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Fromms: How Julius Fromm's Condom Empire…

Fromms: How Julius Fromm's Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis (2007)

by Götz Aly, Michael Sontheimer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 5 of 5
An interesting enough book, could have used a bit tighter editing, but covers the Fromm family, and in particular Julius Fromm, and how the Nazis grabbed his empire up before and during World War II. Also aspects of the Holocaust, the strategies of the family with getting out, the ownership of the empire and fight for compensation after the war. A lesson for those who think this sort of thing could never happen. ( )
  pwjone1 | May 11, 2013 |
People tend to forget, in all the talk about lives lost during the Holocaust, of the plundered property. Gotz Aly's study of the Fromm family, and how their wealth was stripped down to nothing by the Nazis, brings the stolen property to the forefront and it really got me thinking about Rudolf Vrba's theory that the real motive behind the Holocaust was steal Jews' wealth and belongings. Julius Fromm was a wealthy manufacturer of condoms and his brand -- under new ownership -- is well-known in Germany today. Gotz Aly studies his entire extended family, both those who got out in time and those who were lost -- and accounts for their stolen wealth down to the last reichmark. I found all the numbers a bit tedious, but he had to keep repeating them to keep them in the reader's mind, to show just how much the Nazis enriched themselves by their bloody actions.

This book is worth reading not only because it's a rare case study, but because it's good, solid history and well-written, just like Gotz Aly's previous book, Into the Tunnel: The Brief Life of Marion Samuel, 1931-1943, the case study of a random Jewish child who died in the Holocaust. ( )
  meggyweg | Oct 26, 2011 |
Julius Fromm was born in Russia in 1883; when he was 10 years old, his parents left Russia for Berlin. At the time, Berlin offered the hope of more economic opportunity and a better life. Fromm grew up feeling like a German, and a patriotic one at that. It all came to crushing end when Hitler came to power, because Fromm and his family — patriotic though they might be — were Jews.

Fromms: How Julius Fromm’s Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis by Götz Aly and Michael Sontheimer is a detailed account of how Julius Fromm built a condom empire during the sexually permissive-period after World War I. His name became synonymous with condoms in Europe, much the way Kleenex or Xerox became household names. But his wealth and status could not protect him or his family when the Nazis came to power.

For readers interested in the history of Nazi Germany and the treatment of Jews during that period, there is a lot to learn in this small volume. The authors, Gotz Aly and Michael Sontheimer, provide an extremely detailed account of how Fromm’s business fell victim to National Socialist policies. Even though he was extremely wealthy, backed by banks and other businessmen and able to pull some strings, Fromm was eventually forced to sell his business for a pittance to a hand-selected German buyer, even though other buyers were standing by with better offers. He and his family were hounded out of their home, and stripped of their possessions. The accounts are chilling. Policies and procedures were in place to make sure that everything of value was stripped from Jews who had been good German citizens and turned over to “pure” Germans with the right political connections. It’s a part of the history I had only heard in the most general terms, and I found it frightening. It’s easy to see how the wheels of bureaucracy could crush an entire people under them, if we don’t keep tabs on our government.

Read my full review here. ( )
1 vote LisaLynne | Mar 30, 2010 |
Sontheimer, Michael
  moricsala | Dec 4, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Götz Alyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sontheimer, Michaelmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Frisch, Shelley LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Julius Fromm has not even found a place in the lexicon of emigration from German-speaking countries. This book is dedicated to his life's work, his talent, his creative spirit, and his zest for modernity.
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There is only one remaining member of the Fromm family who knew Julius Fromm well - and she did not like hmi.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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