Friedrich "Fritz" Thyssen (9 November 1873 – 8 February 1951) was a German businessman, born into one of Germany's leading industrial families.
Thyssen provided some funding for the NSDAP and was of some influence regarding other funding and the decision to make Hitler Chancellor. As a reward, he was elected a NSDAP member of the Reichstag and appointed to the Council of State of Prussia, the largest German state (both purely honorary positions).
As a Catholic, he objected to the increasing repression of the Roman Catholic Church, which gathered pace after 1935: in 1937 he sent a letter to Hitler, protesting the persecution of Christians in Germany. The breaking point for Thyssen was the Kristallnacht, which caused him to resign from the Council of State. With the start of WWII, he moved Switzerland with his family. He was expelled from the NSDAP and the Reichstag, and his company was nationalised. Thyssen was later arrested while in Vichy France, sent back to Germany, and imprisoned in several of the western Holocaust camps.
At a postwar trial, he was declared a "lesser offender" and fined. In 1950, he and his wife emigrated to Buenos Aires, where he died the following year.
I Paid Hitler
While Thyssen was imprisoned in Germany, a biography was published in the United States in 1941 under the title I Paid Hitler. The book was written by Emery Reves, allegedly based on memoirs dictated by Thyssen. This book supports Reves' idea that the German industrialists as a class supported and funded Hitler and put him into power. The book has been popular among Communists. It is not well regarded even by politically correct historians of the period
David Irving writes that "Hermann Rauschning's Conversations with Hitler (Zürich, 1940) has bedeviled analysis of Hitler's policies ever since it was published by the evil propagandist Emery Reves (Imre Revéüsz) along with a host of other fables. Rauschning, a former Nazi Danzig politician, met Hitler on only a couple of formal occasions. [...] Reves was also publisher of that other famous "source" on early Nazi history, Fritz Thyssen's "memoirs," I Paid Hitler (London, 1943). Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., has pointed out in a paper in Vierteljahrsheft für Zeitgeschichte (No. 3, 1971) that the luckless Thyssen never even saw eight of the book's nineteen chapters, while the rest were drafted in French!"
Regarding other less politically correct views, see the "External links" section.
- German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler, Book Review
- The Myth of the Big Business-Nazi Axis
- Demystification of the Birth and Funding of the NSDAP
- Aspects of the Third Reich
- Hitler's War
- Hitler's War https://codoh.com/library/document/2309/?lang=en