German monopoly Siemens AG.
Siemens, headquartered in Munich and operating in 190 countries, is moving its entire energy research operation from Ontario to its existing office in Calgary. The provincial agreement with Siemens fits well with the government’s plans to tie university research more closely to the needs of the monopolies — Siemens is already researching oilsands emissions. The agreement also aligns with Alberta’s “International Strategy,” part of which is to further sell out the province by increasing direct foreign investment.
After the signing, Lukaszuk praised Siemens as a company with “reputation” and “profile” but carefully omitted the content of that reputation and profile. In 2007 and 2008, Siemens was hit with multi-million dollar fines for price fixing and bribery. On a much more sinister note, in the 1930s, Siemens helped fund the rise of the Nazi Party and the secret rearmament of Germany. During the Second World War, Siemens backed the Hitler regime in return for lucrative contracts, contributed to the aggressive war effort and participated in the “Nazification” of the economy. Siemens had many factories in and around notorious concentration camps to build electric switches for the military. In Auschwitz, tens of thousands of prisoners worked in a Siemens factory that supplied the camp with electricity.
During the final years of the war, Siemens moved its manufacturing to regions unaffected by Allied bombings. By the end of the war, Siemens was operating almost 400 alternative or relocated manufacturing plants, which supplied electrical parts to concentration camps. Malnutrition and death were common in the camp factories. The factories were created, run, and supplied by the SS, which under Himmler’s command was responsible for crimes against humanity during World War II, in conjunction with company officials. During this time, Siemens used forced and slave labour at Ravensbrück concentration camp and in the Auschwitz subcamp of Bobrek, among others.
After 1945, Hermann von Siemens, head of the company, was charged with war crimes. The charges were later dropped and he was reinstated to help the Anglo-American imperialists rebuild Germany as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, which had led the world’s people in defeating the Nazis. Recent events have reawakened Siemens’ Nazi past. In 1998, Siemens was forced to set up a special fund to pay millions of dollars in compensation to people used as slave labourers during the Nazi era. In 2002, public opinion forced Siemens to abandon its plan to register the trademark “Zyklon” for a new line of products including gas ovens, the same name as the poison gas — Zyklon B — used to exterminate prisoners in Nazi death camps such as Majdanek and Auschwitz.