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Fritz (Friedrich Hermann) ter Meer (1884–1967)

Fritz (Friedrich Hermann) ter Meer. Photo from the National Archives, Collection of World War II Crimes Records of the I.G. Farben Trial in Nuremberg'© National Archives, Washington, DC
Fritz (Friedrich Hermann) ter Meer. Photo from the National Archives, Collection of World War II Crimes Records of the I.G. Farben Trial in Nuremberg
© National Archives, Washington, DC

 a  In their verdict, the judges in the I.G. Farben Trial at Nuremberg reach the following conclusion regarding count two, “plunder and spoliation”: “Ter Meer was prominently connected with the activities of Farben in the acquisition of the Polish property and in the Francolor acquisition. The evidence establishes that Ter Meer acted for Farben in the selection of the personnel to operate the plants. There can be no doubt that the initiative in acquiring the Polish property came from Farben, and that Ter Meer, as chairman of the Technical Committee, was fully advised in regard to Farben's contemplated action and the course of the negotiations. He issued instructions in connection with the negotiations.”

(Das Urteil im I.G.-Farben-Prozess. Der vollständige Wortlaut (Offenbach am Main: Bollwerk, 1948), p. 96. (Transl. KL))
 b  In the I.G. Farben Trial at Nuremberg, the judges reach the following decision with regard to the charge of “enslavement and mass murder”: “The inference is strong that Farben officials subordinate to Ter Meer took the initiative in securing the services of these inmates at the plant site. This inference is further supported by the fact that Farben at its own expense and with funds appropriated by the TEA [Technical Committee], of which Ter Meer was chairman, built Camp Monowitz for the specific purpose of housing its concentration-camp workers. We are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the officials in charge of Farben construction went beyond the necessity created by the pressure of government officials and may be justly charged with taking the initiative in planning for and availing themselves of the use of concentration-camp labor. Of these officials Ter Meer had greatest authority.”
(Das Urteil im I.G.-Farben-Prozess. Der vollständige Wortlaut (Offenbach am Main: Bollwerk, 1948), p. 135. (Transl. KL))

“For a firm such as the I.G., which exported more than one-fourth of its production to every corner of the world, which maintained numerous business relationships in the countries that now had become enemies, and which was linked with foreign countries by licensing agreements and a broad exchange of experience, the war amounted to the hardest blow that could strike it. Again, as in 1914, all the assets located outside Germany were endangered; again, the worldwide sales organization created over a period of 20 years was to be placed in jeopardy. Nonetheless, to the bitter end, the I.G. did its natural duty for its country as Germany struggled for existence.”[1]


Friedrich (Fritz) Hermann ter Meer was born in Uerdingen on July 4, 1884, the son of chemical industrialist Edmund ter Meer. Fritz ter Meer studied chemistry from 1903 to 1908 in Tübingen, Giessen, Berlin, and Grenoble. For a brief time, he also studied law. In 1909, he received his doctorate in Berlin, with a dissertation “On Our Knowledge of the Ethers of Isonitrosoketones.” Next he devoted himself to the study of the synthetic dye industry in Krefeld and spent several months in England and France. In 1910, he began working at his father’s plant, Chemische Fabriken vorm. Weiler–ter-Meer, in Uerdingen. Fritz ter Meer spent the following three years setting up a branch in France. He was promoted rapidly within the firm, and after holding management positions in the company, he was made a member of the managing board in 1919. He had done no military service and accordingly was not called up during World War I.


After the founding of I.G. Farben, into which Chemische Fabriken vorm. Weiler–ter-Meer 1925  was absorbed, he was a member of the managing board there as well. Fritz ter Meer spent the years 1925 to 1929 predominantly in the United States, where he was involved in helping to set up the plants of the Grasselli Dyestuffs Company, in which the I.G. held shares. Ter Meer was responsible for the I.G.’s negotiations with Standard Oil and was a cofounder of the Joint American Study Corporation (JASCO) in 1929. In 1932, ter Meer became chairman of the Technical Committee (TEA) of I.G. Farben, with responsibility for the technical supervision of all dyeworks in Germany and abroad and for the concern’s strategic technology decisions. He joined the NSDAP in 1937.


Ter Meer represented I.G. Farben in negotiations with the German government, as the result of which natural rubber was taxed on the basis of its difference from the price of synthetic rubber (Buna). In his function as a managing board member and chairman of the TEA, he shared responsibility for the site location and decision-making for the building of the I.G. Farben plant in Auschwitz. Ter Meer was awarded the War Merit Cross 1st and 2nd Class, and was named a “military economy leader” (Wehrwirtschaftsführer).


In September 1943, ter Meer went to Italy as Plenipotentiary for Italy of the Reich Minister for Armaments and War Production. There, in April 1945, he was taken prisoner by the U.S. Army. During the joint imprisonment of the I.G. managing board members in the holding and interrogation center at Kransberg in the Taunus Mountains (codenamed the “Dustbin”), ter Meer organized a common defense strategy for all the defendants. Pressure was applied to those who dissented, particularly to Georg von Schnitzler. In the I.G. Farben Trial at Nuremberg, Fritz ter Meer was sentenced on July 30, 1948, to seven years in prison for “plunder and spoliation” and for “mass murder and enslavement.”  a   b  In 1950, he was granted early release from the Landsberg Prison, and three years later he wrote the history of I.G. Farben from his perspective.[2] Between 1956 and 1964, ter Meer was chairman of the supervisory board of Farbenfabriken Bayer and a supervisory board member of several firms. Fritz ter Meer died in Uerdingen on October 21, 1967.

(SP; transl. KL)


Friedrich ter Meer, affidavit, April 2, 1947, NI-5188. Archive of the Fritz Bauer Institute, Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, Case VI, reel 018, pp. 97–112.

Georg von Schnitzler, affidavit, March 27, 1947, NI-5197. Archive of the Fritz Bauer Institute, Subsequent Nuremberg Trials, Case VI, PDB 2 (g), pp. 58–96.



Heine, Jens Ulrich: Verstand und Schicksal. Die Männer der I.G. Farbenindustrie A.G. Weinheim: VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, 1990.

Ter Meer, Fritz: “Zur Kenntnis der Äther von Isonitrosoketonen.” Dissertation, University of Berlin, 1909.

Ter Meer, Fritz: Die IG Farben Industrie Aktiengesellschaft. Ihre Entstehung, Entwicklung, Bedeutung. Düsseldorf: Econ, 1953.

Das Urteil im I.G.-Farben-Prozess. Der vollständige Wortlaut. Offenbach am Main: Bollwerk, 1948.

[1] Fritz ter Meer: Die IG Farben Industrie Aktiengesellschaft. Ihre Entstehung, Entwicklung, Bedeutung (I.G. Farben Industrie AG: Its Origin, Development, Significance)(Düsseldorf: Econ, 1953), pp. 112–13. (Translated by KL)

[2] Cf. ter Meer: Die IG Farben Industrie Aktiengesellschaft.