The two companies most actively involved in the distribution of RU 486 are Hoechst A.G. of Frankfurt, Germany, and Paris' Roussel Uclaf.
Hoechst is a huge multinational conglomerate with 224 subsidiaries in 124 countries. It does $23.7 billion in sales each year.
Hoechst is the parent firm of Roussel, the company which actually produces and markets this lethal drug. Hoechst owns 100% of Roussel stock.
But Hoechst has a historical reason for keeping a low profile in the RU 486 debate. It is Hoechst's infamous relationship to the I.G. Farben Chemical Company.
Farben aided the Nazis in waging aggressive warfare and perpetrating crimes against humanity by manufacturing Zyklon B, the cyanide gas used in the Nazi death camps. At Nuremberg, in 1947, 24 Farben executives were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
At Auschwitz Farben exploited slave labor to build the world's largest synthetic rubber and oil facility. This installation — dubbed "I.G. Auschwitz" — was so huge that it used as much electricity as did the entire city of Berlin. Over 25,000 inmates were worked to death in its construction.
Farben also produced poisonous solutions for use in aggressive warfare and in human experimentation. At Nuremberg, Judge Paul M. Hebert focused on Farben's extensive contributions to chemical warfare — "research, development and production of mustard gas, tear gas, nitrogen mustard gas, adamsite (throat irritant) and phosgene." Another segment of the Nuremberg indictment revealed that "poison gases and various deadly pharmaceuticals manufactured by Farben were used in experimentation upon, and the extermination of enslaved persons in concentration camps throughout Europe."
Farben produced the stabilizer for Zyklon B and owned 42.5% of Degesch (the "German Vermin-Combatting Corporation"), developer of this highly virulent weapon.
"When the Final Solution added Jews to the SS extermination plans, Degesch profits reflected the new prosperity," concluded Joseph Borkin in The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben. "I.G.'s dividends on its Degesch investments for the years 1942, 1943, and 1944 were double those of 1940 and 1941."
Because of its extensive involvement in such a vast array of destructive activities, the name Farben came to epitomize the ultimate in corporate evil incarnate. Josiah DuBois, chief prosecutor at the Farben Trial, considered the defendants and their crimes so malevolent that he wrote a book about them titled The Devil's Chemists: 24 Conspirators of the International Farben Cartel Who Manufacture Wars.
The complete dissolution of Farben was therefore considered an indispensable means of assuring the peace after World War II. In 1947 a plan was formulated by the American Military Government to break up Farben into 47 independent units.
However, this never materialized. Concern over the Cold War with Russia and ongoing corporate maneuvering proved to be formidable obstacles. Ultimately, Farben was only divided into three companies: Hoechst, Bayer and BASF.
Since Hoechst has not put the brakes on Roussel Uclaf's worldwide ambitions to distribute this deadly abortifacient, it is imperative that the alarming kinship between Farben and Hoechst be subjected to widespread public scrutiny. This consciousness-raising process should highlight the following parallels:
1. Farben was the largest chemical corporation of its time. Hoechst, according to the business journal Long Range Planning (June 1990), has become "the world's biggest chemicals business" and intends to maintain this position through an ambitious program of global expansion.
2. Farben was a prominent participation in the chemical war against Jews during the Nazi era. Hoechst is a major participant in the chemical annihilation of the unborn today.
3. Farben made a momentous contribution to the science of chemical warfare by testing its deadly products on victims selected for extermination in Nazi gas chambers. The contribution of Hoechst's subsidiary, Roussel, to the field of chemical warfare consists of lethal experiments on and the direct killing of unborn children.
4. Farben was the parent company of Degesch, developer of the Zyklon B gas used in the extermination of millions at Auschwitz. Hoechst is the parent firm of Roussel Uclaf, manufacturer of the deadly drug RU 486 capable of destroying millions of unborn children throughout the world.
5. Farben controlled Degesch's policies, including the decisions to use Zyklon on death camp inmates. Hoechst plays a major role in the policies of Roussel, including the development and distribution of RU 486 for use against the unborn.
6. Farben owned 42.5% of stock in Degesch. Hoechst owns 54.5% of the shares in Roussel.
7. Farben earned enormous profits from its investment in Degesch during the period when Zyklon became the primary means of eradicating the "postnatal expendables" of the Third Reich. Hoechst should derive a considerable payoff from its investment in Roussel if RU 486 ever becomes a widespread method of exterminating today's "prenatal discards."