Was President Bush's great-grandfather a Nazi? Post from 14-Feb-2003


Dear Cecil:

My friend in Germany wrote me that she had heard that President Bush (now in office) ,his great-grandfather was a Silesian person. She said she heard that from her relative and of course your relatives get it right most of the time. :rolleyes:

Well, it prompted me to go and search the net and so I stumbled on to your web site “Th Straight Dope”. And since I searched for “President Bush’s great grandfather” I came to your article : “Was President Bush’s great-grandfather a Nazi?” Well, this is more then I wanted to know ,however I read you report and was actually astonished how much we , at the time back in Germany, already knew.
I summ it up in one sentence “It was known that the United States could have stopped Hitlers atrocities with the Jewish people”. Espionage was at it’s high point in the 30’s so it was impossible that America “didn’t know”. And I agree also with your article:" without American money, Hitler wouldn’t have stood a chance to wage a war".
I was born in Silesia and had to flee , led by my mothers hand (I was 7 years old at that time) in January of 1945 with snow up to a grown ups waist. My father was a soldier and had to fight for Hitler in Stalingrad.
Anyway, we had to flee and walking was the only mode of transportation because no one owned a car. We grabbed a bus to the city and after many tries we finally got out to the West of Germany by freight train . But it was not easy. Our German cities were all bombed which was a direct retaliation of what Hitler had done to Great Britain. Only a child does not understand such complicated things. My mother wondered out loud why it is that the War factories in the Rheinland were not ever bombed?. The factories belonging to Thyssen & Krupp?. One wonders if that was a co-incident?
The Silesian_American Corporation (SAC) is being mentioned and it goes on to say “that this Corporation owned several industrial concerns in POLAND.” Just a slight correction in your History lesson, if I may. Shouldn’t it have said “industrial concern in Germany?” Silesia was a province of Germany just like Bavaria is a province. It had been since the 1200 Century until 1945. Germany lost the war and Russia presst forwards from the East and overtook our Homeland. The Russians then handed our Homeland to the Polish people and in turn the Polish had to give up part of their own land further East ,to the Russians. Also, Auschwitz is a city in Silesia NOT a city in POLAND. It also was German until 1945 when we Selisians lost our home forever. I just thought I clear this misunderstanding up, it means a lot to me.
I believe all what was written in your report, the “financial exchanges” between
Prescott Bush and Fritz Thyssen with Hitler in the middle. The Powerful were doing their thing and the small guy was caught in the middle. We were the ones that lost everything in this high and mighty game.

~ Gerlinde Paterson ~

Silesia was most certainly not a “province of Germany” since 1200 (Germany didn’t even exist until 1871). For most of its history it was ruled by Bohemia (current successor state: the Czech Republic) or the Holy Roman Empire (current successor state: Austria). It became part of Prussia (current successor state: Germany) in 1740.

Gerlinde - Granted , Silesia was not defined in the Beginning as a orderly Privince it was moreover distributed in parcels of Silesian Land all over the area which later became a defined province. Silesia was a GErman Volksstamm however, it spoke the German language and practiced German Art and Kulture. Here is an excerpt from the “Knaurs Lexicon” printed in 1953: As far back as in the 12th Century the Silesian Piasten Herzoege (a Herzo is a Duke in the English description) furthered the settling of their own people, German people. Silesia had to share Land with Bohemia in 1327 and Austria in 1526 . In 1537 a brotherhood was formed between the Herzog von Lieglnitz, Brieg and Wohlau and Joachim IIvon Brandenburg. Following this almagemation Friedrich the Great (Friedrich der Grosse) (Read Funk & Wagnalls New Encyuclopedia, Vol. 11 page 334 under "German Rulers and Regimes: - “Kings of Prussia” - Friedrich II , the Great 1740-86) claimed Silesia and fortified his desire with Silesian Wars. After those Wars Silesia was broken up into "Prussian Silesia, Capital City Breslayu and Austrian Silesia with the cities of Troppau, Jaegerndorf, Teschen & Bielitz. The Selesian Prussia in 1919 was devided into the Provinces of Nether Silesia in the NW and Uppper Silesia in the SE. This is how it stayed until 1945. Silesia was a complicated Land with many Wars and a rich turbulent History. It went through a gowing process just like a Human being, first you are born, then you learn to sit and crawl and finally you stand up and take your first steps. From the beginning to the time of the first steps there are many falls and bumps
To the subject and I quote:“Germany didn’t excist until 1871” I whole heartedly disagree. Please check Funk and Wagnalls Vol. 11. page 334.Germany goes back to 800 B.C. In F&W under “German Rulers and Regimes” : Holy Roman Emporers: (Elected German Kings , who also ruled the Holy Roman Empire, later regarded as the First Reich) Under "Electors of Brandenburg and Dukes of Prussia:"From 1619-40 George William ruled. “Kings of Prussia”: Frederick I 1701-13 . German Emporers ( of the Deutsches Reich, or Second Reich) William I from. 1871 -88
“In the year 1871 Prince Otto von Bismarck created the German Empire .” ( but of course Germany existed long before that )( Read F&W , Vol. 11, page 349) He constructed a series of alliances designed to protect Germany from aggression and did much more. Here is an excerpt, and Pres. Bush could lern from that and many other leaders. “Church-state strife cooled in 1879 , chiefly because Bismarck needed the Center party’s support against the Liberals to obtain high tariffs that would protect German agricultire and industry from cheap imports.” !!!
Unfortunately William the II, Bismarck’s successor , Emporer of Germany, helped maneuver his Country into World War I. The rest after that is a lot of History.

The USA, as bizarre & astounding as it might seem, did not have a significant espionage capacity in the 1930s.

The Office Of Strategic Services was not established until 1942, & the State Department had its last espionage function shut down in 1929.

This is true. Germany, especially, did loads of spying on us in the 30s, and our skeleton military didn’t even have the interest to do anything about it - let alone the capability.

Heck, back then James Bond was barely a 002.

Auschwitz was a death camp and is now a memorial. It is located in the town that it was named after – Oswiecim, Poland.

So Auschwitz is not in Silesia, but close to its border.

If you want me to be more specific, Auschwitz’s coordinates are Latitude: 50° 1’ 60 N, Longitude: 19° 13’ 60 E.

Selsians joined a group of many millions who lost their homes forever by 1945. I doubt that there would be a law preventing your return now. But as it is for all of us, “home” is not there anymore. That is true even when transitions have been peaceful.

Whether you hear it first from Homer or Sherman T. Potter or Mary Engelbreight or Thomas Wolfe: “If you ain’t where you are, you ain’t no place.”

In reality, both Thyssen and Krupp factories were heavily bombed during the second World War. The Krupp munitions works in Essen was bombed by the RAF as early as November 1940 and additional air raids during the course of the war caused heavy damage. The CEO of Krupp was later convicted of crimes against humanity.

More on the bombing of Essen here.

Did not read Thomas Wolfe (for inststance) but understand that amongst his books one of them bore the title:“You can’t go home again”. Have not read it but I will definitely soon do so. This particular book was written in 1940 though and so Mr. Wolfe had no incling as to what is in store for “us people in Silesia”. We were expelled in 1945. So that and the fact that Mr. Wolfe was born and raised in Asheville, N.C. USA in 1900 (and served a "brief adjourn abroad) leaves one to wonder how he could possible “feel” and know what it was like to “be forced to leave the place you always knew as your home” .
It is astounding but it feels like the compassion has gone out of style in society. A capability to understand or a will thereof. To be open and to ‘care’.