The Slatest

Koch Brothers’ Father Helped Build Nazi Oil Refinery

David Koch New York
David Koch at Carnegie Hall in New York on Oct. 7, 2015.

Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images

The father of billionaire conservative political megadonors Charles and David Koch helped build a German oil refinery for Hitler and at one point hired a “fervent Nazi” as a nanny for his children, reports about a new book by investigative reporter Jane Mayer say. Mayer’s book is called Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right; she’s written two long articles about the Kochs’ political activities for the New Yorker. From the Washington Post:

Mayer, for the first time, describes the early effort to land a refinery construction deal that was ultimately blessed personally by Adolf Hitler. In 1934, Mayer reports, Fred Koch’s firm provided engineering plans and began overseeing construction of a massive oil refinery near Hamburg, which would become a component of the Nazi war machine, supplying fuel for German warplanes. 


The New York Times notes that “the episode is not mentioned in an online history published by Koch Industries, the company that Mr. Koch later founded and passed on to his sons,” which is not entirely surprising.

Also (again from the Post):

Mayer writes that the family patriarch, Fred Koch, admired German discipline so much in the 1930s that he hired a fervent Nazi as a governess for his eldest boys.

(“Eldest boys” would appear to refer to Frederick R. Koch and Charles Koch, not to Charles and David.)

A spokesman for Koch Industries did not specifically address the Nazi revelations but said the company has had objections to Mayer’s reporting in the past.