Shaping remembrance, advancing research, strengthening resilience
The Hans and Berthold Finkelstein Foundation strengthens the culture of remembrance at Bayer and supports research and remembrance projects on the crimes of the National Socialists - in particular on the subject of Nazi forced labor and I.G. Farben. It also develops programs for a corporate and management culture characterized by historical responsibility, for democratic action and promotes dialogue-oriented educational projects to strengthen resilience to hatred and totalitarianism.
Hans and Berthold Finkelstein are the namesakes. Their biographies are representative of the injustice suffered and the persecution of many people during the National Socialist era. Their story came to light through research activities in the Bayer archives. With the consent of her son and grandson Johannes Finkelstein, her memories and thoughts shape the foundation's strategy.
Bayer established the independent Hans and Berthold Finkelstein Foundation in 2023.
"Nevertheless, it was very close to the point that sanity would have prevailed in state life, too, if the men of the bourgeois right who had been appointed around and after 1930 had not failed as leaders. And so, it happened as it had to."
From Dr. Hans Finkelstein's family chronicles
Interview with Johannes Finkelstein
Fates that must not be repeated
“The Hans and Berthold Finkelstein Foundation is promoting tolerance and reconciliation just as my father did. I view my own personal involvement as a way of carrying forward my father’s legacy. That gives me a real connection to his life.”
Memorial next to Bayer's Headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, for the approximately 16,000 forced laborers deployed at the Lower Rhine sites of I.G. Farben. © Marcus Mueller-Saran
What we do – Purpose
The Foundation’s purpose, funding guidelines and activities
The Hans and Berthold Finkelstein Foundation supports projects that fall into the three areas of remembrance, research and resilience. On behalf of Bayer, the foundation therefore promotes independent research into the injustices committed under National Socialism, particularly on the subject of forced labor at I.G. Farben. It supports cultural remembrance projects, organizes events, develops programs for responsible leadership in companies and promotes dialogue-oriented projects.
Who We are
Get to know the team
We design programmes, select initiatives and projects and organize events. Each member supports the foundation's work with their unique perspective and independent expertise - get to know the Advisory Council and the Foundation Office.
Annette Schavan, Chairwoman of the Advisory Council © Laurence Chaperon, Annette Schavan
Dr. Hans Finkelstein (l.) conversing with colleagues. View of a laboratory at the Uerdingen site, 1932. Photo: Bayer AG, Bayer Archives Leverkusen
The Finkelstein Legacy
The narrative of Dr. Hans and Berthold Finkelstein
The Finkelstein legacy refers to Hans and his son Berthold Finkelstein who both have a connection to I.G. Farben and exemplify the fates of Jewish people during the Second World War. By telling their narrative, the Foundation contributes to the preservation of their memory. We want to make sure that neither their fate, nor that of other victims, will be forgotten.
I.G. Farben and forced labor during the Second World War
Interessengemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG, or I.G. Farben for short, was formed in 1925 as a merger of six German companies. Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co. was among the founding members. Today's Bayer AG emerged from I.G. Farben in 1952. Approximately 16,000 women and men from numerous occupied countries in Europe were forced to work at the Lower Rhine production sites of I.G. Farben between 1940 and 1945.
View of the barracks in the Buschweg forced labor camp in Cologne-Flittard, Germany. Photo: Bayer AG, Bayer Archives Leverkusen