Thursday, February 8, 2024

Eckhardt’s name is a humiliating stain


Canada Nazi Germany immigration ratlines Ferdinand Eckhardt Winnipeg Art Gallery University of Manitoba scandal embarrassment Bayer IB-Farben

Winnipeg institutions should have wiped Nazi’s name long ago

Somehow, seemingly without anyone realizing, the Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq (WAG-Qaumajuq), the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg honoured a Nazi sympathizer and fascist, Ferdinand Eckhardt, by etching his name into their buildings. These organizations only began to reckon with their honouring of Eckhardt after the Walrus published an article by Conrad Sweatman on Nov. 9, 2023 exposing this fact.

I use the term “sympathizer” because, while Eckhardt technically was not a card-carrying member of the Nazi party, he was part of a group with 87 others who made a public pledge to Adolf Hitler in 1933. Pledging allegiance to Hitler is effectively equivalent to joining the Nazi party itself.

Not only did Eckhardt pledge allegiance to Hitler himself, but, as Sweatman details, Eckhardt also worked for Bayer IG-Farben for several years before and during the Second World War. Bayer IG-Farben supported Hitler’s regime and also participated in crimes against humanity as the regime conducted human experimentation and murdered prisoners in concentration camps.

Regardless of whether Eckhardt was involved with those crimes, he still actively worked for this company. As an employee of Bayer IG-Farben, Eckhardt directly and financially benefitted from the Holocaust.

Sweatman shows additional pieces of evidence indicating Eckhardt’s sympathy for Nazi and fascist ideas. However, these two details are damning in and of themselves. All the organizations who honoured a man willing to support to Hitler and assist such a horrific company should be ashamed of themselves. Eckhardt was a Nazi. I have not found evidence that he ever once publicly renounced his past or denounced the Nazi party. Eckhardt pledged his allegiance to Hitler, he worked for a company complicit in genocide and never showed any sign of guilt.  (more...)

Eckhardt’s name is a humiliating stain

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