honest man resents to the bottom of his
heart. Out of respect for the innocent victims of these butchers, I have
decided to break off all relations with their firms, and I have no doubt that
the business world will do likewise.
That statement was
followed by mine:
I acknowledge a debt to Michel Fribourg,
who made it possible for me to gather this information. I salute the decision
he has made and his sense of responsibility as a Jew, as an American, and as a
Everyone, of course, was fooled, and believed
those declarations were genuine. Who could doubt that a Jew and one of the
richest men in the world would fail to react as we had made Michel Fribourg
react in those reports? Everyone thinks it is obvious that the Jewish world can
neither forgive nor forget the Nazi criminals. But that is not always the case.
And, as it is hard to go against the current of this belief, it is better to
swim with the tide to get results.
They were not long in coming. The
subsidiaries of Continental Grains were delighted to have "a boss who dared
break off relations with Nazi criminals." Other companies let it be known that
they would do the same. Becher was furious at this unexpected blow.
matter what happened, we would come out ahead in our game with Fribourg. Either
he would accept all the congratulations and break with Lischka-Becher or, after
everyone had been led to believe that he would sever relations with them, he
would go on doing business with them as usual. In such a case everyone would
think that he was giving in out of weakness or cowardice.
lawyers came to me to ask me to announce that their client had nothing to do
with the whole thing. When I refused, they threatened me with a suit for
forgery. There was no case for slander; Fribourg had come off smelling like a
rose. And how could a Jew drag a non-Jewish German woman into court and thereby
assert his willingness to do business with the murderers of his own people? I
held all the trumps.
Fribourg finally backed down. His agents let it be
known "that he never made that statement to Mme. Klarsfeld, that the background
of the directors of the two German companies had just been brought to his
attention, and that his company was, in fact, doing business with the Bremen
and Cologne companies."
And then he went on working with Becher.