Reply to a letter from...

An investigation into historic corporate criminality and its implications.

An 2018, visiting the Jewish Museum in Berlin I noticed a discrepancy in the presentation of one of the museum’s exhibits: a letter written by Hans Peter Messerschmidt in Auschwitz lll (Monowitz) and smuggled out of the camp. In the accompanying English translation he tells how he was a slave labourer at the IG Farben “Buna” works, but the German transcript of the letter omitted this critical fact. When I challenged the museum about this, their response was not satisfactory.

“Reply to a letter from...” attends to the history of the relationship between IG Farben and the Nazi state, examining their interdependence. It reveals that Auschwitz lll was a private enterprise concentration camp paid for by IG Farben, who were invoiced by the SS for each slave labourer. The slaves, nearly all Jewish men, were forced to work on the construction of their huge Buna plant, and the company policy was to work these men to death. Although the film has a particular story to tell, it is also a meditation on the ethics of big business and their collusion with nation states. As we witness huge corporations with global reach supported by governments to destroy the environment, callously causing thousands to die, literally getting away with murder, it becomes clear that this is a persistent, critical and largely overlooked issue.

‘Reply to a letter from...’ is my reply to Hans Peter Messerschmidt’s letter.

Adrin Neatrour. 2020, UK.


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