Hitler the tax dodger

“Adolf Hitler spent years dodging taxes, accumulating enormous debts as he led his Nazi party to power, a German tax expert has revealed.   He owed the authorities 405,500 Reichsmarks (6m euros; £4m in today’s money) by 1934, when as German chancellor his debts were forgiven. ”

Reading this made me turn to Surviving Hitler by Lebor  Boyes.  This excellent book gives much more detail on Hitler’s financial affairs.

Once he became Chancellor the sales of Mein Kampf increased enormously. Copies of the book were given away at official ceremonies.  For example, newlyweds were given a copy of Mein Kampf as bedtime reading. In 1925 Hitler sold less than 10,000 copies; by 1933 annual sales were over 800,000 copies and continued at this rate until 1944. He used to earn 2 million marks a year from publishers royalties and had 7 million marks awaiting collection from his publishers at the time he died.

Whenever Hitler’s image was used on a postage stamp he received a payment. Albert Speer saw Hitler get a royalty cheque for 50 million marks [worth about £100 million or almost $200 million at current prices]. There may have been several such payments. Hitler also made money from selling copies of his collected speeches and reproduction rights to his paintings.

A final source of income was backhanders from German industrialists.  Lebor and Boyes estimate this was worth 100 million marks a year to Hitler. Martin Bormann acted as his bagman.

It’s sad when you cannot even trust an homicidal tyrant to be honest.

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