
This crucial aspect of the plan facilitated the Nazi military move into Czechoslovakia days later.
Shell was a partner in Deutsche Gasolin A.G. with IG Farben and Standard Oil of New Jersey.
Himmler in Vienna on the day after the annexation of Austria
Hitler with Heydrich and Himmler in Vienna, March 1938
Cheering crowds greet the Nazis in Vienna
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