Otto Wolff von Amerongen
| Otto Wolff von Amerongen |
(businessman, deep politician)
|Born||6 August 1918|
|Died||8 March 2007 (Age 88)|
|Parents|| • Otto Wolff|
• Elsa von Amerongen
|Children||Otto Wolff von Amerongen Jr|
|Member of||Atlantik-Brücke, Bilderberg/Advisory Committee, Bilderberg/Steering committee, Trilateral Commission|
Bilderberg Advisory Committee member, deep politician
The family business, the Otto Wolff Konzern was founded in Cologne in 1904 by Otto Wolff and Ottmar E. Strauss as a steel trading and steel wrecking company. Under the new National Socialist regime in 1933, Strauss (a Jew) was expropriated, being forced to sell his shares underpriced to Otto Wolff. From 1933 under the Third Reich, the group did brisk business with orders from Hermann Göring's four-year plan authority. Strauss died in Switzerland in 1941. Following Wolff's death the same year, the company came under the control of his son, Otto Wolff von Amerongen Jr.
World War 2
In 1942, during World War II, Wolff von Amerongen was sent to Portugal to handle import-export business for the firm and for the Reich. Von Amerongen, who was also a member of the Wehrmacht's intelligence service Abwehr, not only coordinated the export of the vital war mineral tungsten, but also the payment for this with foreign exchange, including with gold confiscated from Jews and enemies of the state.
In 1943, the large Neunkirchen ironworks, in which the Otto Wolff Group had a 40 percent stake, received an award for being a "War Model Company".
Until 1945, the Otto Wolff Group procured, among other things, Jewish property in the form of shares, gold and other values for the National Socialist government and its war financing, and placed it on the stock exchanges, for example in Switzerland, as well as in Portugal. To this end, he met regularly with ministers from the Salazar government in Lisbon.
After the war, the heirs of Ottmar E. Strauss tried unsuccessfully to get their shares back. Otto Wolff von Amerongen was interned for a whole year following the Allied occupation of Germany. Control of the company passed to trustees, but Otto Wolff von Amerongen managed to resume control in 1947, after a screening - and maybe some sort of tacit or overt deal with the occupation authorities.
From 1955 he was Chairman of the German East-West Trade Committee, and served as Chairman of the Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 1966 and 1990. Several years and lawsuits later,Ottmar E. Strauss' heirs received seven million Deutsche Marks for their part in the company, a fraction of the original value.
In 1965, the Otto Wolff Group was one of the largest trading companies in the Federal Republic with a turnover of DM 2.5 billion. On the 1966 flotation of the business, Wolff von Amerongen became Chairman of the board, a position he retained for the next twenty years, taking on Peter Jungen as a P.A.
He was one of the supporters in the business community for Chancellors Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik, a thaw in the relations with the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc in the late 1960s and early 1970s, opening up economic opportunities. Without this support, the policy would not have been possible. This represented the 'dove' wing in the Cold War, as opposed to the(mostly US) 'hawks', who wanted hard measures and a continued trade embargo. As a result of this policy, large long term purchases of Soviet oil and gas (including building of several pipelines) were exchanged for billions worth of contracts for the German export industry in the Eastern Bloc.
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