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Les activités métaux précieux de la Degussa dans l'Europe occupée, 1939-1945

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  • Ralf Banken
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    Abstract

    [fre] Résumé . Avant 1933, l'entreprise Degussa de Francfort/Main contrôlait la branche allemande des métaux précieux. Par sa position de leader du marché que lui conférait son implication dans de nombreux cartels, les importations et les exportations qu'elle réalisait assuraient un équilibre de la demande et de l'offre sur le marché allemand. Pour ce faire, la Degussa collaborait avec d'autres leaders de marché européens (Comptoir Lyon Alemand à Paris ; Johnson, Matthey & Co à Londres), avec lesquels ils ne se concurrençaient pas entre eux sur leurs marchés nationaux respectifs. La situation n'a pas changé quand, en 1934, le contingentement gouvernemental des métaux précieux a été introduit en Allemagne, dans la mesure où la Degussa jouait un rôle dominant dans leur répartition. De même, après le déclenchement de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, malgré l'influence grandissante de l'office de contrôle des métaux précieux (Reichsstelle fur Edelmetallé) sur le système de contingentement, la politique de la Degussa est restée déterminée par ses intérêts à long terme et par une stratégie commerciale prudente. En dehors des exportations dans des pays neutres ou occupés (Suisse, Danemark, etc.), il n'y a qu'en Europe orientale qu'une nouvelle organisation de vente des métaux précieux a été mise en place. En Europe occidentale, la Degussa a continué à collaborer avec ses anciens partenaires commerciaux et a renoncé à une expansion rapide. Le marché français a été laissé au partenaire habituel (Comptoir Lyon Alemand) sur la base des anciens accords. Toutefois, indépendamment des frontières nationales et du statut des territoires, la Degussa a transformé à grande échelle des métaux précieux pillés par l'État allemand. Ces métaux étaient généralement amenés en Allemagne par des agences du Reich, et vendus seulement ensuite à la Degussa ou à d'autres entreprises. Dans ce cadre, l'entreprise était impliquée dans la récupération de l'or des victimes juives de l'Holocauste, qui était ensuite transformé dans le système de contingentement des métaux précieux ou transféré à la Reichsbank sous la forme de lingots. [eng] Abstract . Before 1933, the Degussa of Frankfurt am Main controlled the German precious metals sector. As the market leader by virtue of its numerous cartels, Degussa's imports and exports sustained an equilibrium of demand and supply on the German market. For that, Degussa cooperated with other European market leaders (Comptoir Lyon Alemand of Paris; Johnson, Matthey & Co of London), at which the firms did not compete with each other on their respective national markets. This situa- tion did not change when, in 1934, government rationing of precious metals was introduced in Germany, since Degussa played a leading role in the distribution of the precious metals. After the outbreak of World War II as well, and despite the growing influence of the Reich Oversight Office for Precious Metals (Reichsstelle fur Edelmetalle) on the rationing system, Degussa' s behaviour still was determined by its long-term interests and a cautious business policy. A part from exports into neutral and occupied countries (Switzerland, Denmark, etc.), a new organisation for selling precious metals products was established only in Eastern Europe. In Western Europe, Degussa continued to cooperate with its old business partners and renounced fast expansion. The French market was left to the French partner (Comptoir Lyon Alemand), observing former agreements. Notwithstanding, regardless of national borders and the status of territories, Degussa processed on a large scale precious metals robbed by the German state. Usually, the plundered metals were brought to Germany via German Reich agencies, and only afterwards were sold to Degussa and other companies. In this context, however, the company also separated gold from Jewish victims of the Holocaust, which subsequently was processed under the German precious metals rationing system or was transferred to the Reichsbank in the form of gold bars.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Histoire, économie et société.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 473-493

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:hiseco:hes_0752-5702_2005_num_24_4_2566

    Note: DOI:10.3406/hes.2005.2566
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    Web page: http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/revue/hes

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