Koch industries says book misrepresents founder’s work on Nazi oil refinery

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The president of Koch Industries said a new book misrepresents the work of the company’s founder in the construction of a major oil refinery for Nazi Germany.

David Robertson in a letter to employees said Jane Mayer, the author of “Dark Money,” had unfairly taken Fred Koch’s work out of context, The New York Times reported. Fred Koch, the father of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, was a partner in the refinery that was personally approved by Adolf Hitler, according to Mayer’s book.

The Koch brothers have given more than $100 million to conservative and libertarian policy and advocacy groups in the United States.

Robertson, also the company’s chief operating officer, said Koch’s work for the Nazi regime long predated the start of World War II, and the refinery was one of hundreds of international projects undertaken by the company in the late 1920s and early ’30s. He also said, according to the Times, that a review of the company archives showed that the company handled only the refinery’s “cracking” equipment, which converts crude oil into gasoline and other products.

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Many American businesses did business in Germany during the same time period, Robertson pointed out, and the company also had projects then in England, Scotland, France and Canada.

Koch Industry company officials did not participate in the book. The refinery is not mentioned in an online history published by Koch Industries, according to the Times.

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