Working Towards a Better Future

By Martin Terrazas

childsurvivorsofauschwitzBetween April 7-14, 2013, Americans officially remember what is accepted as the Holocaust. This year’s theme, Never Again: Heed the Warning Signs, will be discussed in community centers, corporations, military bases, religious institutions, schools, and small businesses nationwide.

Two famous business cases written about leadership during World War II are IBM and Germany 1922-1941 and Degussa AG and its Holocaust Legacy. The first case, written about the production of Dehomag Hollerith machines, explains the difficult decisions that leaders must face when they oppose government policies. The latter study explains how irresponsible decisions made decades past damage companies generations later.

Only two years have passed since IG Farben was delisted from the Frankfurt Börse. While the company, so famous for patenting the Zyklon B pesticide that helped send millions of individuals (Jews, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, Roma and Sinti, mentally ill, deaf, physically disabled, mentally incapacitated, homosexuals, transsexuals, political opponents, and religious dissidents) to their deaths, survived the tragedy; the majority of its leadership (including its Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Chairman of the Managing Board) was sentenced to eternal shame at the Nuremberg Military Tribunals.

We acknowledge that, as leaders, we are held accountable for our decisions. With increasing responsibility and power, actions amplify. Heeding the warning signs of moral imagination means realizing what you do everyday matters. If we are not able to maintain humility, dignity, and responsibility to create a better future; our investment at Thunderbird will have been futile.

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